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urgent: how can i build a high availability instant failover exchange local-cloud-remotesite environment?

Posted on 2013-11-19
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Last Modified: 2013-12-04
we have 2 excghange 2010 servers at our organization - one at the headoffice and the second one at a remote site. the primary exchange server hosts about 300 mailboxes and 2000 public folders and the remote site server hosts 30 mailboxes and about a 1000 public folders.. due to inconsistent power supply and other political/external factors owing to our geographical location of these 2 offices, we would like to design a high availability exchange system that would fail over automatically upon a single point of faiilure to the other server or a third passive server in the cloud. is such as system possible? our company relies more than most others on public folders and is the reason why the servers cannot be hosted at a datacenter as such... at any moment, there are serveral users accessing public folders (about 20 new ones created daily).. so we would prefer a system which is an extension of our current setup, whereby, the users can access the server locally in normal conditions, and have their outlook (outlook anywhere or RPC client) authomatically switch over to a redundant system eirther at our remote location or better yet, a third system in the cloud, upon failure of mainoffice or remote site servers. there may be situations to consider where both the main office as well as the remote site may have no power or be inaccessible due to external factors. thats why we need a third system just for emergenciy (in the cloud)... however, in such scenarios, public folder access restrictions (speed, etc) can be considered and understood by management. but in any case, email should always be accessible without user action requirement - should be automatic... the implementation may not happen immediately, but a plan is immediately required. therefore, your help in designing such a system is highly appreciated. thanks in advance.
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Question by:interloper-z
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Jamie McKillop earned 2000 total points
ID: 39662504
Hello,

You cannot have an automated datacenter switchover with Exchange 2010. Datacenter switchovers are a manual process because is is imperative that the DAG members in the failed datacenter be properly terminated to ensure that you don't end up with a split-brain scenario. You also must manually update your DNS records to point to the backup datacenter.

In order to use the cloud as failover site, you would need to find a hosting provider that would provide you with a dedicated Exchange server and at least one domain controller. You cannot use a traditional Exchange cloud provider, such as Office365. This cost of this would probably make it not worthwhile and there would be security issues of extending your Active Directory into a 3rd party.

You would be better off putting your resources into UPS and backup generators in your current sites. Alternatively, your could work on removing reliance on public folders and just move 100% to the cloud. You could likely convert your public folders to mailboxes or move some functionality to SharePoint, unless you have some sort of customization that relies on public folders specifically.

-JJ
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