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Sizing of large environment

Created: 21 Jan 2013 • Updated: 05 May 2013 | 17 comments
Ralfeus's picture
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Is there any Symantec recommended approaches to sizing of large (over 20 EV servers) environments? Easy way would be to have one EV server for each mailbox server (Exchange or Domino). But I have met situation when amount of items to be archived require amount of EV servers to be more (if rely on Symantec's value 90000 messages 70KB large on 16 cores server). I see no way to make 2 EV servers to archive mailboxes on one mailbox one. So alternative way would be to offload indexing activity to separate server or servers. But still I couldn't find any information, which would allow to calculate amount of servers and their hardware configuration (as Microsoft does for Exchange servers for example).

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TonySterling's picture

Are you a Symantec Partner?  If not, you should definitly be working with an experienced partner.

If you are a Partner there are sizing tools on SYMIQforPartners.

Ralfeus's picture

Does it mean Symantec does not provide planning information to non-partners?

How can man become one?

GertjanA's picture

Hello Ralfeus,

You can find a partner via this site:

Becoming a partner you can check this site:

However, if your need is urgent, you might be better off to work with a partner, while you are becoming one.

Please be advised that if you have little knowledge on EV, do not attempt to get it going anyway. Your way better off working with a partner to properly size, install and configure the environment, then trying to fix a badly implemented environment afterwards. I am in a large environment, and have been working with some others, and proper sizing and configuring is key to have a succesfull implementation!

Good luck!

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

Ralfeus's picture

Please be advised that if you have little knowledge on EV, do not attempt to get it going anyway.

Yeah, the point is that I have quite enough knowledge of EV and therefore paying to external company isn't best solution :-)

Anyway I've understood Symantec's approach toward this topic. I don't like it but it's reality :-)

Thank you all for information

AndrewB's picture

Ralfeus, look at it this way. If your environment is as large as you describe then your company is making a substantial investment and a serious commitment with EV. It seems to me that a little more for a certified design and architecture would make sense and would be a smart recommendation. There's a big difference between knowledge and experience in administration of EV vs. designing, architecting, and implementing which I'm sure you and your company can appreciate.

My company is located in the US so feel free to reach out if you are too. Otherwise, let us know your geo and we can put you in touch with a partner in your region. At least have an initial chat with someone, it doesnt cost anything.

Andy Becker | Authorized Symantec Consultant | Trace3 | Symantec National Partner |

Ralfeus's picture

In case of end EV consumer you are totally right. But it's not my case. My goal is to improve my own architecting skill. Therefore ordering and getting final result without putting my own effort to that is hardly acceptable :-)

MMcCr's picture

All the advice given by the guys above is spot on, coming from an end user environment originally we engaged with Partners first (well it was Symantec directly originally) even if its just an assessment and highlevel design for us to expand upon.

At the end of the day partners have the experiance gained from several years, most of the info needed is in the Compatability List, the Administrators guide, the Performance & Sizing guide and the Planning, Install and Config Guide.  Anything not covered in the above guides can be picked up on white papers and advice from forums but most importantly you need to build a fully representative test/POC environment so you can test load.  You need to fully apreciate the volume of mail flow per hour/per day not just the messages waiting to be archived now, you need to assess the amount of data for Journaling (a large infrastructure will have this usually) and how best to configure that.

Ralfeus's picture

Continuing my specific case :-)

According to Symantec's performance guide and my amount of daily data to be archived it appears I need 5 EV servers. However I have only 4 mailbox servers. This means there can be only 4 archiving tasks as I can't create 2 archiving tasks for one mailbox server. So I see 2 alternatives:

1. Ignore calculations and have 4 EV servers and hope it the performance won't be too bad.

2. Have 5 EV servers. 4 servers use for archiving only and 5th use for running indexing, shopping and storage services.

What is the more preferable one?

wandarah's picture

I'd question the need for a 1 to 1 relationship in the first place. Why not a one to many? (EV->Multiple Exchange Servers). 

Are you saying in your first post that you see invidfual mailbox servers recieving more than 90k messages an hour? Is this really a constant? If this is occuring, if it's not a constant then I'd still consider an EV machine with the specs you've mentioned, more than capable of 'catching up' during your archiving window. 

