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Designing an Exchange Server 2000 Cluster

Before you launch into a complete cluster implementation of Exchange Server 2000, take a moment to review your plan. You should look at the following questions to make sure you know exactly how you will be implementing Exchange 2000 in your enterprise:

  • Is your Exchange cluster a new server within an existing organization?

  • Will your Exchange Server need to communicate with other Exchange Servers?

  • Will users on the Internet need to access your Exchange Server?

  • What type of clients will connect to your Exchange Server?

  • How much space will you need to store your company's mail?

  • Will you utilize multiple data stores?

In addition to these general questions, you will need to decide the following technical issues:

  • What IP address will be used for the virtual Exchange Server?

  • What network name will be used for the virtual Exchange Server?

  • What will the Exchange organization be called?

  • How will I integrate the clustered Exchange Server into an existing Exchange organization?

All of these questions should be answered before undertaking a clustered Exchange Server project. Not because you cannot select these names as you go along, but more because the building of an Exchange cluster is sometimes tedious and you want to be able to concentrate completely upon the implementation. Hunting for unused IP addresses or server names should be done prior to the install, not during.

However, the most important requirement is that you have the proper software. To build an Exchange Server Cluster you will need the Windows 2000 Advanced Server (or Windows 2000 Datacenter Server) operating system installed on all nodes within the cluster. You will need clustering to be installed and fully functional. Be sure to check the event viewer for error messages that may need to be resolved prior to the installation. If your cluster is not functioning correctly, it is a good chance your Exchange cluster will not either.

You will need one available disk volume on the shared disk array to install your databases on, so make sure it has the space available for your installation. Also make sure you are working with the Exchange Server 2000 Enterprise Edition. The Standard Edition will not install on a cluster.

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