Hardware for Exchange 2010

WorkingItOut used Ask the Experts™
Hi all,

I am looking to purchase a new server for exchange 2010 plus two additional servers for other sites that need upgrading...

Exchange 2010 will need to house 300 users, but our company requires mail for everything and our quotes/invoices/documents that transverse the network can see peoples mailboxes increase anywhere from 100mb to a 1gb in a week.

The other two servers dont need to be as high spec but require space for about 50-40 users and is a DC

Our hardware turn over lasts between 3 to 5 years....

Pretty much unlimited budget, but it has to be justified and with reason of course....ball park $100,000
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You can check this blogs.technet.com for mailbox server role.
Memory should be 5 mb per mailbox.


It is not recommended to host exchange on a DC.


yep I wasn't planning to have exchange on a dc - so that's ok
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

You should NOT be using local storage for Exchange if you have that much to store.  I would be get getting a SAN to store the Exchange Data on.  A SAN that's expandable.  I'd load up the server with RAM, a Quad Core CPU or two, and use a SAN with it.  

For the DCs/File Storage systems, I would use 4 GB of RAM and as much storage as you need on a Dual Core (or since dual is almost never sold in servers these days (as far as I've seen), then a quad core CPU.  But AD is not a resource intensive thing and should be fine on smaller amounts of RAM and CPU for sets of 50 users.


Would you put all the exchange data on a SAN - I thought a SAN was mainly for file storage - not fast transactions that exchange would need?

Or would u use the internal server hardware raid and then use the backup etc on the san?
Manager of IT
You are describing a NAS, which typically is used for file sharing.  SANs are generally higher performance supporting multiple RAID types and connectivity options (iSCSI, Fibre Channel, FCOE).  They are used to share disk resources and IOPS for many server infrastructure needs including boot from SAN.  

On our SAN we are running a VMware virtualization platform with over ten ESX hosts with over a 180 virtual machines.  Virtually we are running everything from AD, Exchange 2010 (4 sevrver DAG, Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop, Ms SQL Servers, DFSR File servers, and much more).  Further, we are also running additional physical database severs (on AIX) and DB2 (ironically on Windows) all in a boot from SAN configuration including ESX.  All SAN (Continous Replication), Database, Exchange, and DFSR file server data is replicated to our DR site.

So as you can see SANs are very robust and can handle extensive disk IOPS depending on the design.

Back to the topic:
What are your Backup/Recovery and/or Disater Recovery plans for your Exchange environment?

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