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Exchange 2003 multi site question

Posted on 2006-07-15
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I have two sites connectioned through a vpn tunnel over T1 lines.

At one site I have an exchange 2003 server and the users at the second site connect their outlooks through the vpn tunnel as if it were local.  BUT it's really slow.

What I want to do is install exchange 2003 on the domain controller in the second site and connect them (this is where I need help).  I have the volume license with exchange so I think I'm ok installing it on my second server as long as my total client count doesn't change.

How do I setup another exchange server on site 2 and connect it to site 1 (where the main exchange email is routed from the internet).  How do I tell it to only forward email to the second server for those users whose are at that site.

All the servers are in the same domain just in separate sites...

Thanks in advance,
Jason
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Question by:jasonslogan
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mass2612 earned 2000 total points
ID: 17116106
Hi Jason,

This could be a big topic. First off MS does not recommend installing Exchange on a DC. See for possible issues - http://www.petri.co.il/problems_with_exchange_2003_installed_on_domain_controllers.htm

Next I would suggest that you create a new administrative group for the second site - http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/guides/E2k3AdminGuide/a8302a5b-1a8b-49c3-acfc-8c6ef3b5a412.mspx?mfr=true.

You can then install Exchange in the new site. This is a pretty simple install where you choose to join the existing organisation. Next create a routing group connector between the two sites.
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/guides/E2k3TransnRouting/1424c550-d8b1-42d1-a377-cac74b12d924.mspx?mfr=true

Exchange will then use its link state info to send messages to and from the second site and the Internet via the main site.

I hope this helps as a starting point. There's lots of advice available through this site if you run into any issues. As always before you start changing a production environment make sure everything is backed up, etc.
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by:jasonslogan
ID: 17116207
Site 1 exchange is on a member server.  I can put another member server in in site 2 for exchange.  That's a simple task.

Thanks for the info I will try it on a test environment first.  That may take a while to setup and test.
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by:mass2612
ID: 17116213
No problem. Another thing I should point out is that the DC in both sites should be hosting a copy of the GC also as Exchange is very reliant on being able to communicate with a global catalog server. Therefore if you don't have one local to the site any issues with the VPN link will affect the Exchange services also.
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by:xqs
ID: 17116712
Hi Jason,

I've build environments where a company host all mailboxes at two datacenters, supporting multiple remote sites with more then 3000 local users per site. So I'd like to understand a little bit more about the environment and see why it is experienced as slow.
How many people are in the site 2 and what outlook version are they using?

Eric
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by:bilbus
ID: 17118124
if you must have a single exchange server, try turing on cashed outlook mode on. It will make a local copy of the user's mailbox. When the user checks his mail they will download new messages to their local pc. This will also let ppl with laptops view exchange while out of the office
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by:jasonslogan
ID: 17122110
There is only 15 people with email at site 2 that's why we haven't made any changes thus far and they are all on outlook 2003.  However, we may be adding another site by the end of the year and I want to put an exchange box in each site at that point so people aren't hitting one server from 3 locations.

I want to get something going in site 2 first to work out bugs and so forth.

So will exchange know which users are logged into different sites and move the appropriate email?  Or does it just move all email to all sites?
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by:mass2612
ID: 17126176
When you create routing group connectors between your sites I'm assuming you'll config a separate admin group for each site then Exchange will be able to route the mail to the correct Exchange server. If you have all the servers in the same admin group Exchange also knows where the mailbox resides. This is due to the fact that Exchange queries AD for this information as each mailbox is associate with an AD object which contains information on which Exchange server is hosting which mailbox. That's one of the reasons why Exchange prefers to have a local global catalog server as it is constantly quering AD.
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by:jasonslogan
ID: 17142849
Well..  I thought maybe it would be ok to forward all mail to all of the servers at least for a select few users.  I travel to all of the sites and so does three others.  How would I do that?
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by:mass2612
ID: 17142907
If you wanted to have mail delivered to the local servers for these users you would need to move their mailbox to the local server or create another mailbox for them on each server that you could then re-direct mail to. This is not something that you would normally do. If users were working in another site for an extended period of time I'd go down the move mailbox option. If they are only going to be there for a few days then leave the mailbox where it is and have them connect via the VPN or use OWA or RPC over HTTP via the Internet.
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by:jasonslogan
ID: 17238438
Thanks for the info mass2612 I'll try to set it up.  Once the third location comes around I am going to have to do something then so this will help me get a head start on my test environment to make it work there.
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