virtualizing microsoft exchange with citrix xenserver

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    Technical white paper

    Virtualizing Microsot Exchange

    Server 2007 with Citrix XenServer

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    Table o contents

    Introduction

    The challenge .......................................................................................................................................3

    The solution ..........................................................................................................................................4

    Project description

    Architecture, tools and methodologies .................................................................................................6

    Methodologies .....................................................................................................................................8

    Test scenarios ....................................................................................................................................12

    Results and recommendations

    Results: Tests 1-9: Exchange Server 2007 on XenServer 5.0 ..............................................................25

    Results: Test 10: XenMotion VM Relocation ........................................................................................33

    Results: Test 11: XenServer high availability eature test ......................................................................34

    Recommendations and best practices................................................................................................35

    Summary

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    IntroductionA companys e-mail system is arguably one o the most, i not the most, critical business computing

    platorms it has. Microsot Exchange is the most widely used e-mail platorm in the world. So when it

    comes to evaluating a virtualization platorm such as Citrix XenServer or e-mail hosting, we naturally

    begin with Exchange. Microsots latest release, Exchange Server 2007, has successully delivered on

    its promise o improved perormance, reliability and scalability over its predecessor, Exchange Server

    2003. Notable among the new eatures o Exchange Server 2007 is its 64-bit Windows architecture. Yet,

    with all o the improvements made, Exchange 2007 still has inherent limitations in its architecture that

    limits the customers ability to eectively scale and manage workloads in a dynamic manner. The best way

    to transcend these limitations is to couple Exchange Server 2007 with a powerul virtualization platorm

    like Citrix XenServer 5.0. With XenServer 5.0, Exchange Servers single server resource limits can be

    overcome, making it possible to support more users with ewer computing resources than ever beore.

    Features o XenServer like XenMotion live VM migration make it possible to deliver uninterrupted serviceand to manage and maintain server arms with the exibility that IT managers want and need.

    This white paper is designed to provide IT managers with the proo points necessary to validate that

    Exchange Server 2007 can be virtualized very well on the Citrix XenServer platorm. It also provides a

    blueprint or them to do their own validation, which we highly recommend beore embarking on a

    project to virtualize Exchange Server 2007. Our project team has spent months learning the multitude

    o actors necessary to run an eective virtualization test project. While Microsot provided eective

    testing tools, notably LoadGen, each datacenter environment is unique and requires taking the time to

    understand how things work. Thereore, it also became an objective or us to help shorten the learning

    curve or our customers. While this white paper wont eliminate the need or testing beore deployment

    our hope is that this white paper will help make the test process go more easily. Those who run their

    own tests will fnd that by virtualizing Exchange Server 2007 with Citrix XenServer, they not only can

    take better advantage o the powerul eatures Exchange Server has to oer but also attain the beneftso a more exible and manageable Exchange computing environment as well.

    The challengeIts no surprise that an increasing number o IT managers are interested in virtualizing their Exchange

    Server arms. Until now, Exchange has been seen as too critical to experiment with. However, the

    demands to keep a lid on capital expenditure (Cap-ex) and operational expenditure (Op-ex) costs in the

    datacenter are rapidly causing them to re-think the need to virtualize. Exchange Server 2007 itsel is

    creating several compelling reasons to consider virtualization, including:

    As advanced and powerul as Exchange Server 2007 is, it still cannot take advantage o the ever1.

    increasing capabilities o powerul server platorms. When Exchange administrators ollow Microsots

    recommended single server maximums o 8 CPU cores and 32 GB RAM, they quickly fnd they are

    unable to tap into the power o available servers that can have up to 24 CPU cores and 128 GB RAM

    The ability to partition Exchange Server 2007 deployments into dierent roles running on multiple2.

    servers creates greater efciency but, in so doing, potentially adds to the ootprint o the Exchange

    server arm. By design, each o the individual server roles in Exchange Server 2007 manages a smal

    segment o the user populations activities. As a result, when one o those servers is compromised,

    the impact is limited to only those transactions handled by that particular server. This minimizes risk

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    and increases overall availability, but does so at the cost o requiring additional servers to spread the

    risk around and manage the overall workload. Likewise, because o server size limits, growth can

    only be addressed by adding more servers (scaling out) rather than adding more resources to the

    server (scaling up).

    In addition, the need or security and redundancy continually calls or more and more Exchange3.

    servers to meet the demand or uptime and disaster recovery. Usually, or every production server,

    another backup server is confgured to stand ready to take its place should ailure occur.

    As a result, todays Exchange Server 2007 environment is likely to have many more single-role servers

    than the Exchange Server 2003 arm with its multi-role servers. The response to this challenge is to use

    virtualization technology to meet the demand or growth using virtual Exchange Servers instead o

    adding more physical servers. Doing this should also reduce the overall server requirements or disaster

    recovery and backup. Ultimately, it should reverse the direction o the ever increasing ootprint o the

    Exchange Server arm while also simpliying server support and management. The goals o reducing

    Cap-Ex and Op-ex while meeting the ever increasing demands o the user community can be met

    equally without compromise.

    The solutionCitrix XenServer 5

    Citrix XenServer, a member o the Citrix Delivery Center amily, is open, powerul server virtualization

    that radically reduces datacenter costs by transorming static datacenter computing into a more

    dynamic, easy to manage server workload delivery center. Based on the open source Xen hypervisor,

    XenServer delivers a secure and mature server virtualization platorm with near bare-metal perormance.

    XenServer delivers industry best TCO through aster application deployment, improved server utilization,

    aggressive pricing, simple management and accelerated application delivery. XenServer is easy to use,simple to set up and oers more intelligent storage capabilities through the most complete native

    integration with leading system and storage vendors.

    The powerul provisioning capabilities now available in Citrix XenServer virtualization sotware make it the

    only platorm than can integrate the deployment and management o virtual and physical servers into a

    unifed dynamic virtualized inrastructure a exible aggregated pool o computing and storage resources.

    With Citrix XenServer virtualization sotware, businesses can increase server and storage utilization,

    reducing costs o equipment, power, cooling and real estate. Virtualization-powered consolidation

    enables businesses to decommission older systems that are expensive to support and prone to ailure,

    replacing several o them with a single, newer, more supportable, less power-hungry system.

    By combining servers and storage into resource pools that can be apportioned to the applications with

    the highest business need, IT operations can be aligned to changing demand and business priorities. With

    XenMotion, live virtual machines can be migrated to new servers with no service interruption, allowing

    essential workloads to get needed resources, enabling zero-downtime maintenance and better

    application virtualization.

    Citrix XenServer 5.0 delivers:

    The industrys best virtualization TCO, through low initial and ongoing costs, more efcient server

    utilization and administration, dramatically reduced acilities and power costs, and reduction o

    storage requirements by up to 90 percent

    Open architecture based on the open source Xen hypervisor, or a platorm that is compact, secure,

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    ast and reliable, with seamless integration with existing inrastructure and management tools.

    Easy setup and administration, available pre-installed on over 50 percent o new servers rom Dell,

    HP, Lenovo and NEC, requiring only a license key to start, with the light-weight yet powerul XenCente

    management console and wizard-based tools to accelerate installation, maintenance and support.A thin, light and efcient 64-bit architecture delivering bare-metal perormance and better workload

    consolidation ratios.

    Easy to use Windows and Linux virtualization solutions with built-in virtual machine liecycle

    management, at breakthrough price and perormance

    Enterprise high availability through comprehensive ault detection and ast, automated recovery rom

    server ailure, exceeding our-9s availability, with replicated management and confguration data

    across all servers in a pool to eliminate single points o ailure.

    Continuous application availability or applications with XenMotion live migration, allowing virtual

    machines to move seamlessly, eliminating nearly all planned downtime

    Dynamic workload management that consolidates workload images and streams workloads

    on-demand to any virtual or physical server.

    Snap-in storage integration supporting all storage architectures, oering deep integration with leading

    storage platorms, reducing cost and complexity by leveraging existing storage systems and

    associated storage services directly.

    Support or the latest and most popular server and desktop versions o Microsot Windows, as well

    as major Linux server distributions

    Virtual machine ormat compatibility and portability with Microsot Hyper-V

    XenConvert physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversion tool and v2xva virtual-to-virtual (V2V) conversion too

    Project descriptionCitrix XenServer enables customers to enhance their implementation o Microsot Exchange Server2007 by deploying Exchange either entirely on virtual machines hosted on XenServer or in a hybrid

    virtual/physical machine environment. Citrix XenServer is installed directly on bare metal servers,

    requiring no dedicated host operating system. Open command-line (CLI) and programming (API)

    interaces make it easy or vendors and enterprises to integrate virtualization with existing processes

    and management tools. The powerul provisioning capabilities make enterprise virtualization simpler

    and it is possible to deliver new servers hosting services in minutes, with efcient use o storage

    resources.

    Using XenServer, companies can deliver Microsot Exchange Server 2007 on high-perormance virtual

    machines quickly and easily, and manage them and their related storage and networking resources

    rom a single easy to use management console (XenCenter). Each Microsot Exchange server appearsto users and to management sotware as i it were a separate physical computer but, in act, many

    Exchange servers may sharing the resources o as ew as one physical server.

