Several Exchange Front-End Server Questions

Posted on 2007-08-07
Last Modified: 2010-03-06
I currently have a Windows/Exchange 2003 setup going.  At this point we have the configuration of one front-end server & one back-end server.  The front-end server is currently being used for our OWA, RPC over HTTP & Exchange ActiveSync.  It is working great, except the front-end server is old & dies a lot.  With that information, here are my questions:

1) I am looking at adding a second front-end server to do the same functionality.  What software licensing do I need to buy?  I know I need Windows 2003 server.  Do I need to buy Exchange 2003 server also?  What version (our back-end is using Exchange Enterprise)?

2) What are the bottle-necks on a front-end server that I need to address?  We have about 60-100 people using RPC over HTTPS (at certain times), about 50 phones doing Exchange ActiveSync & about 10-20 people on OWA.

3) Is there a way to set-up a public DNS record that points to multiple IP addresses for our Front-end server?  (Round-robin)  The purpose would be to enable some sort of clustering in the case that one of the front-ends went down, it would automatically switch to the other front-end without any user interaction.  Does that make sense?

4) Does anyone have any good pointers for a front-end Exchange server that I should consider?  (AV, Configuration quirks, Exchange Activesync settings etc)

Question by:rustyrpage
    LVL 104

    Accepted Solution

    Frontend servers are Exchange 2003 standard only.
    However you cannot purchase Exchange 2003 any more, so you will have to purchase Exchange 2007 and use downgrade rights.

    If you want to go to multiple frontends then you are probably looking at using NLB. That will spread the load out.

    Frontends don't have the same bottlenecks as the backends, as they are just a proxy for the data. Good connections to the domain controllers and the backend servers should be fine. The major issues are bandwidth out - upload speed.

    Have you looked at the frontend/backend white paper on Microsoft technet?

    LVL 6

    Author Comment

    I couldn't find anything on their site about the NLB, do you know of an article that discusses specifically using it for Front-End servers?
    LVL 104

    Expert Comment

    There are tons of articles on load balancing frontend servers because it is so common.
    Check this Google search:

    I think every article on the first page will provide you with some useful information on the process.

    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    Forced accept.

    EE Admin

    Featured Post

    Do email signature updates give you a headache?

    Do you feel like you are constantly making changes to email signatures? Are the images not formatting how you want them to? Want high-quality HTML signatures on all devices, including on mobiles and Macs? Then, let Exclaimer solve all your email signature problems today.

    Join & Write a Comment

    Get an idea of what you should include in an email disclaimer with these Top 5 email disclaimer tips.
    Find out how to use Active Directory data for email signature management in Microsoft Exchange and Office 365.
    In this video we show how to create a Resource Mailbox in Exchange 2013. We show this process by using the Exchange Admin Center. Log into Exchange Admin Center.: Navigate to the Recipients >> Resources tab.: "Recipients" is our default selection …
    The video tutorial explains the basics of the Exchange server Database Availability groups. The components of this video include: 1. Automatic Failover 2. Failover Clustering 3. Active Manager

    746 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    14 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now