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Need Help with Exchange DR...!!

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  • Need Help with Exchange DR...!!

    Good Morning Guys,

    At our corporate office we have a 03 Exchange server and at one of our Canadian Branches we also have an 03 Exchange server. Is there anyway to implement a good DR solution with these 2 servers? Replicate data bases on a NAS or something of that nature? What could we put in place? We have no plans on upgrading to 07 anytime soon. Are there any 3rd party tools that could help? Also what type of DR/HA solutions are you guys doing?

  • #2
    Re: Need Help with Exchange DR...!!

    No DR plan is the same as the other. You need to answer a number of key questions.
    HA is NOT DR. What I would do for High Availability is very different for disaster recovery

    - what are you planning for? Be realistic - a flood when your offices are 300 ft above sea level and the nearest river is 100 miles away isn't realistic. What I plan for in central London is different to a village in Wales.
    - how long can you survive without email? Very few companies need to have instant email recovery. Most companies can cope without email for two or three hours
    - what is the budget? Remember that the longer you can be without a service the cheaper it is.

    Some of those questions cannot be answered by IT, they need to be answered by upper management. Ask sales the second question and you will get answer like 30 seconds, which is probably not the case.

    At the basic level you could have a backup stored elsewhere, along with copies of the installation disks.
    Then you could look at replication technologies like DoubleTake, all the way up to something like a GeoCluster.

    Simon Butler
    Exchange MVP

    More Exchange Content:
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    In the UK? Hire me:

    Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.


    • #3
      Re: Need Help with Exchange DR...!!

      Great points.

      i would say the organization could go 2-4hrs without email. we are located in Houston/Galvestion TX where floods and huricanes are very common. I would say a budget of 5-15K USD

      You ever heard of any solutions from a company called EMC? Also anyone have any good Email archiving Solutions? 3rd party?
      Last edited by JKurz; 11th December 2007, 21:10.


      • #4
        Re: Need Help with Exchange DR...!!

        EMC is one of the partner companies developing VMware...

        they make storage arrays. i have an EMC powerpath right behind me...

        GFI is (imo) hands down the best archive solution. its really easy to manage and very configurable...

        the rental of a DR facility is gonna cost a pretty penny. our monthly fee is close to 10K a month...

        im in florida, so the hurricane thing is a biggie for me.

        ill give you some lamers tips that i implemented once i started here...

        get the server room off the bottom floor. its flood prone... so i have a raised floor on the second floor of the building.

        a good UPS is a must. keeping well conditioned power available all the time is going to be necessary for a well thought out DR plan to work. in my instance, i need at least 10 minutes of power to initiate vmotion... i have 12 hours of battery backup. this gives me plenty of time to migrate services to the DR.

        get a mail gateway. i have an ironport, which has a small buffer that will hold mail queues in the event my exchange is unreachable... like say i set off vmotion, well, i have to give it time to start the other mail server, then when its started the ironport dumps the queued mail to the migrated exchange mailstore...

        if possible, keep a fully stocked DC offsite. i have 5 or so DCs onsite, but a backup offsite. this allows me to logon if the DCs onsite are down... and plus i have something to replicate from if i loose everything...

        like sembee said, its all dependent on your needs and budget.
        its easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission.
        Give karma where karma is due...


        • #5
          Re: Need Help with Exchange DR...!!

          Hello Jkurz,

          We are in a similar boat as you. Right now we're completely reworking and in someplaces creating our DR plan.

          First point I would like to make, this goes along with what Sembee has already said.

          DR involves IT, but not all of DR is IT. Upper Management need to be in on this.

          Here's how we're approaching our DR plan. Initially it's all about asking the right questions.

          "What does our business do?"
          "What is/are the 1/2 most critical business functions?"
          "What do we need to be able to do to stay survive?"

          Think of it like this. Disaster Recovery is not about IT at all. Disaster Recovery is about keeping the business alive during and immediately after a disaster and in time returning it to a state of normalcy. Primarily it's about keeping the business alive in the first critical hours and days. It's possible that a companies DR plan would not involve computers or networks in any way.

          Find out what your businesses core functionality is and then ask yourself if that core business function depends on any IT resource.

          This is just our approach, it may or may not work in your case.

          As far as the mechanics of putting together a plan for Exchange, I'm still working on that one .

          Best of luck to you!
          CCA: XenApp 5.0


          • #6
            Re: Need Help with Exchange DR...!!

            To echo what others have said: DR is but one component of a Business Continuity plan and IT is but one component of that. Focus on what the IT responsibilities are for developing, creating, testing, and implementing a complete BCP.

            As for power, I like to power my UPS units from independent power sources (if possible) and then plug each server ps units into a UPS on each source. That way no server is dependent on any one UPS or power source and the UPS's are not dependent on any one power source.

            As for our mission critical applications (Exchange, File, SQL, DC) we use DoubleTake to handle the data replication and failover.

            We maintain a N+1 farm of TS servers.

            We maintain redundant T3 connections and routers with failover facilitated via BGP and HSRP.

            We use only RAID configurations in our servers.

            Each server has two network cards.

            We keep spare switches and a spare firewall, these are configured as "passive" spares running production configurations.

            We maintain 7x24x4 support on all of our production components.


            • #7
              Re: Need Help with Exchange DR...!!


              As Simon said that it's not standard for all and depends on requirements so it might not be very helpful but still want to share a document that I got from Microsoft site:


              Kapil Sharma
              Life is too short, Enjoy It.