Email Backup for Microsoft Exchange 2003 SBS Server 2003 going Down

limobill used Ask the Experts™
I have to take our exchange server down on our small business server 2003 for maintenance (Disk Defragment) and I need to have email backup solution.

Our domain DNS is handled at Network Solutions so I called them and had them setup some webmail accounts.  The problem is that when our server was setup we set remote access and mail to be  I have an MX record that points to which points to our server IP.  The problem is that Network Solutions incoming and outgoing mail servers are called so I need to change the record pointing to the exchange server or webmail will never work.  I know I could delete our record while were down but Id like to set the Network Solutions email as Priority 20 so that if the server ever crashes we have a permanent email backup solution.  

I can easily change the record at Network Solutions to something else but my question is what and where do I need to change records on the SBS 2003 so that people will still have remote access and email will go the right place when the exchange server is up.

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Top Expert 2014

Hello limobill,

"Backup queuing for unexpected downtime on main MX server for 10 days, store and forward "
Have a look here :

Could not you do defrag simply at non-working hours? If in meantime some mail should arrive, the sending server will see that your server is not available and will retry sending mail until it suceeded or normally for two days (depends on configuration). After that the sender will receive NDR report.

Also if you do not want to be without mail for some hours during defrag, you can firstly defrag partition, where you do not have exchange database. Then you move database on defragmented partition, defrag partition on which was exch. DB firstly and move partition back. You can use also additional disk, if you do not nave enough free space or only one partition. In this way the exchange downtime will be only 2 x 30 minutes (depends on db size and speed of disk subsystem.)
(I would do defrag without stoping or moving anything during non-working hours)

Backuping MX server (as leakim971 said) is good idea. Our ISP provider does it for free. All we have to do is to set additional MX record pointing to their mail server. You will have some advantage in doing this only if  downtime of your server will be longer than 2 days.
You could create (all !!!) mail accounts on Network Solutions (N.S.) , point MX record at their server and then download it to your exchange server using POP3 connector.
But I do not see any big advantage. Users have Gigs of already received mail in mailboxes on exchange server. During downtime you will have to instruct everybody that they should use N.S. webmail address and that there is only newly arrived mail...


Actuallly we are a 24/7 transportation company and email is really important.  There are quiet times but people are always here.  The primary Drive on the server is very fragmented and we are concerned that it will be a very slow process.  I have a part time IT consultant who is telling me that I should stop the exchange service while we run the defrag.  Also I think this email fallback solution will be useful as a future backup.
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Expert of the Quarter 2009
Expert of the Year 2009
Where are the Exchange databases stored?
If they are on the same drive that you wish to defrag then you aren't really going to gain much by doing a defrag. You may actually cause a problem with the databases if you aren't careful.
The performance of the machine will not really improve. How much space do you have? If you have less than 20% there will be improvement from doing a disk defrag.

The only thing you need to stop is the Information Store service. The rest of the system will continue to run correctly. Email that comes in will be queued by the email server.

As for backup MX services, not a fan of them myself.



The database is on the fragmented drive.  I have another drive available - should I move the database and then shut down that one service and do the defrag?
Expert of the Quarter 2009
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What is this other drive?
If it is a local drive (ie not a USB external drive) then one option would be to defrag that drive first, then move the database using ESM.
Once that has been moved, you can defrag the drive without the database on it with Exchange still running.

If you move the database, you do not need to stop information store service.
You do not need to stop any service on your server. The only point to move database on different patrition is to gain more space on primary partition and that the location of exchange db will not interfere with file defregmentation of file sistem.

For future installations insist that on primary (c:) partition are located only OS files. All other files, programs, data, DBs should be located on diffrent partitions.

There is really no need to do the file defragmentation of exchange db.
Exchange does online fragmentation by default every night. Like SQL, it really does not care about file fragmentation, because it reads and writes to db at random positions. They are not sequential like transactional logs. You won't gain any speed. If you want to reduce size of exchange database, than you should do offline defragmentation of exchange db using eseutil.

Here is an answer from Microsoft PSS about file defregmentation of exchange db:


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