Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016



  • Hi all.

    I haven't deployed in house Exchange since Small Business Server or Exchange 2003. I've been directed to bring our email in house. We have about 20 people here and several remote offices with just 8 remote users.

    Currently we are running a Windows Server 2012 edition on a very basic Intel server. Basic mirror raid for the OS and separate mirror raid for file storate. Its just a Xeon 3.1GHz and 16GB RAM.

    I am authorized to buy the licenses I need, but the server was a terrible lease and I can't replace the hardware for another 2 years. I think it will be enough to support our 20 in house users and 6 to 8 remote users.

    We have no Active Directory deployed. Just Windows Server with no AD used for a file share in house.

    My questions are;

    a.) What version of Windows Server 2016 should I chose? I see Data Center and a Standard edition. Not sure what the differences are.

    Since there is no AD in place I am going to just reload the OS discs and leave the data where it is. A clean install of 2016.

    b.) What are the differences between Enterprise and Standard Exchange for a small company like ours? I am guessing Exchange Standard and Windows Server Standard will work for me.

    c.) What happened to Small Business Server?

    d.) I was planning on using Microsoft Protection Server for $1/user per month. Are there better alternatives?

    e.) Is it still standard to deploy your FQDN for Active Directory as a private domain? Examples: yourcompany.local vs yourcompany.com vs local.yourcompany.com.

    f.) Should I deploy AD in house or user this Azure AD I have seen discussed. Or is Azure AD even on option for a local Exchange deployment.

    EDIT

    g.) Do I even attempt to virtualize this. I would have 20gb to 30gb active as I archive everything older than 6 months.



  • For such a small user base, I wouldn't move it in house at all. I'd leave it with Office365.

    As for the licensing and Standard vs Enterprise difference, its a scale licensing difference really.

    • With Standard, you can run 2 VMs per license on a single host.

    • With Datacenter you can run as many VMs as your host can support.

    With any solution you chose, you should be virtualized, especially when considering bring services in-house. There is no reason at all that I can think of were you'd want to run in a bare-metal installation (for exchange).



  • @DustinB3403 I agree 100%. We have some management who feel they know whats best. I tried my best to deter this.

    That actually brings up a point I left off. Do I even attempt to virtualize this? I archive everything 6 months or older.



  • a. ) What version of Windows Server 2016 should I chose? I see Data Center and a Standard edition. Not sure what the differences are.

    This depends on how many VM's the business thinks they will need, at this size, Standard would likely be plenty.

    c.) What happened to Small Business Server?

    It's dead, not really . . . but do not consider it.

    d.) I was planning on using Microsoft Protection Server for $1/user per month. Are there better alternatives?

    Probably many....

    e.) Is it still standard to deploy your FQDN for Active Directory as a private domain? Examples: yourcompany.local vs yourcompany.com vs local.yourcompany.com.

    Yes, you should only be using your FQDN IE "wesellsocks.com" and not "wesellsocks.local"

    f.) Should I deploy AD in house or user this Azure AD I have seen discussed. Or is Azure AD even on option for a local Exchange deployment.

    At this scale, I'd really consider hosted everything...



  • @magroover said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    @DustinB3403 I agree 100%. We have some management who feel they know whats best. I tried my best to deter this.

    That actually brings up a point I left off. Do I even attempt to visualize this? I archive everything 6 months or older.

    Virtualizing your servers, is not the same as archiving data.

    Virtualizing provides you protection in the (physical representation of a hard drive dying). Plus many other benefits.

    • Easy restoration to different hardware
    • Easy migration to different host
    • Better hardware utilization
    • Reduces Microsoft Licensing cost (which is why licensing is per Core now and not Per installation)
      and many other reasons..

    Archiving data simply removes data from your server. Nothing else.



  • @DustinB3403 fully aware of what virtualization is, have been running hypervisors for 15+ years :)

    Since the server is 3 years old and low end, and because my storage is a basic SAS RAID Mirror I wasnt sure how it perform. The previous IT guy installed this and its 2012 R2 bare metal.



  • @magroover I virtualize almost everything. Datacenter vs standard differences are related to virtual instance rights. So typically you use standard if you are in a non-virtualized environment.



  • @magroover said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    @DustinB3403 fully aware of what virtualization is, have been running hypervisors for 15+ years :)

    Since the server is 3 years old and low end, and because my storage is a basic SAS RAID Mirror I wasnt sure how it perform. The previous IT guy installed this and its 2012 R2 bare metal.

