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Poor man's HA with Exchange 2003

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  • Poor man's HA with Exchange 2003

    In my scenario Iím currently running a single Exchange Server 2003 SP2 Standard on a Windows 2003 Standard server (one AD forest, one AD domain, a very plain design).
    I have another Windows 2003 box with the same hardware config and another Exchange 2003 license available, so Iíd like to use these resources to achieve a sort of ďpoor manísĒ HA for my Exchange organization (unluckily thereís no budget for any kind of Enterprise software nor shared storage!).
    Iíve been asked to reduce (or even eliminate) the email system downtime in case of a server failure.
    Whatís the best choice with these resources available?
    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Fede_Pg; 17th March 2009, 08:10.

  • #2
    Re: Poor man's HA with Exchange 2003

    If there is no budget then you have no real HA. Doubletake/Neverfail etc are expensive because they are market leaders.

    You are looking at Backup and Restore so personally I would go to the board and state with no budget we are looking at, worst case, losing a days email between backups.
    If that isn't acceptable then state you need money.

    Please read this before you post:

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?


    • #3
      Re: Poor man's HA with Exchange 2003

      The simple rule is that the longer you can be without the service the cheaper it will be. You will not get live failover or even short term failover for free or very small amounts of money. That is an unrealistic expectation.

      With a good backup, I can get Exchange operational again in about an hour if the replacement machine is built and updated Windows wise. Then there is simply the time to restore the backup and replay the transaction logs.

      The question I always ask when people ask for zero downtime solutions is quite simple.

      What do you do in the event of a power cut?

      If everyone simply works in a different way, or does something else while waiting, then you do not need live failover.

      However if you have a UPS that has its own room and a generator the size of a small van, then it could be something that you need. However it will cost.

      Simon Butler
      Exchange MVP

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      • #4
        Re: Poor man's HA with Exchange 2003

        You could use the process in the link below as your "poor man's HA".

        The bigger challenge is educating the business leaders on the costs and realities of maintaining the IT infrastructure as part of a larger overall DRP and BCP.

        Why do the business leaders always give foolish and ignorant mandates such as "the systems much achieve five 9's of uptime and by the way, there's no budget". Do they eat a meal in a restaraunt and not pay? Do they go to the car dealer and tell them they want the best car for free? How important is the messaging infrastructure to the operation and health of the business? Expect to pay costs proportional to the importance.