Exchange 2003 reliance on Domain Controller

Hi, this has been bugging me as I'm trying to work out why exchange functionality stops when I restart the primary domain controller.

I have 2 win2k domain controllers and 1 Exchange 2003 on Windows 2003 member server.

GC is available on both Domain Controllers. 1 DC server has all the FSOM Roles.

Now if I reboot the primary domain controller with the FSOM Roles exchange stops working.

What exactly does Exchange 2003 need to be operational. I thought all it needed was one global catalogue server to be functional??

Is there a particular FSOM role that exchange requires access to on a server? Or do I have a problem with my second GC server? I did notice LDAP errors in event viewer with exchange trying to connect to the second DC GC server after stopping the Primary Domain Controller.

Hoping someone can explain this simply.

Thanks for your time.

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SembeeConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Exchange will attach itself to a certain GC domain controller. While it can find another one when the original has gone (reboot, shutdown etc) it doesn't do this immediately. It can take a little while - I have seen over 30 minutes before failover takes place.

There are two ways to resolve this problem - don't reboot the GC that it is attached to unless you need to reboot the Exchange server as well, or change the GC that it is using in ESM before the reboot.

hnadAuthor Commented:
In the ESM under Server Properties/Directory Access I have both DC's listed as DC (auto) and GC (auto)

The Primary DC also has another entry: Config (auto) which points to LDAP 389. What is Config (auto)? Should I have an entry for this for the second DC?

I'm just trying to understand what will happen in case of a disaster with the Primary DC. 30 minutes seems like a long time for it to attach itself to the second GC especially if it's listed in Directory Access.

If the primary DC went down then the quickest way to get Exchange to attach to another GC is to simply reboot it. I have had to do that in the past.
That second entry is where Recipient Update Services points. That needs LDAP access to update the user account information. That can only point at one server, but can be easily changed in ESM should it be required.

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Watch this video to see how easy it is to make mass changes to Active Directory from an external text file without using complicated scripts.

hnadAuthor Commented:
Ok thanks Sembee.

One last question just to be clear. FSOM roles have no effect on exchange operations? All Exchange needs is a GC server correct?

I understand about moving or forcing FSOM roles to another server. I just want to be clear that Exchange does not require access to a server with these roles to function properly.


The active directory will need access to a server with the FSMO roles to function, but Exhcange itself needs a GC and a domain controller - that is all. You should have no problems moving the roles as the server will find them if required.

hnadAuthor Commented:
Awsome thanks for your help.
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