Storage Design for Exchange Server 2007

Microsoft IT ran Exchange Server 2003 mailbox servers in a clustered configuration to achieve high availability of 99.99 percent, but the Exchange databases remained a critical single point of failure, and the high costs associated with shared SAN storage hindered Microsoft IT from supporting employees with mailbox quotas of greater than 200 MB. The future Mailbox server design required a cost-efficient solution to support mailbox sizes between 500 MB and 2 GB. These increased mailbox sizes made it necessary to provide 10 times more data capacity on mailbox servers and implement redundancy at the storage level to eliminate the need for restores from backup as the primary recovery mechanism after a storage failure.


By implementing Exchange Server 2007 with a storage architecture based on CCR, Microsoft IT eliminated shared storage as a critical single point of failure by maintaining separate up-to-date copies of mailbox data at all times. This provided an opportunity to replace SAN technology with DAS equipment and support employee productivity with substantially larger mailboxes that accommodated higher redundancy levels.


  • Lower costs in comparison to previous SAN-based solutions
  • Improved reliability by eliminating storage as a single point of failure
  • Simplified maintenance and troubleshooting
  • Higher performance and lower I/O requirements
  • Larger mailbox size capacities and more mailboxes per server
  • End-to-end messaging service ownership from server and storage design to operations procedures

Products & Technologies

  • Windows Server 2003
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
  • Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2007
  • Storage Area Networks (SANs)
  • Direct-attached storage (DAS)
  • Cluster continuous replication (CCR)