    With Citrix XenServer virtualization sotware, businesses running Microsot Exchange Server 2007 can

    increase their server and storage utilization, reducing costs o equipment, power, cooling and real

    estate. With XenMotion, running Exchange Server virtual machines can be migrated to new servers

    with no service interruption, allowing essential workloads to get needed resources, enabling zero-

    downtime maintenance and better application virtualization.

    This project proved the successul operation o Microsot Exchange 2007 with Citrix XenServer 5.0

    Enterprise Edition. Testing was conducted in the Citrix Virtualization and Management Division Solution

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    test lab in Bedord, MA. Advanced eatures including XenMotion and XenServer automated high availability

    were also tested and successully validated with Microsot Exchange 2007 as well.

    Architecture, tools and methodologies

    Architecture Hardware

    Microsot Exchange Server 2007 hardware

    x64 server; (4) 2.93 GHz quad-core X7350 Xeon CPUs, 128 GB RAM

    (used or all Exchange perormance tests)

    Two x64 servers, each with our quad-core CPUs and 32 GB o available RAM

    (used or XenMotion tests)

    Two x64 servers; (4) 1.6 GHz-quad-core- E7310 Xeon CPUs, 32 GB RAM

    (used or high availability tests)

    Exchange Server load generation server

    x64 server; 1.6 GHz quad-core CPU, 16 GB RAM

    Domain controllers

    (2) x64 desktops; 1.8 GHz CPU, 2 GB RAM

    Storage

    NetApp FAS3050; confgured or NAS/iSCSI

    Architecture Sotware

    Citrix XenServer 5.0, Enterprise Edition

    Microsot Exchange Server 2007, version 08.01.0240.006.

    MS Windows Server 2003, R2 SP2 Enterprise Edition

    Tools

    Load generation sotware:

    MS Best Practices Analyzer or Exchange: The Exchange Best Practices Analyzer provides1.

    recommendations that can be made to the environment to achieve greater perormance,

    scalability and uptime.

    MS JetStress or Exchange: Veriy the perormance and stability o the disk subsystem beore2.

    putting the Exchange server into a production environment.

    MS LoadGen or Exchange: Provided by Microsot, this is the ofcial Exchange perormance3.

    assessment tool. Runs end-to-end tests rom client to measure typical Exchange activities: Login,

    Send Mail, Create Tasks, Request Meetings, etc. Results measured in terms o SendMail and

    storage I/O latencies as well as CPU utilization.

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    Microsot LoadGen confguration:

    Profle: 100% heavy users or all tests except test 9, (16,000 mailboxes) where a light user profle

    was utilized, consistent with Microsots sizing recommendations

    Simulated day length: eight hours

    Test run length: eight hours

    Stress mode: Disabled

    Indexing: O

    Distribution lists: None

    External SMTP mail: None

    Contact list or outgoing messages: None

    The ollowing perormance counters will be used to measure physical (native) and virtual Exchange

    server perormance (Note: The two SendMail latency measurements will be provided by LoadGen.

    All other perormance measurements are provided using PerMon).

    1. SendMail action latency Average time (in milliseconds) taken to complete a Send Mail action.

    A SendMail action is representative o the complete process required to successully send an

    e-mail through the Exchange system. According to Microsot, SendMail Action Latency should

    be

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    Due to characteristics o LoadGen that cause abnormally high resource utilization at the start o each

    LoadGen operation, results were collected ollowing the initial two hour stabilization period or each test.

    Methodology1. Project phases

    The project was divided into two primary phases, one completed in October 2008 and the other

    scheduled to be completed in December 2008. The essential dierence in confgurations between

    the two phases is the operating system used: Microsot Server 2003 in phase one and Microsot

    Server 2008 in phase two. During phase two, we will repeat comparisons to not only physical

    benchmarks, but also with that o other competitive virtualization providers.

    2. Exchange Server roles

    Multi-role Exchange servers consolidate the various single unction roles into a single multi-

    purpose server. With Exchange Server 2007, Microsot has provided the ability to separate theseunctions and run them on independent servers. These unctions include: Mailbox Server, Edge

    Transport Server, Hub Transport Server, Client Access Server and Unifed Messaging Server. By

    having these unctions sit on separate servers, administrators have the ability to scale out server

    roles on an individual basis rather than all unctions at once, which is the only method available

    when using multi-role servers.

    For the purpose o this project, we used multi-role virtual servers. We did this because in a closed

    test environment such as the one we used, the roles o all but the Mailbox server are signifcantly

    diminished and only come into play when messaging involves going outside the corporate frewall;

    when accessing a PBX and/or voice messaging system and other such orms o external

    connectivity that simply dont exist when running a simulated workload in a lab. We thereore

    believed that the results we would expect to see would be essentially the same whether individual

    or multi-role Exchange servers were used or testing.

    3. Impact o user mailbox profles on Exchange Server sizing

    Microsot sizing guidelines:

    Heavyuser profle (500 mailboxes per core) was used or all tests with the exception o test 9,

    a 16,000 mailbox confguration, where per Microsots sizing recommendations, the maximum

    threshold o 1,000 light mailboxes per core was maintained. We used these guidelines as a

    oundation or the initial set o physical vs. virtual comparison tests and then experimented with

    variants or comparative purposes in the subsequent series o scalability tests.

    Processor:

    Light: 1,000 users/core

    Heavy: 500 users/core

    User profleMessages sent/received

    (based on 50,000 per day)

    Cache memory

    per mailbox

    Light 5 / 20 2MB

    Medium/average 10 / 40 3MB

    Heavy - Very heavy 20-30 / 80-120 5MB

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    Memory:

    2 GB base. The base requirement or RAM is per virtual server and has no bearing on the

    number or type o mailboxes or vCPUs assigned.

    + 2.0-3.5 MB per light mailbox or

    5.0 MB per heavy user mailbox

    Example: Exchange Server 2007 minimum virtual server requirements based on the number o

    mailboxes and mailbox type:

    500heavyusers/500mailboxespercore:

    One virtual server w/ 1vCPU

    2 GB base + 2.5 GB (500 x 5 MB) = 5 GB

    1,000heavyusers/500mailboxespercore:

    One virtual server w/2 vCPU (2 cores)2 GB base + 5 GB (1,000 x 5 MB) = 7 GB

    2,000heavyusers/500mailboxespercore:

    One virtual server w/ 4 vCPU (4 cores)

    2 GB base + 10 GB (2,000 x 5 MB) = 12 GB

    8,000heavyusers/500mailboxespercore:

    Four virtual servers w/ 4 vCPU (16 cores)

    2 GB base per VM + 40 GB (8,000 x 5 MB)= 48 GB

    16,000lightusers/1,000mailboxespercore:

    Eight virtual servers w/ 2 vCPU (16 cores)

    2 GB base per VM + 48 GB (16,000 x 3 MB) = 64 GB

    4. Storage confguration: NetApp FAS3050 connected via iSCSI

    The inherent limitations o Exchange Server 2007s predecessor, Exchange 2003, made storage

    confguration an extremely important and difcult process to master. Limits in memory caching in

    Exchange 2003 orced an increase in I/O activity to compensate. This greatly increased the need

    or storage that could continually handle increasing I/O demand. With Exchange 2007, expanded

    memory capabilities provide vastly greater levels o memory caching per mailbox than beore. When

    confgured to Microsots standards, as seen in the previous section, memory caching can greatly

    reduce the storage I/O demand, making it easier to confgure and lessening storage-related problems

    Exchange 2007 also is very responsive to perorming well with todays expanded types o data

    storage, including iSCSI and NAS. The same is true or Citrix XenServer 5.0. While Exchange

    Server is oten deployed using fber channel arrays, we chose to demonstrate the exibility andeectiveness o deploying Exchange on XenServer 5.0 by using relatively inexpensive iSCSI storage

    rom NetApp. The ollowing is an overview o the storage we utilized and how it was confgured.

    Citrix Storage Delivery Services Adapter for NetApp Data ONTAP

    Citrix Storage Delivery Services enables the management o attached and networked storage to

    be driven directly rom the standard XenServer management interaces, such as XenCenter, the

    command-line interace (xe), or third-party management tools based on XenAPI. Regardless o the

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    point o management, XenServer administrators can take advantage o direct integration between

    virtual server storage operations and the rich capabilities o the storage itsel, including virtual disk

    provisioning and allocation, cloning and snapshot management.

    Beginning with Citrix XenServer 4.1, the Storage Delivery Services capabilities have been enhanced by

    the inclusion o an interace called an adapter providing support or NetApp FAS, S Series and V

    Series storage systems. Through it, XenServer automatically confgures storage to be presented as

    iSCSI LUNs and allocated to virtual machines. The adapter uses native NetApp APIs to implement XenAPI

    storage operations that provide access to hardware provisioning and snapshotting directly, without the

    proprietary layer that complicates management in other products. Users can reap the benefts o their

    investment in NetApp storage more eectively, protecting their investment in hardware and sotware as

    well as management processes and training.

    Virtual disk images are implemented as Data ONTAP FlexVols. Depending on confguration requirements

    and system limits, these virtual disk images can be confgured with one LUN per FlexVol, or with all

    LUNs or a single virtual machine mapped to the same FlexVol. With all LUNs mapped to the same

    FlexVol, creating a NetApp Snapshot

    or a virtual machine is implemented as a single operation withinthe NetApp storage system.

