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Windows Server with Exchange

Posted on 2016-10-11
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Last Modified: 2016-10-11
Hi,

I am not familiar with Windows Server environments, but want to learn the setup process and need clarification in a couple of areas.

I know that Exchange server needs to be installed inside Windows Server. What if I also wanted to have a separate image server and a separate web-server located on one physical box using virtualization?

I'm assuming the main server is a PDC? How then is the other servers (exchange, image, etc) separated with its own installation?
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Question by:Sean Holloway
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Expert Comment

by:Adam Brown
ID: 41838922
Each VM would have its own installation of Windows Server on it. For an Exchange environment, you would need to have a Domain Controller, which is any server that holds and serves the Active Directory database. It is not recommended to have Exchange installed on a Domain Controller, so you would need to have these roles separated.

Each VM logically separates the OSes that run in them, so you could have one VM be a Domain Controller, another with Exchange, and another for the Image and Web server. You can probably combine the Image and Web server, but I wouldn't recommend having the Web Server running on the same VM as Exchange, since Exchange makes heavy use of Window's IIS (which is their Web Server software) and would cause some issues with hosting other websites. As long as the Physical server has enough resources, all of those things can run on the same server as VMs.
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Author Comment

by:Sean Holloway
ID: 41838929
Thanks,

In the big picture, take a VM and clone it a couple of times (one for each server), then take the original VM and install the domain controller role, take the cloned ones and install the roles needed for them.

For networking sake, since it will all be on one box, what mode should I select in Hyper V?
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by:Adam Brown
ID: 41838935
As far as networking goes, it's usually easiest to configure Hyper-V so the VMs share their network connection with the Host. This makes it so you don't have to use a second NIC just for the VM connectivity, though you are welcome to use that method if you wish.
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Author Comment

by:Sean Holloway
ID: 41838940
Outside of the networking part, is that typically how it is done?

Also, should I use Hyper-V or VM Sphere?
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Adam Brown earned 500 total points
ID: 41838945
Kind of. Windows is a little more reliant on the Hardware Abstraction Layer than other OSes, which means cloning and re-using a VM's Windows install is problematic. There's a utility you can use called SYSPREP that will erase all the unique identifiers in the OS, so you'd want to run that before cloning the VMs.

I would recommend Hyper-V over vSphere unless you are working with full ESX servers as VM Hosts. There are lots of questions over whether Hyper-V or ESX/vSphere is better, but there's really no contest when you're talking Hyper-V vs. VMWare installed on a Windows server.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Sean Holloway
ID: 41838958
Thank you, this was very helpful.
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 41838966
Adam has given you good information.  Pay particular attention to the point about Sysprep.  Also, you might want to read my articles whether or not you want to virtualize - it also includes tips for virtualizing properly:
https://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/27799/Virtual-or-Physical.html

And my article on servers sharing services:
https://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/28694/Servers-Sharing-Services.html
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