New Exchange setup with 450 mailboxes - recommend solution

I have a customer that's moving from Google Apps to their own Exchange system with 450 mailboxes. I've setup and configured a large number of Exchange servers but never one that is going to host this many mailboxes. (We are going to use Dell servers)

Can/should this be done on a single server?
Virtual or non-virtual?
Enterprise Exchange or Standard Exchange?
15K RPM drives?

Any help is appreciated.
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GrimmwayConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Yes, you can do this on one server. You just need to make sure that your hardware supports the mailboxes that your are wanting to deploy on the server. You may also do this in a virtual environment. Again, you need to ensure that your hardware can support your proposed mailboxes. It really comes down to your network infrastructure, needs, and personal choice if you want to break the server into multiple servers or a single server.

As for Standard/Enterprise versions, this depends on the size of the mailboxes you will be supporting. The Standard version limits you to 5 databases, which will be your limiting factor if your mailboxes are large in size. If the mailboxes are small, then you can get away with the standard edition. The default database limit is 50GB, so you will have to do a little bit of math to compute whether or not you need standard/enterprise.

On a side note, you'll want to look at the requirements and recommendations for Exchange. They have decent formulas and guidelines for CPU, RAM, and HHD which will change from case to case depending on the roles you place on your server, how many mailboxes, and how large of mailboxes you will be supporting.

I've done both virtual and non-virtual exchange servers with more mailboxes and dell servers, so you will be fine with either choice.
andyalderConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You certainly don't need 15K disks for the mailboxes with Exchange 2010, take a look at some of the EESRP solutions at, they're using 1TB and 2TB nearline SAS.
BigDeerAuthor Commented:
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