Exchange 2010 SP1 DAG & Unified Messaging Now Supports Host Based High Availability & Live Migration!

Well due to rather nice virtualization support for Lync and the fact that Denali (SQL Server vNext) does support DAG like functionality with Live Migration and host based clustering, it was about time for Exchange 2010 to catch up. And when we read the white paper  Best Practices for Virtualizing Exchange Server 2010 with Windows Server® 2008 R2 Hyper V™ that moment has finally arrived. I have to thank Michel de Rooij at  for bringing this to our attention So now we have the best features in virtualization at our disposal and that simply rocks. We read:

“Exchange server virtual machines, including Exchange Mailbox virtual machines that are part of a Database Availability Group (DAG), can be combined with host-based failover clustering and migration technology as long as the virtual machines are configured such that they will not save and restore state on disk when moved or taken offline. All failover activity must result in a cold start when the virtual machine is activated on the target node. All planned migration must either result in shut down and a cold start or an online migration that utilizes a technology such as Hyper-V live migration.”

“Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP1 supports virtualization of the Unified Messaging role when it is installed on the 64-bit edition of Windows Server 2008 R2. Unified Messaging must be the only Exchange role in the virtual machine. Other Exchange roles (Client Access, Edge Transport, Hub Transport, Mailbox) are not supported on the same virtual machine as Unified Messaging. The virtualized machine configuration running Unified Messaging must have at least 4 CPU cores, and at least 16 GB of memory.”

And it is NOT ONLY for Hyper-V, look at the Exchange Team blog here “The updated support guidance applies to any hardware virtualization vendor participating in the Windows Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP).’” Nice!

Anyone who’s at TechEd USA 2011 in Atlanta should attend EXL306 for more details. Huge requirements yes, but the same goes for physical servers. That’s how they get the performance gains needed, it’s done by lowering IO by using large amounts of RAM.

Think about the above statement, we now have support for host clustering with live migration, possibly together with technology like for example Melio (SanBolic) on the software side or Live Volume (Compellent) on the storage side to protect against SAN Failure (local or remote) and combined with DAG high availability for the databases in Exchange 2010 (which can be multi site) this becomes a very resilient package. So to come back to my other post on a brighter future for public folders, if they can sort out this red headed stepchild of the Exchange portfolio they have covered all their bases and have a great platform with the option of making it better, easier and cheaper to implement, operate & use. No one will argue with that.

I know some people will say all this is overkill, to complex, to much or to expensive. I call it having options. When the S* hits the fan and you’re “in the fight of your life” wading your way through one or multiple IT disasters to keep that mail flow up an running it is good to have multiple options. Options mean you can get the job done using creativity and tools. If you have only one tool and one option Murphy will catch up with you. Actually this is one of my most heard shout outs to the team “give me options” when problems arise. But at what cost do these options come? That is up for the business and you to decide. We’re getting very robust options in Exchange that can be leveraged with other technologies for high availability that have become more and more main stream. This means none of all this needs to be bought and implemented just for Exchange. They are already in place. Unless your IT “strategy” the last 10 years was run Windows 2000 & Exchange 2000 until the servers fall apart and we don’t have any more spares available on e-bay before we consider moving along.

Exchange 2010 SP1 Rollup 3 Pulled – BlackBerrys sending duplicate messages

Just a quick notification. Due to the duplicate message issue with RIM Blackberry devices and Exchange 2010 Sp1 Rollup 3 Microsoft is temporarily pulling RU3. If you don’t use BES and have no other issues, don’t sweat it. If you wanted RU for UDP support with Outlook 2003 or to fix the DAG Copies GUI bug you’ll have to wait especially if you have Blackberry devices. More the the Exchange Team Blog here.

Exchange 2010 SP1 Rollup 3 Released: Fixes Bug since SP1 in EMC & Brings Back UDP Support

UPDATE March 9th 2011: I have installed Exchange 2010 SP1 Rollup 3 at one site and this did indeed fix this issue finally.

The Microsoft Exchange Team Blog just announced the release here Released: Update Rollup 3 for Exchange 2010 SP1 and Exchange 2007 SP3. This is good news for all the folks out there that got bitten by the Exchange 2010 SP1 bug that causes the Exchange Management Shell (EMC) not to show all database copies after upgrading to exchange 2010 SP1. I’ve blogged about this in EMC Does Not Show All Database Copies After Upgrade To Exchange 2010 SP1 and chimed in to the discussion at Database copies are not all showing up in EMC after SP1 upgrade on the Exchange forums. So apart from cheers for the UDP notifications returning in support of Outlook 2003 let’s hear it for a the EMC case sensitivity bug getting fixed Smile

After while Microsoft also blogged about this Database copies fail to display after upgrading to Exchange 2010 Service Pack 1

We got notified around October 13th that they would included the fix in Exchange 2010 SP1 Roll Up 3 but that they where working on an interim update. They dropped the ball there because communication died about the latter and we were left to conclude we would have to wait for Rollup 3. Well that took it’s time. It’s now march 2011. One of the reasons I think it took so long for Rollup 3 to arrive is the decision for to re-add UDP support for Exchange 2010 for use with Outlook 2003 as blogged about in Microsoft Listens To Customers & Adds UDP Notification Support Back to Exchange 2010

In the ends we will have silly and long unaddressed bug fixed and a welcome aid in migrating customers to Exchange 2010 that are running Outlook 2003. I do wonder however if the bug had been with  PowerShell in the EMS and not in the EMC if Microsoft would have fixed this sooner.  Sure it wasn’t an issue as you could manage everything perfectly using PowerShell and it was only a GUI bug but for some users/customers this is not as obvious  and it made ‘m feel a bit like 2nd class citizens so we had to do some extra “damage” control on that front as well.