Posted on behalf of Alessandro Goncalves from Global Solutions Engineering

To get the best bang for your buck when deploying Microsoft Exchange, two of the most important considerations are correct sizing of the mailbox role and the correct server and storage combination. The Dell Global Solutions Engineering Team conducted a comparative study on the benefits of running Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 workloads on Dell PowerEdge R720xd servers against Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 on Dell PowerEdge R510 servers. This generational study shows that innovations in both software and hardware lead to better resource utilization and design flexibility.

The study was focused on the number of mailboxes that each deployment can support while maintaining a great user experience. The mailbox profile and size on disk are the most important factors when determining the capacity of a mailbox server deployment:

  • Mailbox profile: The amount of messages each user sends and receives daily impacts the quantity of I/O operations per second (IOPs/user) each mailbox will generate. Each version of Microsoft Exchange server changes the number of IOPs each message profile will generate and this number has consistently decreased with each generation.
  • Mailbox size on disk: Each organization determines the allowable size of its user’s mailbox. Retention policies and deleted item recovery also influence the real size of a mailbox on disk.

The Microsoft Jetstress tool was used to examine throughput and capacity, which when optimized, create a balanced solution.



Exchange 2007 on R510

Exchange 2010 on R720xd

Derived values from Disk Subsystem Test

Message Profile (message/day)

100 messages / day

200 messages/day

I/O profile (IOPs/user)



Number of Mailbox users



Mailbox Profile Test Performance Results

Target Transactional IOPs



Achieved Transactional IOPs



DB read latency (ms)



According to the results presented above, the R720xd and Exchange 2010 can host 3 times the number of 1GB mailboxes with double the messages per user compared to the R510 with Exchange 2007. Since the R720xd is an excellent compute-storage building block and Exchange 2010 brought significant improvements, especially to its store engine, the R720xd and Exchange bring great performance and capacity improvements.

Read the entire study: Exchange 2010 on PowerEdge R720xd vs. Exchange 2007 on PowerEdge R510.