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Support for Virtual Exchange Server on the Way

Microsoft will begin supporting Exchange servers in virtual machines under certain conditions later this month, the company said this week.

The policy will cover only Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2 running on Virtual Server 2005 R2. Exchange 2003 SP2 shipped in mid-October. Virtual Server 2005 R2 will be available later this month, Microsoft said in a Knowledge Base article describing the policy.

The support policy will not cover versions of Exchange prior to Exchange 2003 SP2 and won't cover the original version of Virtual Server 2005. Clustering the Exchange server is also not supported.

Microsoft rolled out the policy after Microsoft IT ran a two-month test of 200 production mailboxes on a server with pre-release versions of Exchange 2003 SP2 and Virtual Server 2005 R2. The test ran without noticeable differences in the user experience and with acceptable performance, the Microsoft Exchange team stated on its blog.

The policy covers only Microsoft virtualization software. Microsoft's policy for its software on non-Microsoft virtualization software, such as the market-leading offerings from VMware, is generally not to support those scenarios.

Customers without Premier support contracts must reproduce any issues in a non-virtualized environment to get Microsoft support. For Premier support customers, Microsoft's policy is to make "commercially reasonable efforts to investigate potential issues with Microsoft software running in conjunction with non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software." (Click here to view the KB article describing the policy.)

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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