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MS Exchange Server Virtualisation

Overview

Customer

Worldwide manufacturing company.

Business Problem

Lack of server disk space is placing availability of corporate e-mail at high risk.

Exmos Solution

Convert physical Exchange server into a virtual server stored on existing VMware host

Tools used

  • VMware ESXi
  • Microsoft Exchange 2003

Benefits

Remove risk to e-mail service and provide improved expandability whilst reducing cost through using existing virtual infrastructure

Abstract

Exmos took an existing physical server used for corporate e-mail and virtualised it. This removed the immediate risk and concern over service availability brought about by lack of server physical storage as well as removing the cost requirement for new hardware.

The Business Problem

Due to increasing requirements for e-mail storage and availability to a wider audience, this client found themselves in the unwelcome position of having an e-mail server that was rapidly running out of space. Installing additional storage on the existing server was not an option.

Exmos Solution

Restoration of e-mail service was the key priority for Exmos and as there was no remaining free space on the existing mail server, it was decided to utilize an existing Virtual infrastructure rather than replace or upgrade hardware with its associated costs. Virtualisation also brought its own benefits that were already being experienced with other network services - increased reliability and manageability and better future-proofing through expandability. Once a new Windows Server 2003 virtual server was created, Exchange Server was installed and fully patched/configured to suit client requirements. After testing, a small number of user accounts were migrated to confirm real-world performance and after resolving any further minor issues, a wider and eventually full user account migration took place. We chose to migrate users rather than restore the Information Store to ensure maximum gain from the new available storage space, further enhancing the 'clean-slate' feel that a new Exchange installation gave - not only was there a massive increase in available space courtesy of the new VMware server, the actual Exchange database was almost halved in size after disk fragmentation was cleared.

Business Benefits

The immediate and clear benefit was eradication of any risk that e-mail capabilities would be degraded or lost entirely due to lack of server disk space. The expandability of VMware virtual server configurations should also ensure that this remains the case for quite some time. Virtualisation has also proved to be much more cost effective when compared to equipment or full server upgrade choices.