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is anyone running exchage 2013 on a 2012 DC?

Posted on 2014-12-11
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
i have just purchased a windows 2012 standard dell server
i have also purchased exchange 2013
i have read it is not advised to run exchange on a 2012 dc
but i dont really want the hassle of having to use the 2012 server as a hyper v host then create 2 virtual servers
as this is all additional disk space and complicates things
is anyone running exchange 2013 on a 2012 dc
have they had any problems
my office has only 20 users
so not large organization
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Question by:dougdog
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by:Cliff Galiher
Cliff Galiher earned 167 total points
ID: 40493759
I did it once in a test lab. Don't run exchange on a DC. The experience was even more painful than exchange 2010 on a DC. There is *very* little extra hassle in running two VMs. I have many deployments I the wild using such a configuration and they are easy to reply and maintain.
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by:Chach DalSanto
Chach DalSanto earned 167 total points
ID: 40493771
Well... Exchange is a HUGE memory hog and should be by itself; if you only have 20 users, and don't want to deal with virtualization, maybe you should return the Exchange license and go with a Hosted Exchange solution.  That would really solve all your problems... less administration, no extra server, no virtualization, no putting Exch on a DC, and no endless troubleshooting that'll come with it.  

Older SBS systems did run together, but they were tightly integrated by Microsoft directly with limited features that required special wizards to manage.  You'll notice Microsoft doesn't even offer SBS anymore because of the proliferation of hosted Exchange services.

Don't do it.  Just my $.02
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by:SatyaPathak
ID: 40493780
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by:dougdog
ID: 40493793
ok so its a def no no and not just a recommendation
what way would be best to carve up the physical server to allow 2 virtuals
i have 12g RAM
1TB disk mirrored
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by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 40493802
Not enough RAM. You can run a DC with 4GB. A host with no GUI with 2 (4 preferred.) and exchange with 8 *minimum* (I'd do no less than 16). That's a bare minimum-performance-will-suck of 16 total and a more realistic minimum of 24 to 32.
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by:Chach DalSanto
ID: 40493808
I really don't think 12GB is enough RAM for Exchange itself.  We're standing up a 2013 Exch now, and we have it assigned 16gb RAM just for the install & configure portion.  We'll probably be doubling that when its ready for production.  Now it will certainly run on less, but you'll wind up restarting it quite frequently and having performance issues.  

If you don't want to do Hosted Exchange, can you get more physical RAM?
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by:dougdog
ID: 40493822
sorry its 16gig in server
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by:dougdog
ID: 40493826
ive only 10 users
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by:dougdog
ID: 40493829
if i allocate 4gig to dc and 12 to exchange
what does the hyper v host get?
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by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 40493836
You've left nothing for the host. As I said, a real world minimum is 24 to 32.
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by:dougdog
ID: 40493844
i have no budget left
with only having 10 users i thought 16 gig was plenty
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by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 40493849
Plan first, then buy. You got bit doing it the other way around. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that. Unfortunately though, no expert in the world can change the laws of physics.
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by:dougdog
ID: 40493864
yes i know i should now
but was planning on running all on 1 box
i know it is not recommemnded but didnt think i would have issues with a very small number of users
surely im still ok
microsoft say exchange min ram is 8gb so i use the following
exchange 8gig ram
dc 4 gig
hyper v host 4 gig
surely this is ok for 10 users
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by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 40493907
"surely im still ok"

This is why I say no expert can change the laws of physics. You want us to say this is okay. It isn't. Can you do what you propose? Yes. Will you be happy with the results? No. Even for ten users. Exchange just doesn't run well with only 8 gigs. Wishful thinking won't help here and hoping an expert will put their reputation on the line just to tell you what you want to hear ...isn't likely to happen.
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by:dougdog
ID: 40493942
ok im not asking you to put your neck on the line
its hardly life or death here we are talking about
like i say microsoft recommend 8 gig min for exchange
2 gig is apparently more than enough for hyper v host that gives me 6 gig for dc which i probably wont even need so i actually could give 4 gig to dc and give exchange 10gig
im looking for real world solutions and workarounds
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by:Chach DalSanto
ID: 40493944
We're not trying to pick on you, but Cliff Galiher is right when he says we cant tell you this is gonna work well at all.  

