Design your Exchange infrastructure right (or PLEASE consider moving to Office 365)!

I think I said somewhere recently that I’m technical lead on a rather large (well for Canada) Exchange 2007 > 2013 migration.  I’ve also been doing assessments on several other large (80,000+ mbx) environments with a mix of Exchange 2007/2010/2013 as the install base.  For the most part these large enterprises have dedicated Active Directory/networking/storage/Exchange staff running SCOM and full monitoring suites, where the server health is usually stable and optimized. But now and then I get asked to look after smaller deployments, where High Availability and true Site Resiliency are nothing other than a Christmas wish.  Where buying a pair of KEMP Hardware Load Balancers is a serious budget consideration.  Quite often these small shops don’t bother too much about applying the latest Exchange Cumulative Update or Rollup Updates for Exchange.  Or patching the underlying Windows Server OS…or even the Domain Controllers.  Dig in a little deeper and you often see a “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” attitude.

Newsflash:  you might want to revisit that nonchalance and remember it’s all about what happens when you have that major outage…when mail stops flowing and your CEO is screaming down the phone at the IT Director at 3am…when you make “the call” to your friends at Microsoft Premier Support.  They quickly find out you are several Rollup Update/Cumulative Updates behind…or even worse running different mixed version of RU and CU together!  They tell you to call them back when you’ve updated your environment.  A shiver runs through you as you think of all that must be accomplished to bring the environment up to date…if only you had planned a little better.  Do you really know how to patch an environment with no disruption?  Did you ever use the Maintenance Mode script functionality supporting the DAG?  Do you really know which DBs are hosting the active and passive copies of your data on which server and in which datacenter? When was the last time you logged into your perimeter devices and upgraded the firmware?

It happens all the time and there’s no excuse. If this is you it’s time you watched this session from Ignite 2016…

Design your Exchange infrastructure right (or consider moving to Office 365)

 

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