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Configuring Exchange 2003 Frontend for remote deployment/Upgrade

Posted on 2006-05-24
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Last Modified: 2010-03-06
My current configuration is a single Exchange 2003 Pro running as backend and a single exchange 2003 Standard running as a frontend server. Both machines are running only exchange with the exception of spam/virus scanning software on the frontend.

I'm going to be upgrading the system used as the frontend to new hardware and its going to be located in a new co-location facility. The IPs at the new location will be different than what we use in the office. I'd like to pre-configure the new hardware before sending it to the new site. Here are the questions:

1) Can I configure install Exchange without adding the machine to the domain first? After the co-location site is available I would then join the server to the domain and make whatever changes are needed. Is this a reasonable approach?

2) If I were to add the server to the domain and install exchange and then mark it as a frontend server is there anything I'd need to be aware of having it running alongside the soon to be replaced frontend? What considerations do I need to address when moving the server to the co-location facility since its IP address will change?

Thanks for the help.
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Question by:randomsense
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by:randomsense
ID: 16765304
Ok, through some of my own further searching it seems Exchange can only be installed onto a computer that is part of a domain. That rules out question 1.

Further it seems like moving the computer to another ip address range looks like it might not be that bad. Hopefully I'm not missing anything that makes it otherwise.
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Sembee earned 1000 total points
ID: 16772939
Exchange has to be installed on to a member of the domain.
What sort of connection will you have between your office and the remote site? VPN? Something else?
As it is a frontend, I would keep things very simple.
Build the machine and patch it, but don't put it on the domain. Copy the Windows disk and the Exchange disk to the hard disk. Don't forget the service packs.
When the machine arrives at the remote site, RDP to it, add it to the domain and reboot. Then install Exchange, service pack and reboot.
As the machine is a frontend, there is nothing to replicate.

While you can change the IP address of an Exchange server, I don't like to do it and tend to recommend against it where possible.

Simon.
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by:randomsense
ID: 16773313
If I recall I think the connection between sites is going to be VPN between our two firewalls.

Ok, I think I might have my terminology a little mixed up. What I was refering to as a Front-End server will just be:
     receiving outside e-mail and routing it to our backend server (where the information stores are)
     running OWA and maybe OMA
     running our antispam solution

I'm guessing I should refer to this as a gateway server instead since I'm not using any MAPI, POP, or other connections?

Oh, and I did copy all the installs/Service Packs already :)
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by:Sembee
ID: 16777243
If it has Exchange installed on it, but isn't home to mailboxes, then it is a frontend server. The most common use is for OWA, but you can use it as a complete gateway for the email system - including SMTP email etc.

Simon.
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by:randomsense
ID: 16791791
Your initial response I think takes care of my question and I'm ready to close the question. Though the one part that hasn't been answered is:

"What considerations do I need to address when moving the server to the co-location facility since its IP address will change?"

Oh, and thanks for the extra clarification on Front-End/Gateway.
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by:Sembee
ID: 16794207
I was pretty sure that I had covered that.

Two things I stated.

"While you can change the IP address of an Exchange server, I don't like to do it and tend to recommend against it where possible".

That is due to it being a member of the domain.
Therefore my recommendation above of sending the machine to the colo and then installing the domain and Exchange services will ensure that there are no problems. You don't have to replicate anything to a FE server, so there is no impact on the bandwidth requirement.

Simon.
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by:randomsense
ID: 16794386
I understand its not something you would recommend and got that from your original post. What I wanted to know was if I did do it what would I have to be aware of/change if anything. For example... If I simply have a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 on my domain and I change its IP address it isn't a big deal - as long as it can see the domain. Even if I can't, if my credientials are cached I can still log on but anything related to domain connectivity will not be available and its connection to the domain can be re-established without problem. Now the server having Exchange running means there are other things that need to be considered - I know. A server being a member of a domain doesn't automatically mean complication with its IP address change.

I saw in another 1 or 2 other questions that changing the IP address on the Exchange server wasn't a big deal and you state differently. I favor your call on this (take that as a complement) but I wanted to know what the hazard was and not just don't do it. This way I can make an informed decision.
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by:Sembee
ID: 16811786
I have done the change most frequently on the same LAN, although prefer not to do it if possible.
The major issues are Exchange and the AD not talking to each correctly. A server IP address can take a little while to fully replicate.
In some case I have still had to go looking for IP address information manually because the information hasn't updated correctly for one reason or another.

However your position is a little more unique, in that you are changing locations and IP address. In that particular circumstance I would err on the side of caution - with the machine being a workgroup machine until it arrives there and then install the applications and join the domain once it gets there.
You mentioned it was going in to a co-lo, so that would mean restricted access. You want to give yourself the best chance of getting access to the box by minimising what is on it until it is there.

Simon.
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by:randomsense
ID: 16811830
Thanks! I appreciate the help and insight with this.
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