Testing mail flow

Hi experts,

i am applying the latest CU to our exchange servers one at a time.
I am moving all mailboxes to one and taken the other one offline, updating, testing than switching the servers so that one is always handling mailflow,

My question is, what is the best way to test that the server that was updated is working and can handle mailflow before taken the other one offline for the update??

thanks in advance
Ann AbedAsked:
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Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
Create a test user and leave that one behind for the migration.

Then, after the CU has been applied, log in as that user and send/receive email.

Test two-way mailflow  to make sure.  Send inside and outside of your organization.

Personally, I think you are making a lot of work for yourself.  I've never moved mailboxes to another server for an update.

Your standard backups should protect you enough in case something goes sideways.

I've never seen a CU trash a server though.
timgreen7077Exchange EngineerCommented:
Do you have a DAG setup or not?
Ann AbedAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the feedback Scott,
Agree it may be an overkill. but I work for a large organization and must follow process haha.
Testing internal and external and all that good stuff is on my list,
I dont think my question was clear.
I would like to test to see that the one server is working and handling mail before i take the other server offline.

My test  emails will go through, there will always be one server running. how do i confirm that SERVER1 is back?
I am not moving mailboxes :), its a simple click on the EMC to direct the DataBases to use server2.

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Ann AbedAuthor Commented:
Yes we do have a DAG
Ann AbedAuthor Commented:
My plan is to switch over the DBs over to the Server2 - server that is handling the mailflow while server1 is being updated.
And switch the database that my mailbox is in to SERVER1 once its done and test that way.

any thoughts?

FYI - please keep in mind i have to follow the above process of keeping one mailserver running and switch dbs
Ann AbedAuthor Commented:
My bad, moving the DBs is not just a simple switch, however the move takes about 1 minute, if i do it one at a time which is doable we only have few,
3 servers - make up our DAG
2 servers will continue running while one is offline.
 I didnt mention the one as it in our DR and isnt even handling any mail unless we need it for times like this, and for DR purposes.
timgreen7077Exchange EngineerCommented:
If you are using a DAG, then move the active DB to the updated Exchange server and test once the CU update is complete. The mail will go out of that server and one way or the other come into that server. No need to move mailboxes around.

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Ann AbedAuthor Commented:
So i am NOT moving mailboxes. :)

I am moving Active DBs. Exactly what you recommended and as per best practices (MS article).

Boss didnt approve moving the DBs back to the updated one. and wants to test..
I thought there may be another way.

i will move the IT DBs back to server1 (after CU update) and test internal/external and all that jazz.
if that goes through will just follow same process (move all over and update SERVER 2)

thanks :)
timgreen7077Exchange EngineerCommented:
There will be no issues moving them to the updated server and if it didn't work then you would just move them back off again. The other option would be the use the send mail message parameter in powershell. Open powershell and enter the below info. This will test to see if this server will successfully send out the test email via powershell.
Send-MailMessage -To "external email address" -From "internal email address" -SMTPServer "ip of the updated server" -Subject "this is a test."

Inbound will be a little more difficult if no mailbox is located on that server.
Ann AbedAuthor Commented:
Thanks a bunch,

I just resent/emailed my test plan AGAIN which was to move the DB back to the updated server (IT only).
Test mail. once verified go on with life.

Pushed it as a must. Got approved.

3rd time is a charm.]
Thanks for the effort to help me find a way other than the most obvious way :S.
timgreen7077Exchange EngineerCommented:
Good for you. That will make it so much easier.
Ann AbedAuthor Commented:
Thanks :)
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