Replication of the Private Information Store in Exchange 2003 SP2 Enterprise

Posted on 2007-07-25
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
Hopefully this will be an easy question to answer:  We have a small network with a small Exchange user base (150 mailboxes).  We have several sites however, and would like to configure our network so that whichever site you're at, that's the exchange server (2003 SP2 Ent) you're using for your mailbox.  The other reason, is that we don't want something like a downed T1 line to prevent users from accessing their e-mail.  We already have this with our files (Using FRS), but from what I can tell, Exchange doesn't allow you to replcate the private information store to other servers.  What are my options here?  I've already explored OWA, and RPC/HTTPS, which work great, but don't satisfy the high availability requirement.  
Question by:ResortCompanies
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    you can move mailboxes from one server to another in an Exchange 2003 environment.  Is that what you are looking to do?  You can do this from the ESM.  Browse to the Mailbox store-->mailboxes and choose the mailboxes you want to move (ctrl+click)  right click on any of the highlighted mailboxes and choose exchange tasks.  Follow the wizard to move the mailboxes to where you want them to go.

    Author Comment

    That, I've already found, but it doesn't do what I'm being asked to do.  I'm being asked to setup the system so that each mailbox exists on a server at each site.  Thanks though.
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    Considering your situation.Geographically dispersed users low in number,placing a server at each location would be too costly also you might have to take individual maintenance into consideration.
    FOR YOU rpc-over-http suits best.To overcome single-point-of-failure which is T1 link you could have strict SLAs from the service provider or have redundant links!
    BY THE WAY,rpc-over-http even works well over a dialup and so does OWA.Also when you are thinking high availability you must have your main exchange server in HO to be clusted!!
    JUST A suggestion.You are free to look into for other possibilities.
    LVL 104

    Expert Comment

    It is not going to be possible to have the mailboxes in two locations using any standard tools. Exchange is not designed to work in that way.
    You could look at a Geo Cluster, but that will involve a lot of high level kit and you would be looking at a high five figure or low six figure to deploy.

    It is possible to have high levels availability but it isn't cheap.

    Have you not considered simply putting the servers in to a data centre? I built a site for a financial services company recently and all of their servers are in a Level3 data centre. If they lose their office they can go somewhere else and continue working.


    Author Comment

    Thanks for the input Sembee.  I've been reading up a bit more on this.  Would Exchange 2007 accomplish what I'm asking about using CCR?  I'm trying to avoid having to install a 3rd party application to handle the replication of data.  Sounds like CCR does this.  Lotus Domino is sure starting to look good right now. :)
    LVL 104

    Accepted Solution

    As far as I can tell, Lotus notes only exists for three reasons...
    1. To keep the Notes sales, marketing and development in a job
    2. To keep the Notes consultancy firms in a job
    3. To keep the Notes admins in a job.
    I have never seen anything with Notes that makes me want to even look at it further. The Notes client is awful, its a pain to manage and third party support is minimal.

    I don't think Exchange 2007 will do what you want to achieve either. Exchange just isn't designed for that type of functionality. The Clustering roles in E2007 are really for disaster recovery purposes, so you replicate things elsewhere. It is not designed for users to access the other side of the cluster unless something has gone wrong. You probably could use it the way that you are thinking of, but you would need a lot of bandwidth between the servers - I don't mean a couple of 8mb DSL lines, but dedicated high speed lines in both directions.

    150 users I would struggle to justify any kind of replication technology. The costs involved per user just make it too high. I don't think any Notes consultancies would even look at a site of that size.
    The best option for many smaller clients is to put the servers in to a data centre. I have done that a number of times and it has worked very well.


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