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Best way to replace a dieing Front End Exchange server

Posted on 2008-10-27
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
The title pretty much says it all.  Our front end exchange server is pretty much on its last legs.  We are going to replace it.  What is the best and safest way to do that?  I read a few articles about using the disaster recovery switch for exchange, but it looks like that is used for recovering mail.  All that I am worried about losing with this server are the two SMTP virtual servers and maybe the settings in IIS.

So again, to minimize data loss and email downtime, what is the best way to go about doing this?
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Question by:ndavisAA
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by:Exchange_Geek
ID: 22812216
"All that I am worried about losing with this server are the two SMTP virtual servers and maybe the settings in IIS"

FE boxes are simply used to work with mail-flow and OWA (Authentication + re-direction), if you are concerned about getting those tit-bits of SMTP VS settings - do a simple disaster recovery and that should get back all those settings stored in AD (which also has those settings of SMTP VS stored in AD).

However, i am not sure if IIS could be simply restored from one box to another. So, my guess would be to get a new box (with same name) get those mail flow setting restored + jot down every setting of OWA in your day-to-day list (before retiring the old box) and place all those information on new box. Since there are certain settings which you would have to manually place (such as certificates, OWA re-direction, port numbers used etc etc).



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by:ryansoto
ID: 22813733
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by:ryansoto
ID: 22813745
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by:Exchange_Geek
ID: 22813986
ryansoto:

This is what the last link talks about

(((Ref: http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Load-Balancing-Exchange-Front-End-Servers.html)))

"Each front-end server should be running the same base operating system and Exchange version including service packs and hot fixes. Also if you are provisioning OWA features, you need to ensure you configure each front-end identically as well."


That is exactly what i stated.

So, my guess would be to get a new box (with same name) get those mail flow setting restored + jot down every setting of OWA in your day-to-day list (before retiring the old box) and place all those information on new box. Since there are certain settings which you would have to manually place (such as certificates, OWA re-direction, port numbers used etc etc).

This is just another way of saying - note down all the info - YOU make all the settings yourself and using certain adjustments - Exchange FE can be load balanced.
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by:ryansoto
ID: 22814144
The way I understood your statment was bringing box 1 down -

My link and line if thinking was bring the second box up while the existing machine was still rolling
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by:Exchange_Geek
ID: 22814252
Yea i sort of understood that - however, having NLB for FE - does mean that he has to again copy each and every setting on the new box (pretty much what i stated - except in my case he has to ensure that he has documented some where and bring up a new box and place all those settings back)

However, if he tends to perform a DR switch he at least gets the SMTP VS settings restored and all what is required is IIS Setting to be placed (same as old box)

In the second scenario of getting another box (NLB scenario) - he again needs to copy all those setting from old box to new box (in this case having both the servers online at the same time)

This means to have two set of NIC working at the same time, ensuring that DNS is set up also at the same time - this configuration (and i agree upon works great) is a bit pain staking (since he has to break the NLB + remove all those referance which he made while creating the NLB) for a simple reason that he needs to DEMOLISH the bad FE Server.

@ryansato: If we had the old FE server alive in the business for next a year or two - i would second your thoughts just as i do on any other thread if i find it viable. However, do you think going ahead with NLB - and getting it down after FE (old box) is destroyed.

What do you suggest???
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Author Comment

by:ndavisAA
ID: 22814301
Here is roughly my current plan,  

1)       Bring down Old FrontEnd
2)       Give New FrontEnd the same name & IP addresses of old front end
3)       Reset Computer Account in AD
4)       Join New FrontEnd
5)       Install Exchange with DisasterRecovery Switch.
6)       Make it a front end exchange server
7)       Install cert

What exactly is that going to do?
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ryansoto earned 250 total points
ID: 22814319
Well it seems the author is taking down the original machine and I will assume not rebuilding it and putting it back to work.

So in this situation I would bring the second FE box up and install exchange and bring it up to the same service pack as system 1.
I would not do NLB since machine 1 is going to go bye bye.  Once the settings are good then power down machine 1 and test all operations still function correctly.  If good then remove server 1
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by:Exchange_Geek
Exchange_Geek earned 250 total points
ID: 22819566
Here is roughly my current plan,  

***Note down each and every setting within IIS for the old F-E Server (Trust me this is important).
1)       Bring down Old FrontEnd
2)       Give New FrontEnd the same name & IP addresses of old front end
3)       Reset Computer Account in AD
4)       Join New FrontEnd
5)       Install Exchange with DisasterRecovery Switch.
6)       Make it a front end exchange server
7)       Install cert
8)       Place the information back to the setting that the old FE server had in its FE.

Once done you are good to go.

If you still have doubts, please post them.

thanks.


What exactly is that going to do?
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by:ryansoto
ID: 24597003
I believe my answers were accurate in solving the issue
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