Deploying DAG on Exchange 2013 Standard edition

Senior IT System Engineer
Senior IT System Engineer used Ask the Experts™
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Hi All,

I’m about to deploy 2x new Exchange Server 2013 SP1 Standard edition DAG on the Windows Server 2012 R2 VMs.

I wanted to simplify the operational management as much as possible, hence I heard in the 2013 SP1 I can deploy the DAG without witness server (Dynamic Quorum) and also IP less DAG.

Can anyone here please share some pitfalls or disadvantage that I need to know before going through the path above ?

How many vNIC per mailbox server do I need it ?

Thanks in advance.
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Commented:
I think it can help you

http://techgenix.com/exchange-2013-dag-dynamic-quorum-part1/

http://msexchangeguru.com/2014/03/21/e2013sp1-ip-less-dag/

You should have at least two vNICs one for replication second for communication.

Author

Commented:
ok, so is it absolute minimum to have two vNICs ?
I assume that the second vNIC should have the different non-routable VLAN ?

Commented:
Yes you`re right.
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Systems Engineer
Top Expert 2016
Commented:
With any DAG, you only need one NIC.  Performance is better with multiple NICs but only if your network has segregated VLANs with separate switches, etc.  With an IP-less DAG, you only need one NIC.

Make sure your applications, such as backup, etc., are compatible with DAGS without administrative access points (IP-less).

Regarding quorum (dynamic or otherwise), a witness server is required.  In 2013 and 2010, if a witness server was not specified Exchange would attempt to locate an Exchange non-mailbox server to assign as a witness server.  If no such server, then the creation of the DAG failed.

Take a look at the following references. Be sure to watch the associated videos as well.


Lastly, don't install Exchange 2013 SP1. CU15 is available and stable; and CU16 will be coming out this month.

Author

Commented:
Todd,

Thanks for sharing the knowledge more about Exchange Server 2013. So it seems it is possible to combine the two feature:

IP-less DAG with Dynamic Quorum into the solution since I'm building the OS for the mailbox server on Windows Server 2012 R2.

OK, so if I install the additional Mailbox server in a new DAG config with 2013 SP1+CU16, can I still migrate my mailboxes to the new DAG-enabled DB ?

Author

Commented:
Regarding quorum (dynamic or otherwise), a witness server is required.  In 2013 and 2010, if a witness server was not specified Exchange would attempt to locate an Exchange non-mailbox server to assign as a witness server.  If no such server, then the creation of the DAG failed.

At the moment:
AD Site: HQ
PRODEXC01-VM - Stand Alone Mailbox + CAS

AD Site: Site-2
PRODEXC02-VM - Stand Alone Mailbox + CAS

AD Site: Site-3
PRODEXC03-VM - Stand Alone Mailbox + CAS

The proposed solution that I am building will be:

AD Site: HQ
PRODEXC01-VM - Stand Alone Mailbox + CAS
PRODEXC03-VM - Mailbox DAG1 - Member

AD Site: Site-2
PRODEXC02-VM - Stand Alone Mailbox + CAS
PRODEXC04-VM - Mailbox DAG1 - Member

AD Site: Site-3
PRODEXC03-VM - Stand Alone Mailbox + CAS

All of the mailbox DB is migrated accross to the DAG1 member. While the remaining CAS server is used for OWA & Active Sync.
Todd NelsonSystems Engineer
Top Expert 2016
Commented:
First, you do not need to install Exchange 2013 SP1 (CU4) and then the newest CU.  Because the CUs are cumulative, only the latest CU needs to be installed is you are installing a fresh server.

Second, MS strongly discourages anything but multi-role Exchange--and has since 2010.

But to answer your question, "so if I install the additional Mailbox server in a new DAG config with 2013 SP1+CU16, can I still migrate my mailboxes to the new DAG-enabled DB ?"  Yes, if you install additional Exchange servers and configure for DAG, you can move your mailboxes to the DBs hosted by the members of the DAG.

I hope that answers your question.

Author

Commented:
Thanks guys !

Author

Commented:
Hi Todd,

Does placement of the Exchange transaction logs must also be on the same drive letter for the DAG member ?
Todd NelsonSystems Engineer
Top Expert 2016

Commented:
The logs can be on a different drive from the databases but for a specific database must match for the other DAG members hosting that specific database.  It may be best to have them on a separate drives depending on the type of storage/RAID is being used.

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