Exchange Server 2010: Planning Deployment

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Certain features of Exchange Server 2010 make the deployment planning process easier. Server roles can be added to an organization simply by adding them to the Active Directory Domain Services (ADDS), from where necessary configuration parameters will be picked up by the server. There are two issues to note while on this topic:
• Client Access Server information is stored in the Internet Information Server (IIS) in addition to the AD DS
• The Edge Transport Server role resides in Active Directory Lightweight Directory Service (LDS) and not in the DS

As the organization grows, server roles can be simply added as above to handle the increased workload.

On the other hand, 2010 has to meet higher user expectations in the forms of availability and speed, and also multiple modes of messaging and communications. These make deployment and operational planning a little more complex.

Planning System Requirements

While adding server roles is easy as mentioned earlier, estimating system requirements to meet current and future growth scenarios will involve a careful look at business plans and Exchange Server 2010 requirements. Mailbox storage requirements, in particular, will need to be planned painstakingly as it will be necessary to meet the needs and expectations of a growing user base.

The recommended Exchange Server hardware requirements are:
• 8 Processors at a minimum for all the roles combined, which can grow to a maximum of 24
• 8 GB plus 10 MB per mailbox for RAM up to a maximum of 64 GB

2010 also requires specific versions (or higher) of certain software such as .NET Framework, MMC, PowerShell, Microsoft Filter Pack and WinRM. The versions can differ depending on whether you are running the Exchange under Windows Server 2008, or earlier versions.

Several concepts that were relevant in earlier Exchange Server versions are no longer relevant under 2010 and one major planning requirement is to review what is new. See http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/category/11164.aspx.

Mailbox Requirements Planning

Exchange Server 2010 has made several changes that improve mailbox availability and safety, which are what exchange server clients look for. Multiple database copies (up to 16) of mailboxes ensure better disaster recovery. Microsoft has provided on-line documentation to help you with deployment and subsequent operation of the mailboxes at: http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2009/11/09/453117.aspx.

The resource above looks at various aspects such as the higher availability provided by Data Availability Group solution, backup/restore/disaster recovery issues and mailbox storage design, a critical success issue.

The mailbox server design will involve calculating storage requirements based on such issues as:
• Number of mailboxes to be stored in a server
• Number of users who connect to the mail server at the same time
• Storage quota for each user
• Number of database copies maintained

One big plus for Exchange Server 2010 compared to Server 2007 is that it is able to reduce storage requirements by up to 50 percent, and can also work with less expensive media such as SATA drives.

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