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Friday
Feb082013

Designing for Exchange 2013 

This is the first part of a series of blog posts about making the transition from Exchange 2010 to 2013. A disclaimer: "Some of my thoughts and implementations may not follow Microsoft best practices, Please read all of the guides posted on technet, I take no responsibility if my suggestions do not follow best practices" 

Now that all of that is over lets talk about my environment. When migrating from Exchange 2007 to 2010 I went from physical servers to virtual servers running on Hyper-V, and even though I love Hyper-V as a hypervisor, I found Exchange to become somewhat unstable and would encounter the OS to lock up causing database failovers. When starting this process I decided to back to physical servers. 

To best size your hardware for your Exchange 2013 environment the best place is to start is the Exchange 2010 sizing calculator, found here. As of this writing the 2013 calculator has not been released, but is supposed to come soon. 

In my environment I will be hosting the databases on a pair of Dell Equallogic SANs, the physical servers will connect to the SANs through iSCSI. 

When picking servers I went with a pair of Dell PowerEdge R520's configured with 8 cores and 16 GB of RAM. For hard drives I chose 4 X 100GB SSDs configured in RAID 1, the first pair will host the OS while the second pair will host Exchange and the swap file. I am very excited to try out the SSDs, the cost has come way down recently and was in the budget, I will report back after using them for a while.

For load balancing, I choose a load balancer from Kemp Technologies, I have been very impressed with their solutions so far, they have a great support staff and make great products.

This is going to be my environment, Next I will start talking about some learnings about configuring NICs using Powershell

For those interested in seeing some designs of the setup you can download the PDF's below. Please note that they are pretty rough, I used them to get a general layout of my environment. You can make your own designs by using the Visio templates from Technet

Network Design
Database and CAS role layout
Storage Design
DNS Design

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