    Is it not running Hyper-V 2012? Also I feel your pain.... a person here installed to bare metal in a remote office (I wasn't involved....) FML..

    Anyways, just because the hardware is 3 years old, doesn't mean you can't use it to virtualize... You'd have to stop the services, P2V the system, and then blow away the configuration and install your hypervisor of choice. Import the VM and go from there.

    Of course, having a system to test the Import before blowing away a production system would be smart...



  • @wirestyle22 said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    @magroover I virtualize almost everything. Datacenter vs standard differences are related to virtual instance rights. So typically you use standard if you are in a non-virtualized environment. Storage replica, host guardian service, etc.

    Yes and no to the Standard vs Datacenter bit.

    Most people pick Datacenter over Standard for the foreseeable cost savings over the life of the hypervisor.

    If there is no need to spend for that flexibility today, you'd pick Standard, and run the 1 or 2 VM's that you're licensed for.

    If you had 3 VM's you'd need to operate on a single host, you'd still pick Standard over DataCenter, as the cost of a 2 pack of Standard licensing is cheaper compared to a single DC license.



  • @magroover said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    g.) Do I even attempt to virtualize this. I would have 20gb to 30gb active as I archive everything older than 6 months.

    The rule of thumb here is to always virtualize. Why would you ask this if you have 15+ years experience using Virtualization?

    The benefits of virtualizing outweigh any possible benefit of installing to bare metal. From Windows licensing rules, to licensing benefits like being able to run 2 VM's for every Standard license you purchase.

    • Side note, you'd still have to purchase 16 cores worth of licensing for any host.

  • Service Provider

    @magroover said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    @DustinB3403 I agree 100%. We have some management who feel they know whats best. I tried my best to deter this.

    That actually brings up a point I left off. Do I even attempt to virtualize this? I archive everything 6 months or older.

    Attempt, yes. But management overrides these things?


  • Service Provider

    @DustinB3403 said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    If you had 3 VM's you'd need to operate on a single host, you'd still pick Standard over DataCenter, as the cost of a 2 pack of Standard licensing is cheaper compared to a single DC license.

    For reference, the crossover point is somewhere around 13 VMs.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    @DustinB3403 said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    If you had 3 VM's you'd need to operate on a single host, you'd still pick Standard over DataCenter, as the cost of a 2 pack of Standard licensing is cheaper compared to a single DC license.

    For reference, the crossover point is somewhere around 13 VMs.

    You mean standard before 13 VM's and then Datacenter after?



  • @wirestyle22 said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    @scottalanmiller said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    @DustinB3403 said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    If you had 3 VM's you'd need to operate on a single host, you'd still pick Standard over DataCenter, as the cost of a 2 pack of Standard licensing is cheaper compared to a single DC license.

    For reference, the crossover point is somewhere around 13 VMs.

    You mean standard before 13 VM's and then Datacenter after?

    Its a math question.

    We need to run 14 VM's do we purchase 7 Standard licenses, or a single DataCenter license.

    You'd purchase the single DC license, as you're saving money, and headache managing licensing.

    Now if you start off with only needing to run 6 VM's you'd purchase three standard licenses as that cost less upfront. (Unless you knew you were going to be operating more in the near future)


  • Service Provider

    @wirestyle22 said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    @scottalanmiller said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    @DustinB3403 said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    If you had 3 VM's you'd need to operate on a single host, you'd still pick Standard over DataCenter, as the cost of a 2 pack of Standard licensing is cheaper compared to a single DC license.

    For reference, the crossover point is somewhere around 13 VMs.

    You mean standard before 13 VM's and then Datacenter after?

    Yes. If you need 12 VMs, it is cheaper to buy up to six standard licenses. But at the 13th VM, it is cheaper to have one DC license.



  • @DustinB3403 Xenserver is my primary experience.

    I used Virtual Server 2003 and 2008 Hyper-V and it was always terrible 10 years ago. I have used Hyper-V but not really in the last few years, and I have read that it really has hit its stride.

    The storage access always was ridiculously slow, so I am just left with the feeling of not trusting virtualized storage on Microsoft. There is only about 700GB of file storage data.



  • @scottalanmiller I assumed it was something we didn't need, but wanted to ask just in case there was a "gotcha".



  • @magroover said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    @DustinB3403 Xenserver is my primary experience.

    I used Virtual Server 2003 and 2008 Hyper-V and it was always terrible 10 years ago. I have used Hyper-V but not really in the last few years, and I have read that it really has hit its stride.

