Exchange Server DAG mailbox server VMware network configuration

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

I'm about to deploy Exchange Server 2013 SP1 in a DAG configuration on VMware ESXi server DRS cluster.

As per my understanding, the requirement is 2x vNICs:

1x vNIC - RPC over HTTP (Outlook client connection)
1x vNIC - DAG replication between servers (separate VLAN or IP address class or non-routable)

So my question is that, do I need to use 2x vNIC like the above or can it be just one vNIC ?

If two vNICs is required, How do I configure the vSwitch on each of the ESXi servers in DRS cluster so that the secondary vNIC that is only used between DAG mailbox server can still be functioning in the event of vMotion or Fully automatic DRS rebalancing.

Thanks in advance
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Support Escalation Engineer
Commented:
You no longer need a separate NIC for the DAG. Exchange 2013 uses Ipless DAG.

http://windowsitpro.com/blog/exchange-2013-sp1-introduces-simplified-dags

Author

Commented:
OK, so if one vNIC is enough, then what's the consequence or caveats in using IP-less DAG ?

my backup software is Veeam and they support it.
SaberSupport Escalation Engineer
Commented:
The Caveat is that Exchange will manage the DAG.

From the link above:

Simply put, if you run Exchange 2013 SP1 mailbox servers on Windows 2012 R2 servers, you can create a DAG that doesn’t need an IP address and doesn’t use a CNO or network name resource. In fact, Exchange goes a step further and doesn't require cluster information to be recorded in DNS. This is because Exchange takes responsibility for managing cluster information and uses the data held in its configuration container in Active Directory instead. The intention is to simplify the creation and management of DAGs by reducing some of the resource requirements and removing the need for Exchange to create computer objects in Active Directory.

This however is only for a NEW DAG, not an existing DAG where there is already an IP address. You'll need to use setup the second IP if you are adding this server into an existing DAG.
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Author

Commented:
Hi Saber,

Based on this document: http://www.vmware.com/content/dam/digitalmarketing/vmware/en/pdf/solutions/vmware-microsoft-exchange-2013-best-practices-guide.pdf on page 18, it says that it requires two vNICs for DAG ?

Is it no longer mandatory for the new IP-less DAG deployment ?
I assume that with the IP less DAG there is no need to create MSCS or FailOver clustering from the OS level ?
SaberSupport Escalation Engineer
Commented:
IP Less DAG wasn't introduced until Exchange 2013 SP1 (CU4).  I'm not sure which version of Exchange 2013 VMWares documentation is referencing. Pre-Exchange 2013 CU4, Yes IP for DAG separate NICs/IPs was required. Post Exchange 2013 CU4, no longer required for a separate NIC/IP as it introduced IP Less DAGs.

This walks you through step-by-step on how to setup an Exchange 2013 IP Less DAG.

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

You will be using the "Active Directory-detatched cluster" method

Author

Commented:
Thanks !

Author

Commented:
Hi Saber,

Does placing the Log files for Exchange DAG member really matters or not ?

I know that the mailbox DB must be on the same drive letter. But how about the log files ?

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