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Install Exchange 2010 on Hyper-V VM

Posted on 2014-03-20
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Last Modified: 2014-11-12
Just curious asking about setting up the VM in preparation of installing Exchange 2010.  I configured a VM with a Windows Server 2012 Standard OS.  I setup two processors and 150Gbs of storage space.  The OS alone is taking up 23Gbs, so I now have 137Gbs of space left.  My initial thoughts were to install Exchange on the same drive with the OS.  

If this were a physical machine the OS would reside on a mirrored drive, and Exchange on separate RAID volume.  

We have about 15 users, with a mailstore.edb (22.5Gbs), mailstore.stm (7Gbs, and a pub1.edb and pub1.stm of 1.5Gbs.

I understand Exchange 2010 uses more services, more resources, more disk space, etc.

Should I leave the 150Gb drive for this VM to install everything?  I think that would be fine since I can expand and contract the drive should disk space become an issue.  Not sure if you'll recommend reducing the c-drive in this VM and add another drive to install Exchange just like it were a physical drive.  In the virtual world this may not be an issue.  

Then again, if exchange and the os reside on one VM drive, I will not be able to defrag the drive, etc.

Feedback is appreciated.

Thanks.
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Question by:cmp119
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Accepted Solution

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Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 167 total points
ID: 39942948
Personally, I would install everything on the C drive.
Then create two additional drives, one for the logs, one for the database.
150gb is usually what I specify for the OS and application drive anyway, so if I was given that server to install Exchange on, I would ask for additional drives.

Once you have installed Exchange, move the databases and logs in to their own directories on the relevant drives. You don't want transaction logs on the same drive as the OS, as they can spiral out of control under some circumstances (usually user caused) and trying to get an OS with no space on the boot drive to come up is painful.

Simon.
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Assisted Solution

by:R. Andrew Koffron
R. Andrew Koffron earned 167 total points
ID: 39942999
I've never noticed a benefit from using separate drives for Storage and logs on a VM,
so I'd just put the whole thing on the 150, and see how it preformed, 15 users 22GB, is a pretty light load for Exchange 2010.  I'd make sure you're getting good snap shots of the VM, and Backup to NAS regularly, but I'd think it's fine.
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Author Comment

by:cmp119
ID: 39943012
I am sorry but I need specifics as far as the two additional drives.  This is my first attempt working with Hyper-V, so I am going through a learning process.  

Are saying to leave the existing 150Gb drive on the VM, install Exchange on this drive, and leave the drive size alone (150Gbs), and then create two other drives for this VM after exchange installation?  

If this is the case, what sizes should should the two additional drives be?

Also, why not create the two drives before Exchange installation, etc?

I know I am complicating things, but I need specifics.  Thanks.
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Author Comment

by:cmp119
ID: 39943022
In response to R. Andrew Koffron's comment, I thought 150Gbs for an Exchange 2010 VM ought to be sufficient as well.  I was second guessing things since it's my first Hyper-V experience, and I thought it prudent to ask the question just in case there are issues, etc.  

I will wait a bit to see if anyone else has further comments.  Thanks for your feedback.
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Assisted Solution

by:Adam Brown
Adam Brown earned 166 total points
ID: 39943137
I've never noticed a benefit from using separate drives for Storage and logs on a VM,

You won't notice a benefit until you have a drive crash and need to do a restore to the moment of the crash. If you put the logs and database on the same physical volume and that volume fails, you will have to restore a database from your last available backup, but you will irreversibly lose any data that was on the database from the time of the last backup to the time of the crash. Sometimes this is an acceptable loss, but most times you don't want to lose anything. If you have the database and logs on separate physical drives, you can lose the Logs and be okay cause all the info is still in the database, or you can lose the database and be okay cause you can always bring a restored database up to date using the log files. I wrote a blog on that subject here: http://acbrownit.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/exchange-transaction-logs-reducing-the-confusion/

That said, installing everything (logs, databases, OS, and Exchange) on the same physical drive opens a lot of potential problems. MS recommends installing OS and Exchange on the same drive, with the Databases and Logs on their own separate physical drives.
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Author Comment

by:cmp119
ID: 39943211
acbrown2010 -

You need to be specific.  What you're saying pertains to a physical server installation.  I just want to make sure we're talking about the same thing.  Within a VM I can can have several virtual drives attached besides the OS drive.  All of these drives are virtual.  

