Creating a reliable exchage environment

Posted on 2009-06-29
Last Modified: 2013-12-05

I have a server environment running W2k3 standard. It consists of 2 domain controllers, ( primary and secondary) and 1 exchange server. We also have a tape drive backup that runs every night. However, seeing as we only have 1 exchange server, if something catastrophic happened, it may take a day or two to rebuild the Exchange server and reload from the tapes. This is unacceptable in my Boss's opinion and i need to figure out a way to have a reliable email server failover so that there is little to no down time. I have considered a server cluster but was told i would need to upgrade to enterprise for starters, and also make sure my servers match the required hardware requirements for a cluter that are quite stringent from what i hear. My question is, what is the best way to accomplish my goal of establishing a secondary email server to successfully limit my downtime?
Question by:ISRAdmin
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LVL 65

Accepted Solution

Mestha earned 500 total points
ID: 24737884
You basically have limited choices.
Clustering is one option, but would require two additional servers plus additional hardware to work correctly. Considering that you would have to purchase new licenses, I would look at Exchange 2007 instead and something like CCR (which is live) or SCR (which requires manual intervention).

Otherwise you are looking at something like DoubleTake/Neverfail etc.

However do remember that you do not have to recover everything from the tapes to get running. It is perfectly possible to get email back up and running again in about four hours (email permitting) using a method known as dial tone restore. This gives you a blank database which will give users access to the new email.


Author Comment

ID: 24737963
Well, i'm thinking of the worst case scenario, like a hardware failure that renders my lone mail server inoperable... I would like to have an entirely seperate server ready to go.
LVL 65

Expert Comment

ID: 24738410
In that case you are looking at either clustering or DoubleTake/Neverfail etc. Exchange 2003 doesn't have any other options.


Author Comment

ID: 24738742
Have you ever used neverfail, it looks pretty good and easy to use...
LVL 65

Expert Comment

ID: 24738781
No I haven't used the product, despite working with three of the senior management team of the company many years ago. They aren't based far away from me.


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