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9
Hardware and Performance
Exchange has always made demands on server hardware. As a complex data-
base application, Exchange generates demand for CPU, memory, and stor-
age—the trinity of system resources that a server must be able to provide
before Exchange can perform. Exchange also generates load on the net-
work, so that is another thing to take into account when you look at the
overall system. In this chapter, we discuss how to achieve a balanced system
configuration for Exchange.
In some respects, any attempt to give advice about what type of hard-
ware to use for Exchange 2007 is a mug’s game. Advice given in mid-2007
is doomed to failure because hardware specifications change so rapidly and
the workload differs so much from company to company. Please keep this
point in mind as you go through this chapter.
9.1 Moving toward 64-bit Exchange
Microsoft supports Exchange 2007 only on the 64-bit version of Windows
running on an x64 server, so you will end up running some or all of your
infrastructure on 64-bit hardware, including any third-party products that
you need to support Exchange. The big that question you have to answer as
you approach a deployment of Exchange 2007 is when to make the
changeover to the 64-bit platform. If you run large enterprise Exchange
2000 or 2003 servers, you are probably interested in moving early so that
you can take advantage of the higher scalability and consolidation opportu-
nities that Exchange 2007 permits. However, if you are not in that league,
the answer about when to move depends on your own situation and you
have to analyze what benefit the 64-bit Windows platform and its associ-
ated applications will deliver for you. Here are some items to consider:
868 9.1 Moving toward 64-bit Exchange
Is your server hardware platform due for a refresh? If yes, as both the
AMD and Intel server platforms have been 64-bit capable since mid-
2005, then you probably have suitable servers anyway. Buying and
deploying suitable hardware now even if you do not plan to deploy
Exchange 2007 or another 64-bit application is a sensible first step
towards a full 64-bit environment.
Do you need the extra performance? If your current Exchange 2003
servers are running smoothly and do not need any performance
boost, then you may not need to go to 64-bit in the short term. Of
course, maintenance contracts and the availability of support for
Exchange 2003 will eventually force the upgrade.
Have you encountered some scalability problems such as I/O bottle-
necks, kernel mode exhaustion, or virtual memory fragmentation
(especially on clusters)? If so, then an early move to Exchange 2007 is
a good idea.
Do you have the opportunity to consolidate servers during your
Exchange 2007 deployment? A single 64-bit Exchange 2007 server
can host the load of several 32-bit Exchange 2003 (or earlier) servers,
so you may have the chance to reduce costs and the overall complex-
ity of your IT infrastructure through server consolidation. However,
remember the wisdom to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket
and consider how any consolidation project will affect your ability to
recover from a hardware failure.
Will your software license costs increase? Assuming that you are not
going to save money through server consolidation (and so require
fewer server licenses for Windows, Exchange, and other software),
introducing some new 64-bit Windows and Exchange servers may
increase your costs. Note that you do not need the Enterprise Edition
of Windows in most cases as the standard edition of Windows sup-
ports up to 4 processors and up to 32GB of memory, which is more
than enough to handle most requirements.
Can the rest of your supporting environment for Exchange run on
the Windows 64-bit platform? Microsoft has done a good job of
ensuring that Windows and Exchange can both exploit a 64-bit
server, but the vast majority of Exchange servers use other software
from anti-virus packages to fax connectors. Before you deploy
Exchange on a new platform, you have to be sure that the complete
picture exists. While there is no doubt that ISVs will upgrade their
software to support the 64-bit platform, they may not be as fast as

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