Archive for December, 2011

So we got Exchange 2007 migrated over to 2010. We still have to shut down the old server and migrate the SPAM Filter box over to the new VM host but those shouldn’t be too hard (crossing fingers). We used two sources of reference for the migration which were a great help.  The first was really all we needed since we utilize a single server deployment. The second is great because it has a knowledge base connected to it that can also be referenced. So now were up to date and will deprecate the old exchange server tomorrow night. This is apart of our plans to upgrade many core components in our business to help us learn and grow. So far so good but that’s what happens when you got two guys that plan things out all the time. :)

(Patting ourselves on the back)

Exchange Migration in 2Hrs

MS Exchage 2010 Deployment Assistant

OLD SCHOOL!                                  NEW WITH THAT CANDY PAINT!


So everything looked good until i started uninstalling Exchange 2007 from the old server. I decided to follow the tutorial a little backwards and transfer the FSMO roles at the end. The issue that I witnessed was not the inability for users to log into web mail which was one of my first fears during this. The behavior I got was with Outlook accessing the user mailbox. It seems the change over of the back end server showed up sure enough under the user account setup since we are using Outlook anywhere, formerly HTTP/RPC. When the user logs in with Outlook they are prompted for the password but the client shows Disconnected and when trying to just make a new profile I get the following error.

The connection to the Microsoft Exchange Server is unavailable. Outlook must be online or connected to complete this action.”

From the link you see a few fixes that point to RPC issues and GPO pushes. I didn’t really read through it because I was looking for something a bit quicker. I ran the system health check command “Test-SystemHealth” via the Exchange Management Shell and got a warning that the Microsoft Exchange System Attendant service was not running. I researched and started the service. Then I used a technique I learned a while back. Check for services set to “Automatic” but not running. Sure enough the following services were not running.

  • Microsoft Exchange Edge Sync
  • Microsoft Exchange RPC Client Access <—looks like were on to something here
  • Microsoft Exchange Information Store <—kind of a big deal but it was starting up at the time
  • Microsoft Exchange Service Host
  • Microsoft Exchange System Attendant <—seems like this service is a dependency of others

So I restarted them manually where needed and the Outlook users were able to connect. Since I haven’t fully transferred the roles of the other server totally I will say that this is because of that. My reasoning behind this is to make sure the new server can run without the old server, which it has, then transfer the roles accordingly, which i am doing now. Then test again by restarting and ensuring those services are running.

Currently using this article to transfer over the roles, which is super easy and it has pictures :): Transferring FSMO Roles in Windows Server 2008

Update 2:
So after transferring roles and shutting down the old server without removing it from the domain the same behavior is occurring. So i think to myself, “I wonder if there are any updates for Exchange 2010?” Guess what there are two service packs have been released and this did not show up in the Update tool at all nor did the Test-SystemHealth command find it. Ugh well because of limited bandwidth to my colo space so I have to wait 2 hours for each SP download. I may not need both but im going to get them both anyway just in case. I should have just searched myself for updates.

Update 3:
Ok i think were good. So i updated to Exchange 2010 SP2 which should have been done in the first place but I didn’t even know it was released. I had to search for it since MS update didn’t notify like it usually does for SPs. So more down time and restarts. Everything was smooth until those services weren’t starting. Either way its good now after the update and I also set the services to Automatic (Delayed Start) because at one point I saw that the Information Store was still starting while those same services were stopping. This is why i opted to have them start later on. Now they start and my Outlook users are able to connect without an issue. The old server was also deprecated and removed as a DC. Now i have to take it out completely. Which shouldn’t be hard…why did i say that :( Well here is to hoping.

The following services were set to Automatic (Delayed Start)

  • Microsoft Exchange Edge Sync
  • Microsoft Exchange RPC Client Access
  • Microsoft Exchange Forms-Based Authentication
  • Microsoft Exchange Service Host
  • Microsoft Exchange Protected Service Host
  • Microsoft Exchange System Attendant

Update 4:
DONE & DONE. We have finalized the move and deprecated the old Exchange 2007 VM using the tutorial above with some of the services tweaks listed. Basically it was easy but the issues I ran into were just due to updates being applied and taking my sweet ass time getting rid of the old VM. Though I personally like to call it being cautious. Either way everything still works and the old VM host has been deprecated as well and will be removed soon. Phew! Well onto the next project.

So I finally became CCNA Certified on 12/21/2011. I crammed for this one but I was able to make a passing grade which is great. I was very enlightened when I finally learned about IPv6 and I cant wait to convert my network over to it. For now though we have a few other things planned that need our attention. The next project is the migration to our new virtual machine server. It is a Dell 2950 we received as a payment for some work we did a while back. We upgraded it to the specs shown below. Some parts we had from other systems. This thing smokes our old server on write/read performance .That’s only because we invested in 15K drives this time around and configured the RAID differently. We used the old platform to make this implementation even better of course.

VM Server
Make/Model: Dell 2950
Processors: Dual 2.33GHz Quad core ($50 each)
Memory: 16GB or RAM ($65 for 8GB)
Disks/Arrays: 4x 146GB 15K (RAID 5)  ($70 each)
2x 1.5TB 7.2K (RAID 1)
Controller: Adaptec 31605 w/ an added BBU w/ write cache enabled ($40 for the BBU)

Along with this migration we will be upgrading and added new services to improve our business. Our mail server is getting upgraded to Exchange 2010, using our VoIP system more, and looking into something to better manage our quoting/billing system as well. We will begin by moving over the smaller VMs then migrate the larger more important VMs slowly. FUN FUN FUN!!! Its necessary though because this is our stable network and we do a lot of this in our development network before making the changes like these live.

Once this is out of the way we will be upgrading our in house storage system to Open Solaris’ ZFS (current specs shown below). So far it has 15.54TB of raw space that will be configured and nested for reliability and speed. A while back I had an array that corrupted a bunch of data that caused serious problems. So with ZFS I want to ensure this doesn’t happen EVER AGAIN. We will be using ZFS’ various features to speed up writes and make snapshot backups of our data. We will use compression and deduplication on the data as well for different arrays. There will be a live, semi-live, backup, and archive data arrays. The primary backup array will have low level of compression enabled while the secondary archive will have a higher level for long term retention on slower low power drivers. Now with dedup we HAVE to use SSDs to speed it up so were throwing some in the mix as well. For the box it self it will be another 2950 that is being pieced together as money comes in. The plan is to have VMs on this server as well so the main chassis will hold 6x 146GB 10K drives.

ZFS Storage Server
Make/Model: Dell 2950
Processors: Dual 2.4GHz Dual core
Memory: 2GB or RAM upgrading to 8GB
Disks/Arrays: 14x 146GB 10K U320
2x 1.5TB 7.2K
5x 1.5TB 5.4K Green Drives
Controller: PERC 6/iR
Adaptec 5445 w/ BBU

While writing this I migrated the VM this was on without thinking and it all occurred without and issue. I had to shut down the VM only because the storage back end isn’t shared by the two boxes. A SAN is something we have been working on in our development network for a while and we will master it this year for sure.

So were on our way. PEACE!