Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition--Counting Servers--December 7, 2006

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IN THIS ISSUE
*Commentary: Counting Servers
*Exchanging Ideas: In-Place Upgrade to Exchange Server 2007?
*Industry Briefing: Free Tool Lets You Calculate Exchange TCO
*New and Improved: Brick-Level Recovery for Exchange Server

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***COMMENTARY: Counting Servers
by Paul Robichaux, Exchange Editor, [email protected]

Last week, I had the good fortune to be in Dallas to teach a class of bright, experienced sales and support engineers who work for a major software firm. They had lots of good questions about Exchange Server 2007, how it would affect their company's products, and what they needed to know to help prepare their customers for making the transition.

During the class, an interesting discussion started: Do you need more servers for Exchange 2007 than for Exchange Server 2003? On its face, this question would seem simple. However, the role and capability changes in Exchange 2007 mean that it's not actually simple at all.

Let's take the simplest case: migrating a single Exchange 2003 server to Exchange 2007. You can do a one-to-one replacement of that server with an Exchange 2007 server, and—poof!—you're done. You'll need to install the Hub Transport, Mailbox, and Client Access server roles on your single server (as well as the Unified Messaging—UM—role, if you want to use it). This type of installation is well supported and, in my experience, has worked well during the beta period. In this case, you don't need more servers than you would for Exchange 2003.

The next case is a more complex migration involving one or more front-end servers talking to one or more back-end mailbox servers. Just like the single-server case, this scenario allows for one-to-one replacement. Your front-end servers would be replaced by one or more Client Access servers, and the mailbox servers would be replaced by servers with the Mailbox role. However, because Exchange 2007 scales significantly better on the same hardware than Exchange 2003 does, you might be able to reduce the number of servers you use. HP's initial test data shows a large reduction in the I/O requirements for hardware that moves from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007, with further reductions in I/O operations per second (IOPS) if you move from 4GB to 8GB of memory.

Probably the most complex migration involves clustering. In Exchange 2003, you can have multiple-node clusters that handle the mailbox role; front-end servers are supposed to be made redundant through Network Load Balancing (NLB). In Exchange 2007, only the Mailbox server role can be clustered. Microsoft recommends using other technologies (including NLB) for the Client Access, UM, Edge Transport, and Hub Transport roles. If you can't cluster these roles on an Exchange 2007 system, how many servers do you need to replicate a two-node Exchange 2003 cluster?

The answer is what you might expect: You'd need two servers to replace the clustered mailbox server, plus an additional server for the Client Access and Hub Transport roles. If you wanted to add redundancy for the Client Access and Hub Transport roles, you'd need an additional server. So, to duplicate the functionality of the two-node Exchange 2003 cluster, you would indeed need more servers with Exchange 2007 (which, of course, means you'd need more Windows and Exchange licenses).

However, there are three mitigating factors to the cluster scenario. First, most Exchange administrators won't be affected because they're not currently using Exchange 2003 in clusters. Second, the local and clustered continuous replication (CCR) features in Exchange 2007 might counteract your need to use a conventional cluster (which Exchange 2007 calls a single copy cluster). Finally, clustering improvements in Exchange 2007 mean that you might not need the expensive shared storage required for Exchange 2003 clusters; therefore, your overall cost of upgrading a cluster might be lower than it would have been to deploy originally. This won't be true in all cases, but I suspect that organizations that bought SANs to use solely with their clusters might find some surprising cost benefits from ditching shared storage and using CCR instead.

Now, to a completely different subject: We've finalized the sessions and speakers for the spring 2007 Exchange Connections show. One new feature I'm really excited about is a track for vendor presentations. We're offering Exchange-related ISVs a chance to present deeply technical sessions to attendees—with no marketing fluff! We'll also have panel discussions featuring multiple vendors in a given topic area. If your company is interested in presenting, please send a session proposal to [email protected] If you're interested in hearing from a particular vendor or want to know more about a particular technology, drop me a note to let me know what you'd like to see!

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***EXCHANGING IDEAS

Focus: In-Place Upgrade to Exchange Server 2007?

Will there be an in-place upgrade solution for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 to Exchange Server 2007? John Savill answers this question for you.
http://www.windowsitpro.com/Articles/Index.cfm?ArticleID=94383&DisplayTab=Article

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Have a question? Got answers? Join your peers in the Exchange discussion forums:
http://forums.windowsitpro.com/web/forum/categories.aspx?catid=40&entercat=y
Current Threads:
Resource Scheduling and Public Folders
How to Query and Export a List of Email Address?
Cannot Add Additional Mailbox to a MAPI Profile

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Don't forget to sound off in our Instant Poll. This month's question is "What tool do you currently use to assist in Exchange capacity planning?"
http://www.windowsitpro.com/MicrosoftExchangeOutlook/Index.cfm

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***Industry Briefing

Free Tool Lets You Calculate Exchange TCO
by Anne Grubb, [email protected]

The release of Exchange Server 2007 looms large, and migration is on the minds of many Exchange administrators. But before you can even start to plan a migration, you need a key piece of information: how much migration will cost. Azaleos, a provider of managed email solutions, is providing a free tool to make that task easier.

"Many customers don't have good understanding of how much they're spending on running their email environment," says Azaleos CTO Keith McCall. To address what it perceived as IT pros' need for accurate Exchange total cost of ownership (TCO) information, Azaleos commissioned Osterman Research to develop the tool, called Microsoft Exchange Cost Calculator, by using cost and configuration data from Azaleos's customers. Azaleos offers two versions of the tool: a simple version, which you can access directly on Azaleos's Web site, and a richer-featured version, also free, which you can obtain by filling out a contact form.

In keeping with Azaleos's "email as a utility mantra," says McCall, the Exchange Cost Calculator resembles a tool that some utility companies provide to help you project your energy costs. "The tool breaks down the components of migration. It asks you questions such as what's your migration timeline and calculates items such as the costs of a hardware refresh \[i.e. that you'll need for the migration\] and growth of storage over time," he says. The full version of the calculator is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, and users can view the macros and formulas used in the TCO calculations. To obtain the Exchange Cost Calculator, go to http://www.azaleos.com/costmodel.html.

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***NEW AND IMPROVED
by Blake Eno, [email protected]

Brick-Level Recovery for Exchange Server
Mendocino Software announced Exchange Module for InfiniView, an enterprise recovery solution for Exchange Server that allows Exchange recovery from any previous point in time. The software can recover an entire Exchange environment or provide brick-level recovery at the message, mailbox, calendar, folder, and task level. Exchange Module for InfiniView doesn't affect the Exchange environment in production and provides keyword-based search functionality that offloads content search of Exchange systems. The software also integrates with Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS). For more information, contact Mendocino Software at 510-668-1600.
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Wanted: your reviews of products you've tested and used in production. Share your experiences and ratings of products to "[email protected]" and get a Best Buy gift certificate.

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***EVENTS AND RESOURCES

These Windows-related events, papers, and resources will help you keep your knowledge and skills up to date and help you deploy, secure, and maintain the latest Exchange- and Windows-related technologies. For more Exchange related resources, visit
http://www.windowsitpro.com/go/exchangeresources

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Your business, like most today, relies on its computing systems to store financial information, house proprietary data, and maintain communications channels. This increasing reliance also increases the dangers to your systems from security breaches, including viruses, spyware, spam, and hackers. Visit the Windows Protection Site for the latest tips on safeguarding your system.
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