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Implementation of CAS Array

Posted on 2014-03-26
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Last Modified: 2014-04-18
Hi, We have three exchange servers 2010 on which all the three roles (CAS/HT/MBX) are installed. This servers are in DAG and within  site only.

Now we are planning to install CAS Array in existing environment for fault tolerance of client connections.  
Can someone guide what would be the prerequisites and changes need to be done in existing organization.
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Question by:sanjayambre
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14 Comments
 
LVL 7

Assisted Solution

by:jimmithakkar
jimmithakkar earned 500 total points
ID: 39955498
Need to use Windows NLB or hardware load balancer,

before that create CAS array

http://exchangeserverpro.com/exchange-server-2010-cas-array/
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Author Comment

by:sanjayambre
ID: 39955566
Thanks for links...Our servers are in DAG that means Failover Cluster Service  is installed.
Do NLB & FCS are supported simultaneously. If not, what is the alternative option to implement CAS Array in our environment.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:jimmithakkar
ID: 39955616
Microsoft will not recommend for using NLB and cluster in same system,

If you have around 1000 user than follow below

first need to create CAS array, let ex. acasarry.mylab.local, then create DNS record for acasarray,

like:

acasarray = A record (Primary Mail server IP)
acasarray = A record (secondary Mail server IP)

DNS server user round robin functionality and load balance b/w to IP for acasarray

# one of my client using same for 5000 user
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Author Comment

by:sanjayambre
ID: 39955644
Ok..In our current environment, CAS & MBX role installed on same server, so we can't install NLB on same server, right?
Do we need to install separate CAS servers.
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:Mahesh Sharma
ID: 39955648
FCS & NLB should not be mixed, its an unsupported scenario.

If you still want to try then you can use multiple NIC's each for FCS & NLB.

Otherwise go for Hardware load balancer
Or if may use ISA/TMG for load balance & have your CAS array point to it.
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LVL 9

Assisted Solution

by:Mahesh Sharma
Mahesh Sharma earned 500 total points
ID: 39955652
http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2011/04/08/robert-s-rules-of-exchange-multi-role-servers.aspx


The single real limitation of the multi-role is the fact that WNLB is not supported on the same server running Windows Failover Clustering. Although Exchange 2010 administrators never have to deal with cluster.exe or any other cluster admin tools, the fact is that DAGs utilize Windows Failover Clustering services to provide a framework for the DAG, utilizing features such as the quorum model and a few other things. This means that if you have a DAG in a multi-role architecture, and you need load balancing (as all highly available solutions will need), you will be forced to purchase a hardware load balancer.
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Author Comment

by:sanjayambre
ID: 39955707
That means either we have to purchase hardware load balancer or Separate CAS server for NLB, right?
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:Mahesh Sharma
ID: 39955781
Yeah, You are right.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:jimmithakkar
ID: 39955890
If you can buy hardware load balancer is good otherwise use DNS round robin, it will also work

no need to install separate CAS on other server.
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Author Comment

by:sanjayambre
ID: 39955898
Please elaborate how DNS round robin works for RPC client connections.
Does it remove requirement of NLB?
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LVL 63

Assisted Solution

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 1000 total points
ID: 39956402
The Exchange product team do not recommend the use of WNLB for Exchange, which is a good job as it sucks. Therefore instead of purchasing additional Exchange licences, get a load balancer.

DNS does not provide any kind of redundancy, It does not remove the need for a load balanced solution unless you are prepared to make manual DNS changes.

Now for the really bad news - you should have had a CAS Array host name in Exchange from day 1. Even if you configure it now, none of the clients will start using it automatically. That means that even if you do have load balancers etc the clients will not go through them.

The only way to get the clients to use the CAS Array address is to repair the Outlook profile. That has to be done by hand - in Outlook accounts, select the account and click repair. That forces the update to happen.

Simon.
0
 

Author Comment

by:sanjayambre
ID: 39958179
Simon, Thanks for clarification.
We  have small organization and hardware load balancer is expensive so we might choose second option to create additional CAS servers since we have additional licenses.

What else we have to consider before creating another CAS servers?
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LVL 63

Accepted Solution

by:
Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 1000 total points
ID: 39961874
You should create the CAS Array now so that you can start to move clients to it.
Otherwise the only thing to worry about is that the CAS role servers must always be the same version or higher than the mailbox servers.

You would have been better of spending the money on a load balancer rather than additional Exchange licences. A load balancer is a lot better solution than WNLB.

Simon.
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