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Reinstall Exchange without DC on same box..

Posted on 2010-08-29
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Guys,

I have a (production) server running Windows server 2008 R2 with Exchange 2010 in a "stand-alone" configuration (no clustering, no failover, no other exchange servers in the org)

Unfortunately the machine got configured also being a DC (actually an unsupported config), it woks however except in reboot/restart scenarios where all kind of timeouts arises - it seems that there are kind of circular dependencies between NETLOGON, DNS and AD.

Anyways - Main goal - I want to get rid of the DC role from this machine.  (I have other DC's on the network).

FIrst attempt: Just demote the server to be a member-server...  Nope: Cant when exchange is installed.

Ok, why not install another exchange let them "share" mail-boxes etc and then remove the old one and then rename the new one to the old name...  Nope: Cant rename a server with exchange installed.

Hmm...

Guess the best way then is to install a new machine and restore exchange into that maskine.  I'm using Windows Server Backup 2010 (with Exchange application support)...

Can I just add (copy) databases from another server (the old one) to a fresh exchange server... probably not, so what does it require to re-install an exchange on a new box ending up with the same name and same data... ?

What is the best way to achieve my goal here?  Did I miss something?

Thanks

Thomas
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Question by:ThomasHej
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Glen Knight earned 500 total points
ID: 33552141
>>Unfortunately the machine got configured also being a DC (actually an unsupported config)

It's not unsupported it's just not recommended.  Microsoft will support this configuration.

Your only option is to install a new server as a member server and move the mailboxes, public folders if in use and then uninstall exchange off the domain controller.
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by:Glen Knight
Glen Knight earned 500 total points
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Forgot to ask, why are you worried about Exchange being the same name?

If you install another server and move mailboxes as long as both exchange servers are online for a period of time Outlook will automatically update itself to the new server.

I also forgot to mention in my first post that you will also need to redirect any inbound rules on the router/firewall to go to the new server instead of the old one (ports 443 & 25)
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by:ThomasHej
ID: 33552180
demazter, you got me there...  My concern is exactly reconfiguring outlook to the new server-name.  So you are saying that the profile-info on outlook clients gets updated?  All except a few of my clients uses RPC/HTTP connections - will that make a difference?

The OWA entry-point will of course also move to the new server (but not change name) mail.domain.com in both cases

But just for completeness - would there be a better solution involving a backup/restore or database/copy mechanics?

Thanks for you answers...


Thomas
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by:Glen Knight
ID: 33552185
Outlook will automatically reconfigure itself so you won't need to do this.

RPC/HTTPS should also reconfigure as long as both servers are active for a period of time.

This is the best option.  No downtime, no dataloss and much easier than backup/restore
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by:Icetoad
ID: 33552203
If Demazter's solution doesnt fit your needs, though i would recommend what he says, you could try the following:
1. You could manually remove the DC:  http://www.petri.co.il/forcibly_removing_active_directoy_from_dc.htm  ( make sure to move the roles off the server if it has any assigned to it)
2. The other way would be to resinstall the OS on the machine over top of itself.  Then you could reinstall exchange using the disaster recovery switch: http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Recovering-Failed-Exchange-2003-Member-Server-Using-Disaster-Recovery-Switch.html
Granted, the above is a very ugly way of doing this and personally wouldnt recommend it, just providing them as an option to be considered.
BTW: if you are worried about remapping clients, i found this great script to do it automatically when users login:  http://davedolan.com/blog/?p=83&cpage=1  ( you dont need to use the script if you leave the old server online, but it may be helpful if you have users who have issues after you decommission the old box. )
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by:ThomasHej
ID: 33552292
demazter, do you know how long "a period of time" would be.  Until first login by all users?

Icetoad...  hmm... agree with the crude/raw method - I don't think I would reccomend it myself :-)   My question was more around a general "server has crashed" situation - in that case you should be able to use your backup to do something...  (or at least I would hope/assume so)...

The script-solution is very nice, but not applicable in my case since 95% of my users are not loggin into the domain at all (they all all offsite with no VPN)  - they just use outlook and type domain/username on each login (to outlook) using RPC/HTTP.  - guess one would need a new download/trigger mechanism to get the scrip to run on the client machine in this case.

But I guess configuring a new server transfer the mail-boxes configure OWA etc on the new box when all mail-boxes are transferred.  Then leave the old server up without any until all users have had a chance to login.  - that should do the trick, right?

Thanks again

Thomas
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by:Glen Knight
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The period of time is purely until all users have logged in after the mailbox move.
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by:ThomasHej
ID: 33569906
I will give it a go (install a parallel exchange), I will keep you posted...
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by:ThomasHej
ID: 33612510
Guys,

Now I have two servers up running.  All mailboxes has been moved to the new server.  Now, I can't see that the settings are changed automatically with regards to which server the outlook client connects to.

All my clients connect through RPC/HTTP and in the mail-settings the exchange-server is listed as "oldserver.domain.com" (their mailbox is on newserver.domain.com).

According to the above advice this setting should change at first login right?

- it seems not...  The oldserver is simply relaying all massages to newserver and I fear what would happen if I turned oldserver off....

Any ideas?


Thomas
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by:Glen Knight
ID: 33612523
Have you redirected port 443 to the new server or is it still pointing to the old server?
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by:ThomasHej
ID: 33612625
Still the old server....   Is that the culprit?


Thomas
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by:ThomasHej
ID: 33657875
Guys,

No automatic update so far... :-(

Currently I have the old and new server running in parallel.  All mailboxes has been moved to the new server and the external reference (on both 80 and 443) points to the new server.  

All my outlook clients still show the old server in the ControlPanel -> Mail   setup.

Server OldName.domain.com
Username xxxxx    <Check name>

-dialog works and name checks out ok.  But no "automatic" change to the new server.  If I bring the old server down the connection to outlook fails.

All clients using RPC/HTTP and the proxy-name: mail.domain.com points to the new server.


I'm starting to doubt the "automatic reconfigure" mentioned above.  Should I expect the oldserver.domain.com to change to newserver.domain.com in the controlpanel -> mail ?


Thanks,

Thomas
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by:Pber
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This question has been classified as abandoned and is being closed as part of the Cleanup Program.  See my comment at the end of the question for more details.
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