vmware for exchange 2013

we are planning to go for vmware essentials for our virtualisation. we need to know the following:

1) whether vmware is the ideal choice for microsoft windows servers
2) best reccomended steps for DC (windows 2012 R2) for 200 users including hardware sizing
3) best reccomended steps for exchange 2013 (200 users) including hardware sizing.
4) we have citrix PS 4.5 currently, can we have vmware solution for citrix server also
5) additionally we have sql servers with a customised application , can we opt vmware for this

currently all our windows servers are 2003 and exchange 2003 standard edition and planning to replace with them latest versions. hence thought of vmware for virtualisaion.
kurajeshSenior Systems AnalystAsked:
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gsmartinConnect With a Mentor Manager of ITCommented:
My company has about 250 employees.  However, we have a fairly large Highly Available VMware deployment with over 200 servers that include Windows 2008 R2 DCs, Exchange 2010, Citrix XenApp 6.0 with MS App-V and XenDesktop 5.5; along with various other virtualized servers, SQL Databases (Microsoft SQL, IBM DB2, MySQL, etc...), and various desktop virtual machines.

We have a Brocade 10Gb network infrastructure, Brocade FC Storage area network, Dell Compellent tiered SAN storage (SSD, 15K, 7.2K drives over FC/SAS/iSCSI), HP DL 380 servers and HP C7000/BL490 server environment, etc...

When you are building your virtualization environment out its critical to choose good hardware, servers with a lot of memory, multiple cores CPUs, etc... and to architect for performance, but understand the caveats of virtualization bottlenecks.  It won't be CPU contention but memory.

Also, I've learned no matter how fast you build your environment 10Gb network infrastructure 8Gb/16Gb fiber Chanel network that shared storage will always be your biggest bottleneck from an IO latency perspective.  

However, there are solutions out there that will answer your performance issues such as a solution from PernixData where you can leverage ESXi host side read/write caching on local MLC or SLC SSD and NAND Flash storage.  This will totally lower your SAN requirements and investment.  This solution fundamentally changes the need for tiered SAN storage.  I am currently planning to implement this very soon.

Now back to your original question.  You can virtualize everything that you have with no problems.  I originally had Windows 2003 AD, Citrix PS 4.5, Exchange 2003, MS SQL, etc.... In our VM environment on previous versions of ESX i.e. 3.x, 4.x, 5.x, and we are now running 5.5.

So virtualizing your environment will not be an issue.  Your biggest problem will be with Windows 2012 R2 and Exchange 2013 compatibility.  Currently, they are not compatible until Exchange 2013 SP1 is released.  

I am also planning to upgrade but do to the compatibility issues I have to wait; especially with 2012 R2 for AD.  As I understand, currently no version of Exchange is compatible with Windows 2012 R2 (for underlying OS) or 2012 R2 Active Directory.  

So at this time, I am waiting to upgrade as well. However, you should have no problem virtualizing your current infrastructure with VMware 5.5.
AbhilashConnect With a Mentor BloggerCommented:
Yes, lot of people have been running windows on VMware platform for years now.
You can install a DC as you do in any other environment. The sizing totally depends
For an environment with 200 users, you don't have to specifically size the Domain Controller. The Active Directory database will typically be 40MB in size, unless you plan on storing User pictures and BitLocker recovery information in it. In those cases, considering a 200MB database might be realistic.
I would suggest 60-80GB of disk space and 4GB RAM.
For sizing Exchange 2013 see

I have seen people running Citrix Presentation server on VMware but not too sure if is supported.

Yes you can deploy SQL servers too. There is no need to worry as long as you put them on supported OS's.

You have chosen wisely. And yes VMware is a good candidate for all of this.
kurajeshSenior Systems AnalystAuthor Commented:
Thanks abhilash, since this is our first implementation this concern arised. we are planning to have 10gb per mailbox and therefore for 200 users the size would be 2TB , additionally we will keep 2TB extra. hope this is fine. so we can deploy vmware for exchange as well right?
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AbhilashConnect With a Mentor BloggerCommented:
I would also like to tell that you should have vCenter and web client in place to create machines with windows 2012 R2. They are not yet available on the normal vSphere client.
Also from vSphere 5.5 VMware supports virtual disks more than 2TB. YOu will have to do that through the web client too. Yes it is fine. And yes you can run exchange on VMware.
AbhilashConnect With a Mentor BloggerCommented:
I also would suggest you to buy essentials plus license instead of essentilas as you will get a lot of good features like high availability and vMotion(live migrations), Replication and also data protection.
These features will ensure your environment is always up and running without any downtime.
kurajeshSenior Systems AnalystAuthor Commented:
thanks a lot , i will check the optons and revert
kurajeshSenior Systems AnalystAuthor Commented:
thanks a lot.
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