    The storage access always was ridiculously slow, so I am just left with the feeling of not trusting virtualized storage on Microsoft. There is only about 700GB of file storage data.

    The storage being slow is dependent on what kind of storage is being used, and how it's configured.

    Glad you're used to XS, we have some pretty avid users of XS here on ML.


  • Service Provider

    @magroover said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    I used Virtual Server 2003 and 2008 Hyper-V and it was always terrible 10 years ago. I have used Hyper-V but not really in the last few years, and I have read that it really has hit its stride.

    Virtual Server 2005 refugee myself here. At least it was better than VMware Server 2.0! Damn that sucked.

    Hyper-V really hit it out of the ballpark with 2012 R2. Today it is a very mature, robust competitor.


  • Service Provider

    As @DustinB3403 says, loads of Xen and XenServer users here in the ML community.



  • @DustinB3403 I was going to use Hyper-V for the experiece and to leave this place on that platform when I move on later this year hopefully to a better place. Resumes out every where.

    On premium storage Virtual Server would still be 10x slow than bare metal 10 years ago. It was at a time when direct i/o to storage was just starting to come out I think. This hardware is somewhat embarrassing. I will have to get and post the specs. Couldnt have been $2,000 at the time.



  • @scottalanmiller That was right as my job changed and I didn't work directly on server projects. It just left a terrible taste in my mouse. I use Xen for everything in home lab and otherwise use hosted VPS.


  • Service Provider

    @magroover said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    On premium storage Virtual Server would still be 10x slow than bare metal 10 years ago.

    Type 2 virtualization remains a dog today, you have Windows, which is slow itself, between the metal and the hypervisor. So two layers, instead of one, and each layer slower than the single one. So the effects, even today, are still pronounced.


  • Service Provider

    @magroover said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    @scottalanmiller That was right as my job changed and I didn't work directly on server projects. It just left a terrible taste in my mouse. I use Xen for everything in home lab and otherwise use hosted VPS.

    Hyper-V and Xen have the same fundamental design. Neither is related to the Virtual Servers or VMware Servers of the past.



  • @scottalanmiller well that's encouraging. Thats what I have picked up from reading.

    What's the best way to get file storage into a new VM? Can it directly access live storage or is it still some kind of VHD file?

    I will have the OS drive array run Hyper-V and storage 2 servers to stay under the licensing limit. Server A will be DC and a file share. Or perhaps A is the DC, B is the file server a C is the Exchange server.

    Is it common practice to virtualize the file storage in a VHD file or just access that array directly from the guest OS?



  • @magroover VHD has a 2TB limit where as VHDX has a 60TB(?) limit. Something like that. Just ran into that at home.



  • @magroover said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    @scottalanmiller well that's encouraging. Thats what I have picked up from reading.

    What's the best way to get file storage into a new VM? Can it directly access live storage or is it still some kind of VHD file?

    I will have the OS drive array run Hyper-V and storage 2 servers to stay under the licensing limit. Server A will be DC and a file share. Or perhaps A is the DC, B is the file server a C is the Exchange server.

    Is it common practice to virtualize the file storage in a VHD file or just access that array directly from the guest OS?

    You could setup the DC to be a file server, generally you wouldn't want to.



  • @DustinB3403 said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    @magroover said in Moving from Exchange Online Plan 1 to In House Exchange 2016:

    @scottalanmiller well that's encouraging. Thats what I have picked up from reading.

    What's the best way to get file storage into a new VM? Can it directly access live storage or is it still some kind of VHD file?

    I will have the OS drive array run Hyper-V and storage 2 servers to stay under the licensing limit. Server A will be DC and a file share. Or perhaps A is the DC, B is the file server a C is the Exchange server.

    Is it common practice to virtualize the file storage in a VHD file or just access that array directly from the guest OS?

    You could setup the DC to be a file server, generally you wouldn't want to.

    100% this. I have about 4 DC's that are also file servers. It is beyond annoying.



  • @DustinB3403 would be the first time I had to do that short of Small Business Server. Also the first time I would have just 1 DC. Then again; 20 users. This is pretty ridiculous but I guess it will give me something to do here. I cleared up all their other issues quickly and mostly sit here applying for other jobs. Ha!



  • If I had my approach, I'd likely use a RedHat as the fileserver (or CentOS), and leave the Exchange services for just that. For the domain functions, use RH or CentOS, maybe Zentyal or some other flavor like that.


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