Creating a Exchange 2003 “Failover” server

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I am trying to determine if there is a way to setup up a secondary Exchange 2003 server (Standard Edition) as an "online backup" of the first. Basically, I'd like all information and data stores to exist identically on each server so that if the "primary" goes down, client's need only repoint their Outlook to the secondary Exchange server (if they would even have to do that). Is there a way to do this native to Windows 2003 Server or Exchange 2003 Server?
ASKED: May 17, 2007  9:21 PM
UPDATED: November 21, 2007  5:54 AM

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Clustering of a 2003 exchange server is only supported with Exchange 2003 Enterprise edition running on Windows 2000 Advanced server or Datacenter server with SP4 or Windows server 2003 Enterprise edition or Datacenter edition in either an active/passive or active/active fail over mode.

You cannot cluster Exchange 2003 server standard edition even if it is running on Windows 2k/2k3 Advanced, Enterprise, Datacenter edition.

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  • Amehsys
    Guys, am very interested in this topic. Does this mean the Clustering is the only means of having a ready failover. If yes What arethe best options for a fast ( at most 3 hrs) backup restore options if the only Exchange server oI have crashes or fails.
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  • BIGFella
    Yes clustering is the only means available of providing data redundancy of a fail over nature whether this is at a server level if the exchange server is hosting the information store, transaction log files, etc or clustering of a SAN or NAS device (though this is getting in to a whole other relm, of which I would be unable to advise). If you only have a limited time frame of backup and restore then I would suggest purchasing a high speed backup device, something that is suitable as per your requirements whether this be a tape drive or disk based solution. Exchange in itself is able to perform online (uninterupted) backups using the volume shadowcopy service (VSS) that is present in Windows 2003 server and any backup software worth it's salt takes account of this and is able to utilise it (generally via a remote agent if the backup device is not physically on the exchange server). If you need specific advice on backing up and restoring your exchange environment in terms of hardware to use then I would suggest speaking with a MS partner who will have a very good idea what they are talking about in terms of backup hardware and how this interacts with Exchange (i.e. Dell) in terms of what you should backup in a diaster recovery scenario as an absolute min (for exchange) is to backup the information store(s) transaction log files and the system state. Hope this is of help... and if anyone else out there would like to contribute, it would be great rather than just me bleating on...
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  • Hjones
    What we use is a product called Double Take by NSI Software (I think). It has an Exchange add-on that performs real time replication of whatever information you choose. It also will, upon failover, assume the hostname/IP address of the server that failed. Not a great solution, clustering is much better IMO, but this gets the job done.
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  • Wrobinson
    In addition to Double-Take, also check out CA XOsoft http://www.xosoft.com for replication based disaster recovery and high availability solutions. You can also establish a stand-alone recovery server to provide dial-tone mailbox access duirng a disaster. The users need to be re-homed to the new server in AD using a script or other mass object modification utility such as ADModify. This will provide users with quick access to new e-mail, also allow them to send messages to each other and the Internet. Their existing e-mail can then be imported from the databases to the standby server using Exmerge or another method.
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