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Separating Virtual Network Adapter for Exchange Server 2013 backup and heart beat ?

Posted on 2013-11-14
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Last Modified: 2013-11-18
Hi People,

I'm in the process of building my Exchange Server 2013 with high availability requirement for 24/7 company on top of VMware vSphere ESXi 5.1 U1

As i will be deploying the VM 2x mailbox server across different VLAN / Subnet on two diffferent AD sites (same domain but different sites),

Does in this case I need to add 1x vNIC as Backup Network or the backup can be done through the passive node ?

Do I need to provide Heartbeat network that is using the same VLAn on both VM above ?

The underlying OS is Windows Server 2012
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by:mattclarified
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Hi,

If you are going across sites, you will need to create a new vSwitch for the heartbeat network and give it a physical adapter. If the servers were using the same host, then this host would not need an adapter but as you say they across sites it will need one so they can communicate.
After this it is up to you how to connect it, I would recommend using separate network ports to the standard MAPI connection adapters, as replication traffic can take up quite a lot of bandwidth

M@
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by:Mahesh
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you can use different VLANs
Please check below MS Article
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd638129(v=exchg.150).aspx
If you use 3rd party softwares, probably they can backup passive copy
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/exchange/en-US/6eda83d7-a498-4066-a879-9bb6658b7441/exchange-2013-dag-backup?forum=exchangesvrgeneral
Hope that helps
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Just read my answer back and it doesn't make the clearest sense! In answer to your questions;

Does in this case I need to add 1x vNIC as Backup Network or the backup can be done through the passive node ?

Yes, you will need to have 2 NIC's on each exchange server, one that handles the MAPI connections, which should be forst in the binding order and one that handles Replication.

For the second NIC, give it an IP like 10.10.10.1 /24 with no gateway on one server and 10.10.10.2 /24 on the second, and add these NIC's to the heartbeat vSitch network you create. After this you can use the same vlan if you wish as it shouldn't make any difference, as long as you make sure that the MAPI network can't see the replication network.

Do I need to provide Heartbeat network that is using the same VLAn on both VM above ? Yes, you will need a heartbeat network, and you should create a new vlan for this network traffic, so that it's not seen on your main network.

M@
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in my current Exchange Server 2007 CCR, the backup is done in Passive node, so I'm not sure what should i do in the new DAG 2013.

Cool so I will need 3 vNIC each with its own IP address class / VLAN ?
1 vNIC VLAN A for Production MAPI Outlook connection
1 vNIC VLAN B for Heartbeat connection to the passive DR node
1 vNIC VLAN C for backup & DAG replication connection

the problem is... how to separate each of the traffic to each of its own purpose like the above ?
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by:mattclarified
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You shouldn't need a separate NIC for the heartbeat and the DAG replication, as they are in essence, both using the connection as a server to server ad-hoc link, and will be able to do all their communication there.
When you create the DAG, you will need to specify a witness server (can be any server in your environment, I have used DC's or management server's in the past) and this will monitor and trigger a failover command if necessary.
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Cool, So in this case i should No longer need quorum disk anymore :-)

I guess I can select one of the CAS server role to be the file share witness.

DAG and the heartbeat can be consolidate into one single network.
And the other one is Outlook MAPI connection.

Is that correct ?
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by:mattclarified
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That's right, because each exchange server holds a copy of the database you don't need anything in between. You still use Microsoft clustering for the networking but that's it.

I also setup an alternate witness server in the DR/Replicated environment, just in case something takes out the witness and the primary exchange server at the same time and then there's nothing to activate the database copy on the replica server.

That's correct, any client connections will come in and out through MAPI, as well as exchange talking to other servers (AD, etc.) and the replication network is used for the intra-server traffic. Just make sure you change the NIC order on the servers so that MAPI is first, and run the command that disables replication on the MAPI network -
Set-DatabaseAvailabilityGroupNetwork -Identity DAG1\DAGNetwork01 -ReplicationEnabled:$false

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Cool, thanks for the clarification Matt,

I guess this is much simpler. Do I have to put any static routes / persistent route for the replication network ?

because in my current Exchange Server 2007 CCR setup, there are two replication group in the Failover Cluster Admin console. Apart from the Mailbox Cluster name, there are two other replication group configured in the Services and Applications namely:

PRODMBX1-VM_group - Online (since the current active mailbox is in Production)
IP: 10.1.137.4
No gateway is defined in the Windows network adapter IP address
Persistent "Route Print" results show that any packet to the 10.1.9.0 is routed to the 10.1.137.14 (gateway address).

RECOMBX1-VM_group - Offline / Failed (since the current active mailbox is in Production), I guess the DR link is not established yet ?
IP: 10.1.9.1
No gateway is defined in the Windows network adapter IP address (vice versa as above)
Persistent "Route Print" results show that any packet to the 10.1.137.0 is routed to the 10.1.9.254 (gateway address).

do I have to configure it that way ?
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by:mattclarified
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Hi,

I have never had to mess with any routes, I simply set an IP address with a /24 subnet on the replication cards and make sure that the servers can ping the other one and that all works fine. I have never had to put in any routes in, as the cards are on their own network so should not need a router or gateway.
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Yes, that is what I had thought initially, but somehow in this new environment, I was faced with this configuration which confused me.

is there any reason that we need to keep those two replication links ?
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I wouldn't say you need them for the new setup, it depends on if you are going to be keeping the 2007 servers after all the work is done.
It's probably best to keep them for now, and then look at getting rid of them once all is tested and confirmed working without them.
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Cool, so  I guess it is the way the Existing 2x CCR mailbox server is set.
hopefully in the next Exchange Server 2013 is much simpler than it is now on CCR 2007.
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Ye, they really sorted things out with Availability and the DAG function in exchange 2010. It still uses CCR but in more of an automated background way that makes it easier to use and install.
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Thanks !
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