VMware Solutions Discussions

Exchange 2003 layout on NFS


Just finished first NFS deployment and am wondering how to lay out our Exchange server.  With our Exchange deployment on FC we made 3 separate volumes: mail (for OS +Queues), mail_sg1 (database), and mail_logs (logs).  Our exchange on the FC environment is backed up via Snapmanager for Exchange and I believe they require separation of volumes as such.  We do not have SME for the NFS environment and I am not sure what we are going to use just yet. 

We will be using Snapmirror to replicate the volumes and one caveat I noticed with the information store and logs being on different volumes is on the destination end of Snapmirror when attempting to restore the logs and DB will be out of synch.  For example an information store from 12:00 and logs from 12:05 which I still haven't found a solution to.

Anyone have thoughts as to how they laid out their Exchange on NFS? Should I bother separating the volumes or just keep them all together?  Also would appreciate feedback for Snapmirror issue as well.




NFS on Windows does not appear to be a supported configuration.



Hmm, not sure what you are talking about:

1) 'Plain' (i.e. physical) Microsoft environment? Then so far NFS is a no no as a connectivity protocol.

2) Virtualised Exchange running on top of VMware? Then at the moment NFS is fine for OS images, but your data disks still should use either FC, or iSCSI (very good doc describing detailed setup - http://www.netapp.com/us/library/technical-reports/tr-3785.html)




Yes, sorry I didn't make it clear.  It will be a virtual exchange 2003 server on NFS storage. It is also for a small office deployment and its load will be relatively light.  A far cry from this technical paper.  This paper is aimed around an enormous deployment as well as using Exchange 2007.  I think it is safe to put on NFS and I will determine the volume separation based on the backup strategy.


The current best practices for Exchange on VMware state that Raw Device Mappings over FC or iSCSI (or MS iSCSI initiator from VM guest) are required for provisioning storage for Exchange mailstores & logs.

In theory, if you ignore above & do the lot via NFS, you may try to leverage SMVI for creating app-consistent snapshot via VMware Tools stack & VSS integration. Few more thoughts could be found here:






I would keep the same ideas of separate volumes, especially for logs.  You want logs to be separate for recovery purposes, plus you will probably want different snapshot schedules, etc.

If you think about it, doing VMs over NFS isn't that different functionally than doing LUNs on NetApp.   Both virtualize LUNs as files.  So I would set it up exactly the same.


I am entertaining the idea of a software iSCSI connection for the Exchange server database/logs.  I think we can afford the CPU overhead.  My concern is available interfaces. The low priority servers will reside on Vmware via NFS.  If I set up the Exchange Server on software iscsi will this be able to run side by side with NFS? Will I need anything else to use RDMs with the Exchange server (like Snapdrive


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