Detailed planning and preparation for deploying Microsoft Exchange 2000 is critical to a successful implementation. For an enterprise deployment, a test network running Exchange 2000 offers important experience prior to your live deployment. To aid in this process, we have created a diagram of a sample Exchange 2000 test network and a worksheet that will allow you to fill in information and plan your own Exchange 2000 test network. This article will provide you with a link to download these diagrams as well as explain how to interpret and use them.

Download the Exchange 2000 test network diagrams

This download includes two Microsoft Visio 2000 diagrams. The first is our “Exchange 2000 Sample Test Network,” which provides you with a sample topology for predeployment testing. The second is our “Exchange 2000 Test Network Worksheet,” which is identical to the first diagram except that it provides you with space to fill in information to plan your own test network. If you do not have Visio, you can print out the included TIF images of both of these diagrams.

Interpreting and using the diagrams
Both diagrams have two pages:

  • P.1 Test LAN—This page lists all Exchange servers, information stores, clients, and connections. This network is ideally a separate physical network with no domain trusts, rights, or other connections to the production network.
  • P.2 Client Configuration—This page shows some of the clients that can be on this test network. Many organizations end up with a “managed mix” of desktop clients. These clients also have a mix of versions of Outlook.

The Test LAN diagram has three servers that each have a specific role in the sample test network:

  • Server 1 (\\TESTLAN-E2K1)—Serves the role as the front-end Exchange server for our test site. The front-end server in this scenario will point clients to their data (in an information store) and will handle all traffic on the SMTP connector (to the Internet, other business units, and so on.). Also, if there were any third-party products in use for Exchange (such as a fax server connector), they would reside on this server.
  • Server 2 (\\TESTLAN-E2K2)—This server houses the data for the site. This diagram has a total of five information stores. Exchange 2000 lets administrators segment information stores into more than one private or public information store. Note also that the Exchange directory is absorbed into Windows 2000 Active Directory and is not on the diagram.
  • Server 3 (\\TESTLAN-WWW)—This server is the company intranet server with Exchange 2000 Outlook Web Access installed on it. Outlook Web Access has greatly improved in Exchange 2000, and it’s a viable piece in a company’s remote access strategy. This server still houses the other components of the intranet but serves a hybrid role in the Exchange organization. It would technically be a front-end server if it needed to be classified in a front-end or back-end role.

On the Test LAN diagram, you will see the item Test LAN Clients. This is broken out further on the second page of the diagram—P2 Client Configuration. The Client Configuration diagram is pretty self-explanatory. It simply provides seven types of clients you will likely want to test with Exchange 2000. Of course, you can add to or subtract from this list based on the requirements of your organization.

Test network server resource requirements
Exchange 2000 and Windows 2000 are resource-intensive products that deliver high-performing services. The downside of this is that organizations need to provide late model hardware in order for these products to perform at optimum levels, even in a testing situation. In this test network, each of the servers has different resource requirements:

  • Server 1—More priority to fast network connections, more RAM, less disk space, and seamless connections to Internet/Firewall/DMZ or other Exchange site
  • Server 2—More priority on large amounts of fast disk space
  • Server 3—More priority to fast network connections and more RAM

This configuration allows servers to be more accurately and efficiently configured to their role if purchased new.

Get your hands dirty
Now that you know the format and approach of these diagrams, you’re ready to dig in and use them to build your own Exchange 2000 test network. If you haven’t already downloaded the diagrams, click here to get them.

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How are you implementing an Exchange 2000 test network? We look forward to getting your input and hearing about your experiences regarding this topic. Join the discussion below or send the editor an e-mail.