Introduction (Using Clustering with Exchange 2003: An Example)
Updated: September 1, 2003
Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2
Microsoft uses its own Exchange 2003 to provide communication within the company. At Microsoft, the Operations and Technology Group (OTG) manages the Exchange servers to keep them highly available and highly reliable.
OTG manages the global messaging environment that supports Microsoft facilities in more than 400 IT locations in 65 countries. Message traffic averages over 6.3 million messages per day, with around 2.5 million messages per day traveling to and from the Internet.
OTG uses server clustering to ensure predictable and trustworthy messaging. A server cluster is a collection of servers that together provide a single, highly available system for hosting applications. To manage the high message traffic, OTG has implemented a clustering solution that makes Exchange servers at Microsoft available (in terms of global overall availability) more than 99.9% of the time (including both planned and unplanned outages).
In the server clusters that support messaging at Microsoft, each node runs Exchange 2003 and Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition. Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition supports up to eight nodes per cluster. Although OTG uses many server clusters in their operations, only one of the clusters used for internal messaging is described in this document. This unique cluster design has four active nodes, one primary passive node, and two alternate passive nodes. This design uses servers efficiently, and provides a reliable messaging environment that supports approximately 16,000 mailboxes.
|This is the second of two white papers that describe how clustering is used at Microsoft. The first white paper, Using Clustering for a Highly Available Web site: An Example, describes how Microsoft uses Network Load Balancing for its Microsoft.com Web site. You can download this paper at the Microsoft Web site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=19497).|
Focus: Server Clusters
The primary focus of this white paper is how OTG has implemented clustering to manage the Exchange servers that provide messaging for the company. Other details about how the Exchange servers are implemented are only described to the extent that they affect the server cluster.
Although OTG uses many server clusters in their operations, only one of the clusters used for internal messaging is described in this document. Throughout this document, this cluster will be referred to simply as the server cluster or the Exchange server cluster. Exchange server administrators can use this clustering example to assist them in designing their own Exchange servers.
|The information about the Exchange server cluster in this white paper is presented as an example. The actual steps and configuration for computers and devices in your own network will be different. This document shows only the configuration that specifically relate to the objectives that are described later in this document.|