Virtualizing Exchange on vSphere with NFS backed storage?

For many years, customers have been realising the benefits of file based storage from one or more of the many storage vendors offering NFS.

NFS makes a ton of sense for virtualization, and virtualizing Business Critical applications such as Exchange, along with the rest of a company’s servers, can be a great way to reduce complexity and save on CAPEX/OPEX.

However, some vendors, have licensing or support statements which make this more difficult than it needs to be.

One such vendor is Microsoft.

Microsoft currently don’t support Exchange running inside a VMDK on an NFS datastore, even though the VMDK is a virtual SCSI device and acts/performs the same as if it was on a block based LUN, such as FC/FCoE or iSCSI.

I decided to reach out to a bunch of great guys in the virtualization community to try and get some awareness of this issue, and get Microsoft to update the outdated and technically invalid support statement.

As a result, the following TechNet forum article has been posted

Support for Exchange Databases running within VMDKs on NFS datastores

There is also a suggestion in the Microsoft Product improvement forum on the same topic, which as a result of the communities efforts in the past few weeks, have seen it sky rocket to the #1 improvement suggestion to microsoft.

The post and voting can be found here.

Support storing Exchange datat on VMDKs on File shares (NFS/SMB)

So please check out these two articles, and vote and leave your comments in support of this issue. Supporting Exchange in VMDKs on NFS is a No lose situation for customers, and that is what it is all about!

Related Articles:

Integrity of Write I/O for VMs on NFS Datastores Series

Part 1 – Emulation of the SCSI Protocol
Part 2 – Forced Unit Access (FUA) & Write Through
Part 3 – Write Ordering
Part 4 – Torn Writes
Part 5 – Data Corruption

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