EMC Exchange 2010-2013 Designer RC1.8 -- major corrections!

Release notes -- reverse chronological order:

March 20, 2015:

Version RC1.8 brings TWO MAJOR FIXES to RC1.7.  First, let me apologize to the Fans and Supporters of the EMC Exchange Designer! The posted version, RC1.7, was NOT a sizer template and it was loaded with customer inputs and modifications that made it utterly useless as a predictive sizing tool.  I received dozens of confused emails and phone calls from many of the EMC Exchange Designer's biggest fans asking me WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY EXCHANGE CONFIG?!?  The truth is, RC1.7 was MESSED UP!!  I am deeply sorry for this error!

RC1.8 attempts to re-introduce the enhancements to RC1.7, but based on the very functional RC1.6 release.  If it's possible, please re-visit your RC1.7 designs by re-running them on RC1.8.  Please let me know how this works for your designs!!

And, finally, we support the 1.2TB@10K RPM 2.5" drive now for VNX installations.

Thank you and sorry for all the trouble!


January 23, 2015:

Happy New Year!  This release marks the transition of development to a new leader -- Rajesh Ramachandran will be taking the lead on the EMC Exchange Designer.  I (Jim Cordes) will still be involved as we complete the transition, but Rajesh has been deeply involved in the last two releases of the tool.  His knowledge of Exchange storage design and this tool is truly impressive; I am so excited to have his leadership in this development effort!  With that being said, we have another tweak to the tool: RC1.7 fixes a bug in calculating the Restore LUN size and DB LUN size for single DB and multiple DBs LUN scenario.



August 14, 2014:

RC1.6 brings new reporting fields for VMAX designers.  You will notice that, in addition to guidance for creating FASTVP policies, we now provide guidance for VMAX pools in the form of Capacities and Performance requirements. Many VMAX designers do not think about designs in terms of drive counts; this new reporting guidance helps them build solutions faster.

We have also corrected total pool capacity reporting numbers for Secondary arrays when configuring VMAX in the Secondary data center.

February 27, 2014:

The EMC Exchange Designer jumps to Version RC1.5 and moves one step closer to release.  Version RC1.5 is proof that the EMC Microsoft Community actually works!  I received incredibly helpful feedback from our own Rajesh Ramachandran (MSpecialist in Berkeley Heights, NJ) who identified two "edge case" but vitally important bugs in the spreadsheet (one based on Log Writer performance penalties when placing logs on the database volumes, the other based on the number of drives needed in the secondary site of an Active/Active Dual DAG deployment).  Based on Rajesh's analysis, I was able to quickly update the spreadsheet and eliminate the two bugs.  Thank you Rajesh!

February 11, 2014:

RC1.4e resets some of the default values to align with Best Practices from the Exchange Best Practices White Paper H8888.  For example, Log and Database Isolation has been turned on, Backup method has been set Hardware VSS.  2GB Mailboxes are default too.


February 5, 2014:

Sometimes bugs slip into the product when you are not looking.  In this case, the number of DAGs became hard set to 8 during the last revision process!  Please look at your 1.4c designs and verify that the number of DAGs being created is correct.  version 1.4d correct this!

1.4d also corrects a rarely tripped-over bug regarding the amount of space needed for Secondary site snapshots.

January 16, 2014:

A tiny bug corrected that prevented the building of 2-tier pools with EFDs.

December 16, 2013:

Version 1.4b fixes a tiny little bug with 4000GB drives when selecting them as the second tier in a VMAX 2-tier design.  Version 1.4a would display a 300GB drive when you selected a 4TB drive.  This bug has been resolved.

October 29, 2013:

Version RC1.4a simply adds 4TB NL-SAS drives to the Designer.

Sept 25, 2013:

It's another big day for the EMC Exchange Designer -- We have back-ported the critical Memory Calculation Code from E2013Calc5.9 into the EMC Exchange Designer.  Now, for the first time, you can toggle back and for between designs forth Exchange 2010 and 2013 -- directly comparing storage and memory requirements!!  Cheers -- keep those comments coming -- we are getting very close!!

Sept 24, 2013:

Version RC1.3a fixes a tiny little bug in the calculation of drive space required for snapshots in the Production site.  The calculation was close before; the bug fix makes it exact.

Sept 10, 2013:

EMC Exchange DIVA continues to get more and more page views everyday.  We are finding people all over the planet using DIVA to enhance their Exchange Projects.  If you haven't grabbed it yet, please take a look.

By popular demand, a "drop-down" has been added to the EMC Exchange Designer (RC1.3) allowing the you/users/designers/consultants to manually select the number of mailboxes to place on each mailbox server.  The Designer will automatically create more DAGs if your Mailbox to Server ratio causes the DAG to have more than 16 servers in it.  This is very cool and interesting code!!  Also, the number of servers allocated to Multi-DAG designs has been tighten-up dramatically -- for example, in a 45,000-user design, 3 DAGs will be created, but now only 12 servers will be in each DAG as opposed to the previously allocated 16 servers per DAG.  This represents a far more "Microsoft 365-like" deployment.  You can certainly override the tool's decisions, but the code works in Auto Calculation mode very nicely!


