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Microsoft Exchange 2003 Standard HA on two Windows Servers

Posted on 2007-03-29
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Last Modified: 2010-04-18
Background info:
2 VMware ESX servers each running an instance of Exchange 2003.
VM's are on SAN, all storage are on SAN.

Need:
Provide a fault tolerance, HA solution with this setup.......or something close to it.

I have installed Exchange Server 2003 on each, if you create a database on server1 it won't be replicated to server2 because they have different databases. Is there a way with Exchange 2003 Standard to replicate the databases or have HA somehow with VMware Enterprise (HA, Vmotion, etc).

Or there is no way of doing this and we have to purchase Exchange Enterprise Edition?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Question by:romlopez
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redseatechnologies earned 168 total points
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First, let me just remind you that Exchange is not supported in a virtual environment - you may already know, but I just thought I would point it out again.

Second, with that in mind, you have three options here - use Exchange to manage the HA setup (which would require windows 2003 enterprise, exchange enterprise, and a cluster environment), use VMWare to do the hard work for you (if you have the HA setup, it should automatically fail over to ESX2 if ESX1 dies - only one server will run at a time), finally, you could use something like doubletake or neverfail which gives something very close to a cluster to exchange standard.

Considering what you are doing, I expect that VMWare HA is the best way to go

-red
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by:romlopez
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Exchange 2003 SP2 is supported in a virtualized environment.
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by:redseatechnologies
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Says who?
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by:redseatechnologies
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Ahhh, you are reading this;

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/320220/

And if you read it again, you will see that it is ONLY supported on Virtual Server, not ESX

I am not saying it wont work, just saying that MS will not care if you have problems - but VMWare will care, and should still be able to support you.
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 166 total points
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I'm with red - and to put things a little different - while it might be possible to hack together an unsupported method of doing what you are asking (outside of the options provided by red), do you really want to run a production environment off of a hacked together setup?  A setup that, most likely, Microsoft won't want to support or help you with AT ALL?  
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by:redseatechnologies
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I should add, I have a production Virtual exchange environment running at a client site.  They were presented with the pros and cons and decided to go for it - so far, I have been impressed - plus, Vmware fill the blanks that MS wont as far as support goes (allegedly).
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by:romlopez
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It looks like Exchange 2003 won't be used and Exchange 2007 is the way to go.
Feeback please.
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by:redseatechnologies
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On what?

Our answers are the same

VMWare running Exchange 2007 is not supported by MS - if you want HA, and you want to do it on VMWare, then you will either need to build a cluster in vmware, or better yet, use the VMWare HA kit.

-red
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by:romlopez
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Someone else besides red please?
Exchange 2007 has "local replication" built-in which will be great in order to avoid Exchange Enterprise licensing costs and administrative overhead.
Little downtime is fine.

I'm actually downloading a trial of IBM Lotus Domino for testing...
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by:icorps
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The local replication you refer to is just across multiple disks in the same server.  This may not help you in your situation.

One option which would need downtime, but it should be minimal would be to have a pre-configured VM.  In the event your primary exchange VM goes down, you can bring up this pre-configured VM, name it the same name and run Exchange 2007 (or 2003) in recovery mode.  This would reinstall it using all the same settings as before.  Then you should be able to remount the database from the SAN, assuming there was no corruption when it was shut down.

Another alternative to Enterprise would be wansync - cost wise, it could be pretty close in price though.
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by:Computer101
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Forced accept.

Computer101
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