    When Citrix XenServer is deployed with NetApp Data ONTAP, storage or new virtual machines can

    either be ully provisioned or created using space-efcient allocation. This exibility allows IT administrators

    to optimize their storage systems or either highest perormance or optimal resource sharing.

    Consistent and automatically-applied naming standards remove the conusion that can result rom

    disconnected and arbitrary administrative policies. This consistency applies to every storage resource,

    rom exvols to LUNs to snapshots.

    Storage confguration notes:

    Whether physical or virtual, Exchange Server 2007 requires two types o storage drives; one or the

    mailbox database and another or log fles. These can be co-located within the same storage repositories.That means in the case o this test program, we will use our sets o mailbox database and log fle drives

    when testing with our VM Exchange Servers and eight sets o mailbox database and log fle drives when

    testing with eight VM Exchange Servers. In the physical tests, we will create a single mailbox database

    drive and a single log fle drive.

    NetApp managed LUNs:

    Managed NetApp LUNs are accessible via the NetApp Data ONTAP Storage Repository (SR) type, and

    are hosted on a NetApp FAS3050 fler running Data ONTAP rel.7.2.5. LUNs are allocated on demand

    via the XenServer management interace and mapped dynamically to the host via the XenServer host

    management ramework (using the open iSCSI sotware initiator) while a VM is active. All the thin

    provisioning and ast clone capabilities o the fler are exposed via the Netapp Data ONTAP adapter. We

    used NetApp thin provisioning in conjunction with this test project.

    Storage repository sizing or this project:

    Note: our storage confguration is atypical or what would normally be expected in a production

    environment. We chose this particular confguration based on the wide range o variables being tested,

    thus allowing us to avoid repeated storage re-confgurations with each dierent series o tests. The

    ollowing numbers represent the amount o storage required or the largest physical and virtual server

    tests conducted and do not include the additional storage required or NetApp Data ONTAP and or

    NetApp snapshotting.

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    Physical tests:

    Mailbox database: 1,000 GBLog fles: 130 GB

    Total physical test storage: 11.13 TB

    Virtual tests:

    VM repository: 192 GB

    Eight VMs @ 24 GB per VM

    (each VM has 24 GB C: drive, 24 GB virtual memory drive).

    Mailbox database repository: 12.4 TB

    Eight, 1.5 TB mailbox drives + Eight, 20 GB Log drives (circular logging enabled).

    Total virtual test storage: 12.592 TB

    The ollowing diagram illustrates the confguration employed:

    Figure 1. Example: Virtualized Exchange Server 2007 storage confguration

    NetApp FAS3050 flers with NetApp Data ONTAP rel. 7.2.5

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    Test scenariosNote: Tests 1-4 ocused on benchmarking the perormance o Exchange 2007 in a native, physicalserver environment and making direct comparisons o perormance vs. physical when virtualizing the

    same Exchange confguration. Tests 5-9 ocused on scalability o Exchange Server 2007 on XenServer.

    The remaining tests, numbers 10 and 11, ocused on testing the live VM migration and high availability

    eatures o XenServer in an Exchange environment.

    Test 1: 2,000 heavy user mailboxes, physical server benchmark test

    Test 2: 2,000 heavy user mailboxes, virtual Exchange Server

    comparison test

    Figure 2. Single physical (native) benchmark test confguration 2,000 heavy user mailboxes

    (250 mailboxes per core)

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    Hardware/sotware confguration:

    Test 1 and 2: descriptions

    The purpose o these tests was to establish baseline perormance numbers with which to compare

    the perormance o a single physical Exchange Server 2007 server with that o single host virtual

    servers running our Exchange Server 2007 VMs. Perormance categories measured include SendMail

    latency (average and 95th percentile), CPU capacity, Disk IO latency and RPC latency (average and

    95th percentile).

    Test 1: 2,000 mailbox, single physical (native) server benchmark

    The physical server used in this test had our Intel X7350, 2.93 GHz quad-core CPUs (16 cores)

    with128 GB RAM. Only eight cores and 32GB RAM were needed to acilitate this test.

    Storage: We used a NetApp FAS3050 fler confgured or iSCSI.

    LoadGen was confgured or 2,000 heavy users with a density o 250 mailboxes per CPU core.

    The test ran or a period o eight hours and results were measured ollowing a two hour server

    stabilization period. The LoadGen server used or these tests had a single quad-core 1.6 GHz CPU

    and 16 GB RAM.

    Test 2: 2,000 mailbox, single host XenServer running our Multi-role Exchange Server 2007

    virtual machine servers.

    The host XenServer used in this test had our Intel X7350 Xeon, 2.93 GHz quad-core CPUs (16 cores) with 128 GB RAM. Only eight cores and 32 GB RAM was

    needed to acilitate this test. Each Exchange Server VM was confgured with two virtual CPUs and 8

    GB o virtual RAM.

    Storage: We used a NetApp FAS3050 fler confgured or iSCSI.

    LoadGen was confgured or 2,000 heavy mailboxes with a density o 250 mailboxes per CPU core.

    The test ran or a period o eight hours and results were measured ollowing a two hour server

    stabilization period. The LoadGen server used or these tests had a single quad-core 1.6 GHz CPU

    and 16 GB RAM.

    Hardware Citrix sotware Microsot sotware

    Exchange Server:

    Four quad-core

    2.93 GHz CPUs; 128 GB RAM

    None Microsot Exchange Server

    2007 version 08.01.0240.006.

    LoadGen Server:

    1.6 GHz, 16 GB RAM

    Microsot Win2K3 R2,

    Enterprise Citrix XenServer

    5.0, Enterprise Edition SP2

    Storage: NetApp FAS3050,

    iSCSIMicrosot Exchange LoadGen

    Domain Controllers:

    x64 desktop (2)

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    Hardware Citrix sotware Microsot sotware

    Host XenServer:

    Four quad-core 2.93 GHz

    CPUs, 128 GB RAM

    Citrix XenServer 5.0,

    Enterprise Edition

    Microsot Exchange Server

    2007 version 08.01.0240.006.

    LoadGen Server:

    1.6 GHz, 16 GB RAM

    Microsot Win2K3 R2,

    Enterprise Citrix XenServer

    5.0, Enterprise Edition SP2

    Storage:

    NetApp FAS3050, iSCSIMicrosot Exchange LoadGen

    Domain Controllers:

    x64 desktop (2)

    Test 3: 4,000 heavy user mailboxes, physical server benchmark test

    Test 4: 4,000 heavy user mailboxes, virtual Exchange Server

    comparison test

    Figure 3. Multi-role Virtual Machine Exchange Server Test Confguration 4,000 heavy user mailboxes

    (500 mailboxes per core)

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    Hardware/sotware confguration:

    Test 3 and 4: descriptionsThe purpose o these tests was to provide a direct, side-by-side comparison to the physical (native)

    single Exchange Server tests 1 and 2. As with those tests, perormance categories measured include

    SendMail latency (average and 95th percentile), CPU capacity, Disk IO latency and RPC latency

    (average and 95th percentile).

    Test 3: 4,000 mailbox, single physical (native) server benchmark

    The physical server used in this test had our Intel X7350, 2.93 GHz quad-core CPUs (16 cores)

    with 128GB RAM. Only eight cores and 32GB RAM were needed to acilitate this test.

    Storage: We used a NetApp FAS3050 fler confgured or iSCSI

    LoadGen was confgured or 4,000 heavy users using Microsots recommended maximum o 500

    such mailboxes per CPU core. The test ran or a period o eight hours and results were measured

    ollowing a two hour server stabilization period. The LoadGen server used or these tests had asingle quad-core 1.6 GHz CPU and 16 GB RAM.

    Test 4: 4,000 mailbox, single host XenServer running our Multi-role Exchange Server 2007

    virtual machine servers.

    The host XenServer used in this test had our Intel X7350 Xeon,

    2.93 GHz quad-core CPUs (16 cores) with 128 GB RAM. Only eight cores and 32 GB RAM was

    needed to acilitate this test. Each Exchange Server VM was confgured with two virtual CPUs and

    8 GB o virtual RAM.

    Storage: We used a NetApp FAS3050 fler confgured or iSCSI

    LoadGen was confgured or 4,000 heavy mailboxes using Microsots recommended maximum o

    500 per CPU core. The test ran or a period o eight hours and results were measured ollowing a two

    hour server stabilization period. The LoadGen server used or these tests had a single quad-core 1.6GHz CPU and 16 GB RAM.

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    Test 5: Four Multi-role Virtual Exchange Servers, 4,000 (4x1,000)

    heavy user mailboxes, 2 vCPU and 14 GB RAM per VM

    Figure 4. Multi-role Virtual Machine Exchange Server test confguration

    4,000 heavy user Exchange mailboxes (500 per core)

    Hardware/sotware confguration:

    Hardware Citrix sotware Microsot sotware

    Host XenServer:

    Four quad-core 2.93 GHz

    CPUs, 128 GB RAM

    Citrix XenServer 5.0,Enterprise Edition

    Microsot Exchange Server2007 version 08.01.0240.006.

    LoadGen Server:

    1.6 GHz, 16 GB RAM

    Microsot Win2K3 R2,

    Enterprise Edition SP2

    Storage: NetApp FAS3050 Microsot Exchange LoadGen

    Domain Controllers:

    x64 desktop (2)

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    Test 5: description

    The purpose o test 5 is to measure the impact o increasing the virtual RAM size in each virtualized

    multirole Exchange Server VM rom 8 GB to 14 GB. We expect that the overall beneft to these virtualservers will be the same that might also be gained by increasing RAM resources to a physical, native

    Exchange 2007 server, namely improved SendMail and RPC latency perormance.

