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Exchange Server 2013


While a production version of Exchange may need to serve hundreds if not thousands of users, a lab server only needs enough resources for only a few users. There are a few fundamental rules you want to follow when setting up a test lab environment for your Exchange Server.

Hardware Requirements

You will need a baseline amount of Memory, processing capability, storage, and Operating systems in order to setup the Lab environment.

For Physical memory, you will want a minimum of 8GB of RAM for a Exchange server that is running both the Mailbox and Client Access server roles. If you are running just the Client access role, you will need 4GB of RAM.

For virtual memory, that which is used by Windows page file, it suggested that static size is set to be RAM + 10MB. While Windows can self manage its page file, it can easily grow and become a drain on resources.

Processing Power

Exchange Server 2013 is a 64-bit operating system and requires either an Intel x64, AMD64 , or equivalent Processor. While a single core processor will meet the requirements, the server software would be very demanding, a quad core processor or greater is suggested.

Storage Space

Storage is a major component of an Exchange Server. You need enough space for Exchanges binary files, message-tracking logs, message and database logs, transportation-queue databases and transaction logs. They system drive, as well as any all volume used, must be formatted as NTFS.

For the lab environment, we will use a 50GB drive. The larger the organization, the more space you will require.


You will need at least one 1GB Ethernet network interface Card(NIC). For the Lab environment, we will only use IPv4 protocol.You may use both IPv4 and IPv6 protocols. There is no advantage to disabling IPv6, and does require additional steps beyond the NIC control panel.

Operating systems

Exchange Server 2013 supports Windows Server 2008 R2 (Standard, Enterprise, or Datacenter)and Server 2012 ( Standard and Datacenter).

In order to get Exchange Server running you will want to ensure the following conditions are met:

  • The server is joined to an Active Directory Domain.
  • The Active Directory forest and domain are using Server 2003 or greater.
  • The Server has an assigned Static IP.
  • Test Active Directory accounts are created
  • An administrative account has membership to the Schema, Domain and Enterprise Administrator security Groups.
  • The Server is not a domain controller.
  • There are no other Exchange servers in the domain.
  • There is a domain controller in the same Active Directory site that the Exchange server will reside in.
  • If you have multiple domains in the forest, the first site you will install an Exchange server in contains a writeable global catalog server from each domain.

With the requirements met, preparation of the lab environment can begin