Don't put Microsoft Exchange databases on NAS filers

Don't put Microsoft Exchange databases on NAS filers
Rick Cook

Although NAS provides a convenient way of adding storage, it isn't well suited for all applications. Transaction processing and other applications that involve a lot of I/O may suffer significant performance degradations with some NAS devices. In fact Microsoft specifically does not support Microsoft Exchange on NAS filers.

The problem, Microsoft says, is that NAS filers use network protocols like TCP/IP and all data is processed through the network client stack. This can slow things down and create problems with data reliability with programs that have high levels of I/O. By contrast, Microsoft says, SAN storage provides a resilient high-speed network intended only for data, and such a network can handle the load.

The Exchange administrative interfaces, such as Exchange System Manager in Exchange 2000, will not allow administrators to set database paths to a NAS filer. Going around the administrative interfaces, by doing a raw edit of the registry, for example, will produce an error message.

The company says that no NAS filers are on the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL), although a number of NAS makers use devices such as disk arrays, which are on the HCL.

For more information see the note "XADM: Exchange Is Not Supported On Network Attached Storage Devices" in the

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Microsoft support database.

Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

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Related Book

Configuring Exchange Server 2000
Author : Syngress Media
Publisher : Syngress, Media
Published : Feb 2001
E-mail Configuration for the System Administrator Messaging and Internet connectivity are the essential components of corporate communications, and Exchange 2000 Server, the latest release of Microsoft's flagship Enterprise Server for communications, is the dominant player in the market. Methods of communication have progressed beyond basic e-mail and now include instant messaging, wireless communications, video conferencing, chats, and integrated workflow. All of these technologies are enabled by Exchange Server 2000. Configuring Exchange Server 2000 is written by IT professionals for IT professionals and is for both administrators and developers who are actively using Exchange 5.5 and Exchange 2000 products.

This was first published in May 2001

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