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Replacing Damaged Exchange Cluster Nodes


Topic Last Modified: 2005-05-12

If one node of a cluster is not functioning correctly, provided there is at least one functioning node in the cluster, you can replace the damaged node with a new node.

For fault tolerance purposes, repair or replace damaged nodes as soon as possible.

Use one of the following methods to replace a failed node:

  • Replace any damaged hardware on the failed node, restore the full computer backup or the Windows backup, and then rejoin the node to the cluster.
  • Create a new node by installing your Windows Server 2003 operating system, Exchange, and additional software (such as service packs). Then join the node to the cluster.

Make sure that the hardware in a replacement node is as good or better quality than the hardware in the other nodes of the cluster. The replacement node must have as much RAM and at least as fast a processor as the node it is replacing. The computer NetBIOS (network input/output system) name of the replacement node can be different from the computer name of the failed node, although the replacement node must belong to the same domain.

Make sure to install the same versions of Exchange and your Windows Server 2003 operating system on the new node as that of the rest of the cluster.

Node Creation Checklist



Evict the damaged node from the cluster.


Install your Windows Server 2003 operating system and join the new node to the domain.


Connect the new node to the shared disk resource.


Add the replacement node to the cluster.


Install Exchange on the replacement node.

Use the following procedure to evict the damaged node from the cluster. For detailed instructions, see How to Evict a Node from a Cluster.

Install Windows Server 2003, including the service packs, software updates, and other software for your Exchange cluster nodes (such as antivirus software) that matches the versions running on the cluster. You can use any computer name that is not on the network for the new node. Do not install Exchange on the new node yet.

After the operating system is installed and patched, join the replacement node to the same domain as the other nodes in the cluster.

After you have successfully joined the replacement node to the domain, make sure that the computer has physical access to the cluster's disk resources. Shut down the replacement node and connect the computer to the cluster's disk resource. Then restart the replacement node.

After the new node is running and connected to the shared disk resource, add the replacement node to the cluster.

Use the following procedure to add the replacement node to the cluster. For detailed instructions, see How to Add a Replacement Node to a Cluster.

Install Exchange Server on the replacement node. Exchange automatically notifies you that the cluster-aware version of Exchange is being installed. (Applications that support the Cluster API are defined as cluster-aware.) After the Exchange Setup program is completed, install any Exchange service packs that are running on the other nodes in the cluster.

For detailed information about how to set up an Exchange cluster, see "Deploying Exchange Server 2003 in a Cluster" in the Exchange Server 2003 Deployment Guide.

When you run Exchange Setup as part of rebuilding a cluster node, you do not run Exchange Setup with the /disasterrecovery switch. Disaster Recovery mode is not available when the Setup program is running on cluster nodes. The Setup modes available for Exchange clusters are install, change, uninstall, and reinstall.

The reason that you do not use the /disasterrecovery switch is that you do not know which Exchange Virtual Server (EVS) that node might be hosting in the future. Therefore, a specific server's Active Directory data does not have to be recovered and pushed down to the metabase for that node. The server information is kept in the quorum for each EVS. The purpose of running the Exchange Setup program on the cluster node is to install the required Exchange binaries on the node.

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