Solved

Exchange 2010 DAG Site to Site Configuration

Posted on 2010-11-12
27
1,049 Views
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hi I have a client who currently has 2 Windows Server 2008 Ent machines and we have setup a site to site VPN connection which works perfect, however they are currently only running exchange 2010 Std on the server in there main office the other server is just currently being used for DFS-R.
Basically what they want is a failover site as they are out on the road a lot so incase of the internet going down at the main site the passive copy would come online at the second site.

Now from what what I understand I would need either a witness server or another hub transport server in place so each server know whats going on?

Basically I need to know do I need the witness server at a 3rd site or is there a better way of doing this maybe not even using DAG's?

I look forward to your comments, thank you.
0
Comment
Question by:mfg1
  • 15
  • 12
27 Comments
 
LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:Akhater
ID: 34124800
you will need an extra server in the main site to act as a share witness (no need for it to be an exchange server) to implement your DAG that's it

0
 
LVL 4

Author Comment

by:mfg1
ID: 34124823
I understand that but its the internet line going down which I feel is the issue as where should the witness server be as both servers need to see it to bring the DB online?
0
 
LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:Akhater
ID: 34124837
if the internet goes down the server not being able to see the sharewitness will go down...

so maybe i miss understood your question
0
 
LVL 4

Author Comment

by:mfg1
ID: 34124849
yes so i need to make sure they can both see the witness server at all times is a third site the answer?
0
 
LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:Akhater
ID: 34124870
both being able to see the witness at all times will drag you into a split brain scenario

suppose
server 1 sees the witness so it thinks server 2 is down and keep the db up
server 2 sees the witness so it thinks server 1 is down and brings the db up

0
 
LVL 4

Author Comment

by:mfg1
ID: 34125130
where should the witness server be? main site or site 2?
0
 
LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:Akhater
ID: 34125135
in the site you want to go down if the connection between the 2 is down
0
 
LVL 4

Author Comment

by:mfg1
ID: 34125429
but what if the 2nd site internet connection goes down does this mean that site1 DB will fail?
0
 
LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:Akhater
ID: 34126370
first let me fix a typo i did in my previous post the share witness should be in the site you DON'T want to go down if the wan link between both goes down.

the idea is that you have 3 voters node1 node2 and the SW. at anytime any node should be able to see 2 out of 3 to decide he is not down but the other node.

going back to your original idea of a 3rd site it would be possible assuming that node1 and node2 can communicate together thru this 3rd site also
0
 
LVL 4

Author Comment

by:mfg1
ID: 34157549
i understand but both of the servers are in different locations, which means if the internet goes down at the site with 1 exchange and witness server surly this means the DB wont mount?
0
 
LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:Akhater
ID: 34157903
If internet goes down at the site with file share witness the db in the other site will not mount.

Nothing we can do about it this is by design
0
 
LVL 4

Author Comment

by:mfg1
ID: 34158092
so my idea of the third site is a good idea or not?
0
 
LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:Akhater
ID: 34158111
again the problem with the 3rd site is that you might end up with a split brain as we discussed before
0
How your wiki can always stay up-to-date

Quip doubles as a “living” wiki and a project management tool that evolves with your organization. As you finish projects in Quip, the work remains, easily accessible to all team members, new and old.
- Increase transparency
- Onboard new hires faster
- Access from mobile/offline

 
LVL 4

Author Comment

by:mfg1
ID: 34160562
ok, I assume you understand my problem here I need the email system to be up all the time and if any site goes down they can point to the other and continue working.
is this not the norm? is there not a better solution? my client wants the exchange system to be virtually bomb proof as he is always travelling and sometimes there is no one in the office for weeks.
0
 
LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:Akhater
ID: 34162000
> is this not the norm
no it is not, the problem is DAG across sites was designed to be Active / Passive and not Active/Active so you cannot have live databases at the same time in 2 different sites and be able to accommodate link failures. I know it is kind of hard to believe but this is the way it is. sorry

>  there not a better solution?
The solution is to have 4 exchange servers (2 in each sites) configured in 2 DAGs each one acting as active / passive


from a technical perspective you can hack the system by putting your share witness in a 3rd site as you previously said and blocking the databases to auto-mount each in a different site.