All VM virtual drives reside on the same disk on the Hypervisor.  The Hypervisor has a mirrored drive exclusively for the host, and another 533Gb RAID5 for the VMs.  The first VM I installed Windows Server 2012 with 150Gb virtual drive.  

So that's where I am at, and we are strictly dealing with a VM install.
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Expert Comment

by:R. Andrew Koffron
ID: 39943244
it's not a physical thing, it's referring to placement of the components and how logs and the DB interact. , relating to recoverability separate drives would increase the the ability to restore to the moment in time a failure occurs.  by having each in different places.  so a "drive failure" virtual or physical would cause the restore to loose all mail, since the last successful backup.

in that regard it's totally right and good practice. if you have the level of resources and require it, it's a good Idea, very few of My clients with 15 users would require that level of recoverability. and are aware that a restore will require users to ask for resends of that days mail. (pretty easy to do with 15 people. HUGE Pain in the ***, for 1500 users)
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Author Comment

by:cmp119
ID: 39943280
I get it.  You're right, we could live with losing mail or having to resend mail since the last backup.  We can live it.  I am using BackupExec 2012 right now, and I am backing up the Hypervisor and VMs nightly  My understanding from Symantec is that it will automatically backup each VM, and if each VM has Exchange or SQL, it will automatically backup these resources as well.  Backups are done nightly.
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Expert Comment

by:Adam Brown
ID: 39943331
If you can stand not having to worry about point in time recovery of your database, you can actually just configure Circular logging on your database and put it wherever you want to without any problems. Recoverability is the biggest issue you worry about when determining proper placement for database and log files. Exchange and the OS should be on the same drive (according to MS), since some of the scripts and Powershell cmdlets rely on the default installation path for Exchange (at least in some versions).
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Expert Comment

by:R. Andrew Koffron
ID: 39943334
I also tend to think on a VM, in most cases all the Virtual Drives are actually on the same physical drive so a Physical failure would smoke them all anyway. but it would give better recoverability for file system issues. I believe acbrown2010 is completely correct on best practice.  I personally just don't see the need on a 15 user environment.  sorta wearing suspenders and a belt, (always a good Idea in the IT business if you have the resources and need).
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Author Comment

by:cmp119
ID: 39943428
In my particular case, I am conducting two exchange migrations:  Ex2003 to Ex2010, and then another eventual migration from Ex2010 to Ex2013.  I will do this all on one box and two VMs.  Yes, I could have simply just removed the existing Ex2003 server after exporting all mail to PST files, and then upgraded the 2003 AD domain, and then install Ex2013 clean, and finally importing all mailboxes.  However, after thinking this through I thought this to be too much during a weekend, i.e. dealing with upgrading the AD domain, removing the existing Ex2003 server, installing a new ex2013 server, etc.

This approach gives me the time to upgrade Exchange, upgrade my AD domain, upgrade exchange again, and then even finish up with one VM that is Exchange 2013, and another VM that is a 2012 DC.  I already have one physical DC on the network, so the addition VM DC will be the second replication partner.
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Author Comment

by:cmp119
ID: 39956796
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

The solutions that were provided were simply opinions, and not real answers.  The opinions that were provided have already been considered, so the feedback provides was not of much use.
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Expert Comment

by:R. Andrew Koffron
ID: 39956797
In your original question it very much sounded like you where asking for opinions. You asked for opinions and feed back, both where given.  Solutions (both best practice and reduced) where provided and reasons for both.

Your last comment (convoluted migration on VMs) was a totally different question, and didn't relate to what started the thread.
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Author Closing Comment

by:cmp119
ID: 39967750
Thank you for your comments gentlemen.  I simply left the os and exchange on one drive (C:) on the 150GB VM.
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