Exchange 2003 does not start without a DC

Posted on 2005-03-21
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Hi I am looking for information on why Exchange 2003 does not start without a DC. We have a customer who recently had an outage of there FSMO DC GC box. Unfortunately there was not a 2nd DC. When this server was down no one could access Exchange.

Upon researching what requirements Exchange 2003 needs in regards to FSMO, DC GC I have been unable to find any information.

So once the issue was resolved we promoted a 2nd DC and then several days later we then took down the FSMO sever to see if we could access Exchange. But we were still unable.

Can anyone point me to information about this or even better what Exchange 2003 needs to start so that if one server goes down (FSMO) it doesn’t take the Exchange 2003 server with it.

Thanks in advance.
Question by:TEAMnetwork Systems
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Accepted Solution

Sembee earned 2000 total points
ID: 13598568
Basically Exchange requires a domain controller, which needs to be a global catalog. It is constantly querying the AD as that is where all the information on the Exchange configuration is stored - Exchange doesn't store it itself.

If the DC/GC that Exchange is attached to goes down, then Exchange will eventually fall over. It can take 30 minutes before Exchange goes looking for another DC. What I normally do is kick all the users out and reboot.

As a bare minimum I would have two domain controllers, both of whom are global catalogs. If one of those needs to be rebooted, then that can usually be done without upsetting Exchange too much.
If the server holding the key domain roles fails (ie isn't just down for some work) then you will have seize the roles. If you are taking it down to remove it then you should DCPROMO the server out and make sure that the roles have been transferred correctly.

Bottom line is that with just a single domain controller you are exposed to a single point of failure.


Author Comment

by:TEAMnetwork Systems
ID: 13639059
Thanks Simon

Is this documented anywhere?

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