    The host XenServer used in this test had our Intel X7350 Xeon, 2.93 GHz quad-core CPUs (16 cores)

    with 128 GB RAM. Only eight cores and 56 GB RAM was needed to acilitate this test. Each o the

    our Exchange Server VMs was confgured using 2 vCPUs and

    14 GB o vRAM.

    LoadGen was confgured or 4,000 heavy mailboxes using Microsots recommended maximum o

    500 per CPU core. The test ran or a period o eight hours and results were measured ollowing a

    two hour server stabilization period. The LoadGen server we used was the same as in previous tests

    Test 6 and 7: Four Virtual Exchange Servers, 8,000 (4 x 2,000) heavyuser mailboxes, 4 vCPU w/ 8 GB or 14 GB RAM per VM

    Figure 5. Multi-role Virtual Machine Exchange Server test confguration

    8,000 heavy user Exchange mailboxes (500 per core)

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    Hardware/sotware confguration:

    Tests 6 and 7: descriptions

    The purpose o tests 6 and 7 was to determine the impact on Exchange Server perormance o the

    density o the our virtual machine servers in tests 4, 5 and 6 are increased in size rom 1,000 to 2,000

    heavy user mailboxes or a total o 8,000 heavy user mailboxes. To handle the increased Exchange

    Server workload, we increased the virtual CPU cores rom two to our cores per VM. Also, in test 6 we

    assigned 8 GB o virtual RAM per VM while in test 7 we assigned 14 GB o virtual RAM per VM. In this

    way, we could once again determine the impact o increasing virtual RAM resources rom 8 GB to

    14 GB o RAM per Exchange Server VM.

    Test 6: 8,000 mailbox, single host XenServer running our Multi-role Exchange Server 2007

    virtual machine servers.

    The host XenServer used in this test had our Intel X7350 Xeon,

    2.93 GHz quad-core CPUs (16 cores) with 128 GB RAM. All 16 cores were assigned, but only

    56 GB o RAM was needed to acilitate this test. Each o the our Exchange Server VMs was

    confgured with 4 vCPUs and 8 GB o vRAM.

    Storage: We used a NetApp FAS3050 fler confgured or iSCSI.

    LoadGen was confgured or 8,000 heavy mailboxes with a density o 500 mailboxes per CPU core.

    The test ran or a period o eight hours and results were measured ollowing a two hour server

    stabilization period. The LoadGen server used or these tests had a single quad-core 1.6 GHz CPU

    and 16 GB RAM.

    Test 7: 8,000 mailbox, single host XenServer running our Multi-role Exchange Server 2007

    virtual machine servers.

    The host XenServer used in this test had our Intel X7350 Xeon,

    2.93 GHz quad-core CPUs (16 cores) with 128 GB RAM. All 16 cores were utilized but only 56 GB

    o RAM was needed to acilitate this test. Each o the our Exchange Server VMs was confgured

    with 4 vCPUs and 14 GB o vRAM.

    Storage: We used a NetApp FAS3050 fler confgured or iSCSI.

    LoadGen was confgured or 8,000 heavy mailboxes using Microsots recommended maximum o

    500 per CPU core. The test ran or a period o eight hours and results were measured ollowing a

    two hour server stabilization period. The LoadGen server used or these tests had a single quad-

    core 1.6 GHz CPU and 16 GB RAM.

    Hardware Citrix sotware Microsot sotware

    Host XenServer:

    Four quad-core 2.93 GHz

    CPUs, 128 GB RAM

    Citrix XenServer 5.0,

    Enterprise Edition

    Microsot Exchange Server

    2007 version 08.01.0240.006.

    LoadGen Server:

    1.6 GHz, 16 GB RAM

    Microsot Win2K3 R2,

    Enterprise Edition SP2

    Storage:

    NetApp FAS3050, iSCSIMicrosot Exchange LoadGen

    Domain Controllers:

    x64 desktop (2)

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    Tests 8 and 9: Eight Virtual Exchange Servers, 8,000 (8 x 1,000) /

    16,000 (8 x 2,000) light users, 2 vCPU w/ 14 GB RAM per VM

    Figure 6. Multi-role Virtual Machine Exchange Server test confguration

    8,000 heavy user or 16,000 light user Exchange mailboxes

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    Hardware/sotware confguration:

    Tests 8 and 9: descriptions

    The purpose o tests 8 and 9 is to determine the impact on Exchange Server perormance when

    doubling the number o Exchange Server VMs rom our to eight. In test 9, we were also looking to

    see the impact o changing the mailbox confguration rom 8,000 heavy user mailboxes to 16,000 l ight

    users. In both cases, the Microsot recommended maximum number o either heavy user or light user

    mailboxes per core was maintained. In both test cases, we assigned 2 vCPUs and 14 GB o vRAM per

    Exchange Server VM.

    Test 8: 8,000 mailbox, single host XenServer running eight Multi-role Exchange Server 2007

    virtual machine servers.

    This test maintained the 8,000 heavy user mailbox workload used in test 7, but increased the

    number o VMs rom our to eight. We also kept the overall CPU resources the same, 16 cores.

    Thereore each VM would now have 2vCPU cores each. At the same time, we increased the overall

    RAM resources to 112 GB, allocating 14 GB per VM. The purpose o this test is to measure the

    eect o distributing the same 8,000 mailbox workload across two times the number o VMs, while

    each VM eectively also had the same amount o vCPU but two times the vRAM to handle the

    same workload as in test 7. The rationale being that RAM is generally a less expensive resource

    than CPU when confguring VMs.

    The host XenServer used in this test had our Intel X7350 Xeon,

    2.93 GHz quad-core CPUs (16 cores) with 128 GB RAM. All 16 cores and 112 GB o the available

    RAM was needed to acilitate this test. Each o the eight Exchange Server VMs was confgured

    with 2 vCPUs and 14 GB o vRAM.

    LoadGen was confgured or 8,000 heavy mailboxes with a density o 500 mailboxes per CPU core.

    The test ran or a period o eight hours and results were measured ollowing a two hour server

    stabilization period. The LoadGen server used or these tests was the same used in the previous tests.

    Hardware Citrix sotware Microsot sotware

    Host XenServer:

    Four quad-core 2.93 GHz

    CPUs, 128 GB RAM

    Citrix XenServer 5.0,

    Enterprise Edition

    Microsot Exchange Server

    2007 version 08.01.0240.006.

    LoadGen Server:

    1.6 GHz, 16 GB RAM

    Microsot Win2K3 R2,

    Enterprise Edition SP2

    Storage:

    NetApp FAS3050, iSCSIMicrosot Exchange LoadGen

    Domain Controllers:

    x64 desktop (2)

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    Test 9: 16,000 mailbox, single host XenServer running eight Multi-role Exchange Server 2007

    virtual machine servers.

    The host XenServer used in this test had our Intel X7350 Xeon,

    2.93 GHz quad-core CPUs (16 cores) with 128 GB RAM. All 16 cores and 112 GB o the availableRAM was needed to acilitate this test. Each o the eight Exchange Server VMs was confgured

    with 2 vCPUs and 14 GB o vRAM.

    LoadGen was confgured or 16,000 l ight user mailboxes using Microsots recommended maximum

    o 1,000 per CPU core. The test ran or a period o eight hours and results were measured ollowing

    a two hour server stabilization period. The LoadGen server used or these tests was the same used

    in the previous tests.

    Test 10: XenMotion eature, Live Exchange Server VM migration

    Figure 7. XenServer live virtual machine migration test confguration

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    Hardware/sotware confguration:

    Test 10: description

    The purpose o the live VM migration test was to certiy that the XenMotion eature o XenServer 5 can

    successully relocate live Exchange Server 2007 VMs rom one host XenServer to another without any

    interruption, using the XenMotion eature o XenServer. For this test, we used LoadGen to create a4,000 heavy user mailbox workload across two multi-role Exchange 2007 virtual servers in the primary

    host server. Each o the virtual servers was assigned our virtual CPU cores and eight GB o virtual

    RAM, using a density o 500 heavy user mailboxes per CPU core, or 2,000 heavy user mailboxes per

    virtual Exchange server. Both the primary and secondary XenServer host servers would have their own

    storage repositories. The key success actor in this test is that each migrated VM would have to not

    only successully migrate rom one server to the other, but would also have to successully connect

    to the storage repository containing the Exchange mailbox Db. I this did not occur, LoadGen would

    immediately ail and the session would terminate.

    For this purpose, we utilized two x64 servers, each with our quad-core CPUs and 32 GB o available

    RAM. XenMotion requires that the originating and destination XenServer host machines be the same

    type, meaning that they had to have the same CPU and chipset to successully relocate a live VM rom

    one host server to the other.

    The LoadGen session would then be initiated and ollowing the initial two hour stabilization period, we

    would attempt to perorm a live VM migration and then repeat the process a minimum o twenty times.

    Hardware Citrix sotware Microsot sotware

    Primary and

    secondary XenServer host:

    Two x64 servers, each with

    our quad-core CPUs and

    32 GB o RAM

    Citrix XenServer 5.0,

    Enterprise Edition

    Microsot Exchange Server

    2007 version 08.01.0240.006.

