Fight the FUD – Support for MS Exchange on Nutanix

Its disappointing that some vendors have so little respect for customers time that they continue to spread FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) about other vendors products.

This post is for existing and future Nutanix customers to get the facts about support for MS Exchange on Nutanix.

First of all, Nutanix Distributed File System (NDFS) is not Network File System (NFS).

NDFS is a file system which presents storage to hypervisors (ESXi, Hyper-V and Acropolis Hypervisor) via industry standard storage protocols being iSCSI, SMB 3.0 and NFS.

Currently Microsoft do not support Exchange running with VMDKs hosted on NFS for Exchange deployments on vSphere, this is due to an outdated and baseless support policy which experts from almost every major storage vendor agree.

For more information see the below article:

Virtualizing Exchange on vSphere with NFS backed storage?

However Nutanix have a published KB providing full support for MS Exchange when running within VMDKs on NFS datastores.

Nutanix aims to provide an Uncompromisingly Simple solution for customers which gives them maximum flexibility/choice. As such, when deploying applications such as MS Exchange on Nutanix, how the application/s are deployed and what storage protocol they use is ultimately the customers choice.

The below are some of the benefits of this include:

  1. Running a standard platform and storage protocol for all workloads is a simple model which reduces the unnecessary complexity of multiple protocols and/or in-guest storage configurations.
  2. The customer has the choice to deploy in multiple configurations to suit their specific requirements
If you want to run a 100% Microsoft supported Exchange configuration on Nutanix you currently have two options:
  1. vSphere running iSCSI
  2. Hyper-V running SMB 3.0
  3. Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV) running iSCSI (default)

If you understand that NFS datastores are not supported by Microsoft, but accept it is fully supported by Nutanix and you want to run Exchange in a VMDK on NFS datastores, then Nutanix will support for MS Exchange and Microsoft will provide commercially reasonable support directly or via TSAnet if the case needs to be escalated.

So there you have it, MS Exchange can be ran on Nutanix in 100% Microsoft supported configurations and Nutanix customers have the choice in how they wish to deploy with full support from Nutanix.


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3 thoughts on “Fight the FUD – Support for MS Exchange on Nutanix

  1. Hi Josh

    Thanks for the post! We are just in a deal negotiation with a potential Nutanix customer running Exchange. Can you tell me how (if need be) to use iSCSI with vSphere?


    • Happy to assist, flick me an email with your details and if you know who your local SE is i’ll get back to you with the details.

      I actually have a blog coming up on the topic as well.

  2. My personal belief is this issue is legacy related, Exchange 5.5 supported running exchange mailboxes on nfs mounts DIRECTLY inside the host operating system.
    You can even see these support statements here and here
    This possibly caused issues for them so they created a blanket statement of ‘exchange is not supported on nfs’ in later versions of exchange, without taking virtulisation and abstraction into account.

    Then, for some unknown reason (it’s not technical), they kept this outdated nfs support statement with later versions of exchange, even though the nfs protocol is fully abstracted and virtualized by the hypervisor with scsi emulation, and disks appear to the OS as block devices.
    Exchange to my knowledge is the only application in existence that has this support limitation (excluding applications that require clustered disk with scsi3 persistent reservations), please correct me if I am wrong.

    I urge members of the technical community and Microsoft customers to vote for the exchange on nfs oll on ideascale here, and also bring up the issue with your Microsoft Technical Account manager if you are considering virtualising exchange.

    Together we can fight this!