DutchVMUG Live blog: Virtualizing Exchange on VMware

Jan Willem Lammers presenting on Virtualizing Exchange on VMware. First he’s checking with the audience on how many mailboxes they are running virtual. Some run 10.000 mailboxes !!!

Is Exchange supported? YES !!!

  • Scenario 1: See: Microsoft Server Virtualization Validation Program. ESX 3.5U2+ and vSphere 4.0 on Windows Server 2008, Exchange 2007. When certified for Windows 2008R2 you can downgrade.
  • Scenario 2: Support through server OEM contracts
  • Scenario 3: Support through MS Premier contract
  • Scenario 4: Support through VMware GSS. VMware will on best effort contact Microsoft for you

How to stress test your Exchange environment? Performance analysis can be done using two Microsoft tools called JetStress and LoadGen.

Considerations when running Exchange virtual:

  • Unavailable pCPUs can result in VM “Ready Time”
  • idle vCPUs will compete for system resources

Best practice for vCPU:

  • Do not over-commit pCPUs when running Exchange VMs
  • Do not over-allocate vCPUs

Virtual Memory best practices:

  • Available physical memory for Exchange VMs
  • Do not over-commit memory
  • Do not disable the ballooning driver

Storage virtualization best practices:

  • Deploy Exchange VMs on Share storage
  • Ensure heavily used VMs not all accessing same LUN concurrently
  • Storage Multipathing Setup a minimum of four paths from an ESX Server to a storage array.
  • Create VMFS file systems from Virtual Center to get best partition allignment

VMFS / RDM trade-offs.

  • To summarize this point, VMFS is best choice in 99% of the situations. The differences aren’t that big. Be sure to view the presentation of Jan Willem that will be available on dutch VMUG website in a few weeks.