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Exchange 2010 Restore Testing

Posted on 2014-09-12
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Last Modified: 2014-09-20
Twice a year we do a DR test of all are critical systems. This year I get to do Exchange. We are full restoring are AD environment and I know Exchange houses all it config information in Exchange. Now we do backup Exchange using TSM.

We want to do a proof of concept in others bring up Exchange enough so users could email between one and other.

Our production environment has 4 clusters servers. I was only planning on restoring one. By doing a clean install of the OS then doing a install of Exchange using the server recovery switch. Create one or two mailbox and then allow people to use OWA for testing mail. WOuld this work or should I do a full system restore using TSM? We do not need to recover mailbox only get connectivity back online.
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Question by:compdigit44
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Hello,

If you are doing a complete restore of AD, you will not need to create mailboxes. By using the recovery switch, all your mailboxes will be restored into a "dial-tone" database. This means all the mailboxes and other mail objects will be there but your data will not. If you just want to log on with OWA and verify you can send email between mailboxes, this will be fine. Remember, to install your SSL cert on the DR server.

-JJ
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Thanks!!!

My concern is that we have a cluster do I have to restore I or 2 servers in order to get things to work?
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by:Jamie McKillop
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You would only need one server. You also need to make sure you have a CAS and HT role in your DR site.

-JJ
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Ok I am testing this in my lab first. When I run /m:recoverserver is run through it checks but fails because it is missing the following hotfixes:

KB982867, 979744, 983440, 977020 979099 and 2550886. The lab environment does not have internet access nor does our DR site for testing purposes anyway. Is there a way for me to force install Exchange without the hotfixes since searching online direct me to code plex for the downloads
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I don't believe there is any ways to skip those prerequisites.

-JJ
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Thanks...

I am actually having a hard time find these on the codeplex download site which Microsoft directs you to... :o(
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You can search for those hotfixes by KB here:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/search/DownloadResults.aspx?q=982867

-JJ
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Thanks the links helped greatly and got me past these errors..

The new error I am getting when running the /M:recoverserver is "Exchange server is a member of a database availability group."  -FAILED

Does this link outline the correct process I need to follow:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd638206%28v=exchg.150%29.aspx

Also I need Exchange to be installed on a drive other than the C:\ drive.
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Yes, the instructions in the link are the ones you should follow. If you need to install Exchange in a different location than the default, use the /TargetDir switch.

-JJ
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Ok, stupid question

1) My production environment has 4 servers and in my lab I am recovering one the one that i want to recover is the one I need to remove using powershell correct?

2) How can I run the Exchange powersheel commandlets when I do not have Exchange installed in my lab?
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Yes, you want to remove the one you are trying to recover.

You will need to install the Exchange Management tools on a system in your lab.

-JJ
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OK... here is the Catch-21 I am finding myself in..
In my lab I have a import a copy of the DC which old all FSMO rolls and working perfectly. I created a new VM with the same name of the exchange server that I want to recover. Reset compute pwd...

Now since I have four Exchange server is a DAG and only want to recover one I need to follwo the KB article I listed before.  THe problem is from my workstation I install the Exchange Management tools but cannot run the Exchange shell becuase it cannot connect to an Exchange server .... This is my catch-21 ... How can i use the Exchange shell to remove a reference to a DAG which I cannot connect to an Exchange server
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by:Jamie McKillop
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So, what you are going to have to do is bring up a CAS server in the DR site first.

-JJ
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But all of our Exchange servers host all Exchange rolls...
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by:Jamie McKillop
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You can just install a new CAS server in the DR site. It shouldn't have any impact on your testing. You could even uninstall it once you get your server recovered.

-JJ
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OK .. I am try it now.
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I am making progress.... thanks to you!!!!

I am able to run the Exchange powershell commands... When I type in get-mailboxdb it list three DB associated with the server i want to recover. Are these copies? Should I remove them all as outline in the KB?
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by:Jamie McKillop
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Yes, you would now follow the instructions in the KB.

-JJ
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I will keep you posted..

This is my first time recovering a HA exchange server. I have only done a single Exchange server in the past.
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Error... DB1 is host on the server I am want to  remove ... You need to use Move-Activecopy....
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Ok all my DB's on the host appear to be listed as active. I am going to try  the move command and it that fails remove the DB. In a true DR if you removed the DB's how would you attached new one's to recover the user's original mailbox
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It looks like I will have to remove the DB's since none of the other server are online...

Problem is that i now get the errors copies of the DB reside on other servers...

Is there a way to force delete?
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Shouldn't all users have the same email signature?

You wouldn't let your users design their own business cards, would you? So, why do you let them design their own email signatures? Think of the damage they could be doing to your brand reputation! Choose the easy way to manage set up and add email signatures for all users.

 
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Don't remove the DBs. Run Move-Activedatabasecopy but use the -configurationonly switch. This will make the change in AD without the need for the other servers to be online.

