- Planning for Exchange Server 2010
- Understanding AD Design Concepts for Exchange Server 2010
- Determining Exchange Server 2010 Placement
- Configuring Exchange Server 2010 for Maximum Performance and Reliability
- Securing and Maintaining an Exchange Server 2010 Implementation
- Best Practices
Configuring Exchange Server 2010 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 2010 only operates on the Windows Server 2008 (Service Pack 2 or later) or Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems. The enhancements to the operating system, especially in regard to security, make Windows Server 2008 the optimal choice for Exchange Server. The Standard Edition of Windows Server 2008 is sufficient for any Exchange Server installation.
Configuring Disk Options for Performance
The single most important design element that improves the efficiency and speed of Exchange Server is the separation of the Exchange Server database and the Exchange Server logs onto a separate hard drive volume. Because of the inherent differences in the type of hard drive operations performed (logs perform primarily write operations, databases primarily read), separating these elements onto separate volumes dramatically increases server performance. Figure 3.3 illustrates some examples of how the database and log volumes can be configured.
Figure 3.3 Database and log volume configuration.
On Server1, the OS and logs are located on the same mirrored C:\ volume and the database is located on a separate RAID-5 drive set. With Server2, the configuration is taken up a notch, with the OS only on C:\, the logs on D:\, and the database on the RAID-5 E:\ volume. Finally, Server3 is configured in the optimal configuration, with separate volumes for each database and a volume for the log files. The more advanced a configuration, the more detailed and complex the drive configuration can get. However, the most important factor that must be remembered is to separate the Exchange Server database from the logs wherever possible.
Working with Multiple Exchange Server Databases
Exchange Server 2010 Database Availability Groups (DAGs) allow for multiple databases to be installed across multiple servers and to have multiple versions of those databases in more than one location. This allows for the creation of multiple large databases that reside on cheaper disks, which in turn allows for larger mailbox sizes. It also has the following advantages:
- Reduce database restore time—Multiple databases (rather than a smaller number of larger databases) take less time to restore from tape. 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 could 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 2007 R2
The enhancements to Exchange Server 2010 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. For more information on using OpsMgr to monitor Exchange Server 2010, see Chapter 20, "Using Operations Manager to Monitor Exchange Server 2010."