There seems to be a lot of unknowns here. That said, out of your two options if I had to pick one - I'd pick the second. 

I just doubt those are the only two options you have. 

Ralfeus's picture

90k messages an hour is a constant specified by Symantec. It's specified in Performance Guide for EV 10. It states the average ingest rate for 16 cores server is 90k messages / hour for average message size 70k. Because in my case average size is 180k the ingest rate is lower. I've calculated it as about 54k messages / hour. Average daily amount of messages in my case is about 1600k and possible archiving window is 6 hours. Dividing 1600k per 6 hours and per 54k gives us 5 servers. But amount of mailbox servers is just 4.

So correct me if I'm wrong but it seems to me it's pretty difficult to archive several mailbox servers on one EV server. 

Of course another option could be increasing archiving window but 6 hours is maximum what can be allocated.

One more option I see is increasing amount of cores on EV servers...

wandarah's picture

I think there might be some fundamental confusion here.

Most EV implementations will use a One->Many relationship - this is because most mid sized organisations using multiple mailbox servers (and I wouldn't call 4 mailbox servers a particulary large organisation) do not have individual mail servers recieving 90k+ messages an hour. 

That aside, just so I'm clear: 

What you're stating is that you recieve 1.6million messages per day. This is actually across 4 mailbox servers, no? Which would mean about 400,000 messages per server per day. This would mean it would take 7.4 hours for an EV server of the specs you're assuming (@54k p/h) to archive the mail recieved over a single day on one mailbox server. This is assuming you want to archive absolutely everything with a 0 day strategy, which in itself is very unusual. 

Is the archiving window over the weekend still restricted to 6 hours? As above, is there really a requirement to archive everything from every mailbox every day? Is Journaling a factor in the environment - maybe it could be?

I'd consider the number of items per hour, against the infrastructure you've specified as very high. How many users/mailboxes do you have in your organisation? For example, I'm currently working on a design for a mid-sized organisation with ~5000 users, and they only recieve about 141,000 messages per day (across multiple (6) mailbox servers).

If you can give me the number of mailboxes (that you actually want to archive) and the number of messages sent/recieved per day I can run some better calculations for you. 

Edited to correct estimates. 

Ralfeus's picture

There are 15000 mailboxes on 4 mailbox servers. Each mailbox sends and receives 150 messages a day. This gives 2250k messages in day in total. The deletion rate is estimated as 40%. So 60% of mails are archived. This gives 1350k (so, 1600k was miscalculation). Dividing by 54k we get 25 hours of archiving daily. Dividing by 6 hours window we get 4.16(6), which is possible to round down to 4.

Hurraaah! It makes like easier :-)

wandarah's picture

If you can archive for longer periods over the weekend (say, 24 hours) - you can get that number lower. Sizing guide would suggest 3 servers required if archiving 24 hours over the weekend. If you could do the entire 48 hours, you could even concievably get it down to 2 servers. 

I don't know your business, but surely not all 15k mailboxes need to be archived? 150 messages p/d would suggest some of these boxes are service accounts, or otherwise sending/recieving automated messages, no?

Ralfeus's picture

48 hours on weekend can't be dedicated for archiving but extended archiving window on weekends is being discussed. 

According to customer's requirements all mailboxes have to be archived. However currently requirements are under development. It's very probably that when it will come to license cost amount of archived mailboxes will be decreased.

Average amount of messages per day was estimated by taking total amount of messages from Exchange message tracking logs with unique message ID for one month and dividing by amount of mailboxes and 30.

wandarah's picture

Fair enough.

If you can get your hands on the ESR tool (Exchange Store Reporter) you can run it direct against mailservers and it pops out some very handy information indeed. 

Ralfeus's picture

Unfortunately I don't have one. Will try to get from account manager.

Thank you for your advices. That was pretty useful for me.

GertjanA's picture

Hello Ralfeus,

If you feel your questions are answered, could you mark an answer as solution?

This way, this thread is being closed, and people can check it if they have similar questions, or skip it because it is resolved.


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