Thursday, October 27, 2011

Leveraging Converged Infrastructure To Deliver Microsoft Exchange 2010

The Critical Communications Tool
While we hear a lot about new communications technologies for most of us email is the tool that we use everyday. For end users email is still the most efficient way to communicate globally but for the IT department email can be a difficult application to deploy and manage. Guaranteeing performance and availability for an increasingly mobile workforce, while keeping costs in check is a challenge. Organizations are challenged with the time required to manage email delivery systems. Time is spent on installation and configuration of software and the supporting infrastructure. Much of an organization staff can be consumed by routine tasks driving up the cost of ownership. It can be difficult to determine what infrastructure is required to scale up as the number of users increases. As email becomes more feature rich supporting large numbers of power users creates increasing demands on the systems. Organizations want predictable operation and support for their entire solution. They want to be sure that they are maximizing system resource utilization and eliminating server underutilization while delivering a superior user experience.

Making the Move to Exchange 2010
With Exchange Server 2010, Microsoft has made significant changes in the architecture to address the growing need of businesses to increase mailbox quotas, drive down storage and IT costs, provide a high degree of availability, meet regulatory requirements for data retention and compliance, and enhance the productivity. To take advantage of the new HA, DR and archiving functionalities, IT organizations may have to look at a new platform, and re-architect the Exchange environment. Changes in how storage is managed creates the incentive to change the storage infrastructure. The new database availability group (DAG) functionality requires Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition, requiring an upgrade to 64-bit server hardware. The Single Instance Storage (SIS) feature that reduced redundancy by storing only a single copy of an email or attachment has been eliminated increasing storage requirements.

IT Organizations Need a Better Choice
IT needs more flexibility and agility in deploying and managing the email infrastructure. As organizations look to move to Exchange 2010 to accommodate new storage options, gain better performance and larger mailbox sizes, they are seeking new platform options to ensure a satisfactory user experience. Many organizations are looking at converged infrastructure platforms to run Microsoft Exchange. With converged infrastructure platform that leverages virtualization organizations can deliver email to their end users, quickly and effectively. They get a single platform containing everything they need to deliver a flexible, scalable email and collaboration system—and a single number to call should anything go wrong. These systems deliver significant cost savings: lower capital expenses, by cutting the number of servers and network switches; and lower operating expenses, by requiring less space and less power to run, and consolidating management across the system.

It’s Time to Make the Move
With an increasingly competitive, global marketplace, businesses realize that now more than ever, they must ensure their employees have access to mission-critical applications like email and collaboration—anywhere, anytime, and on any device. Virtualization can make delivery more flexible and cost effective, and companies must trust that the system they use is secure, reliable and scalable. A dynamic, adaptable converged infrastructure solution can help IT reduce the uncertainties associated with virtualizing mission-critical applications; lower total cost of ownership; respond more quickly to business needs; support Service Level Agreements (SLAs); and increase efficiency, reliability and performance through integrated and automated management.

To learn more see, Meeting the Future with a Converged Infrastructure: Delivering Applications for the 21st Century by Melanie Turek of Frost & Sullivan.

Backstory: This was my last blog for VCE. I worked with Melanie to get the paper written. I did the research and provided her with information on the issues that customers face and the benefits of running Exchange and Sharepoint on the Vblock Platform and reviewed the paper for accuracy and impact. This paper was done to support the release of testing done to validate the performace of Exchange and Sharepoint on the Vblock Platform.

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