You're going to need to make some hard decisions here, DougDog.  

Can you get more RAM on credit and spread paying it out so your budget can handle it?  Can you run a freshly loaded DC on another, older box somewhere?  Can you sell some other equipment you have around to offset the cost of more RAM?  

If you go forward like you are proposing,  you and the users are going to be unhappy with the results to say the least.  Talk to your manager/client and explain the situation.  It's better to do it now, than to go forward and deliver something you know isn't gonna work well.
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by:dougdog
ID: 40493954
also im quite sure that there will be those out there that are running exchange on dc
yes its not supported but are you trying to tell me that you dont do a single thing that is not supported yeah rite
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by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 40493971
"im looking for real world solutions and workarounds"

You wanted to go on vacation. You bought a nice boat (exchange) because being out in open water sounded fun. You bought a fast motorcycle (windows) because traveling the open roads sounded fun. Now you are finding out your motorcycle isn't powerful enough to tow your boat.

Sometimes there *are* no real world solutions or workarounds. If you buy first then ask questions later, the answers are "you can't do that."  You can come back and try asking a different way, or try to use words like "surely, workarounds, hardly life and death" ...but a motorcycle will never tow a boat safely.

You are still wanting is to tell you, somehow, some way, what you want to hear. And I simply can't do that. You don't have the right tools for the job. Full stop.
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by:Chach DalSanto
ID: 40494023
"yes its not supported but are you trying to tell me that you don't do a single thing that is not supported yeah rite"

As a matter of fact, I would consider it very unethical as a consultant to recommend my client do something that is unsupported by the vendors involved.  Experience shows that it's just playing with fire, and you will get burned eventually, and ultimately its the client that suffers.

Sure there are people that are running unsupported configs, but don't be "that guy".   Don't get Mr. Scott syndrome trying to squeeze performance out of an overworked machine in an emergency.  What Star Trek doesn't show you, is the 8 weeks they had to spend in Space-dock afterwards fixing the ship because of the collateral damage & excessive wear.  Also, Scotty was a cranky, womanizing alcoholic because living that way does things to you :-)

A pint cannot hold a quart.  If its holding a pint, its doing the best it can!  You don't have enough RAM to run Exchange well even by itself, let alone with other services on there.  You need to drop back, punt, and regroup.  

Here endeth the lesson.
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by:
Ivan earned 166 total points
ID: 40494048
Hi there,

I work in 45ppl company, with a lot of VM on Hyper-V.
 Our dc (windows 2012) runs on 2Gb RAM
 Our Exchange 2013 (not SP1) runs on dynamic 8Gb startup, max 16Gb ram. Right now it is using 89% of memory (14.0Gb). 78 mailbox's.
So if you give 2Gb to DC, 2Gb to Hyper-V, you are left with 12 for Exchange.

I am not saying this is recommended, or that everything is working fast with this config, but it is working.
Same situation have been before we upgraded our DC from 2008, and exchange from 2010.

It would be best to get more RAM and HDD, but in real world this works.

PS: I do get upset sometime when I have to work on servers, coz it is slow a bit, but... it works.  SAS HDD are inside as well. Hope you don't have SATA in server...

Regards,
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by:dougdog
ID: 40494095
more bad news
i have 2 x 1TB 7.2k sata
ive been caught out as this server was nevr meant to be anything outher than physical
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by:Chach DalSanto
ID: 40494126
At this point, can you try to return the server and Exchange license?  Or resell on secondary market and recoup most of the $$$ spent?

