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Multi-site Exchange2003 internal/external name resolution

Posted on 2007-10-05
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I have a customer with 2 sites, both are in the same domain domain.local with a DC+Exchange 2003 on each site. There are mailboxes on both Exchange servers. The sites are connected by vpn using a 3rd party thing I know little about. They each obviously have their own internet connection and reasonably autonomous. Both sites are set up so that mymail.washingtonoffice.com forwards to the washington office's external IP/exchange and mymail.sheffieldsite.com goes to the  sheffield site's ip/exchange.

Either site will let me open OWA, but when it tries to authenticate and the mailbox whose credential I use is stored on the OTHER server I get forwarded. Which would be fine but it forwards my browser to the INTERNAL fqdn of the other server. Internally they are using a .local domain so obviously I cant set up DNS for them!

Is this meant to happen? Is there a way round it? I found the following technet article and the submitter is having precisely the same problem as me but nobody has replied yet. I thought I would ask the real experts :o)

http://forums.microsoft.com/TechNet/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2174627&SiteID=17


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Question by:btassure
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Sembee earned 2000 total points
ID: 20022943
That is the correct behaviour and cannot be changed.
Exchange will direct you back to the server where you are located, using the server's real name, not any external name.

If you want to provide a single URL or not have to worry about redirection then you will need to use frontend servers. These are additional Exchange 2003 standard servers that do not have mailboxes enabled on them. They act as a proxy and will get the information from any back end server in the org, as long as the frontend server can see the backend servers.

Simon.

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by:btassure
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Yeah I was afraid you were going to say that. I'm going to have to make them spend more money I guess!
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by:Sembee
ID: 20022981
When a client introduces a second Exchange server I tell them that they need to budget for a third server to act as a frontend. Trying to run a multi server environment without one is challenging.

Simon.

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by:btassure
ID: 20023065
Suppose I do the following:

Create a web page, plain old html that has 2 links, one that says "click here for sheffield users" and another for washington users. Those links then forward to the OWA page for the relevant Exchange server/site.

Obviously that relies on the mailboxes being held on the right servers/sites and the users clicking on the right thing. What do you reckon?
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by:Sembee
ID: 20023723
That is one way.
Or the users need to know which server their mailbox is on.

Simon.
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