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Exchange High Availability (Clustering)

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  • Exchange High Availability (Clustering)

    Can anybody give me some tips on where to start looking at High Availability for Exchange?

    I am reasonably competent/experienced with Exchange 2000/2003/2007 in single-server installations, but I need to start looking at the possibility of maintaining a message store on a cluster so that an individual server failure will not bring down the service. Any help (from what licensing is required, if any beyond two seats of Exchange Standard, to actual implementation procedures) would be GREATLY appreciated.

    TIA.

  • #2
    Re: Exchange High Availability (Clustering)

    To be fair you will be better off searching on this site, the Microsoft site and places like MSExchange.Org. The subject is quite big and you are asking for 3 different versions of Exchange. Maybe if you narrow the question a bit or tell us what you have looked at so we can point to specifics?
    cheers
    Andy

    Please read this before you post:


    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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    • #3
      Re: Exchange High Availability (Clustering)

      I've got an Exchange 2003 server setup right now. The environment is relatively small (about 20 user) but email is extremely mission critical and we are pretty terrified of the 1-2 day projected recovery time should the server catch on fire and we need to restore completely from backup on new hardware.

      What we would like to do is set up clustering on two Exchange servers and maintain one offsite so that if the whole building catches on fire we're still good on mail. It would be nice to stick with Exchange 2003 if possible so that the existing server can remain in use and to minimize new license and new hardware costs, but if Exchange 2007 is a practical necessity I'd like to know about it and that might be what we have to do.

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      • #4
        Re: Exchange High Availability (Clustering)

        Another possiblity would be - if such a thing is possible - simply synchronizing a copy of the message store to a remote Exchange server once per day. I don't absolutely need instant failover, I just really need to be able to recover from failure within an hour or two instead of a day or two.

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        • #5
          Re: Exchange High Availability (Clustering)

          either use MSCS with an external storage for the servers, or get something like WanSyncHA/Neverfail/etc
          ________
          Trichomes Pictures
          Last edited by DYasny; 6th March 2011, 18:24.
          Real stupidity always beats Artificial Intelligence (c) Terry Pratchett

          BA (BM), RHCE, MCSE, DCSE, Linux+, Network+

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          • #6
            Re: Exchange High Availability (Clustering)

            We use DoubleTake from NSI Software for our Exchange Server 2003 infrastructure. Two servers, each running DT with real time data replication and real time failover capability. They have a product that works across WAN connections called Geocluster as well.

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            • #7
              Re: Exchange High Availability (Clustering)

              So far it is looking like Exchange 2007's Standby Continuous Replication is the closest thing to what I actually want. Has anybody actually worked with this?

              I have an Exchange 2007 server in another environment but have not done anything like this with it.

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              • #8
                Re: Exchange High Availability (Clustering)

                Yep, SCR will also do what you need. I didn't mention it as you said you were running Exchange 2003 in your production environment and the migration/transition to Exchange 2007 is certainly not simple. I highly recommend DoubleTake for Exchange, they also have a full server failover configuration which will replicate the entire server including Exchange.

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                • #9
                  Re: Exchange High Availability (Clustering)

                  Originally posted by joeqwerty View Post
                  Yep, SCR will also do what you need. I didn't mention it as you said you were running Exchange 2003 in your production environment and the migration/transition to Exchange 2007 is certainly not simple. I highly recommend DoubleTake for Exchange, they also have a full server failover configuration which will replicate the entire server including Exchange.
                  Thanks Joe. Yeah migrating from 03 to 07 is not simple, but the 07 installation I have in the other location was actually a migration from Windows 2000 Server / Exchange 2000, and I managed THAT so I figure 03 to 07 on a 2003 domain should be doable. =)

                  Do you have any pricing guidelines on DoubleTake? The massive availability of glossy PDFs and massive lack of actual price numbers (or procedural documentation) I found online from a cursory googling made me a little shy of it. This is not a huge environment we are talking about and funds are very definitely not unlimited. The cost of two new copies of Exchange 07 and two new copies of Server 03 64-bit on two new 64-bit machines is ... doable, but it stretches the budget to near breaking already. =)

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                  • #10
                    Re: Exchange High Availability (Clustering)

                    We paid roughly $3,000.00 per Standard Server license.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Exchange High Availability (Clustering)

                      Has anybody here ever actually used SCR? What is the procedure to follow if the source server catches on fire and you need to replace it with the target server?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Exchange High Availability (Clustering)

                        Originally posted by joeqwerty View Post
                        We paid roughly $3,000.00 per Standard Server license.
                        What did you get for that - consultants coming out and making it work, or a shrink-wrapped box and a "good luck"? Was it difficult to implement?

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                        • #13
                          Re: Exchange High Availability (Clustering)

                          We got a shrink-wrapped box. It was not hard to install and configure, took about 30 minutes including the required reboot. Their support is very good and definitely knows there Windows stuff as well as their own software. We've had to failover twice and it has worked flawlessly. 800 mailboxes and 600GB of email. Manual failover takes about 5 minutes.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Exchange High Availability (Clustering)

                            I'm visiting a site tomorrow to check a double take install from the UK to Europe. Everyone I have spoken to (so far) thinks it's a great product even if it costs a bit.

                            If you are going to upgrade to 2007 then you may want to go that route any way. Haven't done an SCR install yet just SCC. Sembee may be a good bet for recommendations if he has chance (apart from the MS site etc).
                            cheers
                            Andy

                            Please read this before you post:


                            Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Exchange High Availability (Clustering)

                              Originally posted by joeqwerty View Post
                              We got a shrink-wrapped box. It was not hard to install and configure, took about 30 minutes including the required reboot. Their support is very good and definitely knows there Windows stuff as well as their own software. We've had to failover twice and it has worked flawlessly. 800 mailboxes and 600GB of email. Manual failover takes about 5 minutes.
                              Wow. That sounds pretty impressive.

                              You say it took about 30 minutes; what condition were you in before the install? One working Exchange server with all the data on it, and a second "clean" Exchange server installed and on the domain but not actually doing anything?

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