If not, this server can be used well as a DC / DNS / File & Print, etc.  Either way, just go with hosted Exchange for the 20 users that you have.
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by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 40494128
At the risk of pointing out the obvious, your exchange server is using 14GB, which is more than the 12 the OP would have, and you admit even your performance is underwhelming. 12 would be even worse. When you thing that 2GB os enough to power an entire OS running an ADDS database in memory, it isn't pittance to suggest that the difference between 12 and 14 is fairly significant. It makes the difference between "annoyingly slow" and functionally not usable.
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by:dougdog
ID: 40500437
i have ordered another 8gig ram
i now will have 24 gig ram
am i going to be ok now?
or will the disks be my next problem?
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by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 40500448
24 will be tight, but workable. Same with the disks. What you have is functional, but don't expect a fast experience.
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by:Ivan
ID: 40500611
Yeah, with 24 it will work. Wont be super fast, but it will work.
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Author Comment

by:dougdog
ID: 40502133
ok thanks
i spoke to dell who supplied the server and they informed me they have plenty of customers running exchange on dc
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by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 40502434
I'm sure they do. SBS technically fits that definition. If you don't ask specific, you won't vet specifics. And I can say with certainty that Dell does not track that metric and anything a support person tells you is anecdotal and only the impression of one man/woman. I can also say, with certainty, that the hardware you have wouldn't run exchange well, even purely physical. You seem to be under the mistaken impression that virtualizing is adding a significant overhead to your deployment. It isn't.

Lets say you did run exchange on a DC. ADDS still really wants 4GB. Exchange really wants 16GB *minimum.* Exchange still wants fast disks. Even with exchange on a DC, you didn't spec adequately. So the whole "this was built to be physical" just doesn't validate the reasoning.

The core OS footprint in windows is quite small. And the disk activity is minimal...almost non-existent...until you add roles. Exchange and ADDS both need *exclusive* memory and both need good disk I/O. Running them together doesn't make much of a difference compared to virtualizing. If ADDS needs to process a login request at the same time exchange needs to write a record to its database, you have heavy random I/O on the disk. And it doesn't matter if hyper-V schedules the writes or if the OS has to schedule the writes because everything is running together. The disks can inky read and write so fast, that speed is a constant, and the workloads are the same. So running them together orovides *no* performance benefit and only minimal hardware spec benefits (maybe 2GB less RAM for the hyper-V host, no disk speed difference, and 10GB hard drive space for the additional host OS and one extra guest...for 20GB total....on a terabyte drive. 2 percent.

Now, given this metrics, why run exchange on a DC? When Microsoft doesn't test it, doesn't support it, doesn't advocate it, and you severely compromise your deployment security and stability? To save 2 gigs of RAM and 20GB of disk space?? That seems like a wise and fair trade-off!

Listen, you came here seeking advice from experts. Nobody is forcing you to take that advice. But you have to take a step back and be honest with yourself. If you didn't want an expert opinion, why come here and ask? *Nobody" who has replied here has said exchange on a DC is a good idea. This isn't like there is a differing opinion among experts. So why the push-back? You increasingly seem like you were hoping we'd validate your purchases and decisions. And that isn't what we are here to do. Pushing won't change the facts. So you can either accept that some mistakes were made and try to correct them, or you can flaunt the advice that *you* were asking for and pursue your original course and risk the consequences. That is a decision only you can make.

This will be my final contribution to this thread. I want to help people who genuinely want help. I do bit want to rehash the same argument about exchange on a DC every time you decide to revisit the subject. I do wish you luck no matter what you decide.
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by:Chach DalSanto
ID: 40502512
24gb will be better certainly.  For the small number of users supporting it should be adequate, but not great performance.  

I'm not exactly sure who you spoke to at Dell, but some comment by the sales rep should never be a ringing endorsement for your technical strategy.  You've been told several times by many experts in the field that this is inadvisable, and you've been told why.  

If you want to stay in this thread and try to convince others that you're doing a great thing, I think you had better proceed without me.  Thx.
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Author Comment

by:dougdog
ID: 40502562
no probs i will go with the advice and install hyper v role on physical host
then install exchange and dc seperate
ill go with 2 gig for host 8 gig for dc and 14 gig for exchange
ill take the chance on the disks and if they turn out to be too slow ill buy 3 new sas disks and install them
then move workloads
many thanks for advice
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