    LoadGen Server:

    1.6 GHz, 16 GB RAM

    Microsot Win2K3 R2,

    Enterprise Edition SP2

    Storage:

    IP SAN 1TB Microsot Exchange LoadGen

    Domain Controllers:

    x64 desktop

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    Test 11: XenServer high availability eature

    Figure 8. XenServer high availability eature test confguration.

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    Test 11: description

    With XenServer 5.0, resource pools can now be confgured with automated high availability protection

    allowing virtual machines on a ailed host to automatically restart on another physical server accordingto priority and resource availability. The purpose o this test is to demonstrate the ability to successully

    take the VM that was running on a ailed XenServer and restart that exact same VM on another

    XenServer host in the resource pool. Two XenServer host servers will be confgured, each with a single,

    multi-role Exchange 2007 virtual server. Using LoadGen, each o these Exchange Server VMs will be

    given a workload to simulate a working Exchange 2007 operation. Ater both servers have been in

    operation or a period o time sufcient or them to have stabilized, one o the servers will be manually

    orced to ail, leaving only one active Exchange Server VM.

    This test will measure XenServer 5.0 high availability eatures ability to detect the ailure and to re-start

    the VM that was running on the ailed XenServer on a dierent host automatically. During the process,

    we will measure the overall time (in minutes and seconds) necessary or the new VM to be recognized

    by the LoadGen server as being available to resume the Exchange Server workload as well as capture

    several perormance counter measurements both prior to and ollowing the expected ailover, includingRPC Averaged Latency; Physical Disk Queue Length; Processor total % processor time; RAM

    available; and Exchange Database cache % hit.

    The methodology or running the high availability test involved the ollowing steps:

    With the LoadGen test initialization process running, we will power down and thereore cause to1.

    ail the pools master Exchange Server VM.

    With the LoadGen test initialization process running, we will power down and thereore cause to2.

    ail the pools master Exchange Server VM. The slave virtual Exchange server is expected then to

    become the master and the new master Exchange VM boots up.

    LoadGen will identiy exceptions (errors) while the new Exchange server is unavailable but is3.

    expected to resume the initialization process once the new virtual Exchange server is available toLoadGen. Initialization should then continue, uninterrupted, until completion.

    Assumptions:4.

    a. PerMon counters will be started prior to the LoadGen test start

    b. LoadGen will run or an hour to stabilize (this is normal and the same as in other project test)

    c. Powering down a virtual Exchange server will attempt to simulate catastrophic server ailure

    d. PerMon data analysis to shows data at three points in the high availability test process:

    LoadGenteststarttoservershutdown

    VMbootonnewservertostabil izationpoint

    (no urther LoadGen exceptions/errors detected)

    Stabilizationpointtoendoftest

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    Results andrecommendationsResults: Tests 1-9: Exchange Server2007 on XenServer 5.0

    Figure 10. Results Tests 1-9

    AnalysisTests 1 - 4 Physical benchmark comparison tests

    Test

    # ExchangeServers

    (Phys/VM)

    # CPUCores/Server

    Total #Cores

    Mailboxes/Core

    Total #Mailboxes

    RAM/server(GB)

    TotalRAM(GB)

    SendmailLatency

    Average(

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    CPU Utilization: Physical vs. XenServer 5.0

    50.0%

    40.0%

    30.0%

    20.0%

    10.0%

    0.0%Physical 2,000 Mailboxes

    8 CPU cores, 32 GB RAM

    4 VMs 2,000 Mailboxes

    2 CPU cores, 8 GB RAM

    per VM

    Physical 4,000 Mailboxes

    8 CPU cores, 32 GB RAM

    4VMs 4,000 Mailboxes

    2 CPU cores, 8 GB RAM

    per VM

    CPU

    Utilization-Avg5.4% 14.9% 11.0% 9.8%

    CPU

    Utilization-Max17.2% 19.7% 26.8% 24.0%

    Disk IOPS: Physical vs. XenServer 5.0

    250

    200

    150

    100

    50

    0Physical 2,000 Mailboxes

    8 CPU cores, 32 GB RAM

    4 VMs 2,000 Mailboxes

    2 CPU cores, 8 GB RAMper VM

    Physical 4,000 Mailboxes

    8 CPU cores, 32 GB RAM

    4 VMs 4,000 Mailboxes

    2 CPU cores, 8 GB RAMper VM

    Disk IOPS 93 99 117 115

    Milliseconds

    RPC Latency: Physical vs. XenServer 5.0

    25

    20

    15

    10

    5

    0Physical 2,000 Mailboxes

    8 CPU cores, 32 GB RAM

    4 VMs 2,000 Mailboxes

    2 CPU cores, 8 GB RAM

    per VM

    Physical 4,000 Mailboxes

    8 CPU cores, 32 GB RAM

    4VMs 4,000 Mailboxes

    2 CPU cores, 8 GB RAM

    per VM

    RPC

    Latency-Avg2 3 6 5

    RPC

    Latency- 95th%4 4 9 7

    Milliseconds

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    Perormance CounterTest 1

    Physical Benchmark

    Test 2

    XenServer 5.0Comparative Summary

    SendMail Latency, Average: 26 Ms 26 Ms No dierence

    SendMail Latency, 95th Percentile: 83 Ms 84 Ms Physical: 1 Ms aster

    CPU Utilization, Average: 5.4% 14.9% Physical: 9.5% less avg CPU utilization

    CPU Utilization, Max: 17.2% 19.7% Physical: 2.5% less CPU Max utilization

    Disk IOPS: 93 Ms 99 Ms Physical: 6 Ms aster

    RPC Latency, Average: 2 Ms 3 Ms Physical: 1 Ms aster

    RPC Latency, 95th Percentile: 4 Ms 4 Ms No dierence

    Tests 1 and 3: Physical benchmark tests. 2,000/4,000 heavy

    user mailboxes

    The purpose o these tests was to establish baseline numbers to compare the perormance o physicaExchange Server 2007 servers vs. virtual servers. Both servers were given equal amounts o server

    RAM and CPU cores. The only dierence between the two tests was in the density o assigned

    mailboxes per CPU core. The results demonstrated that both the 2,000 and 4,000 mailbox multi-role

    Exchange Servers perormed within the prescribed standards established by Microsot.

    By doubling the density rom 250 to 500 mailboxes per CPU core, both SendMail latency perormance

    counter results were slightly more than double in test 2 than in 1. This was not unexpected and was

    well within Microsots recommended perormance guidelines. The same holds true or CPU utilization,

    with results or 2 being slightly under double that o 1. Disk IOPS was not aected much by the

    increase in mailboxes as it only slightly increased rom test 1 to 2, rom 118 to 124Ms. RPC latency,

    both average and 95th percentile perormance counters were well within acceptable ranges. Average

    RPC latency increased by roughly two times and 95th percentile RPC latency by nearly three times due

    to the increased number o mailboxes, although these results were not unexpected.

    Tests 2 and 4: XenServer comparisons to physical benchmarks

    These tests demonstrated the perormance o multi-role Exchange Servers when virtualized on Citrix

    XenServer. From an apples-to-apples comparison standpoint, test 2 could be directly compared to

    the earlier physical test 1 and test 4 could be directly compared to physical test 3. The results o these

    comparisons suggest the ollowing:

    Test 2:

    In this 2,000 heavy user mailbox test, the our XenServer VMs not only perormed well under the

    perormance thresholds established by Microsot, but they were also nearly identical to that o

    the physical Exchange Server. O the seven perormance categories, only Average CPU utilizationshowed any dierence that could be called signifcant, and even then, average CPU utilization or

    the our VMs was only 14.9 percent.

    Figure 15. Results comparison Tests 1 and 2 physical vs. virtual, 2,000 mailboxes

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    Conclusion: The overhead o virtualization at this level is anywhere rom slight to none at all. The

    benefts o virtualizing Exchange Server 2007 on multiple VMs vs. a single physical server can be

    achieved while essentially maintaining the perormance experienced using physical servers.

    Test 4:

    Again, as with test 2, virtualized perormance in test 4 is well within Microsots recommendations.

    The perormance o both the physical and virtual Exchange servers was in a range expected given

    the doubling o the workload rom 2,000 to 4,000 mailboxes using the same resources. A 4,000

    heavy user mailbox Exchange Server 2007 running in multi-role mode had better perormance

    counter results in six out o seven perormance categories than its physical server counterpart. The

    dierences between physical and virtual Exchange servers at this workload level was only slight. The

    only dierences o any signifcance were in average SendMail latency, where the virtual Exchange

    servers averaged 14 Ms greater latency and in SendMail latency in the 95th percentile, where the

    same virtual Exchange servers perormed 70 Ms aster than the physical server.

    Figure 16. Results Comparison Tests 3 and 4 Physical vs. Virtual, 4,000 mailboxes

    Conclusion: This comparison shows that distributing a 4,000 heavy user Exchange Server 2007

    workload across our virtual servers rather than on a single physical server can be achieved with

    little or no virtualization overhead and with little or no impact to Exchange Server perormance.

