Exchange 2010

I had a play around with the Exchange 2010 beta. It looked pretty good although the “killer” feature I wanted to check out, archiving, wasn’t fully functional. I’ve migrated my email from MailEnable to Exchange 2010. So far, I’m liking:

  • The database availablity group (DAG) feature looks very cool. Haven’t had the chance to test it fully.
  • The Unified Messaging feature set and management UI is a lot more developed. In 2007, it felt kind of half done (especially in 2007 RTM)
  • “Self service” of mailing lists sounds pretty cool but could be a problem in practice. Similarly, the Exchange Control Panel (ECP) allows sys admins the ability to manage Exchange from any web-enabled machine but whether you would is another issue.
  • The Powershell capabilities have matured which is a good thing.

Not liking:

  • The archive feature in its current form is pretty much useless. Most 3rd party archive implementations have two servers and/or storage systems – one with fast, smaller drives for the recent live email where disk IO performance is important, and one with slower, larger drives for the archive data where disk performance is less important than capacity. 2010 forces you to store the archive mailbox in the same database as the user’s main mailbox meaning your small fast SAS drives are being used up by archives.
  • Microsoft being a tad dishonest about using SATA drives for Exchange storage and pushing direct attached storage (DAS) over external storage solutions such as SANs and iSCSI. Yes you can use SATA drives, but according to their own storage calculator you’ll need 2-3 times the drives compared to SAS. For example, you might have a storage design that requires 8 SAS drives for the Exchange databases. With SATA, you would need 16-20 drives. Getting a DAS server chassis that can take those 8 SAS drives isn’t too difficult. Finding one that does 20 drives is more difficult and may compromise the design of other aspects of your server (RAM, CPU, etc).

Currently the server is running under Hyper-V and performing reasonably well considering the specs of the VM.

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