Gartner Research

E-Mail Servers and Virtualization

Published: 21 April 2010

ID: G00203905

Analyst(s): Bill Pray


Virtualized e-mail servers have been restricted to testing, non-mailbox server roles, or small office implementations. Support from e-mail vendors has been limited, and the vendors often recommend e-mail servers run on "bare metal." However, improved virtualization technologies and enhancements to e-mail server solutions have changed the landscape. Enterprises can now take advantage of virtualization for production e-mail servers and realize the benefits of application virtualization. Enterprises must take into account some caveats before deciding to move e-mail servers from bare metal to virtualized servers. In this assessment, Analyst Bill Pray provides details on running virtualized e-mail servers.

Table Of Contents

Summary of Findings



  • Virtualizing Production E-Mail Servers
  • Comparing the Strengths and Weaknesses
  • Benefits of E-Mail Server Virtualization
    • Better Testing Environment, Thereby Enabling More Rapid Deployment
    • Easier Disaster Recovery and Resiliency
    • Increased Security
    • Reduced Hardware Costs and Maximized Hardware for Better TCO
    • Simplification of the Infrastructure and Hardware
  • E-Mail Vendor Support (or Reluctance to Support)
    • IBM
    • Microsoft
    • Other Vendors of E-Mail Solutions
  • Pitfalls of E-Mail Server Virtualization
  • Overcoming the Pitfalls
    • Size the Resources Correctly
    • Select the Right Hardware
    • Select the Right Server Virtualization Hypervisor
    • Design for High Availability and Resiliency
    • Tune into Best Practices
    • Test and Pilot
  • When Virtualization of E-Mail Servers Doesn't Make Sense
    • If It Isn't Broke, Don't Fix It
    • No or Nascent Virtualization Expertise
    • Old Hardware and No Funds to Purchase New
  • Virtualize Production E-Mail Servers
  • Compensate for E-Mail Server Virtualization Requirements
  • Understand Vendor Recommendations for Support


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