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Inside Exchange Cluster Setup and Troubleshooting Tips (Part 6)

Nirmal Sharma [Microsoft MVP, MCSEx3]

Nirmal Sharma [Microsoft MVP, MCSEx3] Photo

Nirmal is a Microsoft MVP in Directory Service. He has been involved in Microsoft Technologies since 1994 and followed the progression of Microsoft Operating System and software. He is specialised in writing “internal” technical articles, white papers and tips on various Microsoft technologies.

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In the 6th and final part of this article series we look into the actual creation of Exchange Cluster Resources. We also go through the different setup log files and summarize the type of information available from here.

Creating Exchange Resources Types and Registering with the Cluster Service

After setup processes all INS files, ScSetupExchangeVirtualServer is executed. This function is responsible to create all the Exchange Resources in the cluster. Let me tell you one thing, this function is completely dependent on the CLUSTER_SERVER.INS file. Only if setup executes CLUSTER_SERVER.INS successfully can Exchange 2007/2003 resources be created. The reason is simple. Setup interprets CLUSTER_SERVER.INS to create and register the Exchange resource Types with the cluster. Only then can the Exchange cluster resources be created.

Setup will always check for existing exchange resources in the current group. Resources are only created if not found. This is clearly shown in the above figure.

Creating Exchange Resources

FIGURE B.21 - Creating Exchange Resources

Microsoft developers changed the way setup creates Resources in Exchange 2007 clustering. In previous Exchange versions you had to create the following resources manually: Network Name, IP, Physical Disk and the System Attendant Resource. In Exchange 2007 this changed and now the resources are created automatically after you enter the initial information required by the setup.

Automatic Addition of Exchange Cluster Resources

FIGURE B.22 - Automatic Addition of Exchange Cluster Resources

Setup, after adding the Network Name and other dependent resources, starts executing ScCreateSystemAttendantResource as shown in the figure below. You used to create this resource manually but in Exchange 2007 this process changed and does this automatically. This function also sets the dependency on the System Attendant Resource.

Creating Exchange System Attendant Resource Automatically

FIGURE B.23 - Creating Exchange System Attendant Resource Automatically

After creating the System Attendant resource, setup creates a DN for the Exchange Server EVS. The DN contains the name of the Exchange Server EVS at the following Active Directory location:

DN = /dc=com/dc=domainname/cn=Configuration/cn=Services/cn=Microsoft Exchange/cn=First Organization/cn=Administrative Groups/cn=Exchange Administrative Group (FYDIBOHF23SPDLT)/cn=Servers/cn=ExchEVS2007

The Schema Master should be online when creating the Exchange System Attendant Resource. The above CN reflects the name of the virtual server created for the exchange server.

Exchange Cluster Registry Entries

Setup creates the registry keys for the Exchange Virtual Server in the following location:
HKEY_Local_Machine\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Exchange\Cluster

These entries contain the EVS name and FQDN name of the Exchange Virtual Server. Client computers will always access this FQDN instead of selecting the individual node IP Address. These entries are exposed to client computers when they connect to the Exchange Mailbox. The entry FQDN_MSExchangeSA1 = EVS.domainname.com is exposed to client machines. The setup first creates these registry entries in the Active node. After a failover or the active Exchange server node goes down, these entries are created at the previously passive node that now goes active. Please note that there is no use for these entries on a passive node.

When removing an Exchange Virtual Server from a Cluster, the above entries are not removed. Similarly the Exchange Database on the data drive is also retained. In this case these must be removed manually.

When you failover the Exchange resources to the passive node, the cluster will create the above registry entries in the passive node registry database. Cluster has to create these registry entries as otherwise clients would not be able to find the Exchange Virtual Server identified by the FQDN_MSExchangeSA1 entry.

Troubleshooting Tips

If the client computers cannot connect to the Exchange Mailbox then always check these registry entries. The FQDN entries are registered in DNS to make sure the client is able to access them. Please check DNS also for these entries.

Starting Exchange Services

After creating the Exchange services and objects on the Cluster, setup starts the Exchange services as shown in the setup log that follows:

Starting Exchange Services successfully

FIGURE B.24 - Starting Exchange Services successfully.

Exchange Setup Log Files

Exchange Setup creates many log files. We looked into these throughout this article series to troubleshoot any setup issues. The following files will be created by the Exchange Server Setup 2007 in the directory C:\ExchangeSetupLogs
Exchange Server Setup Progress.Log
ExchangeSetup.log
ExchangeSetup.msilog

ExchangeSetup.log
This file is created by both Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2007. This contains the setup information with minimal detail. This file doesn't hold information about the procedures and functions executed by the setup. It just gives you the friendly message rather than the low-level information.

Exchange Server Setup Progress.log
The file contains the information about the functions and procedures executed to get the setup work done.

ExchangeSetup.msilog
This file contains the information extracted from the ExchangeServer.MSI file at installation time by SETUP.exe.

Earlier Exchange versions used to create the following files for the Exchange Setup process in x:\Program Files\Microsoft Integration\Microsoft Exchange\Logs
Setup.log
Errorlog.txt
Eventlog.txt

Setup.log
This file contains the summary of the Exchange 2003 setup. The summary includes Success/Failure messages for each of the components installed:

Contents of the Setup.log file

FIGURE B.25 - Contents of the Setup.log file.

This file contains only this much information. You can see in the above figure, the Installation Status: Success is displayed for the Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Exchange Messaging and Collaboration Services. That means Exchange 2003 was installed successfully. In case of errors this would also be clearly logged in this file.

Conclusion

In the last part of this article series, we looked into the function executed by the Exchange Setup to create and register the Exchange Cluster resources with clustering software. We also stated that in Exchange 2000 and 2003 you had to create the resources manually in the cluster but in Exchange 2007 the setup process takes care of this automatically.

Finally we concluded with the most valuable source of troubleshooting information, the Exchange Setup log files. We saw where these are located and the different information the various logs provide.

User Comments - Page 1 of 1

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Shawn Workman 23 Jan 2009 17:34
This helped me resolve a problem I was having.

When I would install the NewCMS it would fail telling me that the <CMS>/First Storage Group was not found. I also did not have the CMS virtual server resource group in the cluster. I uninstalled everything deleted the registry key you mentioned (actually the whole Exchange key) and reinstalled, worked like a charm. The server was not in production yet (obviously) so I was not worried if I had to start from bare metal again.

Thanks.

More details on what I did here:
http://shawnworkman.wordpress.com/2009/01/23/exchange-2007-cluster-woes/
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