In that case we are taking manually care of the split brain syndrome but I can't say it is a fool proof solution since the slightest error would lead to split brain and huge problems and that is why i never mentioned the "solution" till now
0
 
LVL 4

Author Comment

by:mfg1
ID: 34265071
I have been doing some more research would the SP1 update with DAC not help?
0
 
LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:Akhater
ID: 34267733
No, again DAC, has nothing to do with this, it is to avoid split brain if the main site is back online before the network .
0
 
LVL 4

Author Comment

by:mfg1
ID: 34277148
This is what we have read:-

DAC mode is configured to avoid a “split brain syndrome”. I will explain with an example. Let’s say we have a four member DAG, with two servers in each datacenter. The primary datacenter hosts the witness server and hence will always be in quorum. Now, let’s say that a power outage occurs in the primary datacenter and the exchange admin activates the secondary datacenter with an alternate file share witness.

When the power is restored in the primary site, servers come online quicker than the WAN links. Hence, when the two DAG members and witness server comes online, it has a quorum (majority) and will try to activate the databases. This will cause a “split brain syndrome” where both datacenters think that they are hosting the active databases.

DAC mode was introduced to avoid this situation. When DAC mode is enabled and the DAG members come back online, they will leverage a protocol called Datacenter Activation Coordination Protocol (DACP) before trying to mount the databases.  The DACP is used to determine the current state of the DAG and whether Active Manager should try to mount the databases or not.

Now for the technical bit as to how DAC works!

Active Manager stores a bit in memory (either a 0 or  1) that tells the DAG whether it's allowed to mount local databases that are assigned as active on the server. When a DAG is running in DAC mode, each time Active Manager starts up, the bit is set to 0, which means that it isn't allowed to mount databases. When in DAC mode, the server must try to communicate with all other members of the DAG that it knows to get another DAG member to give it an answer as to whether it can mount local databases that are assigned as active to it. The answer comes in the form of the bit setting for other Active Managers in the DAG. If another server responds that it’s bit is set to 1, it means that servers are allowed to mount databases. Hence, the server starting up sets its bit to 1 and mounts its databases.

0
 
LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:Akhater
ID: 34282505
this is exactly what I said in my previous answer... please explain what are you trying to say
0
 
LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:Akhater
ID: 34282519
well it seems you might be lucky Shudown says it will work on 1 ip

http://www.shudnow.net/2008/08/21/how-anonymous-relay-works-in-exchange-2007/

0
 
LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:Akhater
ID: 34282532
kindly ignore my last post I was trying to answer another thread...

this is exactly what I told you about DAC what is your question ?
0
 
LVL 4

Author Comment

by:mfg1
ID: 34282765
Hi Akhater

2 sites over WAN VPN link both on server 2008 Ent with Exchange 2010. We want to failover to the second exchange if the main site goes down or internet goes offline.

Were getting so confused and can't believe this is not an option or easy to do.

Is this an option with 4 exchange servers 2 at each site?

Regards

MFG
0
 
LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:Akhater
ID: 34282825
the only way to accommodate for link failures (i.e. internet going down) is having 2 DAGs

so 4 servers would surely work Server1 active site1 passive site1 and Server2 active stie2 and passive site1
0
 
LVL 4

Author Comment

by:mfg1
ID: 34282953
Thanks, is there anything else we should think about.
0
 
LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:Akhater
ID: 34283050
yes use exchange 2010 sp1 and put both dags in DAC mode
0
 
LVL 4

Author Comment

by:mfg1
ID: 34283057
I presume this is what data centres have to do?
0
 
LVL 49

Accepted Solution

by:
Akhater earned 500 total points
ID: 34283165
didn't get what you mean
0

Featured Post

How your wiki can always stay up-to-date

Quip doubles as a “living” wiki and a project management tool that evolves with your organization. As you finish projects in Quip, the work remains, easily accessible to all team members, new and old.
- Increase transparency
- Onboard new hires faster
- Access from mobile/offline

Join & Write a Comment

We are happy to announce a brand new addition to our line of acclaimed email signature management products – CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365.
Local Continuous Replication is a cost effective and quick way of backing up Exchange server data. The following article describes the steps required to configure Local Continuous Replication. Also, the article tells you how to restore from a backup…
In this video we show how to create an Accepted Domain in Exchange 2013. We show this process by using the Exchange Admin Center. Log into Exchange Admin Center.: First we need to log into the Exchange Admin Center. Navigate to the Mail Flow >> Ac…
The video tutorial explains the basics of the Exchange server Database Availability groups. The components of this video include: 1. Automatic Failover 2. Failover Clustering 3. Active Manager

760 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question

Need Help in Real-Time?

Connect with top rated Experts

20 Experts available now in Live!

Get 1:1 Help Now