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Redundant MS Exchange 2010??


I am in process of setting up a disaster recovery system for our town. We currently have our email (exchange 2010) server, domain & data server and our applications servers located at our town hall. We are in process of building a new Fire Station that will also double as our Emergency Operations Center. I would like to have "backup" / "redundant" servers located at the fire station in the event that we have have a "disaster" at the Town Hall. I am planning on setting up a couple of machines that will contain virtual representations of my existing servers.  My hope is that if the Town Hall burns down for instance, I can quickly get the town's IT infrastructure up in a reasonable time.

I have data already being backed up offsite, so users and applications will be up to date, but I am unclear on how to have our Exchange server be able to be backed up and a redundant machine "ready to go". Setting up an offsite domain controller seems easy enough, but the mail side is unclear.

Any thoughts or suggestions on how to set this up??

If you need any more details, please ask...
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1 Solution
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
DAG is definitely a solution... A cheaper/more expensive solution (depending on needs/what you have) would be to use Hyper-V Replication.  Move your physical servers to a Hyper-V 2012 environment (available today) and then enable Hyper-V replication between the two locations.  If either location fails, the other location has a fully operational server with, at worst, 5 minutes of work lost. This would NOT require a second Exchange License.
Ware-AdminAuthor Commented:
In order for me to move my existing Exchange 2010 server to the Hyper-V2012 solution, I would need another physical server to put it on, correct?? And then a second machine on the other end for replication?
I am assuming that I cant virtualize my existing exchange server.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Any redundant solution - DAG, Hyper-V replication, etc - is going to require a second server.

So you didn't install Exchange and Windows into a VM from the start?  (Ok, I admit, I only decided a year ago to NEVER install physically again without a VERY VERY good reason).

Can you virtualize?  Depends on how you do this.  There should be a free Hyper-V 2012 (I haven't dug it up yet to know for certain, but understanding is that there definitely would be.  If you got that, then this would not (potentially) cost you a dime in licenses.  You COULD, using the free Hyper-V, AND ASSUMING YOU HAVE A VOLUME OR RETAIL LICENSE OF WINDOWS SERVER 2008 R2, virtualize your existing server into a Hyper-V VM and then enable replication between the two locations.  

If you went and bought Server 2012 Standard (presumably two licenses, one for each location), that would license you for TWO Server 2012 VMs on each side.  By using Hyper-V replication and leaving one server as a sort of "hot standby" for replication purposes (and not running ANYTHING ELSE on it), you would (I THINK) be operating within the parameters of licensing.

If your existing License of Server 2008 R2 with Exchange was OEM (purchased pre-installed on the server) then you CAN virtualize it but you CANNOT enable replication as that would potentially move the license from one hardware device to another and that's not permitted with OEM licenses.

And what should be needless to say, MAKE BACKUPS FIRST!!!!!!!
Ware-AdminAuthor Commented:
I received my licenses for both Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange 2010 directly from Microsoft.

So I would have a non-virtualized Exchange 2010 server on one end and a virtualized version of same on the other end?

Then enable replication?

I am playing with virtualization now to replace / upgrade our Police server. I am using VMWare / VSphere for this application. It is going quite well.

I had always planned on virtualizing all the servers here in town hall and then relocating them offsite and then "creating some sort of synchronization" between them.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
VSPhere is expensive and I don't know if they offer the same kind of Replication that Hyper-V does (and Hyper-V is free as well as a free role on Server 2012 (and 2008)).  I understand why you would try VMWare, but in this case, it's a more expensive solution.

Hyper-V replication is a specific feature of Hyper-V for Virtual Machines running in Hyper-V.  You cannot do this with one physical and one virtual - The idea is that you have a virtual server that gets replicated to another Hyper-V server.  Hyper-V keeps it updated with changes replicated every 5 minutes.  In the event the "source" server fails, Hyper-V can "activate" the replica and at worst, you've lost 5 minutes of data.

If you read up on DoubleTake or NeverFail, it's similar to these products - these products cost a MINIMUM of $2500 in licensing to implement (though they can work on physical installs... Hyper-V Replica is free but only works on VMs on Hyper-V.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You cannot buy licenses directly from Microsoft, but I assume you mean you bought Volume Licenses and have access to the media and keys on the Volume License Service Center site - this is good.  You're licensed appropriately as I understand licensing and your configuration.
Ware-AdminAuthor Commented:
Yes, you are correct. Volume licenses...

I will need to locate a "free" machine to try to set up Hyper-V. I am not familiar with it yet...

I assume that it can be downloaded from the MS site?

Once I get familiar on how to create a VM using Hyper-V, then I can take the next steps...

know any good entry level tutorials?
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
In my opinion, Hyper-V is not complicated for basic setup.  The most difficult part can be figuring out the networking.  In many ways the basics are covered in the free e-book Understanding Microsoft Virtualization Solutions, Second Edition.  (Note: this is a relatively OLD e-book... it covers the basics, but DOES NOT cover some of the more recent features and enhancements, such as Hyper-V Replication, RemoteFX, and Dynamic Memory).

The ebook is available here:

I would also say there's a good deal of similarity, at least in concepts, as with VMWare.

Hyper-V is a role you can add to Server 2008, 2008 R2, and 2012.  Just like File Services or Active Directory.  There's also a free version but a warning on the free version - it works - it works fine... but it's free... and in being free, it's not the easiest thing on the planet to configure for management (there are some serious firewall and remote permissions you need to grant - look up hvremote.wsf for some help in doing that.  That's why it's best to use full server licenses - those include the Hyper-V GUI on the server.  Further, if you want to use Hyper-V Replication, that's a new feature of Hyper-V 2012.  

One other rather important little detail - Hyper-V 2012 requires SLAT - Second Level Address Translation.  All i-series Intel Processors (I THINK) have it as do the AMD FX series and more recent Xeons.  If you have older server(s), the 2012 Hyper-V may not work even if the 2008 R2 one does... and again, Replication requires Hyper-V on both ends to be 2012.

More information on Hyper-V Replication:
I've been calling it Hyper-V Replication -- TECHNICALLY, it's called "Hyper-V Replica"

Hyper-V itself has many references and links available.

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