Greening Exchange Server

Can you make your email greener? Possibly.

With the release of Microsoft Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008, a virtualized Exchange 2007 SP1 server is no longer restricted to the realm of the lab; it can be deployed in a production environment.

So says Microsoft in the Exchange Team Blog. Yup, it’s now possible to virtualize Exchange Servers while continuing to be entitled to support from Microsoft. But there’s good news and bad news here. The good news is that virtualizing Exchange can offer real savings. In one of the examples that Microsoft cite (with 7 servers being consolidated to 3 servers running 7 virtual servers) the potential energy savings are estimated at 25,754 kWh or $22,516 per year. On top of that, there’s also savings to be had on hardware and, if your utility company has a high tech incentive program (as PG&E do) you may even be able to recover a portion of your project costs. Woohoo! So, not only can you cut your costs, but you can make your operations a bit greener in the process.

But here’s the bad news. As Microsoft put it, “Due to the performance and business requirements of Exchange, most deployments would benefit from deployment on physical servers.” What that really means is that most Exchange deployments will not be suitable candidates. Microsoft provide the following 3 scenarios in which virtualization is worth considering:

  • Small Office with High Availability
  • Remote or Branch Office with High Availability
  • Mobile LAN

But even in these scenarios, virtualization may still not be the best option. It really all depends on how heavily Exchange taxes its underlying hardware – virtualization is only the right way to go if your servers are underutilized. The technical checklists contained in the blog post (see link above) will help you to determine whether or not your Exchange Servers make for good candidates.

But if you think that your Servers may be suitable for virtualization, it’s certainly worth exploring the possibilities as the savings can be substantial.

Written by Brett Callow

Brett Callow is a technical consultant and writer based in the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Brett has worked with Microsoft Corporation and other leading international technology companies, has authored numerous white papers, articles, training packages and has been extensively involved in creating domains and content for a number of industry-standard certifcation examinations.

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