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Creating An Exchange 2010 Test Lab

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  • Creating An Exchange 2010 Test Lab


    I am intending to duplicate our production environment (Win 2008 R2 DC, 2 Exch 2010 CAS-HUB servers with NLB, and a DAG2010 with 2 Mailbox servers) into a test environment/lab. This will be a permanent test lab to test new configurations/installations before performing them in the production environment.
    Any ideas/steps how to do this, I know that virtualization can help and also the drive M:recoverserver can do the job, but no idea about the proper steps. Morover, I have a huge DB on SAN, how to deal with these mailboxes DB?

  • #2
    Re: Creating An Exchange 2010 Test Lab

    Being new to the forums I thought I would tackle a question that has remained unanswered for a bit.

    If you want an exact copy and you want to virtualize it (my recommendation for sure), then the first thing you need is a complete backup. What backup software do you have in your current production environment?

    Things to backup for your environment:
    * One or two Domain controllers (make sure they have all 5 FSMO roles for AD)
    * All Exchange servers and their respective databases
    - Note - If you have a lot of data in Exchange and you don't need this for testing, you can always start out with empty databases

    Once all your backups are complete, build up your virtual infrastructure. My preference is for VMWare at this point in time.
    Depending on how your backup software is, you may have to build up your virtual servers with the same OS as your production environment. Try to match the hardware as close as possible (at least from a CPU count, memory, and NICs).

    If you have more than one subnet for your production environment connected to these servers make sure you build the virtual networks up prior to the restore to help with any possible issues. Also, keep this environment ISOLATED from your production just to prevent any AD or Exchange corruption.

    Restore all servers from the backup server to the virtual machines you just built starting with your DCs, Exchange CAS and Hub servers and fianlly your Exchange mailbox servers.

    I would reboot all servers once they are restored. Then check all the event logs and service status' on all servers restored.

    Let me know if you need more detail on this or any additional topics to do with the restore.