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Exchange 2010 Public Folder HA

Posted on 2010-11-17
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Have set up Public Folder replication on Exchange 2010 (does not work out of the box, you need to set HomeMDB attribute for the SA on the Public Folder Database first), and the content is now updating so in theory have replicas on different databases. Tested this by dismounting the database on which the folders are homed, and, using OL 2007, this simply does not work - cannot expand folders.
My understanding is that the reason for this is that the clients are assigned a default PF database. If this DB is available and there is a replica, no problem. If it is available and there exists no replica, it consults its heirarrchy and chooses best referral to an existing replica based on AD site configuration and/or cost assigned to referrals. If the default DB is NOT available, it cannot be consulted for referral to a suitable replica and you get the error described earlier. So is it now simply the case that one cannot achieve true HA for Public Folders - i.e. there is no failover mechanism if the dafault PF db is down ?

Thanks for guidance
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Question by:TheGeezer2010
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by:Akhater
Akhater earned 100 total points
ID: 34153972
no there is no HA for public folder in exchange 2010, it was removed.

the only way to have redundancy is to create a replica of it (as you did) and then, when a server fails go back to EMC -> org config -> mailbox -> database management

right click on the Mailbox database -> client settings -> and change to the second copy of it
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TheGeezer2010 earned 0 total points
ID: 34162604
Hi Akhater

You are correct that there is no automatic failover so the best thing to do would be to write a script which runs the powershell command :-

Set-MailboxDatabase -Identity <Database_Name> -PublicFolderDatabase <PF_Database_Name>

In tests I found this to take around 7 minutes for the failover to complete (i.e. 7 minutes from time PF database was dismounted to time when PF became available again on the failover PF database). Also please note there is no auto-failback - this is best accomplished out of hours. The process is however, quite painless. I also tried speeding up the process by update-publicfolderhierarchy and content, but it seemed to make little or no difference. I also tried a suggestion to set up PF referral which refers the client to another replica if it does not hold a copy - this, as expected also does not work since the database needs to be available to make the referral !!
The whole of this is in line with Micriosoft's deprecation of Public Folders, and troubleshooting this whole process was not the easiest thing. Indeed, as stated above, it does not even work properly straight from the box.
Thanks to Akhater for the assistance - points to him (not like he needs them :-)
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by:Akhater
ID: 34162615
TheGeezer2010

thank you for the update, Microsoft took back PF to pre-exchange 2000 with exchange 2010 when they removed anything related to HA from them ....

It is a pain I agree but it is their way of pushing them out of the life-cycle

Regards,
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by:TheGeezer2010
ID: 34194880
It would have been better to supply a Microsoft URL confirming this statement - HA was removed. However, this set me on a personal investigation and a number of tests which seem to prove this is the case.
Kudos to Akhater for being so quick to respond - it is frustrating to have to wait !!
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Expert Comment

by:systemtech
ID: 34195326
Hi
I'm also looking for a way to achieve HA on Public Folder setup. I’m aware of the way to change the default public folder database setting on the mailbox database. But a bigger problem is that receiving emails in mailenabled public folders is always sent to the PF database that is the msExchOwningPFTree. Normal this is the last created PF DB. If this DB is not available the mails just queuing up. The is no HA mechanism that can send the mails to other PF DBs. Please let me know if there is a workaround.

Regards, Lars Kvorning
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by:TheGeezer2010
ID: 34291165
It looks as if Microsoft are including an alterntive PF replica option in Exchange 2010 SP1 Rollup 2 due in December !!
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by:Akhater
ID: 34291203
Yes so I have read !
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