today we have a guest publisher here on the HMC MSDN Blog of mine.
Grahame Ash, a Principal PFE just like me, who also takes care of HMC customers in EMEA posted a FAQ internally for others who want to find out more about HMC. I liked it so much that I suggested to "Sanitize" it a bit and post it here for public consumption.
So on it goes in Grahame's own words ...
It's occurred to me (many times) that we spend a lot of time answering FAQs, mostly from internal Consultants, Premier and Sales Specialists. Perhaps we can save everyone's time by creating a FAQ on Technet at one point.
Planning and Deployment
Which roles in HMC can I run on virtual servers?
None of the HMC servers is supported in a virtual server. HMC was only fully tested on physical servers. See Documentation:
Hardware Virtualization Considerations
Microsoft currently does not support any version of Hosted Messaging and Collaboration solution using any hardware virtualization technology.
Is OCS 2007 R2 supported in HMC 4.5?
Yes, but only the functionality provided in OCS 2007 RTM is supported. None of the new R2 features or their provisioning is supported.
Is SQL Server 2008 supported in HMC?
No, only SQL Server 2005, for all HMC versions.
Is HMC supported on Windows Server 2008?
HMC 4.5 supports many, but not all, of the HMC roles on Windows Server 2008. See the solution documentation:
Is HMC supported on 64-bit operating systems?
Both 4.0 and 4.5 support some HMC roles on 64-bit architecture, see the documentation for details:
For HMC 4.0: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/cc526348.aspx
For HMC 4.5: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/cc545928.aspx
Which HMC roles can I combine on a single server?
The only configuration which has been fully tested is the one in the deployment documentation. However, hosters have successfully combined roles, even though this may reduce fault-tolerance for example. One restriction is that you may not install the MPS Web Services on an MPS engine server. You should also not install any HMC roles on a Domain Controller.
Is Forefront Online Protection for Exchange (FOPE, formerly Exchange Hosted Services) supported with HMC?
Yes. Microsoft makes no recommendations as to which perimeter software should be added to HMC.
Is System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 supported with HMC?
Microsoft has not tested Operations Manager 2007 R2 with HMC, but some customers are using it, and we are not aware of any problems.
Which Operations Manager Management Packs should I install in an HMC environment?
The latest Management Packs for each of the servers and their applications, as well as the Microsoft Provisioning System Management Pack, which is provided with HMC.
Maintenance and Scalability
Is it supported to add the latest Service Pack of Windows/Exchange/SQL/OCS to my HMC environment?
Microsoft maintains test environments for HMC 4.0 and 4.5, and these are regularly updated as the Service Packs are released. Hosters should contact the Solution Support team to obtain confirmation that the latest SP has been tested successfully.
Which hotfixes do I need to apply to my HMC platform?
Microsoft maintains test environments for HMC 4.0 and 4.5, and these are updated monthly with the latest security fixes released to Windows Update. Hosters should contact the Solution Support team to obtain confirmation that the latest fixes have been tested successfully, before deploying them to their own test environment. We recommend that all security updates are deployed. Hotfixes to server applications should only be deployed to fix a problem which has been observed on the platform, and then only after careful testing in your test environment.
How many servers do I need to support my expected user load?
The latest HMC Scalability Testing Report can be found here:
Scalability recommendations are published by the various server application groups, and these should be consulted. For Exchange, hosters should bear in mind that most client testing assumes users have Outlook, and are in the intranet.
Microsoft recommends performing tests to simulate expected user load.
How many SMTP domains can I host?
Microsoft has tested HMC to over 2 million SMTP domains.
How many Offline Address Books can I have in total?
There is a known problem with Public Folder OABs. Each of these generates a Replid and we have seen that more than approximately 20 000 of these can lead to … A workaround has been developed which allows small organisations to share an OAB (users are not aware it is shared). See <> for details. Note that this limit applies only to PF-based OABs. Hosters expecting to have many thousand hosted organisations should deploy web-based OAB distribution in HMC 4.5.
How many Offline Address Books can I hold on a dedicated OAB server?
Microsoft recommends a maximum of 1000. It is possible to hold more than 1000, but hosters who choose to do so should monitor their Active Directory performance closely. Details are in http://support.microsoft.com/kb/945629/en-us.
Hosters expecting to have many thousand hosted organisations should deploy web-based OAB distribution in HMC 4.5.
How do I obtain support for my HMC environment?
Proactive and reactive support from Microsoft Solution Support is available to customers who have a Solutions Support Addendum to their Premier or MSPA support contract. Support can also be obtained from a Microsoft Hosting partner http://www.microsoft.com/hosting/en/us/catalogs/business-email.aspx?keywords=exchange and from the public forums http://forums.asp.net/default.aspx/29.
When does support for HMC 3.5 end?
Support for HMC 3.5 has already ended.
When does support for HMC 4.0 and 4.5 end?
Support for HMC 4.* will end at the end of June/December 2011. After this time, no more fixes will be delivered. Existing support contracts will be renewable, on the understanding that Support will not be able to deliver official hotfixes to the solution. Server applications and Operating Systems are supported on the terms of their individual product lifecycles.
What is my upgrade path to Hosted Exchange 2010 and Hosted Sharepoint 2010?
HMC 4.5 is the last version of HMC, and also the Microsoft Provisioning System (MPS). It will not be possible to use MPS to provision the new hosted services provided in the "Wave 14" products (Exchange 20210, Sharepoint 2010). Sharepoint Foundation 2010 and Sharepoint Server 2010 are natively multitenant. Exchange 2010 will be multitenant capable when Exchange 2010 SP1 is released, probably towards the end of 2010. Exchange 2010 RTM is not supported in a multitenant configuration.
There are several routes to realising the benefits of the services in Exchange 2010 and Sharepoint 2010:
- Become a Reseller or Syndicator of BPOS
- Engage a hosting partner to assist in deploying a complete hosting solution
- Become a Reseller of services provided by a "white-label" hosting provider (http://www.microsoft.com/hosting/en/us/catalogs/reseller/private-label-hosting.aspx)
- Develop a complete solution by adding a control panel and provisioning services to the base products
I am running HMC 4.5 including OCS 2007, what is my upgrade path?
Microsoft is still finalising the upgrade strategy for Hosted OCS.