Exchange 2010 Design Recommendations

We're preparing for a transition to Exchange 2010.  Currently we have a front-end / Back-end setup at two physical locations.  Our 2010 setup will be placed at our colo site and all locations will have their mail stored at that location.  We have a scalable MPLS network internally, so bandwidth and throughput are not a concern.  Current mail statistics are as follows:

Mailboxes:  1,200
Average size:  300MB
Growth rate: 20 mailboxes / month

With the current size and expected growth, would you recommend an all-in-one setup or splitting the roles onto seperate physical servers? Whether we split the roles or not, we plan on using a DAG, but no site-resiliency at this point.  I look forward to your design considerations.
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AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
Ideal design for 1200 users would be

2 Servers with HUB/CAS role installed on them. Standard Edition for Exchange is enough (Physical Server Or VM)
2 Mailbox server with DAG (Physical Server Only)
1 Archive Server (Physical Server only)
Use SAN for DB and Logs.

I also recommend you to download latest Exchange 2010 calculator and provide the inputs. That will give you exact idea, what you need.
AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
Forget to mention, you need to Setup CAS Array and preferably with Hardware load balancer, Netscaler is good.
AaronAuthor Commented:
Thank you for the quick input.  That looks similar to my design thoughts, although I left out the archive server.  We have plenty of SAN space dedicated to this project (almost 20 TB...); considering this, do I need a seperate archive server or can I just attach a large LUN to the MB server for archive purposes?  For the CAS Array we would have to go with WNLB, I've already been shot down on putting in new F5's for this project.
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AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
I prefer to keep separate archive server, just to give redundancy with one more server to the users. Secondly, with separate archive server, you will be reducing load on Mailbox servers.
AaronAuthor Commented:
Sounds like a plan; can you provide any references on setting up a seperate archive server?  Would it need to be enterprise edition as well?
AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
Enterprise would be better option, at that gives you the option to expand in future. Read this article, as you need to exclude these db's from mailbox provising

Setup like this
Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise
Exchagne 2010 SP1 or SP2 Enterprise.
CPU : 8 (more are always better)
RAM: 32 GB

Note: You cannot use Archive DB in DAG.

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AaronAuthor Commented:
Detailed, quick support.  Provided exactly the insight I was looking for.
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