The Pros And Cons Of Virtualizing Your Exchange Server 2013

Posted on July 24, 2014 by Nikhil P Naik

Server virtualization enables the combination of several websites into just one server. If you have an older version of Exchange Server and you need to migrate to 2013, you may have already thought about whether or not you will virtualize. The virtualization of Exchange Server 2013 has many benefits, but it also comes with some cons if you do not know what you are doing.

Virtualization is one of the big decisions that you as an administrator should make as you prepare to implement Exchange Server on physical, virtual, or a mix of both kinds of hardware. Before Exchange Server 2010 was introduced to the public, many businesses chose to have Exchange running on physical hardware. However, times have changed and now both 2010 and 2013 are commended for being less I/O intensive when compared to their predecessors.

virtual nodes

Why Virtualize

One of the main reasons why administrators should look into virtualization is because it offers better deployment. For those who have experience in Exchange Server, this may sound strange because the setup program actually works the same whether it is on a physical or virtual Exchange Hosting Server. However, Exchange actually works better in virtualized environments because these allow administrators to create templates that can deploy servers more uniformly and more quickly.

Another reason is better hardware resource allocation, because virtual environments are typically more efficient when it comes to using server hardware. This is because there are multiple workloads that can be shared through physical hardware resources. Another huge plus is the fact that virtualized environments have mechanisms that enable virtual machines to take the right amount of hardware resources that they should contain.

Why Not Virtualize

As mentioned, virtualization is not perfect since there are also disadvantages. One of the biggest issues is scalability in which availability is often tied up when it comes to server virtualization. This issue becomes a huge problem when the server goes offline. This means that all the websites that this specific server is hosting will fail. Of course, there are many ISPs today that are quite smart and they provide failover techniques so that outages do not happen.

Nevertheless, scalability is often a problem in virtualization because several companies tend to share the costs of web hosting. Therefore, when there is a large company present, it can easily dominate the server and rob resources from other smaller companies.

Another issue is security because there are times when virtualized resources – which need to be separate – become visible to others even though these resources are not supposed to be visible. Gaining unauthorized access is definitely a big problem because no one wants other people to view their private website files.

Which to Choose

With the pros and cons both presented, administrators are required to make a decision on whether or not to virtualize. Although there may be security issues as well as scalability challenges, many ISPs today are quite versatile and efficient when it comes to the services they provide. The trick is to examine the ISP first and make sure that it provides good customer service. A reputable service provider should be able to be contacted very easily in case there are any setbacks or if you simply have questions.

About the Author: +Katrina is a product specialist for rack solutions solving issues for your computer server and power needs at

About Nikhil P Naik

Nikhil Naik has a Master's Degree in Information Systems, and is currently working as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. He also loves playing cricket, listening to music, and traveling. Twitter Handle - @buzz_nikhil.

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