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Configuring Exchange Server 2013 for Maximum Performance and Reliability

After decisions have been made about AD design, Exchange server placement, and client access, optimization of the Exchange server itself helps ensure efficiency, reliability, and security for the messaging platform.

Designing an Optimal Operating System Configuration for Exchange Server

As previously mentioned, Exchange Server 2013 only operates on the Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1 or Windows Server 2012 operating systems. The Standard Edition of Windows Server 2008 is sufficient for Exchange servers when the server is not a member of a DAG.

Working with Multiple Exchange Server Databases

Exchange Server 2013 database availability groups allow for multiple databases to be installed across multiple servers and to have multiple versions of those databases in more than one location. It also has the following advantages:

  • Reduce database restore time—Smaller databases take less time to restore from tape, so it may make more sense to deploy a larger quantity of smaller databases. This concept can be helpful if there is a group of users who require quicker recovery time (such as management). All mailboxes for this group might then be placed in a separate database to provide quicker recovery time in the event of a server or database failure.
  • Provide for separate mailbox limit policies—Each database can be configured with different mailbox storage limits. For example, the standard user database could have a 200-MB limit on mailboxes, and the management database could have a 500-MB limit.
  • Mitigate risk by distributing user load—By distributing user load across multiple databases, the risk of losing all user mail connectivity is reduced. For example, if a single database failed that contained all users, no one would be able to mail. If those users were divided across three databases, however, only one third of those users would be unable to mail in the event of a database failure.

Monitoring Design Concepts with System Center Operations Manager 2012

The enhancements to Exchange Server 2013 do not stop with the improvements to the product itself. New functionality has been added to the Exchange Management Pack for System Center Operations Manager that enables OpsMgr to monitor Exchange servers for critical events and performance data. The OpsMgr Management Pack is preconfigured to monitor for Exchange Server–specific information and to enable administrators to proactively monitor Exchange servers. More information is presented in Chapter 17, “Using Microsoft System Center Operations Manager to Monitor Exchange Server 2013.”

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