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Implementing Exchange 2013 DAG across multi site

Posted on 2013-12-04
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Last Modified: 2014-01-12
Hi,

With the new Exchange Server 2013 SP1 release, is it possible for me to deploy my server as the following setup for the DAG availability:

Production Site A
PROD-MBX1.domain.com
MAPI network: 10.1.100.11
DAG network: 10.2.2.11
AD Site: Domain-Site-A

Recovery Site B
DR-MBX1.domain.com
MAPI network: 10.1.200.22
DAG network: 10.3.3.11
AD Site: Domain-Site-B

This will be deployed across two different VMware ESXi host in two different Data center over Dark Fibre ring WAN

If anyone can provide some diagram example and input that will be good.

Thanks
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by:Adam Farage
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Since I can ramble on about DAGs for a few hours, I rather give you a very good put together article that covers most (if not all) your questions from MSFT..

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd638129%28v=exchg.150%29.aspx

Besides this, out of your whole design (which looks proper btw, different AD sites.. subnets, proper networking) I would recommend adding a second node in the primary site. Depending on the severity of an outage of your primary DC, you could sustain a single node failure and stay online.

Furthermore, I would also HIGHLY recommend enabling DAC (Datacenter Activation Coordinator) since you are spanning a two node DAG across two DC. You can read more about that here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd979790%28v=exchg.150%29.aspx

I think the best thing to do is read through these, and let us know if you have any questions. I am sorry I didn't give it a bit more personal touch, I just didnt want to flood you with improper information.

The short answer to your question is yes, it will work.
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by:Senior IT System Engineer
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Cool, that does sounds great mate !

so I will have to do the following deployment as you suggested:

Production Site A
PROD-MBX1.domain.com
MAPI network: 10.1.100.11
DAG network: 10.2.2.11
AD Site: Domain-Site-A

PROD-MBX2.domain.com
MAPI network: 10.1.100.12
DAG network: 10.2.2.12
AD Site: Domain-Site-A

So the DR mailbox server is just a Standby Continuous Cluster server ?

Recovery Site B
DR-MBX1.domain.com
MAPI network: 10.1.200.22
DAG network: .... (Do I really need it )
AD Site: Domain-Site-B

How does it affects the server licensing ? does the third server in the Data center also counted as well in total of 3x Exchange Server 2013 Enterprise license ?
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by:Adam Farage
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Hehe, I need to correct one thing since this gave me a bad flashback:

So the DR mailbox server is just a Standby Continuous Cluster server ?

Please don't call it this :) hehe.. There was a thing called SCC (Standby Continuous Clustering) in Exchange 2007, and it basically was two nodes sharing a single copy of data. In my opinion, it was disaster that was killed off when the DAG (Exchange 2010) was introduced.

The DAG network is your replication network (You will see in some documents where they talk about a repl / replication network - your DAG network and the MAPI network, which is your LAN). Trust me, you would rather have your replication traffic (e.g: transaction logs shipping, active manager, ect) traffic separate from your LAN. Not only is it a recommended practice, but I have seen client networks where they would force both MAPI / REPL traffic over the LAN NIC, and the NIC would over-saturate and then fail a database over since the Active Manager could not be contacted on the node.

As for licensing, yes. If I remember correctly (I don't do much of licensing anymore, I hate it.. its convoluted) you need a server CAL per server you deploy. You can deploy both CAS / Mailbox on the same server, and that is a single CAL but for each *physical* machine that is running Exchange you should have a separate license for it.

Anything else let me know.
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by:Senior IT System Engineer
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Cool, so what about the third server ?
is that going to be just another standby server or the 3rd node in a DAG which means the replication traffic goes triangle ?
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-edit-

My last comment was written via mobile, so I wanted to update it so it was a little more clear..

If you are doing a three node DAG (two in the primary datacenter, one in the DR site) you should probably split the load across the two "active" nodes within the primary datacenter and bulk up the DR node for a "last man" standing situation. Although MSFT does not recommend relying on a single node, if sized correctly you could in fact sustain your SMTP / CAS and MBX traffic long enough until you can recover your primary DC.

The reason I mentioned a second node (or you can do four nodes, two in the primary and two in the secondary DC) is because of a few reason:

1) Looking outside of the Exchange mailbox role, we can setup the CAS role for redundancy within the primary DC.
2) You can sustain a single mailbox node failure in the primary DC before having to activate your DR copies.

I would *highly* recommend reviewing all of your sizing numbers through the Microsoft Exchange (2013) Role Calculator, as this not only provides you the "recommended" sizing per node but also the recommended layout of your DAG, along with the backup and storage configurations. Things I cannot tell you unless we sat down for a few hours over beers figuring this out :)

Cheers - let me know if you have any further questions!
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by:Senior IT System Engineer
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ok, the reason why I was doing the 2 Prod and 1 DR is that to try the same approach as the existing environment:

2 Prod CCR nodes and then 1 DR node SCR from one of the active node on Production Data center.
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