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Can you remove exchange server from domain and add it back in safely

Posted on 2014-04-11
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Last Modified: 2014-04-25
Failing over to an exchange server replica (or export), and then failing back, led to a network SID error (backup solution was VEEAM), and the server had to be removed from the domain, and then added back in.

Is this 'safe'?  Are there any possible AD problems than can arise with Exchange?

Just asking because Exchange seems in particular to be very picky about things that perhaps other servers don't seem to care about.

Thanks!
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Question by:NeoDavidShepherd
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aces4all00 earned 500 total points
ID: 39994896
It depends on the version of Exchange.  For 2000/2003 the base configuration object is the server and you may have some AD cleanup you'll have to do to keep things stable.  For 2010/2013 the base configuration object is the DB and Exchange doesn't really care about the server SIDs.  Either way you should be fine as long you reused the same names and Exchange configuration (including domain NetBIOS and DNS domain names).  One exception could be if you were using Exchange 2000/2003 and that server was the first server in the Exchange Organization
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Author Comment

by:NeoDavidShepherd
ID: 39994907
THANK YOU!!!!!!

We have 2010...  and in a failover test, I literally stopped the test when I saw Veeam did not handle the network SID 'magically'.
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Author Closing Comment

by:NeoDavidShepherd
ID: 39994927
If you care to tell me how you know this, I'd be fascinated.
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Expert Comment

by:aces4all00
ID: 39995042
Years and years of working with Exchange (both as a consultant helping other fix their Exchange issues and as an email administrator for a large hospital system) and a lot of learning things the hard way.

A few other things to note about your scenario:

-If your failover test was VM snapshot restore or replica based Veeam should be bringing up an exact copy of the machine including the SID.  I'd open a ticket with your vendor to see why there was a difference.  (Sounds like it's recreating the server instead of restoring a snapshot or image)
-If using autoconfigured (not explicitly set) drive letters you'll need to verify they're correct (I typically mount data drives to folders off the system drive to avoid any drive letter complications).
-You may need to reinstall any certificates.
-In some cases you may need to perform a recovery (pulls config from AD) install of Exchange with setup /m:RecoverServer (volume paths, computer name, and domain must be identical to recovered server).
-If using Windows network load balancing (WLB) you may need to reconfigure the WLB cluster.
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Author Comment

by:NeoDavidShepherd
ID: 39998858
I don't know what to say... if Veeam has really got a product out there that's truly so foundationally messed up, I'm sorry we purchased. I will try the server 2012 replication we have and see how it goes...  I'll dump Veeam for DR stuff and just keep it for emergency backups.
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Author Comment

by:NeoDavidShepherd
ID: 39998942
I just noticed you said I may have to re-install certificates. If the machines are identical, that surprises me. Apparently this whole 'virtual machine' thing is not nearly as pretty and clean as everyone makes it out to be regarding exchange... and I assume Sharepoint.

Thank you for your time, Peter!
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Expert Comment

by:MaximVeeam
ID: 40022371
As I know, Veeam replica is an exact copy of the original VM including all characteristics.
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