Mirroring a Windows Server 2003 with Exchange Server 2003

I have a customer running a 2003 Standard Server with Exchange Server 2003. He has just made the request to mirror the entire server for failover.

Do not want to use Microsoft clustering. I have seen a few online. TGMN, DoubleTake, etc. Has anyone ever used such and animal? Suggestions?
LVL 15
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You need to provide more information - Are these OSs pre-installed versions (OEM).  If so you need to consult your license agreement and geography as you may not be able to use DoubleTake - at least in the USA, DoubleTake cannot be used with OEM licenses and they say so.  Doubletake itself is EXPENSIVE.  You also need to ensure you have extra C: space on the target system.  And restoring the system is a huge potential pain - if you/ your client is looking for a "quick switch" this is NOT the product you want.  TEST AND TRY FIRST and NOT using the production server.

Virtualize in Hyper-V and then use Hyper-V Replica.  A Virtual system using Replica is similar to DoubleTake but the failover is much easier and can be done fairly fast - AND the "restore" to the original server is also fairly easy and fairly fast (unlike Doubletake).

The above said, they need to be getting away from 2003 as support is ending in less than a year.  If you want to implement this, use this as an opportunity to upgrade.  If you don't want to move to Exchange 2013/ Server 2012, fine, but buy the VOLUME LICENSES and then you can use downgrade rights to get to Exchange 2010 and Server 2008 R2. (I'd go to 2013/2012 myself).  And you'll get GUI based virtualization management with Hyper-v

Bottom line - this process is not going to be quick and easy or inexpensive, regardless of what route you take - going with anything that keeps 2003 in place is going to be more expensive in the long run because the change will need to be made eventually... even the change to virtual because newer hardware won't support Windows 2003 but a VM likely will for years to come... so even if you want to preserve the 2003 license, moving to a virtual system is going to have to happen sooner or later and using one (Hyper-V) that supports replica might as well be your DR process.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
For what it is worth it is VLA. I told this dude that it isn't really worth looking at just because of the cost. They only have 20 workstations on this LAN. In my opinion their best bet would be to migrate to Office 365 and go with a new Essentials 2012 Server but I told him I would ask.

   Right now they are making nightly images with Acronis and can bare metal restore in an hour. He simply wanted real-time protection with failover. Thanks for the heads-up on DoubleTake.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
The only thing with true real time protection is going to be a cluster.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Microsoft Server OS

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.

Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.