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What is an Exchange Bridgehead server?

Posted on 2004-08-24
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What is an Exchange Bridgehead Server and how is it used within an orginization?

How do you set one up? We are using Windows 2K3 and Exchange 2K3.
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Question by:sneeri_c
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Hi sneeri_c,
Bridgehead servers are the contact point for exchange of directory information between sites. You can specify a preferred bridgehead servers if you have a computer with appropriate bandwidth to transmit and receive information. If there's typically a high level of directory information exchange, a computer with more bandwidth can ensure these exchanges are handled promptly. Matching the demands of your Active Directory deployment with a domain controller having the capacity to handle those demands will enable efficient updates of directory information.

For more information on designating preferred bridgehead servers, see To designate a preferred bridgehead server

You can specify multiple preferred bridgehead servers, but only one will be the active preferred bridgehead server at any time. If the active preferred bridgehead server fails, Active Directory will select another preferred bridgehead server to be the active preferred bridgehead server from the set you designate. If no active preferred bridgehead server is available and there are no other preferred bridgehead servers available for Active Directory to select, it will select another domain controller in the site to be the preferred bridgehead server. This can be problematic if the domain controller Active Directory selects does not have the bandwidth to efficiently handle the increased requirements posed by being a preferred bridgehead server.

You must specify a preferred bridgehead server if your deployment uses a firewall to protect a site. Establish your firewall proxy server as the preferred bridgehead server, making it the contact point for exchanging information with servers outside the firewall. If you do not do this, directory information may not be successfully exchanged.

Directory information is exchanged between sites over a site link. IP and SMTP are the default transport protocols for which you can add site links. Any domain controller can use the site link protocol of the site link to exchange the information. If there are multiple servers in a site, and one of the servers is a preferred bridgehead server for a protocol used in a site link, that server will be the preferred bridgehead server for inter-site exchange of directory information.

Establishing a preferred bridgehead designates that server as the pre-eminent server for information exchange over the protocol for which the site link is established. Other domain controllers could still exchange directory information if a need arises, but under normal conditions, the bridgehead server will be used as the first choice to receive and send all directory traffic.

In summary, a site link directs information arbitrarily to any domain controller in a site. Establishing a bridgehead server provides some ranking or criteria for choosing which domain controller should be preferred as the recipient for inter-site replication. This bridgehead server then subsequently distributes the directory information via intra-site replication.

ref
http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/en/server/help/default.asp?url=/windows2000/en/server/help/dssite_make_bridgehead.htm

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;q314961

Hope This helps
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