Using OWA in a multiple Exchange 2003 forest

Posted on 2006-05-31
Last Modified: 2006-11-18

I have  a forest with (as of yesterday) 2 Exchange 2003 SP2 servers.  Before I added the second server (yesterday) I had OWA installed on the first Exchange 2003 server and it was running very nicely.  However, a small subset of users will be moved to this new server and the server will be shipped off to another state.  Is there any way to run OWA on both Exchange servers?  I thought this was a simple issue except here's what I've experienced after installing the second server:

1 - Going to http://newserver/exchange actually forwards automatically to the original server's OWA installation
2 - if you try to access a mailbox that's on "newserver" via the original server's OWA I get a page cannot be displayed error

I would like to avoid using a bridghead or some such setup since that would require a third Exchange server license.  So, can the default setup be altered to just allow me to have two seperate instances of OWA running on the respective servers?

So, any suggestions would be appreciated.
Question by:goalie1
    LVL 104

    Accepted Solution

    OWA is enabled on all servers by default. Nothing special has to be done to the Exchange servers.
    HOWEVER, without a frontend server, both servers will have to be exposed to the internet, with unique names. Furthermore, the users will have to either know the correct server address for their mailbox or the real name of both servers must resolve correctly on the internet (ie if you are using .local as your internal domain then your users will have to remember the address of the server their mailbox is on).

    Exchange/OWA will point you at the correct server automatically once you have logged in. It does this by reading the homemta value on the account. If that value hasn't updated correctly during the move, then it gets confused. Outlook will usually fail as well.

    Try creating a new account on the new server. Does that work correctly?

    If you are going to run with two Exchange servers long term then I strongly recommend a third server to act as a frontend. It makes the deployment a lot easier.


    Author Comment

    This is most likely a relatively temporary setup so I think I'm ok with having two separate (exposed) OWA sites/servers.  The users are pretty comparmentalized so it won't be a problem telling them which server to use.  

    I did, indeed, test it with a "moved" mailbox instead of a new one so I will have to test that.  Stay tuned...

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