VM machine requirements for Exchange 2010 training

Some people who have browsed the announcement of the Exchange 2010 training that Paul Robichaux and I are doing in Boston and Anaheim in October (http://events.left-brain.com/EssentialsWorkshops/Exchange2010.aspx?code=WP520XAT) have noted this small but very important section at the end of the page:


Due to the cutting-edge nature of the labs at this unique event, you must bring a laptop computer meeting the following specifications. You will not be able to participate in the labs and you will not derive the full value of this event without equipment that is capable of supporting multiple virtual Exchange 2010 servers:

  • 64-bit CPU
  • Operating System: 64-bit version of Windows 7 (Professional recommended)
  • Minimum 8GB of RAM


The question is then posed as to what kind of system would I (or anyone else – preferably someone with more technical knowledge about virtual systems) would recommend to meet the requirement. All I can report is what I use myself, which is an HP Elitebook 8530w with 8GB of memory running the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Professional. This configuration runs VMware Workstation 7 to support various Windows 2008 R2 virtual servers running Active Directory and Exchange 2010. The magic element is an SSD disk that I connect to the laptop with USB 2.0 –  all the VM files for the virtual machines are on the SSD. This arrangement delivers much better performance than if you have to cope with the contention caused by lots of activity from up to four virtual machines competing against Windows 7 on a single slow laptop drive.

Our intention is that anyone who comes to the training will be provided with virtual systems that are ready to go and can be used for the labs that we’ll run (the labs are being designed by Brian Desmond, another MVP) and can then be taken away and used after the event to reinforce learning or simply help to test elements of Exchange 2010 out to plan for your own deployment.

Anyone thinking of coming along with an underpowered laptop will be sadly disappointed by their experience. I can’t emphasize this point strongly enough. Given laptop prices today, it shouldn’t be a problem to source a sufficiently capable laptop for the event!

– Tony


About Tony Redmond

Lead author for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook and writer about all aspects of the Office 365 ecosystem.
This entry was posted in Exchange 2010, Training. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to VM machine requirements for Exchange 2010 training

  1. William Wilde says:

    Hi Tony

    Very interested to see your E2K10 seminars. Are there currently any plans to schedule any of these in EMEA please?



    • Our first priority is to run the seminars in Boston and Anaheim to make sure that the material we have is valuable and meets the needs of real-life Exchange deployments. After that we will figure out whether we should run some additional sessions. The problems with an EMEA location are a) determining where to run the event so that sufficient people might attend to make it worthwhile and b) the logistics required. These factors can be overcome, but we have to look into them more before we can say whether we can run anything in EMEA. Thanks for the interest though!

      – TR

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.