Design Ideas for Existing Exchange 2010 Infrastucture (Full Version)

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backscheider -> Design Ideas for Existing Exchange 2010 Infrastucture (1.Aug.2012 11:07:05 AM)

I am at a crossroads with my exisitng Exchange infrastructure and was looking for some advice for my next step.

Currently, it is set up in a single domain with multiple sites and no requirement for HA. I have one server exclusively as the CAS / HT, and 3 mailbox servers. Each mailbox server holds approximately 250 mailboxes split into 3 databases on each server. Our first mailbox server holds our most active mailboxes and seems to be getting hammered on a consistent basis. All servers are Windows 2008R2 Standard running on a VMWare cluster. The mailbox servers are running at 4GB RAM and 2 CPUs. I was considering (and have built) a 4th mailbox server that is identical to the 3 existing and was planning on offloading some mailboxes from the #1 mailbox server to the #4 mailbox server. Before I do that, I wanted to possibly get some input on that scenario. Is is sufficient to have one CAS / HT server servicing 3 to 4 mailbox ONLY servers? Should I be integrating the HT role on several of those mailbox servers? To me, I dont feel like I am overstressing the system unneccesarily, but it is not running at the level I would like.

Any thoughts / recommendations would be highly appreciated.



de.blackman -> RE: Design Ideas for Existing Exchange 2010 Infrastucture (1.Aug.2012 2:06:42 PM)

Why would you give a mailbox server only 4GB of RAM?! It seems that you did not plan the the deployment of the mailbox servers properly. I would recommend that you run the exchange storage calculator (yes this is mainly for storage but it also provides Microsoft's recommendation on RAM;

Also I would definitely recommend creating a second CAS\HT server and having them load balanced. Is there any reason why you actually split up the roles? It doesn't seem there really is a reason unless you have DAG and are using NLB for the CAS\HT roles.

backscheider -> RE: Design Ideas for Existing Exchange 2010 Infrastucture (1.Aug.2012 2:26:34 PM)

First of all, thank you for your reply,

The only reason I went with 4GB of RAM was by necessity - our ESX servers will be upgraded soon, but due to the limited RAM availability, I had to use what I had access to. I isolated the CAS / HT roles on one server in an effort to maximize the production of those roles. I would love to have a second CAS\HT server, but did not set one up originally because of two reasons - #1 - more resources uses and #2 - I didnt think our versions (2008r2 standard and exchange standard) were supported in a DAG / NLB setup. I was thrust into an existing broken Exchange 2003 environment with no exchange experience and instructed to upgrade to a working 2010 environment. It's been working for about a year now, but I really think its time to optimalize it and fix the things I didnt do as well.
I have approximately 800 total mailboxes broken into 10 different mailstores across 3 MB servers. Im wondering if it would make sense to create a second CAS / HT server and hopefully find some RAM to upgrade the 3 MB servers to at least 6GB of RAM each. From the research that I did previously, 8GB RAM and 4 processors would be ideal, especially given the presence of Vmware.




de.blackman -> RE: Design Ideas for Existing Exchange 2010 Infrastucture (2.Aug.2012 3:38:08 PM)

Hmm I dont even know where to begin :)! First thing I would do is increase the RAM on those mailbox servers to at least 8GB. Also the version of Windows has no bearing on using NLB - NLB is supported on Standard edition of Windows BUT DAG requires the enterprise version (DAG and NLB are two totally different things!). To me it looks like you may actually have too many servers and not enough resources.

I would recommend:
  • consolidate the mailbox roles into 2 server
  • bump up the RAM on each server to 8-10GB (YES I understand you dont have it now but you can always ask for it)
  • implement 2 hub\CAS servers and use NLB to load balance them.

How many ESX hosts do you have?

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