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At the moment I only have one machine available to me that is already hosting Exchange Server 2003 on it. I am going to be developing an ASP.NET website (possibly using MVC framework) which is going to be interacting with SQL Server Express Edition. My only option at the moment would be to host the website on the same machine.

I have read in articles that it isn't a great idea to be running SQL Server & IIS on the same machine....but its plausible (with perhaps the loss of some performance).

So my question is, taking into consideration all of the above, is this a recipe for disaster or should it be ok?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

You can happily run an site on the same server as Exchange 2003, however there are a few things to bear in mind, that may have an impact on your decision:

  • Your site needs to be secure, if its compromised your not only giving the attacker access to your webhost, but to your exchange organisation too, you could also be opening the server up for spam use
  • Exchange can be memory hungry, make sure you have enough resources to supply exchange and your app.
  • It's likely you'll be using SSL for OWA, therefore if you need SSL for your application, you will need another IP
  • Should your exchange server come under heavy load (large quantities of email spam etc), this will have a detrimental effect on your app.
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I believe at the moment this is a temporary solution, I think ideally eventually it will be 3 servers (Exchange, Website, SQL). So by the sounds of it I should be ok to run it for the moment. – James Nov 6 '09 at 12:46
It isn't Exchange "can be" hungry, more like "exchange is hungry". IIRC Exchange likes to be the memory management mechanism for whatever server it is on controlling the resources as much as it can. Although if you're looking at all 3 of those services you may wish to consider Small Business Server. It was built for exactly this purpose. – sparks Nov 6 '09 at 14:33

In addition to Sam's comments, the other big squak about running IIS and SQL on the same box is security related. One camp is vehement that it's a security risk to have them both on the same box, opponents to that argue that once you have access to the web server you'll have access to the database. It would make me a touch uneasy to have my mail server compromised, given the nature of mail, should an attacker get in through IIS or SQL but that's a risk you'd have to weigh for yourself.

Just something to keep in mind.

I agree with Sam that you shouldn't have any real problems from a config perspective. You should be fine running them side by side, especially if it's a temporary situation that you have some hope of overcoming in the near future. Definitely watch the resources, though!

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+1 definetly a valid point. This for me is the main concern (other than the resources). Putting all your eggs in one basket has never been a solution of mine, however, for this particular scenario needs must. – James Nov 9 '09 at 22:54

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