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Enterprise Software Thread, Hardware for exchange 2010 server in Technical; Hi guys. I'm wondering what people have bought in terms of servers to run their exchange 2010 installs. We have ...
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    Hardware for exchange 2010 server

    Hi guys.

    I'm wondering what people have bought in terms of servers to run their exchange 2010 installs.

    We have around 2500 users, and I was thinking a 2x6 core xeon 48gb (possibly more) RAM would suffice, and as far as disks go I was thinking of ignoring 15k spinny disks in favour of 7.2k with more capacity (and probably the same speed sequentials r/w). I was also looking at using one/a couple of SSDs for caching.

    We have SANs available but with the silly amount of disk IO exchange seems to generate I don't really want to put more pressure on them...

    Any suggestions?

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    3s-gtech's Avatar
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    Many people now virtualise Exchange, but it is a big hit on hardware. We run Exchange 2013 CU5, but our server is:

    HP DL585 G5
    4 Opteron Quad Core
    32GB RAM
    RAID 10 array of 15k discs for OS
    RAID 10 array of 7.2k discs for mailboxes
    RAID 10 array of 7.2k discs for logs

    It copes fine - tends to sit with around 10GB in use - it's pretty heavyweight power wise but I had to spec something with large potential for expansion. You have around 1000 more users than us, but I suspect you won't need much more power. Keep fast discs for the OS IMO.

    I could virtualise it down onto the same hardware I think, to utilise the server more effectively. As this was my first Exchange server, I didn't want to under-spec.
    Last edited by 3s-gtech; 18th August 2014 at 02:26 PM.

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    DrPerceptron's Avatar
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    4 vCPUs + 8GB RAM all storage is RAID 15.5k disks. Works perfectly happy for ~400 staff (500+gb of mailboxes) and as a CAS for students.

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    We have well over 3000 active mail users on a visualised exchange 2010 server with 16GB RAM and access to 4 cores. Back end storage is split between two SAN nodes each with 22 10K SAN spindles (primary mailboxes) and archived mail on a 4 spindle SATA iSCSI thing. We allow access via Outlook, OWA and with some users via their phones. It all seems to tick along quite nicely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    We have well over 3000 active mail users on a visualised exchange 2010 server with 16GB RAM and access to 4 cores. Back end storage is split between two SAN nodes each with 22 10K SAN spindles (primary mailboxes) and archived mail on a 4 spindle SATA iSCSI thing. We allow access via Outlook, OWA and with some users via their phones. It all seems to tick along quite nicely.
    16GB of RAM? That is surprising!

    Thanks for the replies - I'm obviously highly overspeccing this.

    Will probably end up going in a VM on one of the blades if this is the case, with split storage accross a couple of LUNs.

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    Exchange 2010 onwards is really designed to run from slow sata disks.

    But it does depend on your use case... Exchange can support huge numbers of users if they are all running outlook in cached mode. However if they are all intensively and concurrently using OWA, you may hit CPU and RAM issues sooner.



    http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com...x-Server-Role-

    Key is the concurrent users and the client access model they are using.

    Why 2010 not 2013?

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    Quote Originally Posted by psydii View Post
    Why 2010 not 2013?
    Current server is 2003 and there is no direct upgrade path. The chances are we will either double hop or use a third party tool to get to 2013, but I just wanted to get some ideas of requirements...I'm guessing 2013 is similar to 2010 (2013 did seem to stuff its face with RAM more than 2010 when I tested them)

    Another question is how clever is 2010 or 2013 at deduplicating data?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fxlite View Post
    how clever is 2010 or 2013 at deduplicating data?
    2010 and 2013 compress e-mails (but not attachments) rather than use SIS.

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/...2/3409361.aspx

    As a result of the new architecture and the other changes to the store and ESE, we had to deal with an unintended side effect. While these changes greatly improved our IO efficiency, they made our space efficiency worse. In fact, on average they increased the size of the Exchange database by about 20% over Exchange 2007. To overcome this bloating effect, we implemented a targeted compression mechanism (using either 7-bit or XPRESS, which is the Microsoft implementation of the LZ77 algorithm) that specifically compresses message headers and bodies that are either text or HTML-based (attachments are not compressed as typically they exist in their most compressed state already). The result of this work is that we see database sizes on par with Exchange 2007.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fxlite View Post
    Current server is 2003 and there is no direct upgrade path. The chances are we will either double hop or use a third party tool to get to 2013, but I just wanted to get some ideas of requirements...I'm guessing 2013 is similar to 2010 (2013 did seem to stuff its face with RAM more than 2010 when I tested them)

    Another question is how clever is 2010 or 2013 at deduplicating data?
    Both of them will use all the RAM they possibly can, regardless of which one takes the most RAM up front. This is a good thing because this improves throughput, and besides, any RAM that's installed on a server but not used is RAM you wasted money buying.

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    Wow, I'm amused with those specs people even bother with on-site exchange these days! Zimbra for onsite, Office 365 for off

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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    Wow, I'm amused with those specs people even bother with on-site exchange these days! Zimbra for onsite, Office 365 for off
    There are lots of reasons to stay onsite. One good one is the lack of decent internet connection.

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    Slightly fudgy network connection is the major one for us. Control of data is the other - we don't use any third party cloud services (though we have our own). Not because of paranoia, but more because we like keeping it all under one roof. The cost is negligible (other than the power bills for our ridiculous server).

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    So, why Exchange over Zimbra? I used to think the setup of Zimbra was difficult, until I tried to just bloody *uninstall* Exchange. On those spec servers you could run Zimbra 20 times.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3s-gtech View Post
    Many people now virtualise Exchange, but it is a big hit on hardware. We run Exchange 2013 CU5, but our server is:

    HP DL585 G5
    4 Opteron Quad Core
    32GB RAM
    RAID 10 array of 15k discs for OS
    RAID 10 array of 7.2k discs for mailboxes
    RAID 10 array of 7.2k discs for logs

    It copes fine - tends to sit with around 10GB in use - it's pretty heavyweight power wise but I had to spec something with large potential for expansion. You have around 1000 more users than us, but I suspect you won't need much more power. Keep fast discs for the OS IMO.

    I could virtualise it down onto the same hardware I think, to utilise the server more effectively. As this was my first Exchange server, I didn't want to under-spec.
    We've done a number of these for exchange servers now. Fantastic servers and really really cheap! Plus they'll take 128GB & Hex Core Opterons with no problems

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