MS Exchange Server Acceleration

Using virtualization to dramatically maximize user experience for Microsoft® Exchange Server

By Allon Cohen, PhD
Scott Harlin

Published April 2012

Introduction

Microsoft (MS) Exchange Server is one of the most widely used e-mail server platforms in enterprise environments. It utilizes client applications such as MS Outlook to connect hundreds or even thousands of users in an organization to central servers to enable e-mail communications and other personal management capabilities such as calendars, tasks, contacts, notes, journals, and web browsing. In conjunction with MS SharePoint Server, MS Exchange Server enables SharePoint sites to be developed for the public exchange or access of folders, calendars, meeting schedules and databases (DBs).

To maximize the end user experience of MS Exchange Server, storage latency and transactional input/output operations per second (IOPS) must be performing at the highest levels in order to successfully service these large numbers of users, and not adversely affect their productivity especially during peak usage. These two parameters directly impact the usability of the e-mail system as well as the number of mailboxes that can be hosted in a virtual server environment. Therefore, transactional access rates and database read latencies are key performance parameters designated by Microsoft to determine the number of users that can be supported in a given environment, and in turn, how the user experience will be perceived.

This white paper will present a solution that dramatically increases MS Exchange transactional IOPS and reduces database read latency to maximize performance, as well as the user experience. The solution also allows for further server consolidation, as well as lower power and cooling requirements, leading to a reduction in overall Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Virtualization of the MS Exchange Server Environment
  3. The OCZ VXL Software Solution
  4. The OCZ Z-Drive R4 PCIe Hardware Solution
  5. Performance Testing
  6. Performance Results
  7. Conclusion