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Exchange 2010 - routing between internal servers in different physical locations

Posted on 2013-06-13
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Last Modified: 2013-07-03
Hey all, I have a bit of a strange situation that I could do with some help in getting to grips with. The company I work for has a customer who has two Exchange 2010 servers located in different physical locations. The head office has been running Exchange 2010 for a couple of years, whereas the branch office was running Exchange 2003 until a couple of weeks ago, when their server was replaced by a new once running Exchange 2010. The server in the head office is called MMVSEX01, the server in the branch office is called MMVSEX02.

Since we upgraded their branch office there has been a problem with the routing of email. What seems to happen is that when users with mailboxes on MMVSEX01 send an external email, Exchange routes the email via the other server (MMVSEX02), which then sends the message back to MMVSEX01, and then it goes out to their smarthost (relay.mx.trendmicro.eu). I say "seems to happen" as I'm not sure if I'm interpreting the header correctly. Running it through mxtoolbox's header analyser certainly seems to confirm this suspicion;

 Header
One thing I noticed that is wrong with their configuration is that they have no sites configured in AD other than the default (i.e. default-first-site-name). Would configuring the sites and moving the servers into the correct sites stop Exchange from routing the messages between the two servers unnecessarily? Or is this something I should leave alone? Any advice or insight would be most welcome, as I don't really understand why Exchange is doing this.
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Question by:Jm_saunders
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Manpreet SIngh Khatra earned 1000 total points
ID: 39244430
Email routing with Exchange 2010 happens with AD site cost\links so they should be properly set

What happens when a user in Branch office sends an email ?
What is the version of both Exchange servers ?
What roles do they both hold and is any of them on a DC ?

- Rancy
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Expert Comment

by:Amit
ID: 39244518
Create Scoped connector in your primary Site. That way, primary site hub severs will be doing external mail routing.

Or you can enable it on your current send connector. It is available under the connector properties.
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by:Jm_saunders
ID: 39244537
Thanks for the quick reply Rancy - your comment on the AD sites being configured properly is as I suspected. In my defence, I had nothing to do with setting up any of this!

Neither of these server are configured as a DC - they both have a DC in their physical site, so MMDC01 is in the same office as MMVSEX01 and MMDC02 is in the same office as MMVSEX02.

I just checked the versions, and they're both on the same build of Exchange 2010 (Version 14.2 Build 247.5).

I created a new user and put the mailbox on the database store on MMVSEX02 and sent out a test message. The message went from MMVSEX02 to MMVSEX01, then out to the smarthost and on to the destination;

Headers from MMVSEX02
I'm assuming there's something configured to make it route these messages between the servers, however I lack the knowledge of Exchange to see where this is configured. Idealy external messages should go out directly via the smarthost rather than between the two Exchange servers first, but I need instructions on how to go about doing this. Would configuring the sites correctly in AD be sufficient, or do I need to do something else within Exchange itself?
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by:Jm_saunders
ID: 39244556
Sorry amitkulshrestha, I didn't see your message before I posted my update. The description of a scoped connector would indeed seem to be the solution to our problem once we configure the AD sites correctly. I'll have to do a bit more research before I make any changes - I can't really go ahead and amend their AD configuration without prior approval.
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Expert Comment

by:Amit
ID: 39244606
Okay, let us know, if you need more help.
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Author Comment

by:Jm_saunders
ID: 39244652
I have one thing I need to check; if I put the servers in correctly configured sites, do I need to create a connector for the two servers to communicate/route between themselves? Sorry to have to ask such a simple question, but I am not an Exchange guy.
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Assisted Solution

by:Amit
Amit earned 1000 total points
ID: 39245017
Internal sites and services takes cares about mail routing. For External only you need send connector.
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by:Jm_saunders
ID: 39282304
I found a fix for the issue without having to change the site configuration. A very knowledgeable man at Microsoft gave me the solution, and explained the reason why this happens. Exchange 2010 is designed to use a hub transport server that is remote from the mailbox server that the email originates from. It will do this only within a site, however, so it will not select an arbitrary server outside of the site boundaries. It does this to provide a degree of fault tolerance, as it means that there is a copy of any sent email on both the mailbox server and the hub transport server.

It is possible to override this behaviour via the set-mailboxserver powershell command, using the SubmissionServerOverrideList parameter. The example given on technet is;

Set-MailboxServer -Identity Server1 -SubmissionServerOverrideList HubServer01,HubServer02,HubServer03

Where Server1 is the mailbox server and HubServer01,HubServer02 and HubServer03 are the hub transport servers you want the mailbox server to use.
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Expert Comment

by:Amit
ID: 39282310
Thanks for sharing the solution.
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by:Amit
ID: 39282351
Also note this issue was due to wrong site configuration, as both hub are in same site, that is the reason mailbox server was using both hub server.

I figured out after reading your question again.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Jm_saunders
ID: 39299178
Both are correct - if the sites were configured properly in AD then this would not have been an issue. Configuring the sites properly is therefore the correct solution to the problem, even though this is not what I did in this instance. Thank you for your help!
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