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  • Exchange 2003 hardware considerations

    Our current setup:
    Windows 2000 - Domain Controller, DNS, Active Directory
    Exchange 2003 - approximately 130 users

    I'd like to migrate Exchange 2003 on a Windows 2003 Server.

    What are your hardware recommendations? Should I invest in Enterprise for future growth or is Standard sufficient?

    Any suggestions or links to resources would be helpful.

    thx

  • #2
    Re: Exchange 2003 hardware considerations

    How large is your store now?

    Remember that you cannot purchase Exchange 2003 any longer, so any new Exchange version purchase would be Exchange 2007 and use downgrade rights. However if you are going to buy Exchange 2007 you could look at moving to E2007 standard as that features unlimited database size.

    I blogged on hardware considerations last year.
    http://www.sembee.co.uk/archive/2006/11/06/30.aspx

    At a minimum you will need to two arrays, so a five or six disk system. For E2003 2gb of RAM is fine.

    Simon.
    --
    Simon Butler
    Exchange MVP

    Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
    More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
    Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
    In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

    Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Exchange 2003 hardware considerations

      Sembee - thank you for the response...

      Our store is about 22gigs...i expanded it to 30g. We are currently connecting our email server to our SAN on a fibre channel so the stores actually reside on it (RAID5). It currently has about 100gigs allocated to it, so we have plenty of room for growth.

      All I would really need is a mirror for the OS and Exchange...Then just point to the SAN for the stores. Would I even need an upgraded RAID controller if we're going across a fibre channel for data? Or does Exchange need more cache for it's applications?

      I was contemplating upgrading to E2007, but I was unsure of how big of a change it is and if it was worth it to make the switch. If I stick with Exchange 2003, I would basically be migrating it to a new server and take down the original one.

      Do you suggest 2007 over 2003? Is there a big difference? How difficult is the migration?
      Last edited by gosavi; 22nd August 2007, 15:50.

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      • #4
        Re: Exchange 2003 hardware considerations

        I don't recommend that Exchange is installed on a SAN. It is not a very common configuration, usually done because the SAN is there, not for any performance gains. In many cases there are no performance gains.

        For smaller sites dedicated hardware is the best solution for optimum performance.

        As for Exchange 2007 - it is an unfinished product. SP1 when it eventually is released will be a more complete product and I expect to see the deployments of the E2007 start to increase.
        The migration to E2007 from E2003 is quite straight forward. You need to remember that E2007 is 64 bit only, so there is no in place upgrade path. You have to swing to a new server.

        Simon.
        --
        Simon Butler
        Exchange MVP

        Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
        More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
        Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
        In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

        Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Exchange 2003 hardware considerations

          Hmm...well, that's a pretty interesting bit of info about the SAN. I personally am not a fan of it. Implementation of the SAN was begun before i was around and they basically said all data will live on the SAN so it can be backed up centrally.

          So in my case, we'd be using it because it's here already and we need to use it to justify the cost.

          Would I need new CALs for Exchange 2007 as well?

          I do plan to bring up a new server and migrate from the old one to the new one...whether it's 2003 or 2007. I don't plan on going back to the old server...is this what you mean by "swing"?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Exchange 2003 hardware considerations

            Originally posted by gosavi View Post
            Hmm...well, that's a pretty interesting bit of info about the SAN. I personally am not a fan of it. Implementation of the SAN was begun before i was around and they basically said all data will live on the SAN so it can be backed up centrally.

            So in my case, we'd be using it because it's here already and we need to use it to justify the cost.
            That is the usual excuse.
            Someone has spent a lot of money on a SAN, probably not an IT person or someone who didn't understand the technology. Then to justify the cost management (who usually do not understand IT) then state that all data has to be stored on it, whether it is suitable or not.
            If you Google on Exchange and SAN, particularly in the newsgroups then you will see the same story being told over and over again.
            SANs are good for certain things - Exchange is not one of them.

            Exchange 2007 requires new CALs - those CALs do NOT include a license for Outlook.

            A swing is basically where there are two servers and the data is moved to them while both are running, as opposed to an in place upgrade.
            Swing is probably not the right word, it is a half swing. A full swing is where you want to continue using the existing hardware, so you move everything to a temporary server, remove the original, rebuild/upgrade it, then move the data back.

            Simon.
            --
            Simon Butler
            Exchange MVP

            Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
            More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
            Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
            In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

            Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

            Comment

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