New Storage Design for Exchange Server 2007 TWP Published

This is one great technical white paper written by my fellow buddy and colleague Kay Unkroth, so it includes of lot of nice details just like his previous papers for Microsoft IT Showcase.

Executive Summary

More than 18 months after the first Microsoft® Exchange Server 2007 deployment in the corporate messaging environment and more than 12 months after completing the full production rollout across the entire company, the Microsoft Information Technology (Microsoft IT) group is able to report significant benefits such as:

  • Messaging service levels exceeding high-availability targets of 99.99 percent.
  • Cost reductions in excess of $10 million per year.
  • Increased mailbox quotas by up to a factor of 10.
  • Consolidation of the initial Exchange Server 2007 base by nearly a factor of two.

Microsoft IT was able to achieve these results by taking full advantage of new storage features and input/output (I/O) improvements in Exchange Server 2007, the latest advancements in 64-bit processor technology, and direct-attached storage (DAS)–based storage solutions.

One key strategy that accounts for more than $5 million in annual cost savings involved eliminating the need for backups to tape by relying on new high-availability features in Exchange Server 2007 such as cluster continuous replication (CCR) as the first level of protection, and Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 as the second level of protection. Microsoft IT is not required to keep data on tape for archiving or other purposes. Moreover, according to an internal study conducted in 2006, Microsoft IT realized a 74 percent reduction of storage costs per gigabyte by replacing Storage Area Network (SAN) technology with DAS technology in the Mailbox server design. CCR enabled Microsoft IT to switch from SAN to DAS, which improved Microsoft IT’s ability to support employee productivity by means of large mailboxes with quotas between 500 megabytes (MB) and 2 gigabytes (GB).

Microsoft IT pursued another key strategy that focused on driving down total cost of ownership (TCO) through server consolidation. Microsoft IT has already reduced the initial Mailbox server base in the corporate messaging environment by more than 45 percent, from 62 servers (124 cluster nodes) to 34 Mailbox servers (68 cluster nodes), and consolidation efforts continue. Before and after consolidation, Microsoft employees enjoy large mailbox capacities, fast server response times, and messaging services that exceed the required high-availability level of 99.99 percent and frequently reach 99.999 percent with no extra effort.

Exchange Server 2007 enables Microsoft IT to not only lower storage costs and increase mailbox quotas, but also decrease storage complexities, regain full control over all aspects of the Mailbox server design (including the storage subsystem), eliminate maintenance overhead, and increase high availability of Mailbox servers. All storage-related issues that Microsoft IT encountered since the initial production rollout of Exchange Server 2007 were recoverable without the need for backups. There have been no critical storage-related incidents affecting Mailbox server availability across the entire corporate messaging environment for more than 18 months.

Get it while its still hot.

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