Ask the Expert

Can we install another instance of Exchange Server on a second domain controller?

We have installed Active Directory and Exchange Server 2003 Standard Edition on Windows Server 2003. For load balancing and redundancy, we want to install another Windows Server 2003 machine and make it a second domain controller in the same domain. Can we install Exchange Server on the second machine? How do we configure it? Will both servers replicate their data as two domain controllers replicating?

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Setting up a second domain controller is a great idea for redundancy of your directory (and potentially your global catalog, assuming you enabled this on the second domain controller). But installing Exchange Server on a second domain controller does not give you any ability to replicate the mailbox content to the other Exchange server. Setting up two replicated instances of a given mailbox is not possible with Exchange 5.5, Exchange 2000 or Exchange 2003.


Why not just mirror the Exchange drive?
—Gordon H.


My understanding is that the user is looking to replicate mailbox content for redundancy reasons. Mirroring the drive would provide a level of redundancy but the ideal story around mailbox-level redundancy is the equivalent of either Exchange 2007 Local Continuous Replication (LCR) or Clustered Continuous Replication (CCR). Native solutions don't exist for Exchange 2003, however third-party solutions such as Double-Take provide alternatives.
—David Sengupta, Exchange Administration expert

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Related information from

  • Exchange Admin 101: Exchange Server replication and synchronization
  • Expert Advice: Problems running Exchange 2000 on a domain controller
  • Expert Advice: Two-way synchronization between Exchange servers
  • Learning Center: Exchange Server replication remedies
  • Reference Center: Exchange replication and synchronization resources
  • Reference Center: Exchange Server deployment and migration advice
  • This was first published in March 2007

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