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  • Exchange and the FSMO on same server?

    Currently running Server 2003/Exchange 2003 on same machine. Works fine for our modest uses.

    Due to a small budget, I can only buy one Windows 2008 server, which would act as the domain controller (DC), Active Directory (AD) and file server. Is it possible to install Exchange Server 2010 on the same hardware? If so, what are the things I need to keep in mind before installation?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: Exchange and the FSMO on same server?

    If you have less than 75 users, look seriously at SBS

    In general, Exchange/ DC on same machine is not a good idea -- look at virtualisation as an option
    Tom Jones
    MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
    PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
    IT Trainer / Consultant
    Ossian Ltd
    Scotland

    ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Exchange and the FSMO on same server?

      Originally posted by Ossian View Post
      If you have less than 75 users, look seriously at SBS

      In general, Exchange/ DC on same machine is not a good idea -- look at virtualisation as an option
      SBS 2008 uses Exchange 2007. My question regards using Exchange 2010.

      I know that Exchange/ DC on same machine is not a good idea.
      But that does not answer the question, can it be done successfully for 2010?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Exchange and the FSMO on same server?

        Microsofts recommendation (which, AFAIK, has not changed for Exchange 2010) is NOT to put Exchange on a DC, even if it is technically possible
        Tom Jones
        MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
        PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
        IT Trainer / Consultant
        Ossian Ltd
        Scotland

        ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Exchange and the FSMO on same server?

          Originally posted by Ossian View Post
          Microsofts recommendation (which, AFAIK, has not changed for Exchange 2010) is NOT to put Exchange on a DC, even if it is technically possible
          Bless your heart, but while you quote the MS recommendation, the fact remains that I am running Server 2003/Exchange 2003 on same machine, as have many other small shops.
          It works fine for modest uses, despite the Microsoft approved answer.

          But you should know that Microsoft recommendations do not always reflect real world scenarios or results.

          I've posted this thread to learn if anyone has installed Exchange Server 2010 and the domain controller (DC), Active Directory (AD) on the same hardware, notwithstanding the MS boilerplate answer.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Exchange and the FSMO on same server?

            I have a demo environment with everything on one machine.
            Its performance sucks. I have thrown RAM at it, but the simple fact is that AD has to start before Exchange and that has an impact on the system.

            It can be done, but I wouldn't recommend it.

            A better option might be to go virtual.

            Single piece of hardware, run VMWARE ESXi on it (as its hardware requirements are much lighter than HyperV). Then have two virtual machines, one as the domain controller and one as the Exchange server. That is how my home environment is setup and it works fine.

            I actually have two physical machines, with DC and Exchange on one and DC2 and another machine on the other. Means I can reboot either DC and not have to worry about Exchange.

            Microsoft have always recommended against DC and Exchange on the same system, and it is what I have always said as well. However it is not something they refuse to support - if they did then there would simply be cries of what about SBS. If you do put Exchange on a DC it must also be a GC.

            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


            • #7
              Re: Exchange and the FSMO on same server?

              Originally posted by Sembee View Post
              I have a demo environment with everything on one machine.
              Its performance sucks. I have thrown RAM at it, but the simple fact is that AD has to start before Exchange and that has an impact on the system.

              It can be done, but I wouldn't recommend it.

              A better option might be to go virtual.

              Single piece of hardware, run VMWARE ESXi on it (as its hardware requirements are much lighter than HyperV). Then have two virtual machines, one as the domain controller and one as the Exchange server. That is how my home environment is setup and it works fine.

              Simon.
              Exciting information Simon!

              One question: I have read various posts, and some documents from VMware themselves, and concluded that running the FSMO virtually does not fill me with confidence.

              Do you think I can run the FSMO directly on the hardware and virtualize Exchange as you suggest to achieve the same performance as you do?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Exchange and the FSMO on same server?

                I wouldn't mix technologies on the same hardware.
                If you are going to use VM, then VM everything and only have the Hypervisor (VMware or HyperV) on the physical hardware.

                If you are going to use physical, then have the doamin controller on a seperate piece of hardware.

