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Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition, January 20, 2005

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1. Commentary

- Common Exchange SAN Misconceptions

2. Resources

- Featured Thread: Editing AD to Manage Exchange 2003 from a Workstation
- Outlook Tip: Deleting Previously Searched Contact

3. New and Improved

- Detect and Remove Spam


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Editor's note: Share Your Exchange Discoveries and Get $100

Share your Exchange Server and Outlook discoveries, comments, or problems and solutions for use in the Exchange & Outlook Administrator print newsletter's Reader to Reader column. Email your contributions (500 words or less) to [email protected]. We edit submissions for style, grammar, and length. If we print your submission, you'll get $100.


==== 1. Commentary: Common Exchange SAN Misconceptions ====

by Paul Robichaux, Exchange Editor, [email protected]

In the Exchange world, Storage Area Networks (SANs) are sometimes maligned by the people who have them, frequently coveted by the people who don't, and often mysterious to the general population. People react this way for multiple reasons, not least of which is the relatively small number of SANs deployed with Exchange (relative, that is, to the total number of Exchange installations). Overlaying these reasons is a fairly thick fog of misunderstanding (and even misinformation) that surrounds the best way to design a SAN for use with Exchange.

Misunderstanding number one is that Exchange will be happy if you create one big volume that spans all the disks in the SAN and put Exchange data on the volume. As with many misunderstandings, this one has a grain of truth to it. In some configurations, Exchange performance will be acceptable when the SAN is shared between Exchange and other applications. However, most of the time doing so is a recipe for substandard performance. The "Exchange Server 2003 Performance and Scalability Guide" at explains how you can estimate the number of concurrent I/O operations per second that Exchange requires per user in different scenarios. You can use that number to easily determine whether a given SAN configuration will cut the mustard.
Misunderstanding number two is related to number one. SAN vendors love to talk about their SAN caches, which tend to be stupendous in size. The problem is that Exchange I/O requests for data in Exchange .edb files are random, which means that the cache might not help nearly as much as the vendor claims. The cache will definitely improve performance for items that are read repeatedly, such as public folder posts, but it won't necessarily help mailbox access times. On a related note, despite what you might have heard, a big cache isn't really a substitute for large numbers of physical disk spindles. The spindle count directly affects how many I/O operations per second are available; for example, EMC claims that in a CLARiiON or Symmetrix array, a 10,000rpm disk should be expected to provide about 130 I/O operations per second, with about 180 I/O operations per second available from a 15,000rpm disk (see for EMC's recommendations for sizing and configuring the company's SANs for use with Exchange). Multiply this number by the number of disks and the I/O operations per second data from the Microsoft white paper, and you'll know how many spindles you need.
Misunderstanding number three is probably the worst. Almost every administrator understands that SANs aren't the same as Direct Attached Storage (DAS), but many administrators persist in trying to configure and manage them the way they configure and manage DAS. When you're designing a SAN for a particular Exchange configuration, spend a little extra money and hire an expert to validate your assumptions about performance and the proposed configuration. Microsoft, SAN vendors, and high-end Exchange consulting organizations all have experienced SAN engineers who can help make sure that the configuration you're buying provides adequate performance.
SANs are a terrific technology that can provide a great boost to availability, performance, and redundancy. With the advent of iSCSI, mid-range SAN prices are becoming reasonable for even fairly small organizations. But you have to understand what you're buying and what the technology will--and won't--be able to do.


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==== Announcements ====

(from Windows IT Pro and its partners)

True High-Availability for Microsoft Exchange Web Seminar--February 3

Discover solutions that minimize the likelihood of downtime in your Exchange implementation and help to ensure continuous Exchange application availability. In this free Web seminar, learn how you can ensure high-availability through the use of tools that analyze and proactively monitor the health of your entire Exchange environment. Register now!

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Migrating from NDS or eDirectory to AD can present complexities and pitfalls. For a smooth transition, you must prepare for the challenge and simplify your migration processes. The Essential Guide to an NDS-to-Active Directory Migration shows you how to perform a successful migration with minimal impact on your organization. Download this guide today.

Microsoft Exchange Connections Conference

Mark your calendar for the next Microsoft Exchange Connections, October 30-November 2, 2005, at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego. Microsoft and Windows IT Pro partner to bring IT professionals from around the world together again! Call 203-268-3204 or 800-505-1201 or check our Web site for details.;13381196;8214395;l?

Sensible Best Practices for Exchange Availability Web Seminar--January 27

If you're discouraged about not having piles of money for improving the availability of your Exchange server, join Exchange MVP Paul Robichaux for this free Web seminar and learn how to maximize your existing configuration. Survive unexpected outages, plan for the unplannable, and evaluate what your real business requirements are without great expense. Register now!

==== 2. Resources ====

Featured Thread: Editing AD to Manage Exchange 2003 from a Workstation

Our forum readers are having a conversation about editing the Active Directory (AD) on a Windows 2000 workstation to manage Exchange 2003 users. To join the discussion, visit

Outlook Tip: Deleting Previously Searched Contacts

by Sue Mosher, [email protected]
Q: How can I delete the list of previously searched Contacts in the Outlook standard toolbar?
Find the answer (and links to more great tips) at

==== Events Central ====

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==== 3. New and Improved ====

by Angie Brew, [email protected]

Detect and Remove Spam

Sybari Software released Sybari Advanced Spam Defense (ASD) 4.0, a standalone, real-time spam detection service for Exchange Server that keeps spam separate from the mail server. This version features Web-based user quarantine folders, end-user blocking and approval by domain, and the ability for end users to modify their own antispam rules. ASD scans email messages using Commtouch Software's Recurrent Pattern Detection (RPD), a scanning approach that can detect spam in any language, format, or encoding method. The Sybari ASD Spam Detection Service Center and the standalone Sybari ASD Enterprise Gateway server proactively gather information about massive spam outbreaks and filter email messages accordingly. For pricing, contact Sybari Software at 631-630-8500.

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