Microsoft and hardware vendors such as HP provide sizing tools to help you estimate the size of an Exchange Server 2003 environment and load-simulation tools to test that environment. A commonly used tool is the HP ProLiant Server Sizer for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, which provides sizing guidelines for Exchange 2003 systems. Another commonly used tool is Exchange Server Load Simulator (LoadSim) 2003, which helps you perform what-if assessments on hardware to determine optimum server configuration. Each tool requires you to provide input about mail-system usage. For example, the HP ProLiant Server Sizer asks for information such as

  • how much storage will be allocated for each server
  • how much growth is expected within the next 12 months
  • user profile (light-, medium-, or heavy-usage level)
  • percentage of users that will be online during peak usage
  • percentage of people using Outlook Web Access (OWA)

LoadSim 2003 asks for data such as

  • length of daytime (aka length of workday)
  • number of messages sent
  • number of messages read, replied to, forwarded, moved, copied, and deleted
  • percentage of messages with attachments
  • type of user (light-, medium-, or heavy-usage level)

By no means have I covered all the inputs that these tools need. I'm merely trying to provide you with a feel for the type of information needed. For more information about these tools, assessing your needs, and designing your Exchange 2003 system, check out the following resources:

  • "Blackberry Enterprise Server v3.5 for Microsoft Exchange Server Performance Brief," http://h71019.www7.hp.com/activeanswers/cache/70589-0-0-0-121.aspx
  • "Client Network Traffic with Exchange Server 2003," http://www.microsoft.com/technet/
    prodtechnol/exchange/2003/clinettraf.mspx
  • "Description of Outlook 2003 with Cached Exchange Mode in an Exchange Server 2003 environment," http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=870926
  • "Exchange Server 2003 MAPI Messaging Benchmark 3 (MMB3)," http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/evaluation/performance/mmb3.mspx
  • Exchange Server Load Simulator 2003 (LoadSim), http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=92eb2edc-3433-47ca-a5f8-0483c7ddea85&displaylang=en
  • HP ProLiant Server Sizer for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, http://h71028.www7.hp.com/enterprise/cache/80663-0-0-225-121.aspx
  • "Outlook 11 and Exchange Server," April 2003, InstantDoc ID 38271
  • "Planning an Exchange Server 2003 Messaging System," http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/2003/library/messsyst.mspx
  • "Upgrading to Outlook 2003," October 2004, InstantDoc ID 43545