Virtualizing Exchange with VMware
Enjoy Full Microsoft Support
Microsoft officially supports Windows Server and Server products running on VMware ESX. This includes Windows Server 2000 SP4, Windows Server 2003 SP2 or later, and Windows Server 2008 and specialty roles provided by the operating system such as Active Directory or File Services. Major applications that are supported include Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server and SharePoint Server. Microsoft has published a complete list of supported applications, and continues to update it. Supported ESX configurations are also listed.
VMware ESX was the first hypervisor to be validated under the Microsoft Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP), providing customers who run Windows Server and Microsoft applications with cooperative support from Microsoft and VMware. Customers can now run Exchange on VMware with the peace of mind that they will receive the support they need.
- Blog: Scale-Out Performance of Exchange 2010 Mailbox Server VMs on vSphere
- Blog: Exchange 2010 Scale-Up Performance on vSphere.
- Blog: 16,000 Exchange Mailboxes, 1 Server
- White Paper: Secure and Consolidate 16,000 Exchange Users Solution on a VMware/EMC Environment PDF
- VMware Technical Community for Virtualizing Exchange, Domino, and BlackBerry
Microsoft Adopts vMotion-Friendly Licensing
Microsoft licensing has recently been modified to allow customers to reassign licenses between physical servers as frequently as desired. In the past, licenses could only be reassigned once every 90 days, limiting the benefits of vMotion. The new licensing flexibility enables efficient use of vMotion for Windows Server and major applications including Exchange, SQL Server and SharePoint Server.
Non SVVP-Validated Configurations
What happens if you are running a non SVVP-validated configuration of ESX and Microsoft products? Customers routinely tell us they still receive the Microsoft support benefits. Support options vary, however, depending on how customers purchase VMware and Microsoft products.
The following scenarios are common:
Scenario 1: VMware software was originally purchased through a server OEM
Server resellers including Dell, Fujitsu, Fujitsu-Siemens, HP, IBM and Unisys offer end-to-end support for Microsoft software running on their servers and VMware if VMware products are purchased with the server hardware and are covered by a valid support agreement with the server reseller. This provides customers one-stop support via the server reseller if an issue arises. See Support for Microsoft Software in VMware Virtual Machines for more details.
Scenario 2: VMware software was originally purchased direct from VMware or a VMware authorized reseller and the customer has a valid Microsoft Premier-level support agreement
Microsoft states that it will use “commercially reasonable efforts” to support its products running on VMware virtual machines. Customers regularly tell us that Microsoft’s commercially reasonable efforts are effective and appropriate to maintain operations as planned. There may be confusion within Microsoft’s field and channel organizations regarding the scope of support that can be provided, and in some cases, customers may perceive that “commercially reasonable efforts” will not meet their expectations. In general, Microsoft offers its large customers excellent support for their products running on VMware. Microsoft’s policy states that after such efforts are exhausted, Microsoft support specialists may request that customers replicate the issue on a physical machine in order to proceed with the investigation. See Microsoft KB 897615 for more details.
Scenario 3: VMware software was originally purchased direct from VMware or a VMware authorized reseller and the customer does not have a Microsoft Premier-level support agreement
Microsoft’s level of support for these customers can be more restrictive. Before providing support, Microsoft specialists may request that customers first replicate the issue on a physical machine per Microsoft KB 897615.