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Several Exchange Front-End Server Questions

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)

Thanks!
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rustyrpage
Asked:
rustyrpage
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SembeeCommented:
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?

Simon.
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rustyrpageAuthor Commented:
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?
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SembeeCommented:
There are tons of articles on load balancing frontend servers because it is so common.
Check this Google search: http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&safe=active&q=network+load+balancing+exchange+front+end&btnG=Search

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

Simon.
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Computer101Commented:
Forced accept.

Computer101
EE Admin
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