In addition, VMAX Multi-Tier designs continue to receive more options for more designs.  For example, you can now mix RAID types for tier-1 and tier-2 and show the capacities reflected in each tier.  All this work is leading up to VNX2 multi-tier flexibility for a future version of the Designer.  Cheers!!

September 5, 2013: 

The EMC Exchange Designer Instant Visualization Assistant goes into Release status today. The newly updated tool can be found on ECN.  Please take a look at it -- it should be rock solid!

Also for Sept 5, the EMC Exchange Designer takes another step toward release with RC1.2e.  Working with both customers and EMC SE's on big VMAX deployments, the Inputs tab finally shows reporting for two-tier deployments in a complete and comprehensible format.  Please submit your feedback as you evaluate this latest version of the beloved Exchange Designer.


August 8, 2012:

RC1.1 corrects a small bug in the "Number of Servers" calculations for Active/Active designs with more than 2 HA copies in the Production site.  Although the underlying storage configuration was correct with RC1, the DAG would be designed with more than 16 servers in it (an invalid design).  RC1.1 corrects this issue by allowing a maximum of 16 servers in the DAGs.  DAGs continue to contain a maximum of 24,768 Mailboxes before a second DAG is automatically added ( and the users split into two DAGs).  RC1.1 also corrects an issue with reporting the size of the VMAX User-Selected Drives Pools (the pools were the correct size, the Inputs tab reported them as too small).

August 6,2013:

The EMC Exchange Calculator goes into Release Candidate status today. A video explaining its new attributes is here.  Also going into Release Candidate is Chris Ghiorzi's EMC Exchange Designer Visualization Assistant (EMC Exchange DIVA).  It can be found here.


The EMC Exchange Designer RC1 brings the ability to configure VMAXs with your own drive types.  Because of this, you can use the Designer to model VNX and VNX2 to use FASTVP.  More on this exciting addition in a future video.


Please keep your phone calls, emails, and comments coming.

July 17, 2013: European users are driving designs with very large mailboxes.  As a result, more and more designs are depending on two very large pools in each VNX or VMAX.  These pools need more capacity than performance so RAID-6 has become the design choice for a large number of sites since the Spring of 2013.  As a result, we caught a display bug in the pool capacity reporting when VNX-User Selected Array was chosen AND RAID-6 was selected as the AUTO RAID Override.  Beta 1.08 fixes a bug that incorrectly stated that the database LUNs would not fit into the RAID-6 pool that was built.  (In fact, the design was correct, the reporting on the Input Summary section was not.)  Anyone needing RAID-6 for their pools should use Beta 1.08 or greater.


July 1, 2013:  We are getting close... two minor changes again: 1) a little bug in the Secondary site drive calculations when using VMAX in both sites was corrected to reflect the correct number of drives per server and 2) number of DAGs is correctly calculated with Active/Passive (Dual-Active-DAG) is selected as the Failover Mode.  RC1 is expected to ship next week.

June 19, 2013: Three minor edits that will make an impact: 1) added guidance for Content Index being 20% for Exchange 2013 and 10% for Exchange 2010, 2) Reduced BDM workload from 30 IOPS for Exchange 2010 to 9 IOPS for Exchange 2013, 3) added Jetstress Target DB Throughput to Results Section on Input tab for easy identification when configuring JetStress testing.

June 2, 2013: A minor update corrects math associated with multi-DAG deployments -- the drive totals were listed per DAG, not per Array -- this has been fixed.  Also, math  associated with VMAX FASTVP at both locations has been updated for better accuracy.

May 30, 2013:  The new Exchange 2010-2013 Designer has been out for twenty-four hours now.  A deployment in France has hit the first 2013 issue.  "What happens when I want to deploy 100,000 users?"  A new release Beta 1.01 (May 30, 2013) of the Designer automatically addresses this concern by automatically dividing the user-base into DAGs based on the recommended maximum users per DAG of 24,768.

Beta 1.01 also fixes the "Recommended drive type advice" that was added in 19.9RC13.  RC13 only worked for the PDC, not SDC.  This has been fixed to show you if the drives you selected were "too slow" or "too small".

Also, Beta 1.01 shows you the number of DAGs and total number of servers in the Environment it creates.


Check it out.  I think you'll like what you see.

Exchange Designer gets a new name -- "EMC Exchange 2010-2013 Designer".  That's right; we've rev'd the calculator to size for Exchange 2013 AND Exchange 2010 designs.  The initial release only performs STORAGE sizing for Exchange 2013.  You need to continue to use the Microsoft Calc for SERVER CORES and MEMORY.  BUT -- the EMC Exchange 2010-2013 Designer works for both Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2013 -- simply choose the version on the Basic Input Tab.  Please give us your feedback!!


Please download the tool and give your feedback on this page!


Please keep in mind, this tool is in RC!  If you need to design arrays, please verify your work and math.  Please share your completed sheets with me by mailing them directly to me (mailto:jim.cordes@emc.com)




Please keep the comments coming!


Jim Cordes