Promortion of a menber server to Domain Controller

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Tags:
Dc promo
Domain Controller
Exchange 2003
Exchange infrastructure (xi)
Server capacity planning
OK, here's the deal... we've got two DC's in a Windows server 2003 network, supporting about 150 end users. Our primary DC is on-site; our secondary DC is at a co-location site several hundred miles away. The secondary DC (call it DC2) has experienced a drive failure in it's RAID 5 array (no other drive or array in system), so has been running degraded for several days. Due to the physical layout of the co-located system, we cannot easily replace the drive (don't ask why, please....). My question is: Would it be prudent to pass/move the backup DC role on to our Exchange server? The server runs with a 2.8 Xeon / 4GB RAM / Win2k3 SP2. Let me know your thoughts.

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You should try to avoid running Exchange on a domain controller. See: http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-6070680.html

http://www.petri.co.il/problems_with_exchange_2003_installed_on_domain_controllers.htm

And Microsoft says: After you install Exchange Server 2003 on a server, do not change the role of the server. For example, if you install Exchange Server 2003 on a member server, do not use the Dcpromo tool to promote the server to a domain controller.

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/822179

So I would not take that step. It seems like it would be more adviseable to replace the bad hard drive. Next time (especially at a co-lo) you should setup your RAID array to include a hot-spare.

Good luck,
Tom

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  • Pressler2904
    Tom - Thanks for the link and information - it's exactly what I needed. FYI, this is an "inherited" setup. If I was performing the RAID config for a DC (and ALL this server does is act as a DC), I would never have put it on a RID 5 array: I would have used RAID 1 or 10. Furthermore, if I was physically setting up the system, the server would have been a 1U box just like the others, and not a tower server which got shoved into place diagonally, requiring the removal of either our segment firewall or our (live) Oracle database server to access the chassis for a simple HDD replacement and RAID rebuild. And (as you rightfully point out), the addition of a hot spare is a real no brainer, especially since there are three remaining open ports on the controller.....
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  • Pressler2904
    Pardon the multiple postings... The same rack as described above holds our Citrix farm (two servers, with a third failover server here at our main location). Although I'm pretty sure I know the answer th this next question, I'll pose it anyway: Given the scenario described above, what are your opinions regarding promoting one of the Citrix servers to a DC? As I said, I'm pretty sure of the answer, but thought I'd ask anyway.....
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  • Michigan
    No do not use a Citrix server for a Domain Controller. Have you ever thought of using virtual machines? Running more than one server on a VM just may be an answer for you.
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  • Pet geek
    I'll second both answers - I wouldn't suggest promoting either system to be a BDC. For a short-term fix, I'd find the most robust spare PC you have lying around, add some memory, and then install a hypervisor. Build a virtual machine as a BDC. It won't run as well as it might, but it will work while you address the main issue. Once I had that running, I'd wait until whenever the slow time is in your organization, shut down the failing machine and fully remove it from the rack. (If possible. It sounds from your response below that the only issue is that you can't work on it in the rack, yanking it sounds like it should still be possible.) Personally, I'd replace it with the right solution - a 1U rackmount system as you mention - but in an inperfect world I'd stuff the current box full of hot spares after my request for a 1U machine went down in flames. If you think you'll get only a little pushback on a 1U, build a business case for what you could do with the tower - maybe it could run a hypervisor and be a quick-cut stand-in for a failed server as part of your Disaster recovery/Business Continuity plan... -PG
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  • Pressler2904
    Thanks for all of your input. You all concur with my initial opinion that the two roles should be separated... When the opportunity presents itself, we will be making a trip down to Raleigh, NC (from mid-state PA) to perform the maintenance work and kick off the rebuild. It's a long, inherited story, and the hosted rack is not configured the way either my boss or I would have configured it, but you work with what you have (of course!). Thanks again, poppaman
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