    Perormance Counter Test 3Physical Benchmark

    Test 4XenServer 5.0

    Comparative Summary

    SendMail Latency, Average: 14 Ms 28 Ms Physical: 14 Ms aster

    SendMail Latency, 95th Percentile: 174 Ms 104 Ms XenServer: 70 Ms aster

    CPU Utilization, Average: 11.0% 9.8% XenServer: 1.2% less avg CPU utilization

    CPU Utilization, Max: 26.8% 24.0% XenServer: 2.8% less CPU Max utilization

    Disk IOPS: 117 Ms 115 Ms XenServer: 2 Ms aster

    RPC Latency, Average: 6 Ms 5 Ms XenServer: 1 Ms aster

    RPC Latency, 95th Percentile: 9 Ms 6 Ms XenServer: 3 Ms aster

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    XenServer 5.0 Scalability Test Results: SendMail Latency

    XenServer 5.0 Scalability Test Results: CPU Utilization

    XenServer 5.0 Scalability Test Results: Disk IOPS

    Tests 5 - 9: XenServer 5.0 scalability tests

    Figures 17-20. Results Tests 5-9

    500

    400

    300

    200

    100

    04 VMs, 4,000

    Heavy Mailboxes

    2 CPU cores,

    14 GB RAM per VM

    4 VMs, 8,000

    Heavy Mailboxes

    4 CPU cores,

    8 GB RAM per VM

    4 VMs, 8,000

    Heavy Mailboxes

    4 CPU cores,

    14 GB RAM per VM

    8 VMs, 8,000

    Heavy Mailboxes

    2 CPU cores,

    14 GB RAM per VM

    8 VMs, 16,000

    Light Mailboxes

    2 CPU cores,

    14 GB RAM per VM

    Send Mail

    Latency-Avg28 5 36 127 44

    Send MailLatency- 95th%

    94 164 124 234 154

    Milliseconds

    50.0%

    40.0%

    30.0%

    20.0%

    10.0%

    0.0%4 VMs, 4,000

    Heavy Mailboxes

    2 CPU cores,

    14 GB RAM per VM

    4 VMs, 8,000

    Heavy Mailboxes

    4 CPU cores,

    8 GB RAM per VM

    4 VMs, 8,000

    Heavy Mailboxes

    4 CPU cores,

    14 GB RAM per VM

    8 VMs, 8,000

    Heavy Mailboxes

    2 CPU cores,

    14 GB RAM per VM

    8 VMs, 16,000

    Light Mailboxes

    2 CPU cores,

    14 GB RAM per VM

    CPU

    Utilization-Avg9.7% 12.9% 11.8% 11.6% 6.2%

    CPU

    Utilization-Max37.3% 28.9% 39.3% 29.2% 18.5%

    Milliseconds

    250

    200

    150

    100

    50

    04 VMs, 4,000

    Heavy Mailboxes

    2 CPU cores,

    14 GB RAM per VM

    4 VMs, 8,000

    Heavy Mailboxes

    4 CPU cores,

    8 GB RAM per VM

    4 VMs, 8,000

    Heavy Mailboxes

    4 CPU cores,

    14 GB RAM per VM

    8 VMs, 8,000

    Heavy Mailboxes

    2 CPU cores,

    14 GB RAM per VM

    8 VMs, 16,000

    Light Mailboxes

    2 CPU cores,

    14 GB RAM per VM

    Disk IOPS 105 140 115 87 72

    Milliseconds

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    25.0

    20.0

    15.0

    10.0

    5.0

    0.04 VMs, 4,000

    Heavy Mailboxes

    2 CPU cores,

    14 GB RAM per VM

    4 VMs, 8,000

    Heavy Mailboxes

    4 CPU cores,

    8 GB RAM per VM

    4 VMs, 8,000

    Heavy Mailboxes

    4 CPU cores,

    14 GB RAM per VM

    8 VMs, 8,000

    Heavy Mailboxes

    2 CPU cores,

    14 GB RAM per VM

    8 VMs, 16,000

    Light Mailboxes

    2 CPU cores,

    14 GB RAM per VM

    RPC

    Latency-Avg3.3 9.3 5.5 3.8 5.6

    RPC

    Latency-95th %4.8 13.5 8.3 7.1 11.1

    Milliseconds

    XenServer 5.0 Scalability Test Results: RPC Latency

    Perormance CounterTest 4

    8 GB RAM per VM

    Test 5

    14 GB RAM per VMComparative Summary

    SendMail Latency, Average: 28 Ms 28 Ms 14 GB VMs: Same

    SendMail Latency, 95th Percentile: 104 Ms 94 Ms 14 GB VMs: 10% aster

    CPU Utilization, Average: 9.8% 9.7% 14 GB VMs: 0.1% less avg CPU utilization

    CPU Utilization, Max: 24.0% 37.3%14 GB VMs: 13.3% increased CPU

    Max utilization

    Disk IOPS: 115 Ms 105 Ms 14 GB VMs: 31% aster

    RPC Latency, Average: 4.8 Ms 3.3 Ms 14 GB VMs: 31% aster

    RPC Latency, 95th Percentile: 6.5 Ms 4.8 Ms 14 GB VMs: 26% aster

    Test 5: Four VMs, 4,000 heavy user mailboxes, 14 GB RAM

    This test compared the perormance o the virtual server confguration used in test 4, but with 14 GB

    o RAM per VM instead o 8 GB. By increasing RAM to 14 GB, perormance improved in fve out o

    seven categories improved and was the same in one. Only CPU Utilization, Max perormance suered

    any signifcant perormance loss and even then, results were well below maximum acceptable levels.

    Overall, the results showed little change rom the 8 GB VM test.

    Figure 19. Results Comparison Phase One, Tests 4 and 5

    4,000 mailboxes, 4 VMs, 8 GB vs.14 GB per VM

    Conclusion: Increasing vRAM resources appears to have only a slightly positive eect on virtual

    Exchange server perormance in most categories. And in the one category where perormance

    declined, the negative eect was minimal. We thereore conclude that 8 GB o RAM or these VMs

    was more than sufcient or the oered workload and that the expense o adding more vRAM did

    not provide sufcient ROI to warrant the increase.

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    Tests 6 and 7: 8,000 heavy user mailboxes, 8 GB and 14 GB RAM

    In tests 6 and 7, we doubled the number o heavy user mailboxes, rom 4,000 to 8,000. The amount

    o vRAM per VM stayed the same as in tests 4 (8 GB) and 5 (14 GB); however, to handle theincreased mailbox processing workload, we doubled the number o CPU resources rom two cores pe

    VM to our. All perormance results or both 8,000 heavy user mailbox tests were well within Microsots

    recommended perormance guidelines, however perormance with the 14 GB VMs improved in only

    fve o the seven categories. The exceptions were average SendMail latency and CPU utilization-Max

    Figure 20. Results comparison Tests 6 and 7

    Test 6: 8,000 mailboxes, 4VMs each w/4 vCPUs/8 GB vs.

    Test 7: 8,000 mailboxes, 4 VMs each w/4 vCPU/14 GB

    Conclusion: For practical purposes, a SendMail latency average o 36 Ms seen in test 7, when

    compared to Microsots recommended perormance limit o 500 Ms, while not as low as the 5 Ms

    seen in test 6 is still signifcant in its own right. Likewise, a Maximum CPU utilization rate o 39.3

    percent given the 8,000 mailbox workload is great perormance. The dierence o 10 percent rom

    that o test 6 might be explained by the typical variances experienced in a signifcant workload test

    environment and could thereore be considered normal. This all suggests that the results are very

    similar to those we saw when comparing earlier tests, 4 and 5 where we ound that increasing

    RAM resources rom 8 14 GB per VM did not produce the expected perormance ROI. This is

    supported when comparing the results o tests 4 and 6 with that o 5 and 7. When doing so, doubling

    the workload to 8,000 mailboxes is shown to maintain consistently great perormance levels in all

    categories by providing additional CPU resources to handle the workload rather than additional RAM.

    Test 8: 8,000 mailboxes, our 4-core VMs vs. eight 2-core VMs

    Results: The impact o spreading the 8,000 mailbox workload across eight VMs, each with two

    cores vs. 4 VMs with our cores each, increased both average and 95th percentile SendMail latency

    All other perormance counters showed improved perormance in the 8VM test vs. 4 VMs, although

    the improvements were only marginal. Perormance in all seven categories was again, well within

    Microsots recommendations.

