Official Support for OCS 2007 R2 Virtualization

In case you missed it, the Microsoft OCS Team recently announced official support for running some of the OCS 2007 R2 server roles on a virtual machine.  In a nutshell, virtualization is supported for the OCS 2007 R2 server roles that do NOT provide real-time media functionality (e.g. Voice and Video). This boils down to support for the roles that provide the Presence, IM, and Group Chat functionality.

Specifically, the following OCS 2007 R2 roles are supported to run on a virtual machine:

  • Enterprise Front-End Server with no Enterprise Voice or Audio/Video roles.
  • IM Conferencing Server.
  • Access Edge Server (including Remote Access, Federation, and PIC).
  • Back-End (SQL server backend)
  • Group Chat (Channel server, Lookup server, Back-end, and the Compliance Back-end)
  • Key Points:

    1. Standard Edition is not officially supported because by definition include the real-time media roles (e.g. Audio/Video Conferencing).irtual Machines must be running on Windows Server 2008 64 bit.
    2. The Web Conferencing and Edge A/V roles are not officially supported to run a virtual machine.
    3. The Archiving and Monitoring roles are not supported to run on a virtual machine. They need to be deployed on a physical machine.  However: the Archiving role can perform archiving against a virtualized Enterprise pool, and the Monitoring role can perform CDR (and CDR only) collecting for a virtualized Enterprise pool.
    4. Both Hyper-V and VMWare is supported (“any Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP) certified partner solution”).

    One issue for Consolidated Front-End Pool deployments is that the roles will need to be separated to take advantage of virtualization – by nature Consolidated Front-Ends include the Audio/Video and Telephony roles which are not supported. If this applies to you, consider taking advantage of virtualization on some of the supported Edge roles, or when expanding your existing Topology.

    In reality, many people have been running many OCS roles in a virtualized lab environment for sometime – the issue for production support comes done to the ability of the virtual machine to support the functional workload with decent quality – which has many complex variables (hardware and configuration of the host and guest virtual image, load, etc…). 

    The details of the OCS 2007 R2 topologies, workload, and associated boundaries that were tested can be found in this whitepaper: Running Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 in a Virtualized Topology. Take note of Appendix C, which provides a useful “Virtualization Checklist”.

    Support details for the Office Communicator client virtualization can be found here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/951152.

    A new Microsoft article in January 2010 was released which provides a nice consolidated FAQ: Running Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 in a Virtualized Topology.

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