Built-in Site Resilience in Exchange 2007

Exchange 2007 includes a new clustering mode named Cluster Continuous Replication (CCR). Unlike previous versions, this mode does not share the database and log disks. CCR allows a second copy of the database and log files to reside on the passive node. The second copy is kept up-to-date through a log replication and replay technology that is also new to Exchange 2007. The passive node of the cluster can reside in the local site or a remote site as long as the network connection will support the log replication cycles.

For jargon-philes, this clustering mode is based on a two-node, majority node set cluster using a file share witness.

This is an out-of-the-box solution, enabling a high level of availability for the Exchange Mailbox server role. Unfortunately, this solution does not include the availability of the other required server roles, Hub Transport and Client Access Server. This shortcoming will make it difficult to implement as a solution for sitewide resilience.

Several of the technical challenges we have found are:

  • Moving other Exchange server roles such as CAS and Hub Transport
  • Moving a CCR Cluster’s witness device
  • Ensuring backups are available on both sides of the cluster

These challenges are not showstoppers; however, they need to be thought through during the planning process.

... Josh Maher

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