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Fail over for microsoft exchange.

Posted on 2007-03-22
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Last Modified: 2010-04-18
Here is our current setup,

Microsoft Exchange running Locally in our office on a 10megabit microwave, with a ups backup. Lasts about 4 hours.  If we loose power for longer then 4 hours, our email server will be down!

I am looking for options to have a catch all outside our office.  We do have other servers externally, running linux and windows. with mail servers running on them.

Thanks. PC
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Question by:pcottrell81
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MATTHEW_L earned 2000 total points
ID: 18775715
Well you can configure a Windows IIS server to accept mail for your domain and then it will queue it until your server is back up and deliver it.  It's just a matter of configuring IIS to accept email on behalf of your domain.  You can change the timeouts for mail delivery.  I a lot of times when configuring a backup mail server use a smart host, which would be the primary mail server.

Then you just need to make sure that the backup mail server has port 25 available and an external IP.  You would configure a second mx record for your domain such as mail2.domain.com and set the mx priority higher than the current record so that it is a backup.

There are also services that you can purchase for backup mail services.  I have used dyndns.org, dnsmadeeasy.com in the past.  They are good backup mail services and very affordable.  Postini is also an excellent one with many other features not just backup mail, very very good, but expensive.  

It is more up to you whether you want to run it yourself on a different IIS server or have it hosted wtih a different compnay.

No of course all of this would just queue external mail being sent to you.  Your itnernal users would still be down until power came back on and would not have access to their mailboxes or be able to send mail.  If you want to have a fully redundant Exchange enviroment you could use clustering, but that is definatly at a cost as well.
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by:pcottrell81
ID: 18781847
So on our iis server, we could have a mail server catch all mail for the domain, and when the EXCHANGE server comes back online, it will forward all the mail it caught to the EXCHANGE server
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by:MATTHEW_L
ID: 18781963
Correct.
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by:Hedley Phillips
ID: 18782107
What we do is our ISP (Mistral) have their own serve which stores mail in the event ours is down.

This is just done through the MX record on our DNS and is a free service

Getting MX record for domain.com (from local DNS server, may be cached)... Got it!

Host      Preference      IP(s) [Country]
mail.domain.com.      5      247.154.137.216 [GB]
lon-gs1dmbackupmx.mistral.net.      30      86.54.162.20 [GB]86.54.162.12 [GB]86.54.162.5 [GB]

So, mail will always try to get to ours first as it has a value of 5. But if it can't, it goes to mistral.

When our server is backup, the mail just flushes out and into our exchange box.

Simple, free and works a treat. Maybe speak to your ISP.
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by:pcottrell81
ID: 18782874
We are the ISP technichally, we've always run QMAIL/Sendmail for our mail servers, but we are now moving to exchange, we are a small office, but would like to grow.
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by:pcottrell81
ID: 18782947
Matthew if you were to recommend a 3rd party solution, which one would you choose?

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by:MATTHEW_L
ID: 18785209
I have had pretty good luck with the following:

Just for Backup MX service

http://www.dnsmadeeasy.com
http://www.dyndns.org

They both have reliable backup mx service.

Postini, is an excellent all around service for spam / virus filtering, mail relay, backup service, it is very very expensive though.  You can get a free trial of it for a month to try it out.  The other services are less than $100 for the year.
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