675 Exchange Users

Hello EE Experts,

We are considering buying a Dell server that can accommodate 675 email accounts using Microsoft Exchange's WEB Outlook Access.

Every user will have a quota of 1 gig of space.

Any suggestions on the Dell Server requirements, Firewall, Internet Connection, Spam Filtering and any other hardware that might be needed to accomplish this setup and maintenance?

Who is Participating?
kevinhsiehConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I would run Windows 2012 as the host OS, and then run a VM as the DC, and another VM for Exchange. Run everything on Windows 2012. You can do this with a single Windows 2012 Standard license. The host can be domain joined, I believe. I would use 4+ 10K SAS drives in RAID 10 on the host. You can always add more drives and RAM to improve performance. CPU is not an issue as long as you use at least a single quad core Xeon processor.

The AV, backup, spam filtering, and archiving really adds a significant cost to the solution. I would expect it to about double. Going hosted probably isn't as profitable for you, but probably makes much better sense for your client. At the very least, you need to find out more about what they currently have for AD, backup, and AV protection.
Cris HannaCommented:
Well you don't give much information here
Do you currently have a Active Directory domain with Exchange installed somewhere?
That is about the size of my environment. We run that in a dual vprocessor Hyper-V VM with 20 GB of RAM. You of course need to have disk space, and preferably enough free space that you can make a full copy of your largest database.

You also need to have backup hardware and software, antivirus software, spam filtering, and possibly archiving/e-discovery/legal hold services. Add up all of the extras, does it really make sense to do it yourself? Haven't even covered a second server, licensing, and storage for a failover server. If you already have this stuff it might make sense to keep Exchange in house. If you have to buy everything, going to a hosted solution such as Office 365 probably makes more sense.
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ctagleAuthor Commented:
This is going to be a new setup for a potential client, we'll be setting up email in house for them (at least thats the goal at this point).  I actually don't know if they already have AD or any kind of Exchange server already setup, from the way he spoke though I gather that they are currently not using Exchange.  If I remember correctly according to Microsoft's best practices its inadvisable to have Exchange installed on the domain controller, in fact I don't think that it will even let you install exchange on a DC if memory serves me correctly, but I could be wrong.  kevinsieh, you said that you are using a VM for your Exchange server, what about your domain controller?  Is that also a VM or is it running native?

At this point I think I'm looking at two scenarios

with AD -
They'll need to either purchase another server to put Exchange on, or if their DC is modern and running the right OS then upgrade the hardware, setup hyper-v, and put Exchange on a VM

without AD -
They'll need either need to purchase two separate servers, one for AD, and the other for Exchange, or purchase a single server with more hardware that will run Hyper-V with the Exchange server running on a virtual machine.

Do either of those options/ideas sound good to you guys?  If not is there any changes or details that should be added, modified, or omitted?  If virtualization is the best course of action, then what sort of hardware and OS do you think would work best to accommodate the current number of users and allow for growth if need be.  If separate servers running native OS's is best, what do you think the hardware and OS should be on those?

If I can provide any more information please let me know, and thanks in advance for any help you guys can offer.
Cris HannaCommented:
The host should not be domain joined...it should just be core for the VM host.
I would max the RAM at 32GB.
if you are just looking at exchange then start with this


this will walk you through server requirements

you will need more info to set up the AD to support this and figure out what else they need

if you get more info then people will be able to help with the design more
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