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Exchange Server Multi-Site Data Replication

Hello there,
I am an IT consultant.
We have a client who have two sites with about 15 users each.
One being the head office has SBS2008 installed.
The other site just has a secondary Domain controller built on server2008R2 serviing as secondary DC, DNS, DHCP
Both site are connected on VPN using sonicwall firewalls and two ADSL lines on each side for failover.

The Problem:

The users in the branch office find the speed of email connectivity slow, as the VPN itself is not very fast.
The client wants to preferably have an exchange server installed in the branch office which can replicate with the head office server to provide local connectivity to their mailboxes.
They also want this exchange server to work for redundancy, so that if the primary site is down, this server can keep the business going for the whole company for all users.

My Questions:
1. Is this a workable idea ?
2. What might be the implications?
3. What is the step by step process for complete deplyment?
4. The SBS2008 has exchange2007, so can we use exchange2010 in the branch office for replication ?

I have gone through the technet URL: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb124066%28EXCHG.65%29.aspx

But that as usual is not very useful, as it does not give a clear picture on what I should do in my requirement??

Regards
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PacificAli
Asked:
PacificAli
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1 Solution
 
jfletchsterCommented:
1) Yes (and no see 4)
2) Both servers need to be the same version of exchange. though possible with both versions exchange 2010 does it alot better and has better low bandwidth tecnologies. You would need to install a fully working Exchange 2007/2010 server at the other site and both sites need to be on the same domain and same internal active directory domain. Or they will need to be completely different external domains, or you will get email routing issues.
3) is the sites are already linked with the same internal AD domain, then just install your new exchange server and then migrate the users mailboxes from one server to the other, this can be done over the WAN but will take some time i know 2010 allows this to happen while the user is using the mailbox, i cant rememebr if 2007 has the same feature. Or you would need to do a physical export and import using a portable device. This would mean that all email for a local user is local to the site they work at. Becasue they are on the same domain internal emails would be delivered between exchange servers quite happly. You would point incoming emails to the site with the better Threat preventions i.e. spamfilters etc.
4) You cant use SBS for this setup. SBS is a all in one box, the only way to do this is to use standard server and exchange 2007/2010 with standard licencing structure, as this is an advanced setup.
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PacificAliAuthor Commented:
Hello
Thanks for the update.
First of all, everything is on one domain.
But the fact that the head office already has SBS2008 poses a problem, as it was deployed just last year, so the client will not agree to dispose it for a bespoke setup.

Will you please suggest what can be done for this scenerion, keeping in mind that SBS2008 is already in place@head office and cannot be replaced.

Two important issues to resolve:
Slow email performance for all the users at branch office
Redundancy - If SBS goes down or if there is a problem with the ADSL lines, what infrastructre can be put in place for redundancy and business continuity ?

many thanks for your time.
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PacificAliAuthor Commented:
Also, it would be good to know if at all the client would have agreed for purchase of exchange2010 for the headoffice, then from the point of view of licensing, do we need to purchase two licenses of exchange 2010 - one for each site to enable replication ?

Or will one license cover both sites as it is going to be the same email domain and exactly the same number of users / mailboxes ?

Also, in this scenerio, you mentioned to move the mailboxes to the branch office exchange server for branch office users, does this mean that the branch office users will not be able to logon at head office if they need to ?
same question vice versa for head office users
Also, how will outlook web access / outlook anywhere work ?
Will the URLs be different for users at each location ?
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jfletchsterCommented:
Licencing side for for the bespoke setup you would need a minimum of 1 x Standard Server 2008 R2 and 1 x Exchange 2010 for EACH site. With enought licences for the total number of users.

As regard improving speed etc. I can only recommend;
1) Enable Cached exchange mode on the Outlook Client to help with sync times.
2) Use the best ADSL product you can, with 800Kb max upsteam. BT Call it Business Max product.
3) For your remote users try to setup load balancing, if you are using VPN's then consider VPN load balancing Trunk if you can get the hardware to do it i.e.e Draytek 2900 can do this. or if you are conencting to the external IP/DNS name for the outlook then consider setting up DNS A record round robin to so each client will pick a random adsl connection, spreading the load.
4) If SBS goes down it really depends on waht you want to protect them from but, loss of email is best prevented by using a 3rd Party Spamfilter product such as message labs to spamfilter your email and cache email incase of a server dead. (Or build your own SMTP relay for your customer domains, any linux postfix server can do this)
5) Have a full SBS Backup, use the Microsoft full system backup, as you can restore the whole system very quickly.
6) Use Outlook Anywhere if its not already. combined with option 3 part 2, load balancing DNS
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PacificAliAuthor Commented:
Hello
So if we go back to original requirement and opt for having two exchange 2010 servers replicating on the same domain, then a few of my unanswered questions:

Also, in this scenerio, you mentioned to move the mailboxes to the branch office exchange server for branch office users, does this mean that the branch office users will not be able to logon at head office if they need to ?
same question vice versa for head office users
Also, how will outlook web access / outlook anywhere work ?
Will the URLs be different for users at each location ?

Finally, if we go ahead with this, we are aware of single exchange deployment, but we need a step by step reference to deploy and setup the second server successfully.
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jfletchsterCommented:
You can fix url's by manipulating DNS to match the required SSL and domain, so both internal networks resolve the A record of the domain/email server to the same.
i.e. if you use remote.externaldomain.com (like SBS does)
You would create a DNS domain internally to direct to the local server to make top speed.
Externally you would add both IP's for both sites to the remote.
Exchange 2010 is smart, any user logging in from any location can still access thier mailbox, exchange pulls the email through the network.
But you move the emails to the users default location to improve speed most of the time.

For remote users, they can connect directly to the external server where thier mailbox is stored but if they used remote, then Exchange would link the user to the mailbox even if its at a remote location.
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