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Echange 2003 Cluster

Posted on 2011-04-28
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
When using Exchange 2003 in 2 node cluster passive/active, or 4 nodes 3 active/one passive, is it necessay in either case to have another front end server(s)
in other words when it s necessary to have Front end servers?

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Question by:jskfan
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ashok_523 earned 400 total points
ID: 35485752
Front end server is nothing but your OWA server. It is recommended to have seperate OWA server which should be idealy kept in DMZ. Reffer the below URL for more info

http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/owa_exchange_server_2003.html
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by:ajpowell74
ajpowell74 earned 1600 total points
ID: 35485779
You would want to use a Front End (FE) server if you are providing OWA (Outlook Web Access) or Active Sync to external users/clients.

The full list of benefits to running a FE server can be found here:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb124804(EXCHG.65).aspx

Hope this helps.
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Author Comment

by:jskfan
ID: 35489462
I thought if you have 2 or more exchange servers FE is used to proxy the external request to exchange server
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Author Comment

by:jskfan
ID: 35497809
any comments??
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by:ajpowell74
ajpowell74 earned 1600 total points
ID: 35506090
in other words when it s necessary to have Front end servers?
It's only necessary to have a FE server if you're trying to provide OWA or Active Sync to external clients.
If you're just looking for ways to have internal clients access your Exchange cluster, then you'll want to use either round-robin DNS or Network Load Balancing (NLB).

NLB is the preferred method as it provides a more robust method of determining which node the current client should connect to.

If you widen the scope to include load balancing for OWA clients, then it's possible to set up NLB for multiple FE servers.

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Author Comment

by:jskfan
ID: 35511400
I meant if you have just one single Exchange server 2003 in the organization then there is no need for FE
if you have 2 Exchange servers 2003 in your organization then FE is necessary.

if you have 2 node passive/active Exchange Cluster, that I am not sure if necessary?

FE is for OWA users. of course.
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by:ajpowell74
ajpowell74 earned 1600 total points
ID: 35515495
In that setup, 2 node passive/active a FE wouldn't be necessary, as the internal clients will only ever "see" 1 node of the cluster at any time.

The FE doesn't contain the actual mailbox DBs, but is just a relay. :)

Is that what you were looking for?
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Author Comment

by:jskfan
ID: 35696555
almost ...
 
let s put itthis way:


Scenario 1:

2 node cluster passive/active: do we need FE for external users (OWA)?

Scenario 2

let's say we have 2 exchange servers in the organization (parent /child domain), do we need FE for external users (OWA)?
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by:ajpowell74
ajpowell74 earned 1600 total points
ID: 35698845
Scenario 1: Yes.

Scenario 2: Yes.

From my original link:
The primary advantage of the front-end and back-end server architecture is the ability to expose a single, consistent namespace. You can define a single namespace for users to access their mailboxes (for example, https://mail for Outlook Web Access). Without a front-end server, each user must know the name of the server that stores their mailbox. This complicates administration and compromises flexibility, because every time your organization grows or changes and you move some or all mailboxes to another server, you must inform the users.

There are other reasons listed, but this is the big one. You don't want to have to update your users' remote clients every time you have to migrate them to another store as your environment grows.
If you were only dealing with internal clients, then no, you wouldn't have to have a FE. But because you're setting up OWA with Exchange 2003, you need to implement a FE setup, regardless of what your Exchange environment looks like in the background.

(There are also quite a few other benefits listed in the original link I posted.)

And when you do end up configuring your FE, here's a good down n' dirty guide:
http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/owa_exchange_server_2003.html
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Author Comment

by:jskfan
ID: 35708228
I thought with 2 node active /passive is not necessary to have FE as it is considered as just one server.
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Author Closing Comment

by:jskfan
ID: 35763803
thanks
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