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Providing redundancy to Exchange server 2003 Standard Edition

Posted on 2009-05-11
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
Hi All,
I need to come up with a solution for proviidng redundancy for a small organisation (about  20 users) who runs Exchange 2003 (Standarad).  This server is a DC. The organisation can tolerate a outage of some 4-5 hours (say 1/2 a working day).

Clustering is out of the scope. I have read about Double-Take, however, given the service outage window the organisation can tolerate, I thought maintaining a server as a hot standby to be a cost effective approach -  basically to build another Exchange 2003 Server box  and to copy across exchange mailboxes/database twice a day or so. What would be the best way (software)  to implement such a solution - obvioulsy hardware will be dissimilar.
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Question by:lakshmanl
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Expert Comment

by:ski3987
ID: 24361312
another solution might be to use mail bagging, you can have your users check webmail in case of an emergency.  Clustering is the way to go even though its out of the question, a hot standby might be too much work.
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by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
ID: 24361785
Humm a good option would be if you can think of upgarding to Exchange 2007 Sp1. As you now can use LCR (Single machine) and SCR (Source and Target) features and no need to copy paste data twice a day even with Standard version.
LCR
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb124721.aspx
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb124704.aspx
SCR
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb676571.aspx
You can also look for some articles at
msexchange.org and msexchangeteam.blog for LCR and SCR, as they both are high availability features also you in case your production database goes down you dont have to restore and can get everythingh back much faster.
Hope that you would be glad to know and get a chance to work with it.
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Mestha earned 400 total points
ID: 24363409
Exchange 2003 doesn't really have any kind of hot features, because the database is tightly tied to the name of the machine it comes off. You also would have to dismount the database completely to copy the files across, and the Exchange database is not designed to be repeatedly mounted and dismounted. That can lead to corruption.

DoubleTake is probably going to be your best option here if you want something that is more frequent than backups. Exchange 2007 would be ideal but you are looking at two new Exchange 2007 licenses, CALs and hardware. Another option would be SBS 2008 and an additional Exchange 2007 license. At 20 users it is the most cost effective way of getting the base license.

Otherwise, given the downtime window, simply having another machine built, but not with Exchange installed or joined to the domain might be enough. In the event of a problem with the original, the replacement is used in a full DR restore and the backups used. However that depends on what you are planning for. Backups are a point in time snapshot, but for most companies the most valuable email is that which has been received in the last 24 hours. Those are held in the transaction logs.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:lakshmanl
ID: 24370322
Hello All,
The organisation have a raft of public folders and hence I was shying away from Exchange 2007. Also, I read somewhere that you cannot do an in-situ upgrade (just upgrade Exchange 2003 to 2007 on the same box).

Now I am more thinking towards Double-Take. Am I right in thinking that the fail-over box I have to configure would have to have the same machine name, and IP#? If this is the case, how do I go about setting up - It has to be on the network for Double-Take to do it's job, isn't it? I don't have any experience with Double-Take.

Thanks and Regards
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by:Mestha
ID: 24370366
For Exchange 2007 there are no in place upgrade options. It is a different architecture. The only options are swing.

Doubletake is a complete mirror, and it has to be on the network live. It isn't really a product you would buy off the shelf and install, I would suggest talking to their people about the nuts and bolts of what is involved. DoubleTake deals with the machine name, IP address work etc.

Simon.
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Expert Comment

by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
ID: 24372344
If you are going to use Double-Take, so the best i would suggest is to have a word with those guys and get the information about the configuration and how about the usage (i mean setup and failover and other stuff)
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Expert Comment

by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
ID: 24442136
Any updates on the issue ?
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