The reason for the lack of virtualization support (supposedly) was because unified messaging uses a third-party real-time collaboration stack, and its vendor didn't support virtualization. Apparently, that is no longer an issue. However, some key requirements remain for working with the unified messaging role and getting support from Microsoft:
- You must run Exchange 2010 SP1.
- You must install the unified messaging role on a 64-bit edition of Windows Server 2008 R2.
- The unified messaging role must be the only role installed on that virtual machine. It may not to be combined with any other role on the same virtual machine.
- The virtualized machine must have at least four CPU cores and at least 16GB of RAM.
You might think that you could run the unified messaging role on a Hyper-V virtual machine, as Microsoft only described Hyper-V in its best-practices document. But the Microsoft Exchange team has confirmed that you can run the unified messaging role on a VM from any hardware virtualization vendor that is part of the Microsoft Windows SVVP (Server Virtualization Validation Program); that includes EMC VMware and Citrix Systems. This is good news for those who want to deploy the unified messaging role in a virtualized environment -- and for those who've already been doing it without having full support.
Another unsupported aspect of virtualization and Exchange has been the lack of support for hypervisor-based clustering or migration. But now the Exchange team says that in Exchange 2010 SP1, support is provided for Exchange high-availability groups (DAG groups) and hypervisor-based clustering, high-availability, and migration tools: Tools that "move or automatically fail over mailbox servers that are members of a DAG between clustered root servers" are now supported.
We will no doubt see additional enhancements to the world of virtualization. Will these changes affect your role out of Exchange 2010? Are you planning on working with the unified messaging role in a virtualized or physical environment in the near future? Let your fellow readers know.
This article, "Virtualize unified messaging for Microsoft Exchange," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blog and follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.