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Hardware Needs for Exchange 2013 Multi-site design

Posted on 2014-11-28
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Last Modified: 2014-11-29
Hi All -

We are starting a Exchange 2013 migration and intend to use HP DL380 Gen 8 Servers.  We do not have a SAN thus storage will be housed within the physical servers.  The design calls for a multi-site (two locations) architecture with a three DAGs.  We think we understand the software licensing requirements but the hardware licenses for clustering, synchronization and replication of the databases we just don't understand.

Specifically:
What type of Microsoft or HP hardware/software licenses, if any, needed to enable cluster and replication across physical locations?

Thanks!
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Question by:zookeepa1
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Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 500 total points
ID: 40470963
You don't need anything hardware wise other than six identical servers.
Clustering is part of all versions of Windows now, so six identical servers with Windows 2012 R2 standard will usually do fine. Exchange 2013 standard or enterprise depending on how many databases you want.
You don't need any additional  licences other than Windows (and CALs) and Exchange (with CALs as well).

Simon.
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by:zookeepa1
ID: 40471021
Thanks Simon -

Wait...6 servers?  Why can't the above be accomplished with two identical servers?  One in each location.  I didn't think the Exchange roles required separate servers.  WHich three roles are you accounting for?  Can these roles be defined on a single server?  

Z-
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by:Seth Simmons
ID: 40471154
Why can't the above be accomplished with two identical servers?

you specified 3 in your DAG so you would need at least 3 servers with the mailbox role
you could put CAS on the same but in larger environments it's often better to separate roles
with a CAS in each site, that would account for 5; possibly more if you use an edge server in your dmz

as far as clustering goes, for exchange it doesn't work the same as failover clustering (as it did until 2003) where you have shared storage
simon answered the rest regarding license requirements for exchange
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by:zookeepa1
ID: 40471174
Thanks Seth -

Sorry I must have eaten to much this holiday...We only need 2 DAGs with no edge server in the DMZ.  We using a third spam filtering service with very small number of remote (OWA or Mobile) users.

Thanks for cleaning that up; we will deploy with only two servers one in each local with each server functioning as the CAS and DAG.  A separate server in the primary office will function as the Witness server. - Thanks!
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Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 40471636
You said
"three DAGs"

A server can only be a member of one DAG, therefore to have three DAGs you need six servers (at a minimum).

Active/Active will not achieve the results that you think it will. If you have two offices then you need a minimum of four servers to maintain availability for each site. Otherwise if you were to lose the link between the sites then one site is going to be down.

Simon.
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