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We currently have an Exchange 2003 clustered environment (two machine cluster) that we're looking to upgrade to 2010. We recently purchased a VMWare virtualization environment (three Dell R710's with an EMC NS-120 serving up NFS datastores - iSCSI is available) that we wish to use for this new environment. I'm seeing that Microsoft does not support Exchange 2010 DAGs with a virtualization high availability solution (see links below). I would like to utilize the DAG to ensure the data stays available if one host goes down, and HA to ensure that if the physical host goes down, the VM will come back up on the other available host.

  • Does anybody know why MS does not support this? VMWare HA will only restart the VM if it is hung/down - I don't see any difference between this and restarting the physical box if someone pulled the power...
  • Will we only run into issues with support if it has something to do with HA/DAG failover or will they see we have HA and tell us to put it on a physical box even if it has nothing to do with HA?
  • If we disable HA for these VM's will that satisfy them on a support case?
  • Has anybody set up an Exchange 2010 DAG on VMware with HA enabled?
  • Will they have any issues with using an NFS datastore? We have much greater flexibility on the EMC with NFS vs iSCSI, so I would prefer to continue utilizing that.

Thanks for any input! Take a look at the second image under "Not Supported" "Microsoft doesn't support combining Exchange high availability solutions (database availability groups (DAGs)) with hypervisor-based clustering, high availability, or migration solutions. DAGs are supported in hardware virtualization environments provided that the virtualization environment doesn't employ clustered root servers."

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There's a point where too much clustering and redundency just leaves you with greater down-time due to technical problems and unexpected behavior. This definitely runs over that line (IMO). VMWare HA on its own would be a suitable solution for you. Layering additional availability solutions together is a recipe for extreme pain. – Chris Thorpe May 19 '10 at 17:11
VMWare HA will not cover an issue with the OS getting clobbered somehow, nor will it give me the nice data redundancy that the DAG offers. That being said, it would be nice to have HA on the VM just in case, but it's not a showstopper for me if I have to disable it on these two VM's (which is entirely possible with vSphere 4U1). – Dan May 19 '10 at 17:47
up vote 3 down vote accepted

You might be happy to know that, as of today, this is now fully supported by Microsoft in Exchange 2010 SP1

share|improve this answer
Awesome! Good to know, thanks! :-) – Dan May 17 '11 at 11:48

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