    Perormance CounterTest 6

    8 GB RAM per VM

    Test 7

    14 GB RAM per VMComparative Summary

    SendMail Latency, Average: 5 Ms 36 Ms 14 GB VMs: 6.2X slower

    SendMail Latency, 95th Percentile: 164 Ms 124 Ms 14 GB VMs: 24% aster

    CPU Utilization, Average: 12.9% 11.8% 14 GB VMs: 1.1% less avg CPU utilization

    CPU Utilization, Max: 28.9% 39.3%14 GB VMs: 10.4% increased CPU

    Max utilization

    Disk IOPS: 140 Ms 115 Ms 14 GB VMs: 18% aster

    RPC Latency, Average: 9.3 Ms 5.5 Ms 14 GB VMs: 31% aster

    RPC Latency, 95th Percentile: 13.5 Ms 8.3 Ms 14 GB VMs: 38% aster

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    Perormance Counter

    Test 7

    4 CPU cores, 14 GB

    RAM per VM

    Test 8

    2 CPU cores, 14 GB

    RAM per VM

    Comparative Summary

    SendMail Latency, Average: 36 Ms 127 Ms 8 VMs: 2.5X slower

    SendMail Latency, 95th Percentile: 124 Ms 234 Ms 8 VMs: 89% slower

    CPU Utilization, Average: 11.8% 11.6% 8 VMs: 0.2% less avg CPU utilization

    CPU Utilization, Max: 39.3% 29.2% 8 VMs: 10.1% less CPU Max utilization

    Disk IOPS: 115 Ms 87 Ms 8 VMs: 24% aster

    RPC Latency, Average: 5.5 Ms 3.8 Ms 8 VMs: 31% aster

    RPC Latency, 95th Percentile: 8.3 Ms 7.1 Ms 8 VMs: 14% aster

    Figure 21. Results Comparison Tests 7 and 8, 8,000 mailboxes, our 4-core VMs vs. eight 2-core VMs

    Conclusion: SendMail latency was clearly the category most aected by the reduction in vCPU

    resources, even with twice the number o VMs and eectively twice the vRAM per VM. At this

    workload level, the VMs tended to be more CPU than memory-bound. This is most likely due to the

    act that Exchange 2007 uses multi-threading technology whereby perormance improves as the

    overall amount o CPU resource is increased. More CPU in ewer VMs tends to perorm better than

    more VMs with less CPU. The reason why the other perormance categories only showed marginal

    improvement is likely due to the eective use o virtual memory caching which minimizes I/O. RPC

    latency in test 7 was already very low, meaning that I/O levels were minimal to begin with. The

    increase in RAM had minimal ROI.

    Test 9: 16,000 light user mailboxes, eight 2-core, 14 GB VMs

    Result: This test shows that XenServer can easily support Microsots largest mailbox workload per

    CPU core o 1,000 l ight mailboxes per CPU. Since we committed all sixteen available CPUs to this

    workload, a single XenServer host was confgured to support 16,000 simultaneous mailbox users.

    Results in every perormance category measured show that XenServer not only handled the workload,

    but did so with remarkable efciency. SendMail and RPC latency perormance across the board was

    extremely low given the high number o mailboxes. The act that each o the eight VMs was given 14 GB

    o RAM, each o the 2,000 mailboxes eectively had 7 MB o memory cache to work with. This kept

    the disk IO rates down to a bare minimum which would account or an average RPC latency rate o

    only 5.6 percent. At that rate, essentially all I/O activity was managed via memory caching. We easily

    could have had ar less memory to work with and still would have been able to keep SendMail and

    RPC latency numbers within guidelines. Likewise, CPU resources were sufcient or the workload.

    Average CPU utilization was only 6.2 percent and at no time did it ever get beyond 19 percent. Two

    CPU cores or this workload were more than sufcient.

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    Figure 22. Results Test 9, 16,000 mailboxes, eight two-core, 14 GB VMs

    Conclusion: Since this was the only light mailbox user workload tests run in this project, we arent

    able to make any side by side comparisons to the heavy user mailbox tests done earlier. However,

    these results when added to the others, are clear evidence that virtual Exchange Servers using

    XenServer 5.0 are more than capable o handling the maximum recommended workloads regardless

    o whether they are light or heavy. In reality, customers will have users that ft both profles as well as

    in between. XenServer is able to eectively manage any combination o those workloads, regardless

    o the size and quantity, on a single host server. To have done this same test using physical servers

    would have required no ewer than two eight core servers. Virtualization, at a minimum, has eectively

    reduced the Exchange Server 2007 ootprint by 50 percent with no measurable loss in perormance

    Results: Test 10

    XenMotion VM RelocationResult: We were able to successully relocate live XenServer virtual machines running Exchange Server

    2007 in multi-role mode rom one XenServer host to another o the same confguration. This test was

    successully run 27 times, each with the same results: no discernable disruption to Exchange Serve

    operations. LoadGen did not indicate any errors beore, during or ater each migration test.Conclusion: The results demonstrate that the XenMotion eature o XenServer 5.0 is well suited or an

    enterprise class application such as Exchange Server 2007. Exchange administrators using XenServe

    5.0 who seek to perorm hardware maintenance on host servers can expect to fnd XenMotion will

    make the process o migrating live VMs rom one host server to another, easy and eective.

    Perormance Counter

    Test 9

    16,000 Light User Mailboxes,

    2 CPU cores, 14 GB RAM per VM

    SendMail Latency, Average: 44 Ms

    SendMail Latency, 95th Percentile: 154 Ms

    CPU Utilization, Average: 6.2%

    CPU Utilization, Max: 18.5%

    Disk IOPS: 72 Ms

    RPC Latency, Average: 5.6 Ms

    RPC Latency, 95th Percentile: 11.1 Ms

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    Results: Test 11

    XenServer high availability eature testResults:

    Three minutes ater power down the Exchange VM was unctional on the other server. This

    short downtime was expected and with more than one Exchange server in the environment

    disruption would have been limited to only the one virtual Exchange server that was lost and

    even then, or only three minutes as it was being re-started on the other host server. Ater that

    time, all normal unctionality resumed. LoadGen continued to record exceptions/errors or

    roughly 20 minutes. However, there is a solid probability these exceptions were based on how

    LoadGen works create an object and then perorm tasks on that object. Any attempt to

    create an object during that downtime would cause a cascading eect o subsequent tasks

    dependent upon that object ailing. While these exceptions were occurring LoadGen was

    successully completing nearly all other tasks.

    The data showed that the Exchange VM quickly resumed activity and perormance levels

    when ailed over. Resource utilization during these three data sets tracked expectations, no

    severe spikes or drops noted that would indicate issues with Exchange caused by ailover.

    PerMon data or the three categories (prior, at the point o reinstatement and ollowing the

    stabilization period):

    Figure 23. Results Test 11, Level one high availability

    Conclusions: The high availability eature o XenServer 5.0 works well with Exchange Server 2007 to

    provide a quick ailover o Exchange server unctionality in the event o primary server ailure. Theability to automatically detect a virtual Exchange Server ailure, to have the ailed VM restart on the

    other XenServer host and or all normal Exchange Server unctionality to resume in only three minutes

    ater a catastrophic server ailure, is a powerul tool to have in a virtualized Exchange Server arm.

    It is important to note that high availability solutions such as this should be careully implemented and

    should not be done so when other similar orms o high availability are also present, such as Microsots

    (Cluster Continuous Replication) CCR. Doing so could cause major conicts and introduce unknown

    eects, possibly causing the ailure o one or both o the high availability programs.

    Perormance Counter Prior to FailureAt Point o

    Restoration

    Following

    re-stabilizaiton

    RPC Averaged Latency 12.7 Ms 12.3 Ms 11.4 Ms

    Physical Disk Queue Length

    (# elements)0.5 0.48 0.34

    Processor total % processor time 1.1% 1.1% 1.2%

    RAM available 5.516 GB 6.419 GB 6.151 GB

    Exchange Database cache % hit 24.8 Ms 24.8% 24.9%

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    Recommendations and best practices

    XenServer 5.0 provides an excellent oundation or conducting a thorough evaluation test environment

    or Exchange Server 2007. An inherent eature o virtualization is the ease with which application

    platorms like Exchange Server 2007 can be created and manipulated to test a wide range o

    confguration options. Those amiliar with XenServer already know that VMs can be easily built, copied

    and changed with relative ease. The best part is that a ar greater range o options can be tested in

    a virtual lab setting than is possible in a traditional physical server test environment. Then, ollowing a

    careul evaluation and comparison o results vs. expectations, the same lab environment can be easily

    rolled out into a production environment with minimal disruption. Finally, the test environment should be

    maintained so that troubleshooting and testing o new products and eatures can be evaluated, again

    with minimal disruption to the production environment.

    While literally dozens o confguration options are possible in a XenServer virtual lab environment, its

    best to frst narrow the range o options down to something manageable and that can be tested in

    a relatively short period o time. One thing we discovered was that with LoadGen, one o the more

    signifcant actors when it comes to test time is the initialization process, conducted prior to the start o

    the actual testing itsel. During the initialization period, LoadGen is building the Exchange environment

    including the individual mailboxes and the properties required or it to perorm all necessary unctions

    typically ound in an Exchange Server 2007 environment. While it might only take a ew hours to

    initialize a 500 or 1,000 mailbox test environment, larger mailbox confgurations might require one or

    more days. Thereore, you might want to consider keeping the initial size o the tests to a small number

    frst beore settling on the confguration(s) youll want to test or scalability.

    With minimal hardware investment, available evaluation sotware rom Microsot and Citrix (evaluationlicenses) or XenServer 5.0 can be easily downloaded by going to www.citrix.com and selecting

    XenServer). A very important aspect o establishing the test environment is storage confguration.

    Microsot has an easy-to-use storage confguration tool or Exchange Server available rom

    http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2007/01/15/432207.aspx. There are other similar tools

    available rom various storage vendors as well. The most important aspect o the tool is its ability to

    confgure storage specifcally or Exchange Server 2007. Due to the dierences between Exchange

    Server 2007 and 2003, tools previously used or Exchange Server 2003 will no longer provide an

    accurate storage confguration.

