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Problem With Outlook Users Connecting To Exchange Server 2010

Posted on 2014-02-10
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-02-13

We have 3 Exchange 2010 SP3 servers running on Win 2012 Server.  
Server 436, Server BYD, Server 50R.   All servers are mailbox, client access and hub transport.
We are running a DAG between all 3 for the mailbox.   Works great  - no problems.

The users are all running Outlook 2013.   When a user is set up for Outlook, we enter the generic name of the server -  mail.calvaryspringfield.org.   This then resolves to Server BYD.  Before Server BYD was installed, this resolved to Server 50R.  
Under normal circumstances this works fine.  Users connect to Server BYD thru Outlook.
However, if for some reason, Server BYD hangs up, then the users cannot connect to Exchange and their Outlook hangs up or when they try to start Outlook, it hangs loading profile.   We have a problem, that were are working with the vendor on, where our backup program will sometimes it will hang when backing up the Exchange Database.  (I might mention that Server BYD is normally a mailbox backup server.)  

So, when this backup hang occurs, users are shut out and cannot use Outlook.   Having said all that, here is my questions:

1) Is there a way to force users to connect to a specific Exchange Server when setting up Outlook.   I have tried entering the names of the other two servers and it always changes it to Server BYD.

2) Is there a way for users to connect to a "generic" server name and which will then connect to any of the 3 servers.  Similar to multiplexing connections between the 3 Exchange Servers?

Please advise.  Thanks.
Question by:rstuemke
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Expert Comment

by:Will Szymkowski
ID: 39847656
If you are running a DAG with all of the Mailbox servers I would check the health of this first. You said
However, if for some reason, Server BYD hangs up, then the users cannot connect to Exchange and their Outlook hangs up or when they try to start Outlook, it hangs loading profile

This is not how a DAG should work. If it is happening I would check the status/health of the DAG first. It is obviously not failing over to the other members.

Answers below...
1. There is no way to force a client to connect to another Mailbox server. You need to have this setup properly on the backend when using DAG. If you DAG is not failing over properly your users will continue to look at the DAG member that is in a "hung"state and not work until this member is back online.

2. Answer to this is no. When you have a mailbox database in a DAG scenario this database is the primary database on this DAG member. A single database cannot be split as active across different DAG members.

What I would recommend is checking the health status of your DAG using the below commands.

Get-MailboxDatabaseCopyStatus | fl

I would also recommend that you check your logs on the database servers as well, and also check the Failover Clustering Logs as this is probably where the issue is happening as the members are not failing over properly. If the DAG members are configured correctly the others DAG member servers (that host the database will become active and start hosting the database) users will then be able to connect.

LVL 63

Accepted Solution

Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 2000 total points
ID: 39847845
Do you not have an RPC CAS Array? As you have multiple servers that is almost a mandatory requirement for the clients to connect to. This would be an internal name, not on the SSL certificate or external DNS. The clients then connect to that instead of the real server's name.

Clients do not connect to the Mailbox Role, they connect to the CAS role. Says to me that perhaps something has been changed, which deploying an RPC CAS Array would resolve.


Author Comment

ID: 39848110
Clarification on question #2...... understand running of the single database.  Just wanted to be able to connect to any server to get to it.

You mention a very important issue.... why can't the users auto switch to other members of the DAG, when this one hangs up.   The mailboxes swap over fine when a server has a problem or is restarted.   The users do not.

One more item, I forgot to mention.  Server BYD also has its own database, which is just the journal mailbox.  This mailbox is also part of DAG and copy resides on the other backup server - 50R.

Results of test-replication health on Server BYD:
Server                     Check                             Result         Error
1730WBYD39Y1    ClusterService                Passed
1730WBYD39Y1    ReplayService                Passed
1730WBYD39Y1    ActiveManager               Passed
1730WBYD39Y1    TasksRpcListener           Passed
1730WBYD39Y1    TcpListener                    Passed
1730WBYD39Y1    ServerLocatorService    Passed
1730WBYD39Y1    DagMembersUp             Passed
1730WBYD39Y1    ClusterNetwork             Passed
1730WBYD39Y1    QuorumGroup               Passed
1730WBYD39Y1    DBCopySuspended         Passed
1730WBYD39Y1    DBCopyFailed                 Passed
1730WBYD39Y1    DBInitializing               Passed
1730WBYD39Y1    DBDisconnected             Passed
1730WBYD39Y1    DBLogCopyKeepingUp         Passed
1730WBYD39Y1    DBLogReplayKeepingUp       Passed

Ran on other servers.   All passed.
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LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 39848140
The DAG only protects the mailbox database, it has nothing to do with the client access - which includes Outlook.
Therefore if you want completely transparent high availability you need load balancers.

The behaviour you are seeing with the clients not moving across is what I would expect to see.


Author Comment

ID: 39848515
I did not have a client access array set up.    However, I have deployed it and tested it for connectivity with Outlook.  Working thru the issue with Outlook getting disconnected when it changed client access name.    Seems to be a known problem for already established databases and outlook clients.

Author Comment

ID: 39850290
OK.   Followed the instructions for setting up Client Access Array.
Have DNS host record for casarray.calvaryspringfield.org    IP
Created a new mailbox database and set the RPC Client Access Server to point to

Moved a test user mailbox to that database.   In account settings in Outlook, the server name is casarray.calvaryspringfield.org       Did a repair of the account and it finished successfully.  However, Outlook will not connect.  Shows working offline.   Researched this problem and  the procedure I followed was supposed to allow it to connect to the CAS and work as CONNECTED.   I cannot see anything wrong.  Can you assist me?   Please advise.  Thanks.

