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Once you’ve decided to virtualize exchange, which virtualization platform should you choose? Currently, there are two market leaders: VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. While both products would be good choices for virtualizing Exchange, each has its own set of pros and cons.
VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V offer free editions for virtualizing Exchange in small environments. But if you’re virtualizing Exchange for environments with more than 10 VMs, you will want a commercial virtualization platform with features such as centralized management and full support. Unfortunately, neither of these free hypervisors includes such features.
Take Microsoft Hyper-V, for example. When you move from the free version to the commercial version, Hyper-V becomes a role enabled in Windows Server 2008 R2. There are seven versions of Windows Exchange Server is a mission-critical enterprise application, so you may want to consider investing in higher-end editions of Hyper-V and vSphere.
Exchange Server is a mission-critical enterprise application, so you should research a virtualization platform with robust features and support. Therefore, you may want to consider investing in higher-end editions of Hyper-V and vSphere. Medium to large-sized Exchange organizations weighing the decision between virtualizing on Hyper-V or vSphere should also consider these points:
• More popular with Microsoft shops
• More familiar to Windows admins
• Easy to enable as a server role on Exchange 2010 if you’re already using fewer native features
• Because Exchange Server and Hyper-V are both Microsoft products, you can use a single product suite—System Center—to manage them both. Al- though the suite has fewer features than VMware’s tools, there may be benefits to having a single-vendor management layer.
• Strong virtualization focus and market share
• The most grassroots community support through non-vendor-written books, videos and blogs
• More third-party support
• Widespread education and training options, as well as certification opportunities
• A more advanced feature set that includes memory maximization, which allows you to achieve a greater consolidation ratio (i.e., more VMs on a single host)
• VMware has more than 20 different virtualization pieces that fit into its overall vSphere product line. This is important because you may want to expand your company’s virtual infrastructure, and you’ll need more than what is offered natively.
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