    As was previously mentioned, one o the undamental changes with Exchange Server 2007 is the

    ability to deploy individual role servers rather than the combined multi-role servers that were necessary

    with Exchange Server 2003. While not a requirement (customers can still use multi-role servers i they

    so choose), Microsot suggests that those customers having ewer than 500 mailboxes might stillwant to go this route. The benefts that come with separating Exchange Server roles typically come

    with deployments o more than 500 mailboxes. Customers currently using multi-role Exchange 2003

    servers will fnd that a XenServer virtual lab environment is an excellent way o learning how these

    individual server roles are confgured and interact with each other, with storage and other components

    such as Active Directory. However, without some o these servers actually connecting to users outside

    the frewall, to the internet, etc., you wont get a true sense o the demands placed on them in a sel-

    contained lab. Nonetheless, it is a worthwhile eort to test out these server roles.

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    Based on our own experience virtualizing Exchange Server 2007 with XenServer 5.0, we oer theollowing suggestions to consider when developing your own test environment and related test plans:

    Exchange Server 2007, with its 64-bit architecture and multi-threading capabilities, will tend

    to beneft more when CPU resources are available in larger amounts over a smaller number o

    VMs rather than the other way around. This is likely due to the way the Microsot splits the tasks

    perormed by Exchange Server 2007 across the CPU core stack. More CPU cores tend to lead

    to more processing efciency. At the same time, there is an obvious beneft to spreading out the

    overall workload over a larger number o virtual servers rather than a ew. This is no dierent than it

    is or physical servers. Should a physical or virtual server ail, only those sessions and users served

    by the ailed server are generally aected. Thereore, we recommend that you should attempt to

    balance the need or both when making a decision o how many virtual servers to use, leaning

    towards the solution that best meets your overall business needs.

    Exchange Server 2007 is ar more efcient at using virtual memory caching to reduce the overall I/Orate, as seen in the test results we obtained. Many o the Disk IOPS and other latency related test

    results were in the single digits, indicating that most, i not all storage IO was being handled via

    memory caching. Yet, it was also shown in these results that once the amount o memory necessary

    to perorm this unction was met, additional memory provided no incremental beneft. Thereore, your

    tests should attempt to fnd out what the appropriate amount o RAM necessary or your specifc

    environment is and avoid adding more than necessary where the ROI just isnt there to be had.

    High availability is always a key actor in any Exchange Server environment. This is no less true

    when virtualizing Exchange Server 2007 using XenServer 5.0. The two eatures o XenServer that

    add to high availability, XenMotion and Automated high availability ailover, should both be tested

    and taken into consideration when developing your HA/DR test plans. Both o these XenServer

    eatures have been proven to be very eective in an Exchange Server 2007 environment.

    Ultimately, the overall confguration that customers will settle on will require several rounds o testingprior to deployment. One o the advantages o XenServer virtualization or Exchange Server 2007 is the

    ability to go rom testing to production in a calculated manner. Not only is it not necessary to virtualize

    everything all at the same time, i ts essentially not a good idea. For example, o the fve Exchange

    Server 2007 roles, one o those server roles, the Unifed Messaging Server, is not ideally suited to being

    virtualized. This is due to the act that UM servers act as the bridge between the e-mail platorm and

    the companys PBX and voice mail system. Unifed messaging, by design, is extremely sensitive to

    quality o service (QoS) conditions, usually in combination with a companys VoiP network. Virtualized

    servers act very dierently than physical servers when it comes to timing which thereore is a potential

    cause or disruption in environments where QoS must be continually guaranteed, such as with voice

    messaging. Thereore, we dont recommend that customers who elect to deploy their Exchange

    2007 servers in individual server roles, virtualize their UM servers. On the other hand, other individual

    Exchange Server unctions should virtualize very well. The ollowing is an example o how a customers

    Exchange Server 2007 environment might look when virtualizing.

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    Figure 24. Example: Native Exchange Server 2007 Farm

    In this diagram, the typical Exchange Server 2007 environment might have any combination o single

    role servers. While the use o multi-role servers is still permitted, the separation o Exchange Server

    unctions has distinct benefts (discussed earlier). The number o servers in each o these roles will

    depend on the demand or the specifc services, however all are required in some number with the

    exception o Unifed Messaging servers. UM servers are not necessary i customers choose not to

    provide users access to their PBX and voicemail systems via e-mail and vice versa.

    In this example, a customer using each o these server unctions supporting 6,000 heavy user

    mailboxes might have as many as fteen physical servers to eectively distribute the workload. These

    servers would have the maximum level o CPU and RAM resources recommended, 8 CPU cores and32 GB RAM. We elected to have one CPU core and 4 GB RAM or every 250 mailboxes in the mailbox

    servers, and a corresponding number o CA, HT, ET and UM servers. This is in the mid-range o the

    recommended load or heavy users. Thereore, each group o fve servers could eectively support

    2,000 users; fteen physical servers in all.

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    Figure 25. Example: Virtualized Exchange Server 2007 Farm

    This diagram reects how a customer might want to approach virtualizing their Exchange Server 2007

    arm with XenServer 5.0. The most apparent dierence is in the number o physical servers required to

    manage the workload. In this case, six servers, three each or UM and three acting as XenServer hosts,

    is all that is required. With the exception o the UM servers (or reasons discussed earlier), all other

    Exchange Server unctions can be accomplished with virtual Exchange Servers. Each o the XenServer

    hosts has 16 CPU cores and 64 GB o RAM available to be assigned to VMs. While this is two times

    the maximum size recommended by Microsot or physical servers, this works perectly or

    virtualization. Each o the virtual Exchange Servers can be confgured to operate within Microsots

    recommendations. For the purpose o this example, we chose to lower the number o mailboxes per CPU

    to 125 and spread the workload over a larger number o VMs. As was stated in the test results earlier,

    there are benefts to having ewer VMs with more resources per VM vs. spreading workloads over a

    larger pool o VMs. Since this example will demonstrate the potential to reduce the overall number o

    physical servers required to manage the same workload as in the previous example (6,000 heavy user

    mailboxes), we chose to have a larger pool o VMs each managing smaller workloads. In this case, the

    number o virtual Exchange Server VMs in the XenServer pool is 24. The Exchange administrator now

    has the ability to assign as many as eight o these VMs per host server, eectively providing the same

    overall Exchange Server 2007 workload on six physical servers as the fteen physical servers in the

    previous example. Even i the Exchange administrator wanted to lower the number o VMs per host

    server to only our, that would still require only nine physical servers, rather than fteen.

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    In terms o increased availability, as we demonstrated earlier, XenServer 5.0 provides live virtual

    Exchange Server migration rom one host server to another, allowing or server maintenance to be

    perormed with less impact to users and with less management time or IT. We also demonstrated that

    when using the automated high availability ailover eature o XenServer 5.0, even with the catastrophicailure o a virtual Exchange Server occurs, recovery o the ailed VM can take place in only minutes,

    again, with little overall disruption to users. The need to have as many as thirty physical servers or a

    ully-duplicated environment in the previous example no longer exists.

    Is this the scenario that a customer would want to implement when virtualizing right rom the start?

    Likely not. Customers should frst test this and other possible virtualization confgurations in their virtual

    lab and then decide on an implementation plan that will allow them to migrate rom physical to virtual

    computing at a rate that makes the most sense or them. Virtualization using XenServer 5.0 makes this

    easy to do. Further, depending on whether customers are upgrading rom Exchange Server 2003 or have

    already upgraded to Exchange Server 2007, will present a dierent set o opportunities and options.

    The most important thing to take away rom these recommendations perhaps is the knowledge that

    virtualization o Exchange Server 2007 is not only possible, but in most cases should also be quite

    benefcial. The next most important thing to take away would be the realization that virtualization o

    Exchange Server 2007 isnt a one-size-fts-all proposition and requires careul planning and testing

    prior to implementation. It is our hope that this white paper will serve to provide valuable assistance to

    those customers who have determined that virtualizing their Exchange Server 2007 environment has

    the potential or numerous strategic and operational benefts to their IT service delivery.

    SummaryVirtualization can add operational exibility and optimize resource utilization or most organizations

    Microsot Exchange 2007 deployments. Citrix XenServer 5 provides unprecedented TCO gains via

    bare-metal perormance, and increases the scalability and responsiveness o the Exchange platorm.Rather than oering trade-os between perormance and exibility, XenServer allows IT organizations

    to maximize both perormance and manageability.

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    About Citrix

    Citrix Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:CTXS) is the global leader and the most t rusted name in application delivery. More than 215,000

    organizations worldwide rely on Citrix to deliver any application to users anywhere with the best perormance, highest security and

    lowest cost. Citrix customers include 100 percent o the Fortune 100 companies and 99 percent o the Fortune Global 500, as well

    as hundreds o thousands o small businesses and prosumers. Citrix has approximately 8,000 partners in more than 100 countries.

    Annual revenue in 2007 was $1.4 billion.

    2008 Citrix Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. Citrix, ICA, Citrix Delivery Center, Citrix XenApp, Citrix XenServer, Citrix NetScaler, Citrix XenDesktop, Citrix Workow

    Studio

    , Citrix Access Gateway

    , Citrix EdgeSight

    , Citrix Password Manager

    , Citrix Branch Repeater

    , Citrix WANScaler

    , Citrix Application Receiver

    and Citrix DesktopReceiver are trademarks o Citrix Systems, Inc. and/or one or more o its subsidiaries, and may be registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Ofce andin other countries. Microsot and Windows, are registered trademarks o Microsot Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other trademarks and registeredtrademarks are property o their respective owners.

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