Exchange Server support in a Hyper-V virtual machine

Virtualisation is great but it’s not a “one size fits all” solution – some workloads just don’t make sense for virtualisation.

For many organisations, Exchange Server is one such workload but there are scenarios when it might be appropriate – at least for part of the messaging infrastructure. Up until now it’s been unsupported (in any case, Exchange Server 2007 requires a 64-bit platform, and that wasn’t available on a Microsoft virtualisation platform before the advent of Hyper-V) but Microsoft is running some of its Exchange Servers on Hyper-V and, as Andrew “Dugie” Dugdell commented a few days back, Exchange Server support for Hyper-V is on its way.

In a Hyper-V briefing last week, I asked Bryon Surace, a Senior Product Manager for Microsoft’s Windows Server Virtualization group, to clarify the situation with regards to Exchange Server support on Hyper-V and he explained that support for virtualisation is part of Microsoft’s common engineering criteria for 2008:

Windows Server virtualization Support
Each server product must be capable of running within a Virtual Machine (VM) as provided by [Hyper-V] on Windows Server [2008]. Each server product must handle escalation and support running in a VM at the same level as was the product running directly on Windows Server.”

Some of the product teams are still testing their products on Hyper-V but, according to Surace, Exchange is supported but recommendations are to follow on implementation (the Exchange Server product team committed to an announcement within 60 days of Hyper-V’s RTM including a detailed support statement for Hyper-V, and a TechNet article with best practices).

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