Wednesday, May 09, 2007

MS: Top 7 Tips for Deploying Exchange Server 7

1 ) What are the hardware requirements for Exchange Server 2007?
Microsoft has published the hardware/software requirements for Exchange Server 2007 at
In short, the server must have:
• X64 processor; either the Intel EM64T or AMB64 platforms
• At least 2GB of RAM (plus 2-5 MB per mailbox for optimum performance)
• Light = 2MB/Mailbox
• Medium = 3.5MB/Mailbox
• Heavy = 5MB/Mailbox
• Other factors including the number of Storage Groups, server role, etc play a huge part. See this link for more detailed information:
• Windows Server 2003 x64 or Windows Server 2003 R2 x64, either Standard or Enterprise

2) What are the upgrade paths to Exchange Server 2007?
In-place upgrades are out. You will need to install a new Exchange Server 2007 machine into an existing Exchange 2000 or 2003 organization and move the data. Upgrading from Exchange 5.5 will require a little more work as you will need to completely upgrade the organization to Exchange 2000 or 2003 first. More information on the process can be found here:

3) How should I begin planning for disk space?
The factors that affect your storage plans are much more lenient than before, but they will still require some thought.
• Mailbox Size and Count In other words if your target is 1000 mailboxes at 500MB each then you need to think about 488 GB for the base.
• Dumpster Size You should calculate the additional drive space you will need to hold deleted items until the retention period has expired. This could range from 10-40% and even higher depending on the retention period and expected mail volume.
• Content Indexing If you plan to index mailbox items, then you should add another 5% to the overall volume requirements in order to hold the index.
• Growth You should factor in growth in either mailbox numbers or volume. 20% is a generally acceptable number to use to factor growth.
• Log Files The amount of storage they consume will be based entirely on the frequency of backups and the volume of changes made daily to the database files. Many Exchange administrators use 10% as an initial estimation of log files. As always, plan to have logs stored on a separate set of disks.
• IOPS Mailbox IOPS or Database I/O per mailbox, per second is still an important calculation but we have far more breathing room than we did with previous versions of Exchange. (These numbers are possible if you are using Outlook in cached mode.)
• Light Usage (Receive 20 messages a day) 0.11 expected IOPS per user
• Average Usage (Receive 40 messages a day) 0.18 expected IOPS per user
• Heavy Usage (Receive 80 messages a day) 0.32 expected IOPS per user
• Very Heavy Usage (Receive 120 messages a day) 0.48 expected IOPS per user
• In our mailbox example above; 1000 Average mailboxes would require 180 Disk IOPS for adequate performance. A good 7200 RPM drive can usually get a true 100 IOPS while the more expensive drives can get closer to 150.
• To meet our capacity and IOPS goals, we would need to look at a disk system that could hold at least 860 GB of data and operate at 220 IOPS (for growth) Four disks in a RAID 10 confi guration would probably fit the bill.
Here is a great place to learn more about the variables and to perform a more scientific approach to drive estimation:

4) What do I need to know about Server Roles?
Well, you can’t install a server without choosing a role so you must first understand the roles (and your design) before you can proceed. There are five server roles in Exchange Server 2007; Mailbox Server, Client Access, Hub Transport, Unified Messaging and Edge Transport. Here are a few key notes on each:
• Mailbox Server The name says it all. These will likely be your largest servers
• Client Access Provides HTTP/HTPPS access to the data; OWA, RPC over HTTP and ActiveSync
• Hub Transport Think of this as your internal Bridgehead server
• Unified Messaging Communicates with your PBX system. These components are usually installed on a separate server.
• Edge Transport Inbound SMTP traffic goes here. These components must reside on a separate server. This is where message hygiene is configured and how mail gets into your environment. In single-server environments, the Inbound SMTP and message hygiene functionality can be forced on your Mailbox/CAS/Hub server.
• For more detailed information and the Server Role Roadmap, follow this link:

5) What role does the AD Site have with Exchange Server 2007?
The AD site definitions are important for internal mailbox routing in an Exchange Server 2007 environment. Exchange Server no longer uses routing groups. Instead, it routes based on the routing topology defined within the Active Directory Sites and Services. Here are a couple of important items to note:
• Ensure there are no IP subnets defined in more than one AD site and that there is no overlap
• At least one Hub Transport server should be installed in each Active Directory site
• A Client Access server must be deployed in each site that contains Mailbox servers

6) Does my Active Directory need to be at a certain functional level before I can install Exchange Server 2007?
Yes. First and foremost the Schema Master for your Active Directory Forest must be running Windows Server 2003 R2 or Windows Server 2003 SP1.
Second, you need to make sure the Active Directory domain level functional level must be set for Windows Server 2000 (or higher) native mode for all domains in the forest.

7) Do I have to upgrade my Outlook clients before I install Exchange Server 2007?
Probably not. Outlook 2003, 2003 and Outlook 2007 are all supported. For Outlook Web Access, clients need to have a supported browser such as Internet Explorer versions 7, 6, 5.5, and 5.01, Mac OS X, Linux, Safari, Firefox, Netscape, and Opera.

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