EXCHANGE 2010 Design on top of VMWARE ESX5.1 running on Dell COMPELLENT Storage

Hi there,

We are looking for the best design to implement our Exchange 2010 servers (2 nodes Multiroles with DAG, 300 mailboxes, 2GB mean mailbox size)
on our VMware ESX 5.1cluster (9 nodes, Dell R810) and our Compellent Storage (3 tiers with SSD, SAS and SATA).
Dell provides whitepapers for Exchange 2010 on Compellent or for VMWare ESX 5.1 on Compellent but nothing talks on how to implement Exchange when you have ESX5.1 and Compellent storage.
Anyone out there have some experience about this ?

Thanks :o)
EABAsked:
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Slav ZabickiConnect With a Mentor System EngineerCommented:
I have replay set up on my compellent. so the storage system takes care for backup and recovery. everything raid 10  
I didn't mean that you need to split the database across multiple physical media.
Small "chunks" can save you a lot of time in in case of moving your database across physical servers (or just comping to create a temporary system for your users). I came across that problem recently when there was power shutdown in our building and I had to move whole database from server to server just because one small department had to have access to its email.
that's my suggestion - keep mailbox databases  relatively small and divided by department.

Besides when you have raw mappings for exchange it is easier to manage the storage space available. you just need to extend the volume and rescan the hdd's in windows / exchange
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Slav ZabickiSystem EngineerCommented:
well,
you need separate CA server HT server and 2 mailbox servers or more (for DAG).
in Compellent (I recommend RAID10) you should create  separate volumes  (no bootable) for the exchange servers

1. volume for CA
2. volume for HT
3. SEPARATE VOLUMES for mailboxes and logs

write down the luns created for these volumes

when you're done with the volumes you should map them to your esxi servers. (in compellent manager)

in vsphere client you need to  create vms and add raw discs - raw device mapping (the volumes you have created).

SCSI bus sharing should be physical (it is no need but it may save you a lot of time in the future)

also I recommend setting up separate volumes in compellent for page files of your servers
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Slav ZabickiSystem EngineerCommented:
by the way.

divide/split your mailbox databases by department.

marketing mailbox database, etc

it will save you a lot of time in case of system/ mailbox restoration. especially when you infrastructure contains multiple dept and some are more important than others.
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EABAuthor Commented:
Thanks Zabicki for your time, I really appreciate.

However when we read the best practices for Exchange 2010 on virtalized environment whitepapers, it is not recommended anymore to split db and logs on separate physical volumes. (since Exchange 2010 consummes 50% less I/O than 2007).

Also since VMware 4.1 Raw device mapping does not provide significant improvement versus vmfs virtual hard drives files. (that's what whitepaper say - however I did not see any benchmarks).

Splitting dabases accros departments is indeed a very good idea.

Exchange on virtualized platform says that it should be installed on zero-filled vmdks, but knowing the (very special) way that Compellent storage handles data, I would think it is worthless to zero-fill vmdks...
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