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Random Musings on Exchange and Virtualization

Exchange And Hyper-V Replica Support

Exchange And Hyper-V Replica Support

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After seeing several posts and some folks discussing whether or not Exchange supports the Hyper-V Replica feature I thought it would be prudent to address the following:

  • Does Exchange Support Hyper-V Replica?
  • Does Hyper-V Support Exchange?
  • How Do I use Exchange and Hyper-V Replica?


What Is Hyper-V Replica

For some background reading on Hyper-V and the Replica feature; the component poster and downloadable documents can be found in this post.  In short the Hyper-V Replica feature tracks changes to the specified VHDs, then ships these changes to keep a copy of the virtual machine synchronised on a second host.  Windows Server 2012 R2  will enhance this further.  The diagram below from the replica whitepaper shows a 20,000 foot view. 

    Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Replica High Level View


    Does Exchange Support Hyper-V Replica

    In short, Exchange does not support the Hyper-V Replica feature.  Exchange has a long history of supporting virtualisation from Exchange 2003 onwards.  It is fully supported to install Exchange 2007, 2010 or 2013 as a virtual machine on Hyper-V, but using the Hyper-V replica feature is not supported.

    The Exchange 2010 virtualization support requirements and Exchange 2013 virtualization requirements pages are rather detailed in what must and must not be done on an Exchange virtual machine or hypervisor.  If what you want to do is not listed, then that should set an alarm bell off….


    The Exchange virtualization support statement has never listed Hyper-V replica, though some of the Hyper-V content has alluded to running Exchange as a replicated VM.  Some workloads have  announced support for Hyper-V replica, which includes:


    Additional Reading

    Jeff Mealiffe delivered a great session on Exchange & Virtualization at TechEd.  You can find this session here, and a list of all of the other Exchange sessions here

    In his session Jeff highlighted what was supported and what was not supported.  Here is his slide for Hyper-V replica. 

    Hyper-V Replica Not Supported For Exchange

    Exchange has specific supportability requirements, and additional virtualization specific stipulations.  Please see the system requirements page for the appropriate version.  You can find them at the bottom of this post.  The Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP) should also be consulted to ensure that the hypervisor is supported under SVVP. 


    So until the Exchange Product Group folks have signed off and stated that Hyper-V Replica is supported, please do not leverage it for Exchange VMs. 




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    • Hopefully that day will come soon. The Exchange team seem to be amongst the slowest to adapt anything.

    • Thats right its not supported but again few org. with only one server(multirole) deployed may want to achieve HA on Primary/DR site might think of enabling Hyper V replica.

      As mentioned stil the supportibilty becomes a challenge & switch over data will not be upto date.

    • That's correct as what would happen with potential data loss scenarios...

      The other thing to consider is what it means to "support" a scenario.  That means the product group will test out the scenario, provide support to customers to resolve issues and ultimately they will stand behind the feature.  In order for that to happen it does take time.



    • When the exchange group supports Hyper-V replica, would they port the support back to Exchange 2010?

    • Has there been any movement on official "support" for Hyper-V replica for single server implementations?

    • Nothing has moved on this recently Dan. When I get news that can be shared, I'll certainly update this post.


    • Why do I have to leverage a different and more complex system for DR of Exchange when I already have a simple easy to use method for my virtualization workloads? Now I have to buy more licensing, learn and manage another solution just to have disaster recovery. In a small business with a single server Exchange deployment, this makes no sense. For 150 mailboxes it's just not realistic to do this. Think I'll just stick with DPM. DAG, no thanks...

    • I am with Scott. This sucks!

    • So...if I try to failover my replica exchange server what would happen?!?

    • So...if I try to failover my replica exchange server what would happen?!?

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