Exchange 2010 datacenter switchover tool now available


Exchange 2010 includes a feature called Datacenter Activation Coordination (DAC) mode that is designed to prevent split brain at the database level during switchback procedures that are being performed after a datacenter switchover has occurred. One of the side benefits of enabling DAC mode is that it enables you to use the built-in recovery cmdlets to perform the datacenter switchover and switchback.

In the real world, there are several different factors that determine what commands to run and when to run them. For example:

  • Are Exchange Servers available in the primary datacenter?
  • Is network connectivity available between the primary and remote datacenter?
  • Is Exchange deployed in a topology with a single Active Directory site or multiple sites?

The answers to these questions determine not only the specific commands to run but also where the commands should be run.

In addition, administrators need to understand what the desired outcomes of those commands are. For example:

  • How do I verify that stop-databaseavailability group was successful?
  • How do I verify that restore-databaseavailabilitygroup performed the correct steps?
  • When is it appropriate to run start-databaseavailailitygroup?

Each of these requires a different set of verification steps before proceeding.

And of course as with any process there are those occasional expected errors.

With this in mind, I want to introduce the Datacenter Switchover Tool, a kiosk-based PowerPoint application that allows administrators to work through the flow of questions to determine:

  • What commands to run and where to run them
  • How to verify the commands completed successfully.
  • How to walk through a Datacenter Switchover from the Mailbox server / database availability group perspective.

To use the tool, simply download it and open it in PowerPoint. Make sure use only the buttons that are available on the screen. The tool will walk you through the correct questions, in the correct order, and provide feedback on the commands to execute and their verification.

The location of the tool is here: http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Exchange-2010-Datacenter-09a81fc6

Note: We have now also published the Exchange Server 2010 DAG Switchover GWT (Guided Walkthrough). You can use that as an additional resource to help you get through the switchover process.

Enjoy!

Tim McMichael

Comments (16)
  1. Oliver R. says:

    Thanks Tim!  I was in your session at MEC 2012 and your presentation was amazing.  Thanks for providing this tool that you showed us at MEC 2012.

  2. Mohamed Gamal says:

    Thanks a lot for this useful tool . I was doing a test for it yesterday for one of our customers and it worked smoothly , thanks to Exchange team . I will consider using Exchange 2010 datacenter switchover troubleshooter for further ones . Thanks again :-)

  3. Mike Compton says:

    Thanks Tim! Been waiting for this since you showed it at MEC!

  4. Imrul Emon says:

    very useful the DR testing.Thanks for the guidelines.

  5. RMALDON626 says:

    Amazing!  Very useful and well prepared. Thanks Tim!

    /RAF

  6. sushantgharpure@hotmail.com says:

    Gr888888888 Toool

  7. Michel de Rooij says:

    Hi Tim,

    While I applaud any effort to reduce the human error factor in stressful situations like switchovers, a few things:

    – This isn't a tool, it's an interactive decision maker or guide;

    – A PDF flowchart would be a more appropriate format (can be printed, not always PowerPoint available);

    – Contents almost 1:1 taken from Technet, why not read environment and tailor questions using that information?

    Regards,

    Michel de Rooij

  8. TIMMCMIC says:

    @Oliver R:

    Thanks for the comments.

    TIMMCMIC

  9. TIMMCMIC says:

    @Mohamed:

    I'm glad this was able to help.

    TIMMCMIC

  10. TIMMCMIC says:

    @MIkeC

    @Imrul Emon

    @Rmaldon626

    @Sushantgharpure

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.  I hope this helps with some of your decision making.

    TIMMCMIC

  11. TIMMCMIC says:

    @Michel de Rooij…

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    When I first started this project it originated as a series of flow charts.  Attempting to keep the level of detail I wanted, the flow charts became fairly large and in my opinion not easily usable.  This is where the idea for using power point came from.  (Interestingly enough…when we were tech reviewing this project the feedback from both internal and external reviewers indicated the power point was a preferred delivery mechanism).  I can always revisit incorporating the final changes into the flow charts and publishing them also.

    As you have pointed out the command referenced are almost directly from TechNet.  The attempts with this project though were to compliment the information in TechNet.  Specifically I wanted to accomplish the following items…

    1)  Address what command need to be run when the primary data center is not fully in-accessible.

    2)  Provide steps on how to verify that the commands completed successfully.

    3)  Provide feedback on how to handle errors that may be encountered during this process.

    These are items that are not addressed within the TechNet documentation <and> reflect experiences that have been seen though support cases raised.

    Again – thanks for the feedback and feel free to contact me directly with any other ideas.

    TIMMCMIC

  12. John C. says:

    Thx Tim!

    Was at MEC and was waiting on the final presentation.  It made it just in time for our DR test this weekend!  Thx again

  13. TIMMCMIC says:

    @John C:

    Excellent – post some feedback with your results!

    TIMMCMIC

  14. John C. says:

    Exchange datacenter switchover went off without hitch.  All databases came online and serviced clients with no delays or disconnects.  Followed the troubleshooter and it was step-by-step correct and just worked.  Exchange has come a long way since the days of 5.0 (where I started) because of people like you at MS.

    Thanks again Tim,

    @jclaude8

  15. ExactMike says:

    Thanks, Tim! I’m sorry I missed your session at MEC . . . I was focused on the Exchange 2013 sessions.  Anyway, can you explain why the datacenter switchover troubleshooter seems to indicate a much simpler process for Restoring Service to the Primary Datacenter
    and doing Mailbox Server Role Switchback than does
    technet.microsoft.com/…/dd351049.aspx
     Is the process of dismounting the databases in the second data center before moving them back to the Primary not actually necessary?  

  16. KoM1565 says:

    Hello Tim

    Thanks for the troubleshooter. I've used it to develop a process for a datacenter switchover for our team.

    However, I do have a few questions regarding the switchback steps:

    Assuming the primary datacenter comes back online and all the existing hardware is functional, your slide deck sugestions all Active Directory and DNS services need to be up and running. As well as witness, CAS and HUB servers.

    Our CAS servers sit behind a hardware load balancer, would we have to switch services back over to the primary datacenter before activating the DAGs in the primary datacenter?

    On the DAGs, if I understand your instructions correctly, the cluster services should not be running and set to disabled. If the cluster service is running, then would we have to run cluster node /forcecleanup?

    Thanks in advance

Comments are closed.