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Installing Second Exchange 2003 on an Existing Domain

Existing DOMAIN - Windows 2003 Standard Edition
Existing Exchange Server - MS Exchange 2003 Enterprise Edition

Can a second server be added to our existing Domain of W2K3 as a either a backup or Fall back server?
In case if the first one crashes.

I know a little about clustering but not familiar with the steps required to create a cluster after the fact that an exchange server is already up and running.
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Shaz_b
Asked:
Shaz_b
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1 Solution
 
czcdctCommented:
No, you can't create a fallback server because Exchange 2003 doesn't offer that functionality.
If you want to create a cluster you can only do so with new hardware. The cheaper way to do this is to buy another server like the existing one and the shared storage then make a single node cluster. Move the mailboxes and PF from the standalone to the cluster and then decomission the standalone when it's empty, format it, install W2K3 Enterprise, join it into the cluster and finally install Exchange
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SembeeCommented:
There is no functionality for backup/failure of Exchange natively.
As already pointed out you would have to do clustering, but that will be quite expensive and require a rebuild of the server.

Otherwise you need to look at something like DoubleTake or NeverFail which mirror the server to another machine.

Simon.
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Shaz_bAuthor Commented:
I think this would be the ideal solution provided the time factor and may be some down time and also the expense.

Is is then possible to create another system with Windows 2003 Server, join it to the domain, install new instance of Exchange 2003 enterprise, install all the patches etc and then replicate it with the existing server. If yes, the the machine name has to be same as the existing Exchange Server? OR anyother information I should look for or know?
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czcdctCommented:
No. There is no replication capability for mailboxes.
Your options are to cluster (following instructions above) or to implement 3rd party applications (as above but with WANSyncHA as a 3rd option)
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Shaz_bAuthor Commented:
In order to use mirroring, does the hardware of the second machine needs to be the same? Also, Once I decide to go to the 3rd party route, do I need to get a machine ready with exchange installed? I guess I don't becasue the software would take care of that?
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czcdctCommented:
The hardware certainly does not need to match.
Don't worry about what to install, when or how to install Exchange. Each product is different and you're nowhere near a selection just yet.
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SembeeCommented:
The only thing that really needs to match hardware wise is the hard disk space. It is directly mirroring the data, so if you have 60gb on the source, you will need at least 60 gb on the destination. Otherwise as already pointed out, the products are different. You need to evaluate them and confirm what they do and do not need/do.

Simon.
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Donald BarkerManager, Endpoint SecurityCommented:
You may also look at a product that has worked well for our company. Double-Take  http://www.doubletake.com/. It installs very cleanly and woorks well.
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nikkonixonCommented:
Is an upgrade to Exchange 2007 an option? If the answer is yes then there are two very nice features for high availability that you can implement reasonably easily. The new features are called Local Continuous Replication (LCR) and Cluster Continuous Replication (CCR).
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Shaz_bAuthor Commented:
Wow,

I have always been little skeptical of joining these kinds of Forums for the reason that there are so many different answers to one question and the mere fact that the solution worked for one may not necessarily work for another. What I have found at EE is real experts who know what they are doing. My questions had been answered PROFESSIONALLY by few experts and they are basically the same. This builds up my confidnce. Thank you Guys.

Now as for the solution, I think I will explore the idea of going towards the third pary solution. And when I am ready for Exchange 2007, I will adopt the solution of LCR and CCR.

Thanks for all your help.
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Shaz_bAuthor Commented:
To dbarker2

Regarding Doubletake, is the interaface easy to use and does it actually delivers what it claims?

I am interested in Exchange, VMWare and SQL.

Thanks

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SembeeCommented:
You have been fortunate to have at least two Exchange MVPs participate in the question. The Exchange MVPs are very high quality, the bar is high to get that award in that product group.

Simon.
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czcdctCommented:
Shaz_b,
DoubleTake is indeed very easy to use and configure.
However, if you are interested in VMware you could do something very clever which eliminates the need to do any clustering or any external high availability solution.
Consider this:
VMware ESX Server.
A SAN, preferably a NetApp SAN.
Replicate the SAN volumes from one SAN to another - either in the same data centre or over a network.
VMware servers in multiple locations.
You can then run Exchange inside VMware and have all the data, including the LUN holding the operating system replicate to the other SAN.

Full resilience provided entirely by the storage platform and VMware.
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sBox1107Commented:
We use Double-Take to replicate a 45GB store and its configuration from a primary Exchange server to a backup at the remote site.  The two servers are similar but not identical and the backup's Exchange services are offline until needed.  The logical drive layouts must be identical and AFAIK they must run the same OS and Exchange versions.  The newer versions of Double-Take are easy to configure, cheaper than the competition, and their support is pretty damn good (24x7).  I fail the primary Exchange server over once a quarter for testing.
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Donald BarkerManager, Endpoint SecurityCommented:
I have used it for Exchange and IIS environments. The inteface is clean and tech support is very good. I started using it on an earlier version and it took me a few days to determine the best configuration. But, Once it is configured there is nothing to do except test it periodically.  At its basic level it works by replicating any specified data between servers and monitoring the heartbeat of the production box. When the heartbeat is lost it applies all IP and name information to the failover server. It is one of the best products I have found and tested for this type of failover.

However czcdct is correct VMWare offers some flexable alternatives, including a very slick tool for migrating a physical server down to vmware with little effort.

Good Luck
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Shaz_bAuthor Commented:
Thank you all.

I appreciate all the help.
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