Author Comment

ID: 39850389
Supplemental information:

[PS] C:\exchangescripts>get-clientaccessarray | fl

RunspaceId        : f66a95af-29c8-4862-8ff6-344a5db93ef2
ExchangeLegacyDN  : /o=Calvary Temple/ou=Exchange Administrative Group (FYDIBOHF23SPDLT)/cn=Configuration/cn=Servers/cn
Fqdn              : casarray.calvaryspringfield.org
Site              : calvaryspringfield.org/Configuration/Sites/Default-First-Site-Name
SiteName          : Default-First-Site-Name
Members           : {1730W50RXBX1, 1730W436QPS1, 1730WBYD39Y1}
AdminDisplayName  :
ExchangeVersion   : 0.1 (8.0.535.0)
Name              : CTCC_ClientAccesArray
DistinguishedName : CN=CTCC_ClientAccesArray,CN=Arrays,CN=Exchange Administrative Group (FYDIBOHF23SPDLT),CN=Administra
                    tive Groups,CN=Calvary Temple,CN=Microsoft Exchange,CN=Services,CN=Configuration,DC=calvaryspringfi
Identity          : CTCC_ClientAccesArray
Guid              : 47e0f020-c798-4824-9206-538a36af9804
ObjectCategory    : calvaryspringfield.org/Configuration/Schema/ms-Exch-Client-Access-Array-2
ObjectClass       : {top, server, msExchExchangeServer, msExchClientAccessArray}
WhenChanged       : 2/10/2014 1:00:37 PM
WhenCreated       : 2/10/2014 1:00:37 PM
WhenChangedUTC    : 2/10/2014 7:00:37 PM
WhenCreatedUTC    : 2/10/2014 7:00:37 PM
OrganizationId    :
OriginatingServer : 1730WDCX1VF1.calvaryspringfield.org
IsValid           : True

[PS] C:\exchangescripts>Get-MailboxDatabase | fl name,*rpc*

Name                  : Mailbox Database 436
RpcClientAccessServer : 1730W436QPS1.calvaryspringfield.org

Name                  : Journal Database BYD
RpcClientAccessServer : 1730W436QPS1.calvaryspringfield.org

Name                  : Mailbox Database 50R
RpcClientAccessServer : casarray.calvaryspringfield.org

Name                  : User Mailbox Database
RpcClientAccessServer : casarray.calvaryspringfield.org

User Mailbox Database is the one I moved the test user mailbox to.

Author Comment

ID: 39850416
WHOA!  Maybe I found the problem.  The name may does not match the DNS record.
Access spelled wrong on the array name.   So I fixed the DNS record to match the array name.
Did a repair on the Outlook account - Successful.
Did not fix Outlook........
Now Outlook says DISCONNECTED, when I try to go online.   Still cannot get it to connect.
Need assistance.   I am surely missing something.   Please advise....

Author Comment

ID: 39850523
Ugh oh!!   Found a mistake.   DNS record had the name of the CAS and not the FQDN
Fixed the DNS record.
So did another repair and now Outlook goes into TRYING TO CONNECT for a while then goes into a DISCONNECTED state.   Now, I need assistance.  Thanks.
LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 39850935
It could just be cached information, particularly with DNS entries, and you either need to wait for the cache to expire or flush the cache. Ensure the DNS entry for the CAS Array has a TTL time that is very short.


Author Comment

ID: 39851607
Ok..... go the test user to work when I deleted the Outlook profile and recreated it.   Do not want to have to do that for 100+ users.    Hoping to get it to change and work automatically.

Still testing, now with my journal user mailbox.  Moved it to a new database which uses the Client Access Array, cleared DNS cache on the PC which runs its outlook.  Did a account repair.   Trying to connect.   Will let it set for awhile and see what happens.
LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 39852664
There is no way to get the change to happen automatically.
The CAS Array only applies on a new profile or doing a repair of the profile. That will mean each machine has to be visited.

Personally I would change all of the databases. It will not affect any existing users, but any new profiles created will be using the new address.


Author Comment

ID: 39853260
Ok.... one more question if you please.......

I have got this to work on only 1 user that was moved to this new database.   I moved 3 other users over there.   Tried just a repair and it finds the casarray.calvaryspringfield.org  but then Outlook hangs trying to connect.  So I go into the account and do a manual repair.  When I click on CHECK NAME, it responds after a while with.....  THE NAME CANNOT BE RESOLVED   THE CONNECTION TO MICROSOFT EXCHANGE IS UNAVAILABLE.

In MORE SETTINGS, I have tried a few changes, such as unchecking CONNECT TO MICROSOFT EXCHANGE USING HTTP.    Nothing seems to make a difference.  Cannot get it to connect.  How can I fix this problem????    Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.
LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 39853975
Check whether Autodiscover is working correctly.
Hold down CTRL while right clicking on the Outlook icon in the system tray. Choose Test EMail Autoconfiguration.

Switching to a CAS Array shouldn't be this difficult, because it is just a DNS entry and small configuration in Exchange. The DNS entry needs to point to a server with the CAS role.


Author Comment

ID: 39856150
Changed the DNS entry to point to an existing CAS server and it worked.    The documentation I found seemed a bit confusing on this issue and I had it just pointing to a reserved, unused IP address.   Thanks for all the help.

My apologies to Will, I meant to divy out some of the points to you also, but forgot to do that.  Sorry.

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