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Planning for Exchange 2010


Applies to: Exchange Server 2010 SP3, Exchange Server 2010 SP2

These topics can help you plan the deployment of Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 into your production environment. Use the following links to access the information to help you make your planning decisions.

After you have completed the planning phase and are ready to deploy, see Deploying Exchange 2010. Also, see Establish a Test Environment later in this topic about installing Exchange 2010 in a test environment prior to deploying into production.

  • Workforce Planning for Exchange
    This topic can help you make informed decisions when determining the appropriate workforce levels for your Exchange Server environment.
  • Mailbox Server Storage Design
    This group of topics discusses storage design, which is a critical piece of a successful Exchange 2010 Mailbox server role deployment.
  • Exchange Server Supportability Matrix
    Consult this topic to learn about the level of support available for any configuration or required component for all versions of Microsoft Exchange.
  • Exchange 2010 Solution Accelerator
    This topic links to a guide related to infrastructure planning and design for Service Pack 1 for Exchange 2010. The guide provides a step-by-step process for successfully designing an Exchange 2010 infrastructure.


You can't upgrade an existing Exchange 2000 organization directly to Exchange 2010. You must first upgrade the Exchange 2000 organization to either an Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2007 organization, and then you can upgrade the Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2007 organization to Exchange 2010. We recommend that you upgrade your organization from Exchange 2000 to Exchange 2003, and then upgrade from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010. For more information about upgrading from Exchange 2000, see Planning an Upgrade from Exchange 2000 and Upgrading to Exchange 2007.

Establish a Test Environment

Before installing Exchange 2010 for the first time, we recommend that you install it in an isolated test environment. This approach reduces the risk of end-user downtime and negative ramifications to the production environment.

The test environment will act as your “proof of concept” for your new Exchange 2010 design and make it possible to move forward or roll back any implementations before deploying into your production environments. Having an exclusive test environment for validation and testing allows you to do pre-installation checks for your future production environments. By installing in a test environment first, we believe that your organization will have a better likelihood of success in a full production implementation.

For many organizations, the costs of building a test lab may be high because of the need to duplicate the production environment. To reduce the hardware costs associated with a prototype lab, we recommend the use of virtualization by using Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V technologies. Hyper-V enables server virtualization, allowing multiple virtual operating systems to run on a single physical machine.

For more detailed information about Hyper-V, see Virtualization with Hyper-V. For information about Microsoft support of Exchange 2010 in production on hardware virtualization software, see "Hardware Virtualization" in Exchange 2010 System Requirements.

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