-JJ
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-configurationonly is not recognized as a switch
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Hmm, I don't think you are going to be able to restore using the recovery switch then. You would essentially need a server on which all the databases are passive copies. The only way I see you being able to restore a single server is if you have a full image of the server you can use to restore. Something like a VM snapshot.

-JJ
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SO I I bring up another Exchange server online would I then be able to install Exchange using the recoverserver switch? ALso since I now how to server I need a witness. Does this need to be the same witness share name as in production? Do I need to remove by test CAS server so do I still need this?
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I found this article on how to recover a whole DAG. I understand that all my servers have active DB but surprise there isn't a way to force move a DB..

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg513521(v=exchg.141).aspx
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Based on the link you posted, you should only need to remove the passive copies of the databases. I've never gone through the process of recovering the whole DAG, so I can only speculate here, but what will likely happen is that you will only be able to mount the databases that were active on the server you are recovering. You would need to recover additional servers to mount the databases that were active on those servers.

-JJ
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Thanks the feedback...

So here is where I stand.

1) Exchange 2010 is not installed
2) I have a small server running Exchange CAS and MGMT which I am using to run Exchange Powershell commands from
3) I created another Exchange Vm in my lab reset the computer account etc....
4) When I go and move the active copies of one of the servers it states that the Exchange Replication service is not running which makes sence becuase Exchange is not installed  Isn't this a catch-22

In a true DR would I be able to remove one server that was part of a DR and move / mount all mailbox to this server?
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You don't want to move the active copies. You won't be able to do that. The next step, as outline in the KB, is to remove the passive copies.

-JJ
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how do I know the difference between an active and passive copy. SO do I really need to recover two Exchange servers in order to get this to work?
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Run Get-MailboxDatabase | Fl

This will tell you which server each database is active on.

If you want to use any databases that are active on servers other than the one you are recovering, you will also need to recover those servers.

-JJ
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OK, I removed all copies so only the active one's remain... I am going to try and run the recovery again and will keep you posted... Will a dialtone recovery work for users who's mailbox is not active on the server?
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You will only be able to access mailboxes that were on the active databases in the recovered server.

-JJ
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SO it sounds like for a DR... I wound need to recover all 4 servers sine all servers have ACtive DB's in order to use dialtone restore mode at a minimum.
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I was able to take one of my 4 exchange serve and recover it .

I imported my Cert, updated DNS yet when I go to my OWA page.. I get the IIS7 splash screen..

I can open the EMC.... how can I tell which mailboxe I are in dialtome recovery mode? WOuld I be able to delete a mailbox and attach a new blank one for testing?
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I think I see the problem..

I fired up a new vm originally to run the EMC and CAS rolls from so I could prepare the environment for recovery. I now see the server listed on top of my list for CAS rolls. I am trying to uninstall it now.. I believe exchange is trying to hit this server first...

Is the the correct process for recovering Exchange? To install the CAS and EMC on another server just to prepare the environment? I did not want to install the CAS roll I was recovering because I didn't want to mess up the restore.. Any thoughts on my questions for yesterday?
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If you don't have a CAS server available, you have no choice but to install one as you cannot use Exchange powershell commands without one.

Even after using the recover switch, you still need to install your SSL cert and verify the CAS server settings.

-JJ
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These settings are stored in AD?
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Most configuration information is stored in AD but some customizations you make are not.

-JJ
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I remove my temp CAS serve I noticed under Server when I click on the server restored I see a red X on the external certificate  I import becuase it cannot be verified becuase there is not internet access which is stopping me from assigning services to it..

Even when I type in the host name of the server I get a blank OWA page..
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For anyone getting a blank OWA page after a install of Update 1, 2, or 3  the following link fix my issue..

http://www.msexchangeblog.nl/2010/05/11/blank-page-in-owa-fix-for-exchange-2010/

I get a error stating my mailbox is not available. With only on server restore how can I tell which mailboxes are on this server. Can I create a temp mailbox for myself?

In a real DR how would I set all DB/mailboxes to dailtone mode? Also if I user did not have a mailbox on the server restored how could I create a new one for them with out remove their Exchange attributes in AD. Could move mailboxes be merged together at some point if needed.

Just trying to think through all the steps.
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I created a new mailbox as a test which worked. I was able to log into OWA but get a mailbox is not unavailibe message. I am runnning  the Exchange BPA now..


Also thank you for sticking with me on this. I have learned so much!!!
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I think my issue may be certificate related. I see my 3rd pary cert listed but with a red X. When I open it I get "WIndows does not have enough information to verify...." Becuase of this I cannot move the services to this cert. I tried to install the lates root update but it did not help. I do have have internet access could this be a problem?
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I figured out my problem.

 I had to create a new blank DB and rehome my databases and Mount it ....

Thank you for all your help
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