Immortal
Immortal

Anyone Virtualize Exchange 2010 Yet?

Was curious if anyone has pushed a virtualized E2k10 environment into production yet. If so what kind of environment are you supporting and what is your setup?

We will be starting to transistion our users off of e2k7 and into the 2k10 environment in the next couple weeks. We are supporting about 650 users so we opted for 2 x mbx servers, 2 x cas/ht servers and 2 x edge servers. Were load balancing the cas through a barracuda. We have an offisite DC that will be our site failover and third dag member that is running mbx, cas and ht on a single physical server. Because were not supporting a huge number of users I opted to combine the cas and ht roles for simplicty. Were running on vsphere 4, equallogic 6000xv's in the back-end, BUT iscsi init. on the mbx servers pointed to a ps6500e for the mailbox stores (580gb). Mailbox servers are assigned 2 x vcpu with 4gb of memory, cas/ht servers are the same. We wanted to start a little lower and we will scale next to 6gb if we have to and then if really necessary 7 and then 8gb on the mbx servers. I am forseeing the HT and CAS should be okay with 4gb given their a loadbalanced array but we'll have to see when we get them into load.

I did loadgen a very similiar config and the new memory caching e2k10 does, does appear to make a noticable difference even for our mid-size environment, if you even want to call it a mid-size environment?

Anyways curious to hear what others' game play is for moving e2k10 forward in a virtual environment.

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6 Replies
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I am working on this as we speak. I have gone through the migration in the lab and plan on doing so once more before moving to production. So far so good in the lab environment, the only gotcha I ran into was having to change security options on the outlook client afer moving my mailbox to 2010 mb server. I support about 250 users and originally planned for 1 cas, 1 hub, and 1 mb each running on dedicated vms. The vms in the lab are running Windows Server 2008 R2. I am running esx4i on hp dl 380 g6s with a lefthand p4500 driving the storage. If you have any specific questions feel free to give me a shout.

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Contributor
Contributor

Keep in mind the configurations required for MS to support Exchange 2010 in a virtual environment.

You can't combine any kind of "Root clustering" with any sort of Microsoft Exchange HA. This rules out using DAGs with VMotion. I have read that VMotioning a DAG member breaks the DAG but have not tested it.

There is also a 2:1 virtual to physical processor ratio limit for any physical machine hosting an Exchange 2010 VM. This means that if your DL380's are two-way quad-core (8 cores), you can only have 16 virtual processors across all VM's on that host.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa996719.aspx

Tim Hollingworth

National Technical Lead - Systems

ePlus Technology Inc.

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Contributor
Contributor

I am new to P4000 HP SAN's, and have been trying to find a answer to this question regarding running Exchange 2010 on LeftHand (SAN/IQ). Since this is network RAID and you do not carve out spindles, what is the recommendation for configuring volumes for a VSphere VM running Exchange 2010? Should I create a single volume/datastore for the OS, Logs, and Mailbox, or doesn't it matter if the OS, logs, and mailbox DB is located on 1 big volume/datastore? If 1 big volume/datastore is fine, should I dedicate this volume/datastore to Exchange or is it okay to share with other VM's? Thanks.

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Contributor
Contributor

I am new to P4000 HP SAN's, and have been trying to find a answer to this question regarding running Exchange 2010 on LeftHand (SAN/IQ). Since this is network RAID and you do not carve out spindles, what is the recommendation for configuring volumes for a VSphere VM running Exchange 2010? Should I create a single volume/datastore for the OS, Logs, and Mailbox, or doesn't it matter if the OS, logs, and mailbox DB is located on 1 big volume/datastore? If 1 big volume/datastore is fine, should I dedicate this volume/datastore to Exchange or is it okay to share with other VM's? Thanks.

I'm in the exact same boat, with P4300 SAN and researching how to design for Exchange 2010 (also Sharepoint 2010). Everything I've seen so far seems to suggest separate LUNs for the OS, DB, and Logs in Exchange...yet I'm not sure if they mean volumes on the same LUN/datastore, or actually separate LUNS. It's confusing with the setup of the P4000 SANs. I'm still trying to find that answer as well.

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Expert
Expert

When deploying Exchange on to what was the old lefthand SAN i have used guest initiators inside the VM and created dedicated LUN's for the databases and logs - This approach also allows you to use the snapshotting capabiltities of the SAN - but it does not currently support quiescing of the OS via vCenter as the P4000 series does not have this functionality yet - is supposed to come in a future release of the software and there are scripts you can run that will do it - but HP do not support them - well thought out HP!!

For Exchange MS best practise is to have a dedicated LUN for databases and logs - the best practise changes with each new release. You can use luns in side a VMFS data store or RDM's - this really depends on the workload the server is doing and how you need to snapshot or backup the server.

microsoft supply load testing tools for exchange that enables you to simulate the workloads - so you can then determine which lun option is best for your orgainsation - guest initiator, VMFS or RDM's.

As has already been stated MS want to encourage organisations to utilise the new bells and whistles they have provided with 2010 to provide resilience and redundancy and to that end they are discouraging the virtualisation of mailbox server roles by putting lots of limitations and obstacles in the way.

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Immortal
Immortal

Thought I would bring this topic back to the top again. Our project was stalled but is now in swing again. Again, we are looking at virtualizing our messaging infrastructure in relation to your virtualize first policy.

Would like to hear some stories from others that have completed their implementation.

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