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Mailbox move between Exchange 2003 servers when one server has failed

Posted on 2011-03-24
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I need some input on how to start approaching this issue. Out network had two Exchange 2003 servers one in Site A and one in Site B, the ladder being a satellite smaller site. There mailboxes on both Site A and Site B Exchange servers.

What’s happened is the Exchange server in Site A had a hardware failure and is completely down, we’re waiting for replacement for hardware but from what we were told, it is going to take another 48 hours for the parts to arrive, and even after that, the data on the partitions might not be recoverable.

Obviously Site B users are not receiving emails and it is causing a lot of concerns as mail flow is vital for our company. I’m looking for suggestions on how to move Site B mailboxes to Site A so that the mail flow is back. We can recover their old mailbox content once the server is up and running but right now receiving emails is more important. There are a total of 12 users in Site B.

Simply trying to move the mailbox on a failed server in ADUC doesn’t work as it tries to connect to Site B’s server. I thought about deleting the Exchange mailbox and attributes, and recreate on the new server but there might be more complications if I do this. Please answer with your suggestions.

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Question by:efusion
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Justin Owens earned 250 total points
ID: 35212106
It is ugly, but you need to build a new, temporary server:

http://www.petri.co.il/exchange_disasterecovery_switch.htm

Once you have recovered your server, you can rebuild the old one with a new name and then migrate your mailboxes temporarily stored on the "recovered" server back to it through normal means.

DrUltima
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by:efusion
ID: 35212363
Well, we do have an existing server on Site A that we can use. I'm looking for instructions on how to do this when the other server is down, or any ideas on what is the best approach.
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by:Seth Simmons
Seth Simmons earned 250 total points
ID: 35212755
In the interim while you're waiting for parts, etc., is it possible to have your mx records point to site B?  I don't know your topology, but if you have the ability for a public IP at that location, you could have mail routed there.  Granted, the mailboxes are not available, but it's a quick solution to prevent mail from being dropped.  Mail for users in A will sit on B in a routing queue until A is up; but at least it won't be returned or outside users receiving warning notices from their mail server "unable to deliver last x hours".  B users would be receiving.

As far as temporary server goes, if you do chose to use that existing server that you have, you need to change the computer account and domain membership as you follow these steps (in the link above) so need to consider that as far as the current role of that server.
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Author Closing Comment

by:efusion
ID: 35234455
Parts arrived earlier than we thought. So we got the failed server up and running and everything worked ok. Thanks for your suggestions.
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