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EV design thoughts

Created: 18 Apr 2013 • Updated: 05 May 2013 | 7 comments
KeirL's picture
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I'm looking for a couple of design thoughts on an EV solution exchange 2010 archiving across three sites.

Firstly these sites are global  (UK, US and New Zealand) with a total of 15,000 mailboxes (two thirds in US and the remaining one third split evenly between UK and NZ.

A single EVsite with directory database in US?...... what would be the pros and cons of having an EVsite per territory?

The US has 10000 mailboxes so I'm thinking 3 x mailbox servers as opposed to 2?  Plus 1 for journaling (approx 100,000 emails per day). Client also looking for e-discovery so a seperate server for DA?  would an indexing server be suitable here?? 

UK and NZ have circa 2500 mailboxes each so only 1 mailbox server, 1 for journaling at each location and 1 for DA

Each site has local SQL clusters already so I'm planning a single VSG per territory with SIS sharing at group level. Is there a 'rule of thumb' on number of vault stores for 10000 mailboxes (US location) perhaps based on number of DAG members\databses? seperate vault store for Journal but still within the same VSG?

Any thoughts and ideas greatfully accepted.



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JesusWept3's picture

Honestly I think you're best off with seperate sites for each, especially considering New Zealand and the costs for bandwidth as well as bandwidth speed itself would not be desirable

I have seen other orgs do a single directory installation across multiple geo's and it's very rarely been a positive thing and breaking a site in to multiple sites can be time consuming and difficult

TonySterling's picture

Agreed with JW3, I would recommend seperate sites by geo as well.  There are too many issues a single directory can introduce than problems solved.

KeirL's picture

many thanks guys

everything else seem ok?  3 x Mailbox servers for 10,000 mbx - I tend to have a rule of thumb saying no more thsn 5000 mailboxes per ev server.

Do you have a rule of thumb for max number of archives per Vault Store?

What would be your view on the need for an indexing server in US? Perhaps if three EV servers instead of two then this would share the load better and negate the need for an indexing server?



GertjanA's picture

Hello Keir,

Real world example:

I'm running an EV environment where 1 EV server handles 2 Exchangservers (18 exchangeservers, 9 mail-archiving EV servers, 4 exchange server hosting journal mailboxes only, 4 EV Journal archiving servers. SQL = 3+1 cluster, using mirroring. Setup is fully DR, with USL). This totals approximatley 11000 mailboxes for 1 EV-server (like you we try to keep 5000 mailboxes per exchange-server). We're running EV9 btw.

We have 1 store per EV server, so a store has about 12000 to 13000 archives (removed users/groupmailboxes etc). This runs fine. However, these are 16-core/32GB ram servers. We're running a policy doing items older than 30 days, then quota (free space to be 30%). We perform a full pass in 2 days (ie archive all the mailboxes) taken in account our archiving window is from 19:00 to 22:00, then from 00:01 to 07:00 (backup between 22:00 and 00:00)

I would not take more than 100.000 archives per STORE, but that seems to be not applicable for you.

We also have some smaller sites, where we have a single EV-server doing approx 1500 to 2500 mailboxes. These run full passes every night. These EV-servers also do Journal Archiving. (low email-traffic though)

DA SHOULD be on a seperate server, but in our environment on the small sites, it sits on the EV server itself (not recommended!) We're not doing many DA searches there, so that is an accepted risk. In the large environment, we do have DA seperated, using it's own SQL-server.

As JW and Tony say, use seperate sites!

I would (depending on the mailflow in NZ and UK) use 2 EV-servers per those sites (1 mail, 1 journal archiving), and for the US, I would go for a 1 to 1 setup (1 ev server for 1 exchnage server) be advised that for Ex2010 your targeting DAG's, not so much Exchange server. In addition, seeing the Legal Requirement, I would check if Clearwell might be the better option instead of DA. Clearwell (I've seen a demo) really rocks. You can also target Fileservers and Sharepoint, without the need for archiving! It comes as software, or an appliance, but I am sure you can get more info and advice from Symantec US. (or whereever you are based)

As final comment, I have been in another environment running similar sized numbers. There we ran EV on VM-ware machines, without having any issues.

Enjoy setting up !

Thank you, Gertjan, MCSE, MCITP,MCTS, SCS, STS

KeirL's picture

Thanks again for the info

If I create a seperate environment  - It's more than just a different EVsite isn't it?

I read that mutliple sites can still share a directory database, but I gues it's this 'sharing' of a single database that I'm looking to avoid and so these would be three totally independent environments that have no awareness of each other?

I have a couple of extra questions on that please....

1) Can the three sites be managed from a single VAC or browser management of some sort?

2) What if the Exchange is a single organisation across regions - (not sure if it would be) does that mean it will all need to be in the same evsite?

3) Apparently this is a single forest and single domain so perhaps the above may apply - but they may split soon. What would the considerations on EV to cater for that as far as EVsite design goes?

many thanks again


GertjanA's picture

Hello Keirl.

A seperate environment is a seperate EV-site. It has it's own directory databases etc. You do not want 1 directory database, as that contradicts what we speak about here. So yes, you have 3 seperate EVsites and directory databases etc.

You should be able to manage them from 1 MMC, where you add the VAC plugin. When adding you need to select the server where the 'directory' is hosted. Make sure that you are able to distinguish between the sites by ALIAS, that makes it easier.

If Exchange is single site/cross region, you need to figure out a way to have provisioning target only the users you want to target. Should be possible using either LDAP, and target specific DAG/Exchange-server.

'may split'... Depends on if they continue using your ev setup. will they remove ev and go for the 2010 archive mailbox, will they want to mov ev to different ev, or perhaps start using you ev. Too many undecided factors. I would rely on your setup, and 3rd party tooling for migration if necessary.

Good luck

Thank you, Gertjan, MCSE, MCITP,MCTS, SCS, STS

KeirL's picture

Thanks Gertjan

I greatly value your input and experience - so thanks again for helping me out here.

I was chatting with Rob Wilcox earlier to try to make sense on how EV would handle a DAG that had mailbox servers across geo's if each geo was in it's own EV site.... take a look and see what you think

kind regards