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Microsoft Exchange 2010 Failover

Posted on 2012-08-30
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We have deployed many exchange 2010 servers to many of our clients.  We are now wanting to set up failovers for these servers.

All their servers are at their place of business.  We would like something that can automatically fail over if the main site goes down.

I have read about software and servers that can do this, but I wanted to find out what the experts are using in this situation?

We do have multiple buildings at the company that are in different cities.  So we could set up failovers at other buildings or put it in a datacenter and centrally manage.
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Question by:considerscs
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Manpreet SIngh Khatra earned 576 total points
ID: 38351946
DAG is the only Option :)

- Rancy
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by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
Manpreet SIngh Khatra earned 576 total points
ID: 38351958
Sorry what i meant was you can use a In-built exchange 2010 feature DAG

Some Awesome articles for DAG

Database Availability Group (DAG) -Exchange 2010
http://www.exchange-genie.com/2009/04/database-availability-group-dag-exchange-2010/

Uncovering Exchange 2010 Database Availability Groups (DAGs) (Part 1)
http://www.msexchange.org/articles_tutorials/exchange-server-2010/high-availability-recovery/uncovering-exchange-2010-database-availability-groups-dags-part1.html

- Rancy
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by:page1985
page1985 earned 572 total points
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Exchange Server 2010, running on Windows Server Enterprise or Datacenter, can employ a combination of two built-in technologies to accomplish this.
You will want to review Database Availability Groups (DAG) and Datacenter Activation Coordination (DAC) mode.

Here are the resources.

Understanding Database Availability Groups
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd979799.aspx

Understanding Datacenter Activation Coordination Mode
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd979790.aspx

Please keep in mind that there are certain conditions which will cause this to not be an automatic failover due to potential corruption.  DAG is automatic as long as there is a cluster quorum.  If no quorum is present, then you must manually engage DAC in order to activate the secondary datacenter.

Here's another resource on clustering and why this piece is manual:
http://techthoughts.typepad.com/managing_computers/2007/10/split-brain-quo.html
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by:Rob Williams
Rob Williams earned 852 total points
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You have this in the Small Business server topic area, are these Small Business Servers  with Exchange 2010?  
If so it is not practical in a non-enterprise environment to have fail-over servers for Exchange.  Most SBS sites use 3rd part services that offer backup MX services that range from simple retention of mail for up to 7 days if your server is offline, such as no-ip's "Backup MX"  http://www.no-ip.com/?af_code=RW8540  or a more complete service that offers backup mx, mail archiving,  access to archived and backup MX mail through OWA, encryption services, and large mail attachments, such as offered by www.exchangedefender.com
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by:page1985
page1985 earned 572 total points
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That....is a good point.  I didn't notice the SBS tag.  If you are indeed using SBS, RobWill is correct.  SBS does not offer any failover options.  Only Enterprise and Datacenter editions of Windows Server will support DAG.
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by:considerscs
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We have both SBS and Enterprise.

If I go with the no-ip backup mx.  Does it store the mail and once the server comes back online, send the stored mail to the server automatically?
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by:Rob Williams
Rob Williams earned 852 total points
ID: 38355075
Yes.

You add a second, lower priority, MX record to your public DNS records.  When folk send e-mail to your server if it doesn't respond it sends it the the alternate MX record which will be no-ip.  No-ip monitors the status of your server, if off-line it retains the e-mail and checks your server every minute or so.  As soon as it detects your server is back on-line it starts forwarding the mail.  If there is a lot of mail it will gradually trickle in over the following couple of hours.  No-IP is nice in that they have a logging service and you can see when and if the service was used.  I have sites were no-ip was backing up mail for an hour or two every now and then and the clients had not even noticed the server was off-line (due to internet outages).  It is excellent service for the price, and there is no maintenance.  It will only save the last 7 days mail, however in that time one should be able to repair the server or redirect the mail to another service.  On that note, you can change the no-ip delivery at any point.  For example if the server went down you could by an Office 365 service or Google Apps, change your no-ip configuration and the backed up mail would be forwarded to the new location.

There are many service like this, but I have found theirs to be very dependable for almost no cost. Something like $35/year.
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by:considerscs
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That is exactly the service I am looking for.  Thanks to everyone for the input on this.
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by:Rob Williams
Rob Williams earned 852 total points
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To add.  You cannot access (read & respond) the backed up mail that no-ip is holding.  Should you need that capability there are other services such as:
www.exchangedefender.com
or
http://www.mxtoolbox.com/Public/Content/Products/Emergency_Mail_Details.aspx
However these are more expensive, generally about $1.50 - $5.00 per mailbox, per month.
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