Server Consolidation Strategies Using Exchange Server 2003


Topic Last Modified: 2005-05-18

By using Microsoft® Exchange Server 2003, an organization can improve its level of service through increased system reliability. In addition, an organization can create a highly flexible infrastructure so that future growth can happen in a controlled way.

Organizations that deploy Exchange 2003 can achieve these objectives by using the following general strategies:

  • Consolidate multiple small servers on fewer large servers   You can use Exchange 2003 to accommodate more users per server than by using any previous version of Exchange, while maintaining usable backup windows. Exchange 2003 runs on Windows Server™ 2003 clusters with up to eight nodes. Backup agents can use the new Volume Shadow Copy service available in Windows Server 2003 to greatly reduce the time required for Exchange 2003 backup operations. Exchange 2003 also features a Recovery Storage Group and a Mailbox Recovery Center. You can use the Recovery Storage Group to restore individual mailboxes from a database backup quickly and conveniently. The Mailbox Recovery Center, on the other hand, provides bulk reconnection of mailboxes to the appropriate users in Active Directory®, which supports disaster recovery scenarios.

  • Physically move servers from multiple geographic locations to one central location   This approach is often referred to as site consolidation and entails placing all servers in a data center. Outlook® 2003 enables site consolidation in an Exchange 2003 organization. With over-the-wire MAPI compression and client-side caching in Exchange cached mode, Outlook 2003 is more resilient under unstable network conditions and requires less network bandwidth than any previous version of Outlook 2003. Site consolidation helps to lower administrative overhead, and makes it easier for information workers to access messaging resources when they work remotely.

  • Automate the maintenance of multiple servers using a reduced number of management interfaces   This approach is sometimes referred to as virtual consolidation, which means managing multiple servers as one virtual server system. Individual servers may reside in a data center or in different geographic locations. Integration with Active Directory and new administration tools, such as Exchange 2003 Management Pack (Exchange Management Pack.akm) for Microsoft Operations Manager, are key catalysts for virtual consolidation in Exchange 2003 organizations. For example, Exchange Management Pack.akm, included in Exchange 2003, enables organizations to monitor the performance, availability, and security of all Exchange servers in the organization from a single Microsoft Operations Manager console or Web page.