Design your Exchange Infrastructure or consider moving to Office365

Designing and implementing Microsoft Exchange Server on premises can be a complex and challenging task. That's why Microsoft as partners offers preferred architecture for simpler, easier, and less expensive implementations. Why follow Microsoft design guidance? For information contact: 877-277-8922

 

Boris Lokhvitsky and Robert Gillies discuss design best practices for Exchange on-premises from Microsoft Services.

Topics include:

 

  • Evolution of Exchange design (Exchange 2003 – 2016) (8:20 mins)
  • Design for simplicity (12:10 mins)
  • Eliminate failure domains (17:23 mins)
    • Place your DAG members in different racks (different power, network, cooling, etc)
  • Exchange’s building block architecture (19:10 mins)
    • Scale out, not up
    • Better to go with more servers with lower specs than with fewer servers with higher specs
    • More servers equals higher availability
  • PLA is Microsoft Consulting Services’ Exchange guidance (20:35 mins)
    • Builds on the Preferred Architecture
    • 4 database copies across 2 sites; witness in the 3rd site
    • Unbound namespace
    • Direct Attached Storage (not SAN)
    • JBOD (not RAID)
    • Layer 7 Load Balancing
    • System Center for monitoring
    • Exchange Online Protection for message hygiene
  • Exchange storage design (24:00 mins)
    • DAS vs SAN
    • JBOD vs RAID
    • SATA vs SAS vs SSD
  • SAN considerations (28:54 mins)
    • 256 KB stripe size required
    • 64 KB NTFS allocation size
    • Deduplication is unsupported
    • Test SAN with JetStress
  • Native Data Protection vs RAID (32:17 mins)
    • 3 database copies eliminates need for RAID
    • Consider DAG an application level (or software) RAID
    • RAID adds overhead
    • Pull a disk from the RAID when testing with JetStress to account for RAID rebuild overhead
  • Cache requirements (34:00 mins)
    • JBOD disks may need to be presented as single disk RAID 0 to use controller cache
    • Controller cache must be flash or battery backed (FBWC or BBWC)
    • Configure cache at 100% write operation
    • Do not use pinned, preserved or disk cache
  • Thin vs Thick provisioning (35:54 mins)
  • Recommended disk layout (38:12 mins)
    • RAID 1 for OS, Exchange install, transport queue and logs
    • One hot spare for DAG AutoReseed
    • JBOD (RAID 0) for Exchange DBs and logs
  • Site resiliency (40:00 mins)
  • Backups vs Native Data Protection (47:13 mins)
    • Passive copies protect from hardware failure and physical corruption
    • Lagged copies protect against logical corruption, viruses, or, accidental deletions
    • SafetyNet protects transport pipeline and can replay messages recently delivered to the database
  • BitLocker considerations (50:53 mins)
  • Virtualization (54:11 mins)
    • Running Exchange in Azure
    • Exchange in AWS is unsupported
  • Compliance (1:01:50 mins)
  • Network (1:05:10 mins)