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Moving to Exchange DAG from single server


Currently I have exchange 2013 setup on a single server.  I have the OS installed on C: and the exchange and all mailboxes + databases on D:.  This is on a Windows Server 2008 R2 OS.

I want to build a new server and implement Exchange DAG groups.  I am wondering if that would work fine with Exchange being installed on the D: of the current server if a fail over occurred?

I also have licenses for Windows Server 2012 R2 so I was thinking of moving Exchange to that OS.  Steps I was thinking would be to install exchange 2013 on two servers.  Move all the mailboxes + databases to one of the new servers, then add DAG.

Can anyone recommend me a method to migrate to DAG?
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Abdul Khadja AlaoudineCommented:
Your thinking is correct. Let me elaborate it:

1. Build two new servers with Windows Server 2012 R2 OS. Standard edition is sufficient - it has Failover clustering which is required for DAG
2. Provision D drives on new servers
3. Install Exchange 2013 with SP1 (Exchange 2013 SP1 required on Server 2012 R2)
3. Create Mailbox Database(s) on new Exchange server and ensure it is stored on D drive
4. Move mailboxes to Exchange 2013 Database (DB). I suggest to keep DB less than 500GB. So that it is easy to do maintenance work and also restore from backup if required
5. Elect an existing server to act as Witness server for Exchange DAG. As you are going for two Exchange servers (even number) a witness server is required for DAG. If unable to use existing one build a new server for it. It is not recommended to use Domain Controller (DC) as Witness server
6. It is best to separate MAPI (Outlook access) network from Heartbeat network for DAG. If you decide to separate you need two NICs on each Exchange server
7. Enabled DAG on Exchange 2013 servers
8. Enable mailbox database copy

For more information see:

Let me know if you need further information.
ts11Author Commented:
Thanks.  Just one question around mailboxes and databases.  I currently have 5 databases setup, each has around 50 mailboxes.  When I move these mailboxes, do I need to create new mailbox databases or is there a way to move mailboxes and databases together to a new server?
Abdul Khadja AlaoudineCommented:
When you have built two new Exchange 2013 servers on Server 2012 R2 and created DAG you can join the single server (that you have currently) to the DAG and create database copy.

The other option is once DAG is created on new Exchange 2013 servers create new Databases and move the mailboxes from the server you are currently running to new databases on new Exchange 2013 servers.

Please note that if you are using Standard Edition of Exchange 2013 you can have only up to 5 databases (including passive copy of Databases in DAG). If Exchange 2013 servers are Enterprise edition they can have up to 50 databases (including passive copy of databases in DAG). Please let me know if you need further information.
ts11Author Commented:

I think doing a mailbox copy to new databases on the created DAG is probably the best option as I would need to cluster the disk of the standalone installation to put it into DAG.
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