Microsoft has made massive strides with regard to virtualizing Exchange. However, for those organizations that wanted to take full advantage of virtualization platforms as well as all of Exchange’s great features, they were out of luck since Microsoft would not support the Unified Messaging role in a virtualized environment.
In the latest revision of Microsoft’s Best Practices for Virtualizing Exchange Server 2010 with Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper V, Microsoft makes the following statements about the Unified Messaging role:
- Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP1 supports virtualization of the Unified Messaging role when it is installed on the 64-bit edition of Windows Server 2008 R2.
- Unified Messaging must be the only Exchange role in the virtual machine. Other Exchange roles (Client Access, Edge Transport, Hub Transport, Mailbox) are not supported on the same virtual machine as Unified Messaging.
- The virtualized machine configuration running Unified Messaging must have at least 4 CPU cores, and at least 16 GB of memory.
With these prerequisites in place, you can virtualize every Exchange 2010 SP1 role and finally ditch the physical server you’ve ben keeping around to support the Unified Messaging role.