VMware vMotion/Live Migration and HA/Host based failover clustering supported for Exchange 2010 SP1

Microsoft announced at May 16 2011 that features like moving live virtual machines to other hosts or high availability features like VMware HA are now fully supported by Microsoft for Exchange 2010 SP1 virtual machines running in a database availability group (DAG). Also the Unified Messaging server role is supported in a virtualized environment.

Microsoft also released a document titled Best Practices for Virtualizing Exchange Server 2010 with Windows Server® 2008 R2 Hyper V™

Taken from this posting on Technet.com titled Announcing Enhanced Hardware Virtualization Support for Exchange 2010

The Microsoft Exchange team is enhancing positioning by including additional supported scenarios regarding Exchange Server 2010 running under hardware virtualization software. As of today, the following support scenarios are being updated, for Exchange 2010 SP1, and later:

  • The Unified Messaging server role is supported in a virtualized environment.
  • Combining Exchange 2010 high availability solutions (database availability groups (DAGs)) with hypervisor-based clustering, high availability, or migration solutions that will move or automatically failover mailbox servers that are members of a DAG between clustered root servers, is now supported.Due to improvements we made in Exchange Server 2010 SP1, along with more comprehensive testing of Exchange 2010 in a virtualized environment, we are happy to provide this additional deployment flexibility to our customers. The updated support guidance applies to any hardware virtualization vendor participating in the Windows Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP).

There is some confusion about the words Microsoft used. Below the confusing text in bold

Exchange server virtual machines, including Exchange Mailbox virtual machines that are part of a Database Availability Group (DAG), can be combined with host-based failover clustering and migration technology as long as the virtual machines are configured such that they will not save and restore state on disk when moved or taken offline. All failover activity must result in a cold start when the virtual machine is activated on the target node. All planned migration must either result in shut down and a cold start or an online migration that utilizes a technology such as Hyper-V live migration.

This article describes that the bold text referes to the Quick Migration feature of a previous release of Hyper-V. In that release the virtual machine was temporary saved to disk when performing a migration.

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About Marcel van den Berg
I am a technical consultant with a strong focus on server virtualization, desktop virtualization, cloud computing and business continuity/disaster recovery.

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