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Multiple Exchange Servers one Domain

Posted on 2008-10-29
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Last Modified: 2010-04-21
We currently have a Domain Controller with Exchange Server installed. (Server1) we are currently setting up a new server, this again is a Domain Controller, this has been set-up in Sites and Services, has been set a Catalogue server, and DNS setup correctly. (server2) this server will be moving to another offsite location. (dataCentre) the two sites will be setup with hardware VPN. what we want to be able to do is setup Exchange on server 2, because all of the staff will be connecting into server2 as it has dedicated broadband. If server 2 is down or unreachable they will try server 1. We want exchange to be replicated from one site to another so it doesnt matter which server the user connects to it is still the same. We also want one server to function without the other. What options do i have, from looking we can setup Sub Domain, cluster the servers, etc. What are the pro's and con's of each setup and what process is involved. Any articles or Techsupport's welcome.

With Regards

Purple Oak IT
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Question by:purpleoak
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tigermatt earned 1600 total points
ID: 22830125

On the Active Directory side of things all you need to do is run dcpromo and promote an Additional Domain Controller - this instantly gives you your Active Directory resilience.

However, for Exchange, to have resilience you need to look at some of Exchange's advanced features. Exchange is designed so that - outside a cluster - mailboxes reside on one server and only one server. The Microsoft solution to this is a Cluster, or in Exchange 2007, CCR (Continuous Cluster Replication). The main downside to this is that it is very expensive; for two nodes in an Exchange Cluster, you need Exchange Server 2007 Enterprise Edition, Windows Server 2003/2008 Enterprise Edition, and you should not run the cluster on a Domain Controller. Also, a traditional cluster requires shared storage such as a SAN; CCR does not, though.

My preferred choice is a third-party solution such as DoubleTake's product for Exchange servers. This allows you to configure replication between two Exchange Servers out-of-the-box, and it will monitor each server and automatically failover as necessary. You can't go wrong. http://www.doubletake.com

-tigermatt
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by:Exchange_Geek
Exchange_Geek earned 400 total points
ID: 22830331
@tigermatt: I would also agree upon working with Exchange clusters on this sort of question.

@purpleoak
In fact having an exchange server setup on one site and the other on another site - is now possible using Exchange 2007 SP1 CCR concept.

I would not be that keen to work with double-take - with a very simple reason - if things go wrong with Exchange - MSFT has their simple rules - remove third-party before troubleshooting. So, analyze all your pros and cons before going in for double-take or MSFT-Exchange CCR.
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by:purpleoak
ID: 22830352
after taking in both of your comments i believe that the best bet is to leave the setup as it is, the hardware VPN will allow users to sync Exchange regardless of which server they connect into, and we will look at clustering when the primary domain controller get overhauled, thank you for your input.
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by:purpleoak
ID: 31511110
Thank you for your help
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Expert Comment

by:tigermatt
ID: 22830448

Thanks :)
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