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Setup Exchange 2007 Servers in multiple locations

Hi Exchange Experts-

I am going to be setting up Exchange 2007 servers for my company. I have read up on the preliminary groundwork for the setup and here is what I found you need:

-2 Domain Controllers for each organizational site
-1 Mailbox/ 1 HUB / 1 Client Access Server at each location
-Edge server is optional

I have 5 total locations. What is the best way to implement mail servers to go across a SINGLE domain and how will the mail servers know which location to go to?
 In example, if I have email in Italy and have the setup above, how will the mail server know to route the email
FROM ITALY to ITALY (and not go out ITALY->Mail Gateway in US->back to ITALY)

I was thinking MX records but that is usually for split domain or load balancing.

How would the mail server know that a user in Italy is a user in Italy and deliver it there? (does it check an OU on active directory and if the user is there it accepts mail?)

I'm looking for best practices in this specific setup (single domain, multiple remote sites, single or multiple gateways).

Thank you in advance!
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1 Solution
Justin DurrantSr. Engineer - Windows Server/VirtualizationCommented:
I would direct the MX to an Edge server. From there Exchange 2007 will use AD sites and services to determine best way to route mail.

Good read:

Exchange 2007 uses Active Directory Sites to figure out which Exchange Server should get which email item.  So in your case, I would set up your servers so that you have two AD sites (not OU's, but rather Sites in Active Directory Sites and Services). This way, outbound mail for Italy from Italy will stay in the Italy Site, while outbound mail for your other Site will get routed there via AD.  Mail bound for external servers is routed through an Edge server (if you use one) or the Hub/Transport server (if you don't use Edge) to external SMTP hosts.

Incoming mail should be directed to a single MX record or (if you want mail to flow to both sites) to multiple MX records with different routing costs.  Routing costs are "weights" assigned to each record, so that mail will flow to the server which has the fastest connection to the SMTP server *sending* the message to you.  As with outbound mail, these incoming MX records should be aimed at either the Edge Server (if you use one) or the H/T.  Your ISP will help you set up external MX records in their DNS, and you can define internal MX records in Active Directory DNS.

As an alternate method to Edge Services, you can use a 3rd Party service to offer message hygine and spam control.  There are many to chose from, some that are appliances you would own, others that are hosted.  These services would take the place of the Edge Server and talk to the Hub/Transport, though Edge Services are a great solution if you are looking to host that functionality yourself.

Hope this helps.

worpxAuthor Commented:
Hi there,

Thank you for the responses-
TalonNYC- In the case of creating multiple AD sites and multiple MX records -
Couldn't the cost be the same to all servers (similar to load balancing) and direct mail to the different mail servers at different locations or is the decision all based at the Hub/Transport as to determine which location to go to?

I.E. mail from Loc1 to Loc2 and Loc2 to Loc5; does the Hub/Transport know which location its going to by determining AD structure and which users and in which site (as you suggested)?

Debating on using an edge or not; I have mail gateway machines doing those server roles in place (linux based).
Internally, the Exchange Servers use AD to figure out where the mail is supposed to go, based on AD Sites.  The MX records are only for mail coming in from the outside world.
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