Exchange 2003 cluster help

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Microsoft Exchange
i've exchange 2003 enterprise edition running windows 2003 enterprise servef on Dell server (standalone server, not clustered). i want to make this exchange server as clustered server. i would like to know about the requirements of hardware as well as the help in configuring the exchange accordingly. will i be needing the same type of hardware for both servers or it can be different than dell server. also do i need to install the exchange on another 2 new servers or i can make the existing server part of the cluster with one new server. please advise.

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It is strongly recommended that you use the exact same hardware and OS configurations on both machines. This includes firmeware, drives, Windows Service Packs, Windows Security Updates & Exchangee SP/Security Updates.

Keep in mind that you will need seperate storage which both nodes can access without dependancies of the other node. It can be SCSI attached, NAS or SAN. Look into which approach is more cost effective for your needs and good luck. You can find more info at www.microsoft.com/exchange.

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  • ShawnHarbert
    I'm currently running Exchange clusters exclusively on Dell equipment, and it's working great. I definately recommend the same EXACT hardware specs for both servers in the cluster. If you have a SAN in place already, then carve out three sets of drives: a quorum drive (less then 1GB mirrored is acceptable), one log drive (RAID 5 and about 30GB to be safe - more if you can), and one drive for the database(s) - as big as you can. Also, if you really have the space, separate sets of log/database drives for each storage group will help tremendously. I use direct attached SCSI (DAS) (PV220S) and it works fine for my org. I have about 300 users and about 160GB of Information Stores all running a one mirrored Quorum drive, 3-73GB physical drives in a RAID5 for the logs, and 8-143GB drives in a RAID5 for the Information Stores, and everything runs fast. I'm using PowerEdge 2850's with two 3GHz Xeon processors and 4GB of memory in each. Also, the only Dell SCSI card that is cluster capable is the PERCx/DC - only the DC type cards are cluster capable (I'm using PERC3/DC on one cluster and PERC4/DC on a different cluster). Your storage device will have to have the capability to share the bus between the two servers if you're using DAS (the PV220S can do this with two Extended Management Modules (EMM) installed). Once you have your hardware set up, it will be easier for you to first set up only one node of the cluster (both servers don't have to be present to setup the cluster - one node with the shared storage attached will work). I say this becuase you can not turn a standalone Exchange server into a cluster without reloading it. So, set up your one-node cluster for now, and use the Exchange Tools in Active Directory to move the user's mailbox to the new one-node cluster. After all of your mailboxes are moved off the old Exchange server, uninstall Exchange (to nicely remove the old servers AD Exchange attributes from AD). Then, completely nuke the server and build it up exactly as your one-node cluster server is built. After that's complete, shut down the newly rebuilt server, then attach the new server to to shared storage (be sure you have enabled the cluster setting on the SCSI card's BIOS and set the Initialization ID's to 6 for one server, and 7 for the other server - otherwise you will have conflicts), and power it up. Once it's powered up, join it to the domain. Reboot after the join process completes, and then join the server to the cluster. After you join it to the cluster, then install Exchange. YOU MUST install Exchange AFTER you join the cluster (this applies to the first server in the cluster as well). If you install Exchange first, and then set up the cluster, Exchange will not be clustered - THIS STEP IS IMPORTANT. Finally, after Exchange is installed on both nodes, failover between the two to make sure everything works. Then, start doing the memory tweaks (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?kbid=815372&product=exch2003) and any other lockdowns, etc. and you should be good to go.
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