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Monday, 11 January 2016

Facing Exchange Server 2016 Breakdown? Here’s how to recover completely!!

If you’re struggling to survive a major Exchange Server 2016 breakdown, fortunately you’re not the only IT folk who is unlucky. As an IT professional, it’s not uncommon to encounter complete failure of Exchange Server 2016 once in a while. While this may happen due to some unavoidable disastrous situations including incidents like a physical server with a dead hardware component that might be preventing it from booting or a virtual machine with a corrupted operating system, one can always cope up from an Exchange failure by concentrating towards complete data recovery.

This blog discusses a detailed overview of executing a recovery installation for a failed Exchange Server 2016 server & also guides you about how to ensure security while planning to get through the difficult situations pertaining to server breakdowns.

Lay the Groundwork- Carry Out These Actions Immediately After You Encounter Exchange Server 2016 Failure
  1. Install a new instance of Windows Server with exactly the same characteristics as the failed server including the same server name, Windows server version & capacity/performance etc.
  2. Carry Out a recovery install of Exchange 2016 by running setup with the /mode: recover server switch.
  3. Re-apply any custom configuration that may not be automatically re-applied by the recovery install.
  4. Restore the Exchange databases if those volumes were also lost in the server failure.
Get your Server Ready for Exchange Server 2016 Recovery

As the first step, you will require to prepare the server on which you’re planning to restore Exchange Server 2016 server. Below are the steps that you need to perform regardless of whether you’re working on the same server or on a different server.

→ First, you need to install exactly the same Windows Server Operating System and Service Pack Level on the server on which you want to recover Exchange 2016 server.

→ Your storage volumes need to be configured using the same drive letters as the previous server.

→ You’re supposed to join the server to the domain after resetting the computer account first and that is already existing in the Active Directory.

→ Now, it’s time to install the pre-requisites for Exchange Server 2016. The three probable installations of Exchange Server 2016 might include Mailbox Server Role, Edge Transport Role and Management Tools for admin servers or workstations. Amongst these, mailbox server role is the only mandatory server role that you need to install. It is completely optional to install Edge Transport Server role since the coexistence of Mailbox Server role & Edge Transport Server role is not possible on the same Windows Server.

Start Executing the Recovery Install of Exchange Server 2016

Now that you’ve already set everything in place, start copying the set up files of Exchange Server 2016 to another location for easily accessing them on the server. Note that you’re not supposed to make use of this recovery process in order to upgrade or downgrade the server.

Now use the following command on the command prompt to modify it to the folder possessing the set up files of Exchange 2016.

C:\> setup /mode: recoverserver /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

Now, it’s time to re-impose the custom Exchange Server 2016 configurations

Now use the following command on the command prompt to modify it to the folder possessing the set up files of Exchange 2016. Although your server must be ready to encounter customizations that are specifically applied due to change in virtual directory URL settings, transport setting or the names & locations of databases; one should make a note of documenting and automating the configuration post-installing the Exchange Server.

Ensuring Security is important

While deploying Exchange 2016, it is likely that you would want to re-install at least one SSL certificate for the server. In case you already have multiple Exchange 2016 or 2013 servers with the similar SSL certificate that are installed in your server, you will just need to simply export the same certificate from one of those servers and then import it to the recently recovered server.

Last, but not the least – Recover Mailbox Databases of Exchange Server 2016

If you have mailbox databases and transaction logs that were unaffected from the Exchange server failure and whose configurations with exactly the same drive letters; there’s a slight chance that your databases will successfully mount. But if that’s the other way round, you may require to carry out database recovery using Eseutil.

In worst situations, you may have databases and log files lost in the server failure, you may need to restore them from your previous backup.

The Final Note

Though there’s no foolproof solution that claims to avoid Exchange Server breakdowns, it’s always good to have reliable backups to handle disastrous situations. Undoubtedly, failures are inevitable and when you’re facing the fall, it’s critical to get up and recover as soon as possible.

To make Exchange Recovery process extremely cost-effective and simpler; we have a complete back-up and restore solution Lepide Exchange Recovery Manager to assist you in the toughest times. From exporting and recovering entire mailboxes to selected email items from corrupt databases & granular EDB to PST restoration; LERM has the ability to restore Live Exchange Servers from exchange backups & OST files.

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