Best Practices Guide

Part 7: Microsoft recommendations for structuring an Exchange Server disk subsystem

Below is a list of how Microsoft recommends that the disk subsystem be structured on a high performance Exchange Server to minimize disk I/Os.

Volume Type Contains
C: Direct-attached storage (RAID 1) Windows, Exchange system files
D: Direct-attached storage (RAID 1)

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E: SAN RAID 0+1 MTA queues and SMTP queues
F: SAN RAID 1 Log files for first storage group
G: SAN RAID 0+1 Databases for first storage group

If your server contains multiple Exchange Server storage groups, Microsoft recommends that you create extra volumes. For each Exchange Server storage group, the Exchange log files should be placed on a SAN-based RAID 1 array, while the Exchange databases should be placed on a SAN-based RAID 0+1 array.


 Home: Introduction
 Part 1: Disk performance best practices for Exchange Server databases
 Part 2: Disk performance best practices for Exchange Server transaction logs
 Part 3: Disk performance best practices for MTA and SMTP queues
 Part 4: Disk performance best practices for Windows pagefiles
 Part 5: Disk performance best practices for Exchange Server indexing
 Part 6: Disk performance best practices for deleted Exchange database pages
 Part 7: Microsoft recommendations for an Exchange disk subsystem
 Part 8: Related links on Exchange Server performance management

Brien M. Posey, MCSE
Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for his work with Exchange Server, and has previously received Microsoft's MVP award for Windows Server and Internet Information Server (IIS). Brien has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once responsible for the Department of Information Management at Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer, Brien has written for Microsoft, TechTarget, CNET, ZDNet, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit Brien's personal Web site at

This was first published in July 2006

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