Conclusion to Exchange Server 2003 Server Consolidation


Topic Last Modified: 2005-05-18

Microsoft® Exchange Server 2003 addresses the needs of small, medium, and large organizations, and server consolidation based on a deployment of Exchange 2003 can lead to significant cost savings in messaging operations. The decision to consolidate messaging servers should be based on an assessment of the current infrastructure. You must take an inventory of the existing server infrastructure, determine servers' capacity and workload, and document support and management processes. The assessment should also reveal the cost of managing and maintaining the existing infrastructure. Based on this information, you can identify server consolidation opportunities, business and technology priorities, and the required capacity for the consolidated environment. You are then prepared to make trade-offs between schedule, budget, priorities (including high availability), and infrastructure flexibility. The new environment's design should be based on research on appropriate options for managing and maintaining a consolidated infrastructure in terms of capacity, fault tolerance requirements, and future growth.

By using a basic outline of the new environment, an organization can start developing actual deployment plans. This typically includes identifying the business impact of each of the consolidation alternatives, including an assessment of organizational roles and responsibilities, risks, budget, and desired results during and after the consolidation. Your planning process should include pilot projects that verify the network and infrastructure design, as well as hardware and software requirements. It should also acknowledge any technical limitations and risks. User and data migration plans should detail the procedures for moving users and data to the new environment, and include a detailed deployment schedule and contingency plan to address possible issues. When you implement the new consolidated production environment, do not forget to document the configuration of servers, as well as the post-consolidation management procedures. Before migrating users and data to the new environment, ensure that appropriate backups and contingency plans are in place. It is a good idea to perform the migration in small and manageable steps, adhering to a detailed schedule. You might view each step of the migration as a test of the consolidated environment. When the transition to the new environment is complete, evaluate the results of the consolidation project, including costs and maintenance procedures. A periodic re-evaluation of the consolidation can help to identify opportunities for optimization. Finally, remember that you cannot limit a comprehensive strategy to the process of consolidating an existing environment. Your strategy must also contain a set of standards and policies to maintain a consolidated environment.