GSX Blog

Exchange 2010 and Hyper-V

Posted by Carl Drechsel on Fri, Jun 22, 2012

Well, after having attended TechEd last week and the Microsoft Management Summit in April it’s clear that virtualization, managed via the private cloud needs to be a critical part of a messaging administrator’s proficiencies. In this post I’m going to summarize some of the best practices when virtualizing your Exchange servers in a Hyper-V environment as referenced in a recent whitepaper released by Microsoft.

Scale-Up or Out?

The whitepaper generally recommends that organizations scale up (fewer server, more resources each) rather than out although both options are supported as it largely depends upon the customer’s environment.

Hyper-V Root Sizing

  • For RAM calculations add an additional GB of RAM for Windows Server 2008 R2 management
  • Dedicated management NIC for the Hyper-V root Server
  • When using live migration dedicate a GB NIC
  • Separate dedicated NICs for ISCSI
  • Separate LUNs/Arrays for Management OS, Guest OS and VM storage
  • RAID for data protection
  • Blades with two local disks, host only. Guests on DAS or SAN
  • BIN file planning, equal to the memory allocated for each VM, stored with the guest VHD
  • 10% CPU overhead for hypervisor management of guests

Hyper-V Guest Configuration


  • Sized according to physical deployments
  • Disable dynamic memory adjustment


  • Fixed VHD’s for the virtual OS
  • Separate spindles for Exchange from guest OS
  • Hub Transport, consider space for message queue database and logs
  • Mailbox Role, consider databases, transaction logs, content index and other logs.

Determining Exchange Server Role VM locations

  • Deploy the same roles across multiple physical server roots for HA and load balancing
  • Do not deploy members of the same DAG or all CAS or HUB on the same root (defeats HA)
  • Balance workload  across guest VM’s
  • Deployment Recommendations
  • Design guest VMs according to standard Exchange 2010 deployment principles
  • Balance all roles among the root servers in order to maximize physical resources

This is just a quick summary of some of the basic items to take into considering when virtualizing Exchange 2010 with Hyper-V. For full details I recommend reading the entire paper (39 Pages) which can be downloaded here.

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Tags: Exchange 2010, virtualization, Hyper-V