The Preferred Architecture (Exchange 2013)

During my session at the recent Microsoft Exchange Conference (MEC), I revealed Microsoft’s preferred architecture (PA) for Exchange Server 2013. The PA is the Exchange Engineering Team’s prescriptive approach to what we believe is the optimum deployment architecture for Exchange 2013, and one that is very similar to what we deploy in Office 365.

While Exchange 2013 offers a wide variety of architectural choices for on-premises deployments, the architecture discussed below is our most scrutinized one ever. While there are other supported deployment architectures, other architectures are not recommended.

The PA is designed with several business requirements in mind. For example, requirements that the architecture be able to:

  • Include both high availability within the datacenter, and site resilience between datacenters
  • Support multiple copies of each database, thereby allowing for quick activation
  • Reduce the cost of the messaging infrastructure
  • Increase availability by optimizing around failure domains and reducing complexity

The specific prescriptive nature of the PA means of course that not every customer will be able to deploy it (for example, customers without multiple datacenters). And some of our customers have different business requirements or other needs, which necessitate an architecture different from that shown here. If you fall into those categories, and you want to deploy Exchange on-premises, there are still advantages to adhering as closely as possible to the PA where possible, and deviate only where your requirements widely differ. Alternatively, you can consider Office 365 where you can take advantage of the PA without having to deploy or manage servers.

Before I delve into the PA, I think it is important that you understand a concept that is the cornerstone for this architecture – simplicity.

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