                I wouldn't put VM technology on to a domain controller.

                Saying that, I have everything at home in VMs, domain controllers the lot. I also have a number of clients doing the same thing. I only deploy SBS 2008 in to VMs, I haven't done one on to physical hardware yet and have no intention of doing so.

                The bulk of the concerns with domain controllers and virtual machines are time - as long as you don't enable the option to sync the time with the host, then in most cases you are 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


                • #9
                  Re: Exchange and the FSMO on same server?

                  Originally posted by Sembee View Post
                  Saying that, I have everything at home in VMs, domain controllers the lot. I also have a number of clients doing the same thing. I only deploy SBS 2008 in to VMs, I haven't done one on to physical hardware yet and have no intention of doing so.

                  The bulk of the concerns with domain controllers and virtual machines are time - as long as you don't enable the option to sync the time with the host, then in most cases you are fine.

                  Simon.
                  Last questions, Simon:

                  I understand that your home environment is setup as a single piece of hardware, running VMWARE ESXi for the domain controller and the Exchange server on it, and it works fine.

                  Is this running Exchange 2010 as we are discussing here?

                  What were your base system specs? Memory, proc, hard disks?
                  How much memory is parceled out the the virtual machines?

                  Thank you for all your assistance!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Exchange and the FSMO on same server?

                    I only have Exchange 2010 in my test bed at the moment, as I need to spend some time working out how to get my Blackberry to work.

                    The test beds are made up of Dell Precision workstations, loaded with RAM. The disks are just SATAs as the controller is supported, although one chassis has a SCSI disk in it which is working fine.
                    Processors are various X64 bit things.

                    My replica, which lives in my mother's study and is on the end of a VPN is a Shuttle, which is listed on the unofficial white box lists. Intel NICs all round.

                    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


                    • #11
                      Re: Exchange and the FSMO on same server?

                      Originally posted by Sembee View Post
                      I only have Exchange 2010 in my test bed at the moment, as I need to spend some time working out how to get my Blackberry to work.

                      The test beds are made up of Dell Precision workstations, loaded with RAM. The disks are just SATAs as the controller is supported, although one chassis has a SCSI disk in it which is working fine.
                      Processors are various X64 bit things.

                      My replica, which lives in my mother's study and is on the end of a VPN is a Shuttle, which is listed on the unofficial white box lists. Intel NICs all round.

                      Simon.
                      How 'bout the memory? Memory is the critical number.
                      How much memory for the Exchange 2010? Or your recommendation for the virtualized DC/Exchange 2010; no more than 3 users logged on at a time checking mail.

                      Thanks!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Exchange and the FSMO on same server?

                        Physically the machines have as much as they can take. They are early 64 bit so can only take 8 or 16gb. The VMs themselves have between 2 and 4gb depending on role and whether it needs to travel. Travelling demo machines only have 2gb because my laptops only have 4gb. A laptop with 8gb or more of RAM is expensive!

                        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


                        • #13
                          Re: Exchange and the FSMO on same server?

                          Update:
                          I now have a 2008R2 server machine that holds the FSMO roles, and hosts Exchange 2010 running in a VM. Despite the naysayers, the combination is working flawlessly for this SOHO.

                          In early March, I gutted a Dell Poweredge 830 server case and installed an Intel Core i7-920 with a Supermicro board populated with 12gig of Crucial memory. The system runs a RAID level 1 with WD drives.

                          I agree that VMWare's ESXi hardware requirements are much lighter than HyperV, but if you are building your own whitebox, the hardware support is much broader with Windows.

                          I found no insoluable problems to the domain controller being on the physical hardware and hosting the Exchange system. The DC gets 4gig of memory and Exchange 2010 is assigned 2 processors and 8Gig of memory. I have the Hyper-V manager set to start the Exchange system after the main system is fully loaded.

                          This is a nice, responsive, system, and the icing is that I'm getting all the improvements of Exchange 2010 with it's nice Outlook Web App instead of Exch 2007, on bloated SBS 2008.

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