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Add Second Exchange server for failover

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  • Add Second Exchange server for failover

    In some of my recent posts I've been talking about my failing Exchange server. It has been requested of me to create as much of a 'failover' Exchange server as possible. I have done some research and seen where you can use Active/Passive Exchange Clustering, but my organization isn't into that.

    My question is can I add a second Exchange server to my existing Exchange structure and not move mailboxes. Then, if my (old) Exchange server fails just restore the mailboxes from backup to the new Exchange server?

    I am just looking for something quick and dirty to get me by if the worst were to happen. Also, im not looking to purchase third party apps to accomplish this.

  • #2
    Re: Add Second Exchange server for failover

    Unfortunately with Exchange 2000 and 2003 it's not as simple as that. You need to have a third party product, such as Doubletake, in order to meet your objective.


    • #3
      Re: Add Second Exchange server for failover

      That is what an afternoon of research is telling me, no simple solution. Dang. Also, im having a hard time even getting a ball park range on what DoubleTake costs.


      • #4
        Re: Add Second Exchange server for failover

        Given that you will need additional hardware, licences for Exchange, plus are trying to work with a product that is seven years old and two generations out, personally I would be hard pressed to recommend anything with Exchange 2003.

        Two new servers, running Exchange 2010, Enterprise edition of Windows, standard edition of Exchange 2010, then use the DAG. Not as complicated as clustering (although uses the clustering technologies in the background).

        The simple fact is that you will not get live or even semi live failover cheap. The longer you can be down the cheaper it is. You will also fail to get something simple cheap as well. The cheaper solutions require more interaction.

        Given that I can Exchange running with a blank database following a total server failure in less than three hours, if you can survive that long, a decent backup is all that is required.

        The question I ask, is who is driving this?
        If the answer is IT, then you should stop. IT people should not be driving DR planning, because they usually get it wrong. The business needs to drive it, and IT suits the business requirements. In most cases the IT department doesn't always understand or know what the company will take.

        My classic question I ask when asked to look at DR is this:

        What do you do during a power failure?
        If you do paperwork and generally life goes on for the few hours its down, then anything close to live failover isn't required.
        If on the other hand you have a UPS that requires its own room and a generator the size of a small van, then perhaps it is something that you need.

        Then look at where you are. What I would do for a company in central London is very different to what I would do for a company in a converted barn on a farm.

        This is not something that you can decide yourself, because Exchange is not an island. It needs to be covered as part of an overall DR plan.

        Simon Butler
        Exchange MVP

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