Exchange 2010 DAG senario

My current environment is as follows:

Primary Site:

Domain Controller

Primary_DAG1 - EX-01, EX-02  (All active copies are on EX-01)


I am going to add a 3rd exchange server (EX-03) into a new site called DR.  I am assuming I'll just need another domain controller in this site along with new exchange server?  I don't believe I'll need another file witness server will I?

Also, in terms of enabling DAC mode on the DAG, should I do this?  If we were to completely lose the primary site (natural disaster) we won't be able to manually mount the database copies stored on EX-03 until EX-03 is able to communicate with 1 of the other 2 exchange servers in the primary site.

How would you guys go about settings this up?  Thank you!
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Will SzymkowskiSenior Solution ArchitectCommented:
In your second site you will be required to also have a CAS/HUB server as well so that mail will flow if there is ever a disaster. When you are using DAC mode it is a manual process, which requires 3 or more members. If the WAN link goes down DAC mode is enforced when you want to maually fail over to your DR site. DACP tells the Exchange server in the DR site that it is now the primary which will allow you to mount the databases in a disaster.

This feature works this way because if you simply lost your WAN link (to your DR site) for 10 minutes you dont want your Exchange active copies failing over to your DR site which is why you use DAC.

Setting up/Enabling DAC -

tnimsAuthor Commented:
Is there a way to manually force the database copy on EX-03 to activate if say the Primary site is gone for good?
Will SzymkowskiSenior Solution ArchitectCommented:
That is what DAC is used for. When you turn on DAC it activates the DR site and makes it the active copy.
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tnimsAuthor Commented:
In my testing, I shutdown all the servers in my Primary site but couldn't get the database copy to activate on EX-03 as it couldn't contact the other exchange servers.

I understand why the EX-03 database copy won't activated because it is trying to prevent split-brain syndrome but if I know that the primary site isn't going to come back online, how can I force the database copy on EX-03 to mount?  Would I have to remove the server from the DAG completely?
Will SzymkowskiSenior Solution ArchitectCommented:
Take a look at the below links which describe how to do a site failover using DAC with your DAG databases. Remember that you need 3 or more members part of this DAG.

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tnimsAuthor Commented:
Thank you for all your responses!  These articles explain this very well.
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