How do you have your disks & folders set up on a virtual Exchange 2016 install?



  • Not sure if anyone here is using an on-prem instance of Exchange 2016 or not, but I'm seeking some advice on this:

    I've gone through and set up Exchange 2016 on Server 2016 in my test lab. I've been carefully reading a few different materials, including Microsoft best practice guides, plus I have a Sybex book on Exchange 2016.

    From what I've read, it's been suggested to use separate drives or partitions, one for the OS, one for Exchange install, and one for the mailbox databases and logs (or even another drive for the logs). However, I think this might only apply to physical servers and not virtual storage disks -- but I'm not sure.

    I set up my Exchange VM with three virtual hard drives, one for the OS, one for the page file and one for Exchange.

    In my production environment and in my test lab, the VM datastores are located on a SAN unit attached via iSCSI. Given that the virtual hard disks are actually located on a storage array and I have no idea how the data is actually distributed across the array, it doesn't seem to me that it would matter much (performance-wise) how I apply drives and folders in a VM. Or does it?

    If it doesn't matter, I may as well have a single virtual hard disk and use that for the OS and Exchange and it's mail databases and logs.



  • It still applies. If something goes crazy and you get a flood of email, the mailbox database can grow and fill the drive, but your OS disk won't be full, so you can still work on your server.



  • Your page file can be set at a fixed size, so you could leave that on the OS disk.



  • @mike-davis said in How do you have your disks & folders set up on a virtual Exchange 2016 install?:

    It still applies. If something goes crazy and you get a flood of email, the mailbox database can grow and fill the drive, but your OS disk won't be full, so you can still work on your server.

    Yeah, that does make sense. I do always have a single drive/partition for the OS and then at least one more for the data as needed. That way I can grow the disks if needed.

    I guess my confusion came in when I saw suggestions to have Exchange not installed on the same drive as the OS.



  • @dave247 I have a separate vdisk for os, database, and logs.



  • Our standard VM layout is:

    😄 @ 95GB Fixed VHDX
    K: @ 250GB+ Dynamic VHDX

    OS goes into 😄 while Exchange goes into an identical directory structure on K:.

    Our primary mail services for clients is on-premises Exchange 2013 and 2016.



  • Mine (which thankfully is going away as we're migrating to O365) was done as follows:
    100 GB "C:" drive for O/S and exchange program files: VHDX, fixed page file size stored here,

    100 GB "D:" drive for Exchange logs, both transaction and other (found a powershell script someplace that moved them) dynamic VHDX

    300GB "E:" drive for Exchange databases, static VHDX



  • In a virtualized setting there's no real reason to configure more than one location for the Exchange databases and logs. Unless, there's a separate high IOPS location that the logs would be stored on?

    @jt1001001 Why thankfully going away?



  • @phlipelder said in How do you have your disks & folders set up on a virtual Exchange 2016 install?:

    In a virtualized setting there's no real reason to configure more than one location for the Exchange databases and logs. Unless, there's a separate high IOPS location that the logs would be stored on?

    @jt1001001 Why thankfully going away?

    Virtualized would be the same as physical. Basically, there is rarely a reason to separate them no matter what. In special circumstances, yes, but generally, no.


Log in to reply