Microsoft Releases Beta of Exchange Bandwidth Calculator

Microsoft last week issued a beta of a new Exchange Client Network Bandwidth Calculator.

The beta, which is designed to help those involved in the design phases of Exchange projects, can be downloaded here. Microsoft also provides a guide for using the calculator at this page.

The new tool has been under development at Microsoft for about a year, according to a Microsoft blog post. The company is seeking to improve it with more real-world data before moving off the beta, with a target date to do that by mid-2012. The calculator is designed to work with Exchange deployed on premises, as well with hosted Exchange offered through Microsoft's Office 365 services.

The calculator is based on the use of Microsoft's e-mail clients, such as Outlook 2010, Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2003. Microsoft's Web-based e-mail clients also are supported, including Outlook Web App 2007 and Outlook Web App 2010. It also derives estimates based on Windows Mobile and Windows Phone mobile device e-mail clients.

Currently, the calculator will not create an estimate from BlackBerry e-mail client use or from other non-Microsoft e-mail client use. Microsoft suggests getting the specific bandwidth-use information from those vendors. Also not supported is Outlook 2000 and older versions. Microsoft plans look into adding support for Outlook 2011 and Entourage (the Mac e-mail client) in a future release.

The calculator is an Excel worksheet-based tool that estimates how much bandwidth will be required to optimally support an organization's e-mail traffic, based on the data provided by the user. To use the tool, an IT worker needs to know how many e-mails are received or sent by each individual mailbox, plus the average message size.

Based on those numbers (and a few more), mailboxes will get classified as light, medium or heavy users, with sizes estimated in gigabytes. Microsoft's documentation for the calculator recommends using PowerShell to get the data from Exchange 2007 or Exchange 2010; otherwise, the user will need a reporting tool to get that information.

At the end of the input process, the calculator will arrive at an estimate of the total steady-state bandwidth that will be required for a mailbox migration. Microsoft's documentation recommends that users of the calculator leave some space for bandwidth headroom. For instance, it's a best practice to double the predicted steady state to allow for network usage spikes.

Calculator users can use a Microsoft white paper on Outlook Anywhere to help estimate bandwidth requirements. The white paper has tables on client network traffic that can be used as general guidelines for profiling light, medium and heavy e-mail users. However, Microsoft's blog says that the profiles embedded in the new calculator are more precise than those listed in the white paper.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


  • Surface and ARM: Why Microsoft Shouldn't Follow Apple's Lead and Dump Intel

    Microsoft's current Surface flagship, the Surface Pro X, already runs on ARM. But as the ill-fated Surface RT showed, going all-in on ARM never did Microsoft many favors.

  • IT Security Isn't Supposed To Be Easy

    Joey explains why it's worth it to endure a little inconvenience for the long-term benefits of a password manager and multifactor authentication.

  • Microsoft Makes It Easier To Self-Provision PCs via Windows Autopilot When VPNs Are Used

    Microsoft announced this week that the Windows Autopilot service used with Microsoft Intune now supports enrolling devices, even in cases where virtual private networks (VPNs) might get in the way.

  • Most Microsoft Retail Locations To Shut Down

    Microsoft is pivoting its retail operations to focus more on online sales, a plan that would mean the closing of most physical Microsoft Store locations.

comments powered by Disqus

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.