I get this question from schools around support for Exchange Server 2007 support on VMWARE and our answer used to be it is not supported up until about a month ago. With regards to Hyper-V, Exchange Server 2007 is also supported. Click here to see my Exchange 2007 and Hyper-V post.
As of October 2008, VMWARE has passed the Windows Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP) program for hosting Exchange Server 2007 as a 64-bit guest.
Below are the requirements:
- VMWARE ESX 3.5 Update 2
- Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 later versions are supported
- 64-bit Windows Server 2008 as guest OS
Here is a list of support boundaries and recommendations when running Exchange Server 2007 on virtualization:
Microsoft supports Exchange Server 2007 in production on hardware virtualization software only when all the following conditions are true:
- The hardware virtualization software is Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V technology, Microsoft Hyper-V Server, or any third-party hypervisor that has been validated under the Windows Server Virtualization Validation Program.
- The Exchange Server guest virtual machine:
- Is running Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) or later.
- Is deployed on the Windows Server 2008 operating system.
- Does not have the Unified Messaging server role installed. All Exchange 2007 server roles, except for the Unified Messaging role, are supported in a virtualization environment.
- The storage used by the Exchange Server guest machine can be virtual storage of a fixed size (for example, fixed virtual hard drives (VHDs) in a Hyper-V environment), SCSI pass-through storage, or Internet SCSI (iSCSI) storage. Pass-through storage is storage that is configured at the host level and dedicated to one guest machine.
- In a Hyper-V environment, each fixed VHD must be less than 2,040 gigabytes (GB). For supported third-party hypervisors, check with the manufacturer to see if any disk size limitations exist.
- Virtual disks that dynamically expand are not supported by Exchange.
- Virtual disks that use differencing or delta mechanisms (such as Hyper-V's differencing VHDs or snapshots) are not supported.
- No other server-based applications, other than management software (for example, antivirus software, backup software, virtual machine management software, etc.) can be deployed on the physical root machine. The root machine should be dedicated to running guest virtual machines.
- Microsoft does not support combining Exchange clustering solutions (namely, cluster continuous replication (CCR) and single copy clusters (SCC)) with hypervisor-based availability or migration solutions (for example, Hyper-V's quick migration). Both CCR and SCC are supported in hardware virtualization environments provided that the virtualization environment does not employ clustered virtualization servers.
- Some hypervisors include features for taking snapshots of virtual machines. Virtual machine snapshots capture the state of a virtual machine while it is running. This feature enables you to take multiple snapshots of a virtual machine and then revert the virtual machine to any of the previous states by applying a snapshot to the virtual machine. However, virtual machine snapshots are not application-aware, and using them can have unintended and unexpected consequences for a server application that maintains state data, such as Exchange Server. As a result, making virtual machine snapshots of an Exchange guest virtual machine is not supported.
- Many hardware virtualization products allow you to specify the number of virtual processors that should be allocated to each guest virtual machine. The virtual processors located in the guest virtual machine share a fixed number of logical processors in the physical system. Exchange supports a virtual processor-to-logical processor ratio no greater than 2:1. For example, a dual processor system using quad core processors contains a total of 8 logical processors in the host system. On a system with this configuration, do not allocate more than a total of 16 virtual processors to all guest virtual machines combined.
I also recommend you contact VMWARE for additional recommendations prior to deployment of a production Exchange Server 2007.
For more information about the support for Exchange Server 2007 on virtualization, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
For more information on SVVP see here.
For a list of other Microsoft applications supported on virtualization technologies see here.