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As I contemplate the design that was going to be an organizational upgrade to Exchange 2007 – I am now shifting gears towards skipping to an upgrade of Exchange 2010. Some things that are influencing my decision:

  • The ability to use lower tier storage without compromising performance on the mailbox server. Thanks to all of the database optimizations like sequential writes, db schema re-design and table optimization, cache changes, etc. The database is now truly a portable and replicable object.
  • Now that the target for replication is the database and not the server, my high availability options are greater and my need for engineers with specialized clustering experience is removed. I can spread my database replicas over all of my data centers as long as I have 250ms round trip latency or less.
  • I can move user’s mailboxes and not affect their uptime or my SLA’s. Since mailboxes are now moved asynchronously in the background loads can be adjusted as needed without downtime.
  • My database is now self-healing – enough said.
  • My users can do more self-administration through the Exchange Control Panel (ECP).
  • My transport servers now have resiliency as well through the shadow queue. If a server with the transport role goes down, the other transport servers have a “shadow” of the queue and can re-send the messages.
  • The Outlook client (or any other client for that matter) no longer communicated directly with the server holding the mailbox role. All connections are now proxied (in a much more efficient manner) through the Client Access Server role.
  • I don’t have to wait for Exchange Server 2010 sp1 before I deploy. Microsoft is already running close to 6M mailboxes on Exchange 2010. That’s beta testing that you cannot sneeze at!
  • Now that I have 4-5 copies of every database (and the data contained therein) in all of my different data centers, there is no more need for me to take daily backups to tape (or disk for that matter) of my databases. I can use replication and replication lag\truncation to protect me from physical and logical database corruption.
  • My Mac and Linux users now have a rich web client for accessing email now that the premium Outlook Web Access experience is supported on Firefox and Safari.

So I now have about six months in which to test all my scenarios in the lab, confirm everything will work the way I dream it will and then get in some load and performance testing. The lab will be virtual as will the deployment so things will work out nicely in that regards. I am curious to see if I can support the new CAS role requirements on a virtual guest.

There is also the option of doing a hybrid approach with Exchange Hosted Services (EHS). EHS is the ‘cloud’ offering from Microsoft. This is a shared services environment that has hosted mailboxes, mail hygiene edge services, hosted archiving among other things. I have been working on a model where we move all of our commodity mailboxes (customer service, administrative assistants, task workers and service desk) to the cloud and keep the 40% high-risk\value mailboxes (executives, research, sales and legal) on-premises where they are under our control for legal hold, quota management, etc. The beauty of hosted mail hygiene in the cloud is that the traffic never sees your LAN – it is all discarded ahead of time. You also then have a great deal of flexibility in the case of a disaster or virus outbreak. EHS can queue your mail up for X number of hours\days while you sort out recovery issues or decide on a strategy for tackling an outbreak.

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Posted on Monday, April 27, 2009 8:28 PM Exchange | Back to top

Comments on this post: Designing Exchange 2010

# re: Designing Exchange 2010
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Very good points - my thoughts exactly. I'm was going to move from Groupwise 7 to Exchange 2007, but am now going to wait until Exchange 2010 hits the streets.
Left by Peter on Aug 20, 2009 1:15 PM

# re: Designing Exchange 2010
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I second to the above post, however the rapid migration from exchange from exchange 2007 to exchange 2010 is a difficult dission for the Business as well as the IT to digest. I would have loved if Microsoft had done some more investment in Exchange 2007. By the way, let me know if their are any case studies to share for Exchange 2010.
Left by Syed Tassawur Hussain on Nov 12, 2009 4:53 PM

# re: Designing Exchange 2010
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