Exchange 12 Server Roles and Disk IO

I touched the subject lightly in the march edition of the newsletter, but this more detailed post by Robert Quimbey appeared on the MS Exchange team blog a few days ago.


This is the first of a four part Web log where I will focus on the different server roles in Exchange 12 and their disk I/O characteristics. Over the next few months I’ll be addressing other Exchange 12 storage concerns in three upcoming Web logs:

  • Exchange 12 High Availability Storage Considerations
    This focuses on Exchange 12 features that increase availability, and hardware strategies you can use to increase fault tolerance.
  • Exchange 12 Data Protection
    This focuses on the features and strategies you can use to backup and restore your Exchange 12 data.
  • Exchange 12 Storage Planning, Configuration, and Validation

This will build upon the three prior Web logs and tie everything together to outline our recommendations on how the storage solution should be configured, validated, and monitored.

As with all server applications, Exchange 12 servers need to be properly deployed with sufficient, storage capacity and performance. The server roles in Exchange 12; Hub Transport Servers and Edge Transport Servers (collectively referred to in this blog entry as Transport servers), Client Access Servers, Unified Messaging Servers, and Mailbox Servers have different storage requirements and different backup and restore requirements, in part because they carry out different functions:

  • Hub and Edge Transport is the server role that delivers mail in and out of the organization, mail in and out of Mailbox Servers, and voice mail messages submitted by Unified Messaging servers.
  • Client Access Server is the client protocol server for Exchange, providing Outlook Web Access, Exchange ActiveSync, Outlook Anywhere (formerly known as RPC over HTTP), and other Internet protocols.
  • Unified Messaging Servers provide Outlook Voice Access, as well as incoming FAX support.
  • Mailbox servers, the heart of Exchange Server, are where user mailboxes and public folders are stored.
  • Mailbox clustering or Single Copy Cluster (SCC) uses the Windows Cluster service in a shared disk active/passive configuration.
  • Continuous Replication replicates log files to an alternate location which can be on a standalone server using Local Continuous Replication (LCR), or in a cluster that does not use shared storage using Clustered Continuous Replication (CCR).

Continue here.

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