Exchange Server 2007 CCR on Windows Server 2008 Failover Cluster

I did a one day workshop on March 15 in Orlando at the Exchange Connections conference. As usual, it was a great deal of fun. However, for some reason, I never posted this blog entry until today.
Anyways, I decided to put some of the key bits of information out here for others to enjoy. I hope it helps everyone.
First off, we need to understand that putting up a CCR cluster requires several steps, which can be combined into four categories.
  1. Configure the Hardware
  2. Install and Configure the Operating System
  3. Install and Configure the Failover Cluster Feature
  4. Install and Configure Exchange Server 2007 on the Cluster
Configuring the hardware really isn’t difficult since we are talking about CCR. There is no need for a Storage Array Network (SAN) with all of the issues around creating, presenting, and securing Logical Unit Numbers (LUNs) for cluster storage. What we need to do here is just purchase our servers with two Network Interface Cards (NICs) and two internal disks.
Installing and configuring the operating system is also pretty straight forward. We need to use either the Enterprise or Datacenter version of Windows Server 2008 on each node. Once the OS is installed, each node needs to be joined to the domain.
One of the most important steps is to configure the operating system on each node with the proper role and features that are prerequisites for clustering and supporting Exchange Server 2007.
The prerequisites include:
  • Web Server (IIS) and its Required Features
  • Web Server (IIS) Role Services which includes:
    • ISAPI Extensions
    • Basic Authentication
    • Windows Authentication
    • IIS 6 Management Compatibility
  • Windows Powershell

These prerequisites can be installed through the GUI or through the command line. For command line, run the following commands:

  • ServerManagerCMD -i Web-Server
  • ServerManagerCMD -i Web-ISAPI-Ext
  • ServerManagerCMD -i Web-Metabase
  • ServerManagerCMD -i Web-Lgcy-Mgmt-Console
  • ServerManagerCMD -i Web-Basic-Auth
  • ServerManagerCMD -i Web-Windows-Auth
  • ServerManagerCMD -i PowerShell

The Web Server prerequisites are demonstrated in this IISPrerequisites recording, while the Windows Powershell install is shown in this Powershell recording using the GUI to install them.

The next step for the operating system configuration includes setting up the networks. The public network, also referred to as the client access point (CAP), is configured just like any other server. The network used for intracluster communications should be configured so that each NIC (one per node) uses a private IP address range and should not have a default gateway. It is a good practice to rename the networks so there is no confusion regarding their use.

Many cluster administrators will tune the intracluster communication network (also known as the private network or heartbeat network) so it is not configured with unnecessary services. For example, the private network should be configured as follows and as shown in this network clip:

  • Clear the checkbox for Client for Microsoft Networks
  • Clear the checkbox for QoS Packet Scheduler
  • Clear the checkbox for File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks
  • Clear the checkboxes for the Link-Layer Topology options
  • Clear the checkbox for Register this connection’s address in DNS
  • Clear the checkbox for Enable LMHOSTS Lookup
  • Select the radio button for Disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP

Install and configure the failover cluster feature is the third major step in configuring our CCR cluster. This step is pretty easy. All we need to do here is add the Failover Cluster feature to each of our nodes so that they can be part of a cluster. The clip shows the steps of installing this feature. Actually, the feature is already installed in the clip, but it is easy to see from the clip how the feature would be installed on each node. You can also run the feature installation from the command line by running:

  • ServerManagerCMD -i Failover-Clustering

Now that the feature is installed, we can take the next step and actually create our cluster. The Create Cluster link can be used in a couple of different locations to create the cluster and configure it as shown in this Failover Cluster clip.

Once we have created the cluster, we need to change the quorum type to support CCR. The recommended quorum type is Node Majority with File Share Witness. This clip shows the process of configuring the File Share Witness.

Installing Exchange Server 2007 on the Cluster is the second to last step. In this step, we run the setup program from the Exchange Server 2007 installation media. During the installation, we will select the custom installation option and select Active Clustered Mailbox Role. The option to select either Cluster Continuous Replication or Single Copy Cluster is next. The process is seen here in this CCR Installation clip.

The last step is to run the setup program from the Exchange Server 2007 installation media on the other node and select the Passive Clustered Mailbox Role. The steps are the same for the passive node as for the active node with the exception of selecting the passive installation option.

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