Installing a Two Node Exchange Server 2007 Single Copy Cluster (SCC) in a Virtual Server Test Environment – Part 3: Installing Exchange Server 2007 and verifying Cluster Functionality

If you missed the previous articles in this series please read:






In the previous article in this article series covering how you prepare for, install and configure an Exchange Server 2007 Single Copy Cluster (or in short SCC) in a virtual server 2005 R2 test environment, we went through how to create the Windows 2003 cluster. In this part three we’ll install Exchange Server 2007 and verify cluster functionality.
Since this is the part we’ve all been waiting for (where we finally install and play with Exchange Server 2007), let’s get going.


Installing the Exchange Server 2007 Single Copy Cluster


It’s time to install the Exchange Server 2007 Beta 2 bits on each node, we’ll start with E2K7SCCNode1. First, if you haven’t already done so, I recommend you copy the Exchange Server 2007 Beta 2 binaries to a drive locally on each node. When you have done so double-click



Figure 34: Launching Exchange Setup


The Exchange Server 2007 Installation Wizard will start, and as you can see Step 1: Install .NET Framework 2.0 and Step 2: Install Microsoft Management Console (MMC) have already been completed.



If you have installed Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 on each node, you need to download Microsoft Management Console (MMC) 3.0 and install it manually (by following the link in Step 2). But since I’m using Windows 2003 R2 Servers in my test environment, the MMC 3.0 is installed by default.



Figure 35: Exchange Server 2007 Installation menu


As you can see we still need to complete Step 3: Install Microsoft Command Shell (MSH), before we can start installing Exchange. Therefore click the link to download MSH then unzip and install it.



Figure 36: Installing Microsoft Command Shell (MSH)


The Exchange Server 2007 Installation Wizard should refresh automatically, so now click Install Microsoft Exchange. Click Next then accept the License Agreement and then Next once again. Decide whether you want to enable Error Reporting or not (a good idea to enable this functionality since the Exchange Product Group will receive any obscure errors you should experience in your cluster setup) then click Next.



Figure 37: Enabling Error Reporting


Now select Custom Exchange Server Installation then click Next.



Figure 38: Selecting a custom Exchange Server installation


Tick Active Clustered Mailbox Role and click Next.



Figure 39: Selecting to install an Active Clustered Mailbox Role


Now select Single Copy Cluster then specify a name for the mailbox server (the name you want your Outlook clients to connect to) and a unique IP address on your public network. Finally, specify the path for the clustered mailbox server database files (the virtual shared database disk you created earlier on), then click Next.



In order to set the path for the clustered mailbox server database files, it’s important the cluster group containing the shared disks is owned by E2K7SCCNode1. The reason for this is that you aren’t allowed to use the shared disks if the cluster group is currently owned by E2K7SCCNode2.


Figure 40: Selecting to install a single copy cluster and specifying name and IP address of the clustered mailbox server


Let the readiness check complete, and if no issues are found click Next to begin the installation.



Figure 41: Exchange Server 2007 Clustered Mailbox Role Readiness Check


The Exchange Server 2007 installation wizard will now copy the needed Exchange files, install and configure the Mailbox Role then finally create and configure the clustered mailbox server resources locally and create the object in Active Directory. When each step has been completed, untick Exit Setup and open Exchange System Manager (yes this will be corrected in a later build), then click Finish. We don’t want to open the Exchange Management Console just yet, we’ll install Exchange on the second node first.



Figure 42: Installation of the Exchange 2007 clustered mailbox role completed successfully


Log on to E2K7SCCNode2 with a domain admin account and perform the exact same steps as we did when installing Exchange Server 2007 on E2K7SCCNode1. Only difference is you should tick Passive Clustered Mailbox Role instead of Active Clustered Mailbox Role as shown in Figure 43 below.



Figure 43: Installing the passive clustered mailbox role on the second node


When you have installed the Exchange Clustered Mailbox Role on the second node, we can move on to the next section, where we verify that the functionality of the clustered mailbox server works as expected.


Testing the functionality of the Single Copy Cluster


It’s time to verify that Exchange 2007 clustered mailbox server is working as expected. Let’s first open the Cluster Administrator and check whether the respective Exchange Resources have been created. If you take a look at Figure 44, it looks good, we have both nodes listed in the left pane and all Exchange resources have been created and are currently owned by E2K7SCCNode1.



Figure 44: Listing all Exchange cluster resources in the cluster administrator


Now try to open the Exchange Management Shell by clicking Start > All Programs > Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 > Exchange Management Shell on one of the nodes, then type Get-ClusteredMailboxServerStatus. As you can see in Figure 45 below the status of the clustered mailbox server is Online, and E2K7SCCNode1 is currently the active node. This just keeps getting better and better doesn’t it?



Figure 45: Requesting the online status of the clustered mailbox server


Now that we have verified that the clustered mailbox server is online, let’s try to move the Exchange resources from node one to node two using the Move-ClusteredMailboxServer CMDlet. In the test environment used in this article, we do so by issuing below CMDlet:



Move-ClusteredMailboxServer -Identity:MailboxServer -TargetMachine:E2K7SCCNode7 -MoveComment:”Testing functionality!”


You’re then asked to confirm this action, type Yes then hit Enter. After a while the clustered mailbox resources would have been moved to the second node.



Figure 46: Moving the clustered mailbox resources to the second node



Although it’s possible to move the cluster resource groups between nodes using the Cluster Administrator console, you should always do so using the Move-ClusteredMailboxServer CMDlet as the Move Group task in the Cluster Administrator console isn’t Exchange 2007-aware.


Let’s also take a look at the clustered mailbox server in the Exchange Management Console. To do so click Start > All Programs > Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 > Exchange Management Console, then drill down to Server Configuration > Mailbox. Notice the clustered mailbox server which we named MailboxServer is listed in the Result pane and that it’s recognized as a cluster server. Also notice that the Mailbox Database for this server points to the S: drive exactly as we specified during the installation of the Active Clustered Mailbox Role.



Figure 47: Viewing the clustered mailbox server in the Exchange Management Console




As was also the case with Exchange Server 2003, Exchange Server 2007 provides high availability of server resources, as one node takes over should the active node for some reason fail. But bear in mind that a single copy cluster is susceptible to failure of the shared storage subsystem. This means that no matter how many nodes form part of your cluster, you’ll always have a single point of failure when using this type of cluster. If you want a cluster without a single point of failure, you should consider the other type of cluster supported in Exchange Server 2007 called Cluster Continuous Replication (CCR), which not only provides high availability of server resources, but also storage groups. Cluster Continuous Replication (CCR) combines a traditional active/passive cluster with the new log file shipping and reply mechanisms in Exchange Server 2007. Log file shipping and reply makes it possible to keep a replica of the production mailbox databases. In my next article series here on, I’ll take you through how to prepare for, install and last but not least verify the functionality of a Cluster Continuous Replication setup. Until then have a nice one!


If you missed the previous articles in this series please read:



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