In this video, Scott Burrell discusses how to use multiple data sources to determine the requirements for an Exchange Server 2016 installation for your business.
- [Instructor] At its core, Microsoft Exchange Server consists of two roles that are installed on a Windows 2012 or a Windows 2016 server. Of those two roles, one is optional. This course is about the other one. Microsoft Exchange is, after all, a database application storing every piece of communication as a record in that database. Thus the mailbox database role of Exchange 2016 is the back end part of Exchange that does all of the work.
The capacity, availability, and performance of that database will define just how functional Exchange is. So before you begin installing and creating mailbox databases, you need to define just what Exchange needs to do for your organization. Specifically, you need to define how much Exchange needs to do for your company. I want to look at this in terms of two metrics, size and performance. When I say size, I'm referring to the number of servers, the number and capacity of hard drives, and the size and number of the databases.
When I refer to performance, I'm talking about the hard drive configuration, the processor and RAM, and the network environment necessary to allow each server to make communication as fast as possible. These two measures are interdependent. There are four pieces of information that are needed before this conversation can go any further. One of them comes from HR, another from IT, and two more from historical data. One of the first things that you need to know is how many people need to be served by this Exchange server? A simple count of the number of employees today isn't good enough, you need to know the growth plan for the company and the maximum number of users over the next five years.
For our scenario, Landon Hotels is moving the company emails from a hosted provider to their own Microsoft Exchange organization. At the corporate office there are almost 400 people, and no major growth plans for personnel at that site. Employees at the branch hotels are handled differently, so let's take that 400 and round it up to 500 just to be safe. The question that can be answered by IT is the maximum mailbox size.
This should be based on the current mailbox quota and whether or not that limit is reasonable. Landon Hotels' current email provider agreement allows each user 2.5 gigabytes of space. But users have been complaining a lot. Emails are getting bigger due to the marketing department's addition of graphical headers and new images in the email signatures and attachments. So we're going to increase that quota to five gig for this new plan. The historical data will be a little bit harder to gather unless you have some kind of analyzer to find it for you because you're going to need to know the average volume of messages per user, or the combined total of emails sent and received in a day, as well as the average size of an email.
It's possible that a hosted provider might have this kind of data available in a dashboard or a report. Or if you're using a previous version of Exchange, there are several third-party analyzers that can provide monitoring after the installation to give you this kind of data. After some careful research, we've determined that Landon Hotels' corporate users average 150 emails per day and the messages are, on average, about 90 kilobytes in size.
So now it's time to do a little math. Now I've created this spreadsheet as a calculator to help me in planning Exchange databases, and it's available in the handouts for this course. If the average user handles about 150 emails a day that average 90 kilobytes in size, that means one user's daily traffic through the Exchange server, right over here, daily volume, is just over 13 megabytes. Let's consider the recoverable items folder and just how far back a user should be able to retrieve their own deleted items, so that we can include that in the space that we need for our mailbox database.
If a reasonable time frame is one week or seven days, then the recoverable items folder needs to be, take our daily volume times seven days, add in about four percent of the total quota, and that brings us to about 92 meg. So then we're going to add the quota, or the amount of information and email that a user is allowed to save, which we previously determined was five gig, and for my calculator I need that in terms of megabytes so I'm going to take the five gig times 1024 so that we get a more generous number than if we just used even thousands.
With that added in, we see that we need to allocate almost five and a third gigabytes of space per user mailbox. This is a good start. In the next segment we're going to build on this as we plan the databases and our storage needs for our Exchange mailbox database server.
- Planning and managing database storage
- Setting database requirements
- Storage architecture
- Virtualization scenarios
- Creating and managing mailbox databases
- Failure domains and SLA requirements
- Proper placement of a file share witness
- Site resilient DAG
- Troubleshooting database replication, performance, and database failure
- Planning for SLA recovery requirements