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I am deploying Exchange 2010 on a single server on my VMware/SAN. We have about 100 mailboxes. I will be using normal VMDK disks, so my question is about the disk design. Should I put everything on the same single VMDK? Should I make two, one for OS and one for the database/logs? Or should I make three and separate out the logs too? Should the VMDKs be on separate LUNs?

Thanks!!

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3 Answers

Best practices are to separate the pagefile, databases, and logs onto separate spindles. This means putting three separate VMDKs on three separate LUNs. For 100 users, you might not need to do this. That's not a ton, but you should still be using perfmon (or similar) to profile your server's storage/RAM requirements. If you are, you'll know how many IOPS you need and then the underlying disk geometry becomes a simple math equation.

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If you used the Microsoft spreadsheet to calculate your luns, I would match that. If the spreadsheet calls for 4 luns or something like that, I would create a vmdk for each lun and would probably put each vmdk in their own lun. This would largely depend upon what kind of disk system / san you are running and a host of other factors.

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For 100 users, my VMWare-based Exchange systems look like this...

[VMDK] - 72GB thin-provisioned for operating system

[VMDK] - 40GB thin-provisioned for Exchange Logs

[VMDK] - 200GB+ thin or thick-provisioned for Exchange Database

Don't get carried away with trying to outsmart your hypervisor's scheduler. I highly doubt that your setup would be much of a strain on a proper SAN (although, you neglected to mention the make/model of your storage...)

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