Preparation of Network Infrastructure
Network infrastructure must be prepared according to the requirements of Exchange Server 2010 before it can be installed on the servers. Exchange Server 2010 is gigantic software and can be deployed in network setups according to the requirements of the organizations and their sizes. Some basic requirements for installing Exchange Server 2010 are that the environment must have Active Directory domain-based network infrastructure and must also have DNS server properly configured. Some Dos and Don’ts of Exchange Server 2010 installation process solely depends on the type of organization on which they are to be deployed and the number of users who will be using the software as their mailing servers for internal and external mail communications.
Servers where Exchange Server 2010 is to be installed must have appropriate disk space and memory. Appropriate versions of operating systems in accordance with the flavors of Exchange Server must be used to get the optimum results. As mentioned above there can be several ways to install exchange server on Windows Server 2008 RTM or Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems, foolproof strategy must be made and followed to obtain an efficient Exchange Server 2010 oriented organization.
Recommendations and Best Practices to Deploy Exchange Server 2010
Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 depends on following five roles and each role works as an important entity for the application.
Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Roles:
- Mailbox Server Role
- Client Access Server Role
- Hub Transport Role
- Edge Transport Role
- Unified Messaging Role
Mailbox Server Role, Client Access Server Role and Hub Transport Role are mandatory and must be installed and configured to use Exchange Server 2010. If any of these three roles are not installed administrators and/or students cannot use Exchange Server 2010 whatsoever. However each role mentioned above has a separate and important use in an Exchange Server oriented organization or a lab. It is expected that some organizations might want to invest funds to buy new machines for the deployment of Exchange Server 2010 and some of them might force administrators to use existing machines to do so. There might also be times when students might want to learn Exchange Server 2010 and as being students they cannot buy several computers to prepare a lab in their homes.
Keeping these things in mind recommendations for both (Production Environments and Practice Labs) are discussed in detail here.
All mandatory roles (Mailbox Server, Client Access Server and Hub Transport) that are essential for Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 must be installed on either a single or multiple computers to make it up and running.
Efficiency of Exchange Server 2010 depends on the way it is installed in the type of organization. For example if an organization falls in the category of large-scale, it would be inappropriate to install all the above roles on a single Windows Server 2008 machine as it may remarkably slow down the performance because of heavy traffic. However it would also be unwise if a small-scale organization or a practice lab consumes five separate computers to install above five roles on separate machines as it would be too expensive to do so.
Recommendations to Install Exchange Server 2010 in Production Environments
Assuming that an organization needs an efficiently running Exchange Server 2010 atmosphere, administrators must:
- Install Mailbox Server Role on a separate computer.
- They can install Client Access Server and Hub Transport roles on a single machine. (If the organization has very high mail traffic or very large number of users these two roles must be installed on two separate machines).
- Edge Transport Role must always (and can only) be installed on a machine that is not the member of domain, is located in the Demilitarized Zone or DMZ of the network and has no other roles installed on it.
- Unified Messaging Role must be installed on a separate machine and configured appropriately.
Recommendations to Install Exchange Server 2010 in Lab Environments or for Students Practices
In lab environments it would not be realistic to buy multiple computers just to practice Exchange Server 2010. In such cases it is strongly recommended that a high configuration PC must be used and virtual machines using any virtualization software, for example Virtual PC or VMware Workstation, must be created to install appropriate OS and Exchange Server 2010.
However if high configuration PC is not available or affordable a single 64-bit computer or a 64-bit virtual machine can be used as an Active Directory Domain Controller and all roles (except Edge Transport Role) can be installed on the same computer. This is because in lab environments there is almost no traffic and therefore systems would have no problem while processing one or two test mails.
For students convenience recommendations can be as below:
- Install Windows Server 2008 RTM or Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit operating system either on a physical computer or if physical computer supports Hardware Assisted Virtualization (VT), a virtual machine can be used to install 64-bit Windows Server 2008 operating system.
- Windows Server 2008 (any version) can then be promoted as an Active Directory Domain Controller.
- All roles (except Edge Transport Role) can be installed on the Domain Controller.
- All practices can be done if another virtual machine with any client operating system can be created to use as email clients and recipients. The only drawback while working in such environment is that students cannot practice High Availability feature of Exchange Server 2010.
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