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Should I cluster my exchange server?

Posted on 2007-11-14
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Last Modified: 2010-03-06
I currently have a Windows 2003 network, running an Exchange 2003 Enterprise Server.  I have the following:
- 140 users, growing to about 160 in next year
- priv.edb = 150GB
- priv.stm = 37GB
- user mailboxes  over 2GB = 40

- I am looking into a mail archiving program at the moment, if we can afford it.

I wanted to cluster the exchange server for redundancy.  Is this a good idea and what are good arguments on this, so I can explain it better to the check writers? Should I get 2 new servers and start from scratch and move all mailboxes to the new server and remove the old one?

Also, is it a good idea to put another exchange server in the network and have a front end & back end server?  
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Question by:WPC479
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6 Comments
 
LVL 104

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Sembee earned 100 total points
ID: 20282265
I really struggle to justify clustering for any site. Most sites that think they need clustering actually don't. With good quality hardware and if the server is well built the "benefits" of clustering do not outweigh the considerable costs.

You would be looking at a new installation of Windows and Exchange, you cannot cluster an existing server.

As you would have to buy Exchange 2007 licenses and then use downgrade rights, what I would be looking at doing is buying new hardware and licenses for Exchange 2007 and then using the new features that Exchange 2007 offers for increased redundancy.

Another option would be to look at something like DoubleTake which can mirror the server to other hardware.

Simon.
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by:peakpeak
peakpeak earned 100 total points
ID: 20282667
I agree with Sembee. My view of clustering and the like is that you add another layer of complexity, thus increasing the risk of anything going wrong. As Sembee says: Use Good Quality Hardware. Also Be An Expert On Your Own System.
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by:kristinaw
kristinaw earned 100 total points
ID: 20283066
i would also think about implement quotas, quickly. i would also create a new sg and mbx, and move half your users over there. reason being 150 gb is getting kind of large, and i would be worried about backup/restore with that size.

if you do a 2007 server, you can have a separate cas if you like, or do all in one on one or even two boxes. then just expose one to internet for owa (if desired).

kris.
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Author Comment

by:WPC479
ID: 20283375
Thanks for all the great suggestions, I will split up point among all.  I realize now that this should have been placed in a different section.

Kristinaw:  I tried creating a 2nd sg.  But I had a problem, I have users that need to add additional mailbox accounts in Outlook for access.  If the user's account is in SG#1, and a second mailbox, say its named "Accounting",  I could not open the mailbox.  Even if all the correct rights are there.  
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LVL 104

Expert Comment

by:Sembee
ID: 20283396
If the mailbox was already in Outlook when you moved it, you will need to drop it from Outlook and restart Outlook. Then add it back in again.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:WPC479
ID: 20283775
moving to new SG actually worked this time, and I know I did the same thing now as before.  No matter, it works.  Thanks all for advice.  

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