Exchange 2007 SCC Clustering in VMWARE using ISCSI for the Masses (Getting to the Good Bits) – part 3…

by Andy Grogan on December 3, 2008 · 0 comments

in Exchange 2007 (Installation), Exchange 2007 (iSCSI), Exchange 2007 Design, Exchange Storage

Ok, in the previous two posts on this subject which you can get access to via the following links (if you have not read them already):

As a brief summary to the above parts – I have (at first) discussed building an Exchange 2007 SCC cluster using VMWARE and Windows 2008 and iSCSI, I then went on to discover that without using a product such as StarWind you cannot complete this task – therefore in part 2 I decided to maintain the emphasis on iSCSI, Exchange 2007 and SCC but drop the focus on Windows 2008 as I have found a product called OpenFiler (which is a Linux based NAS / SAN appliance which supports iSCSI and is free under the GNU) which will still allow for me to go through the installation and configuration of an Exchange 2007 SCC server using iSCSI.

In part two I went through how you can setup OpenFiler within VMWARE Server 2.0 and indeed install the application into a virtual machine.

In this part I would like to cover the following:

  • Creation of a VMWARE guest to support a Windows 2003 based Exchange 2007 SCC cluster node
  • Installation of Windows (overview only – including the ISCSI initiator )

Creation of a VMWARE guest to support a Windows 2003 based Exchange 2007 SCC cluster node:

In part 2 of this series I went through how you can create a VMWARE guest to support OpenFiler, rather than repeat all of the configuration steps in VMWARE for the first of the Windows 2003 nodes – I think that it would be better to provide you all with a suggested guest configuration which you can substitute for the steps in the previous article:

Operating System = Windows 2003 Enterprise Edition (either x32 or x64)

CPU = x 1

Memory = 1024GB

System Disk = 10GB (this should also be presented on SCSI 0 Disk 0)

Network Adapters = x 1 Bridged with O/S x 1 Host Only (two adapters in total)

CD/ DVD ROM = This should either contain the Windows 2003 Installation media or be mounted as an ISO image from the file system.

When you are done configuring the VM for the first Windows 2003 SCC node you should have VMWARE configuration summary which looks like the following:

SCCVMWARECFG01

Configuration of Windows 2003:

This article will assume that you are all familiar with the basic installation of Windows 2003 Enterprise Edition – therefore I will not got through it step by step – however I will pick up from the point of configuring Windows 2003 so that it is ready for both Clustering and Exchange 2007.

Essentially in this section of the article we will go through the following (some of this you might already know):

  • Configuring the correct IP settings for Windows 2003 based clustering
  • Installing the correct Windows components for Exchange 2007 and iSCSI (this also includes the correct downloads required from Microsoft to support iSCSI and Exchange 2007)
  • Join the Cluster node to the domain
  • Configuring the iSCSI disks

Configuring the correct IP settings for Windows 2003 based clustering:

From an IP perspective there are generally two IP based interfaces per cluster node (in a x 2 node based SCC cluster – however you should note that you are ** NOT ** limited to x 2 IP interfaces per node, you can add others for further resilience – most high end (or indeed production) clusters will typically have x 2 Public Interfaces and x 2 Heartbeat Interfaces) – which is actually Microsoft recommended configuration in a production situation.

As our cluster node is a test scenario and we have provided x 2 NICs via VMWARE for we will logically assume that each node has x 2 IP interfaces.
The primary interface is used for public communications on the wider LAN (essentially allows for clients to connect to the cluster and indeed the hosted application (in this case Exchange) and then other interface is used as the cluster heartbeat (which is a private IP connection shared between the member nodes of the cluster which transmits cluster status and awareness data between the nodes).

In view of the IP you will need two IP address:

  • An IP address on the public LAN
  • An IP address that can be shared between the nodes

Obviously the IP address for the public LAN will be completely at your discretion – however for the private address you can use a 192.168.1.x or 10.x.x.x

The following table depicts the IP configuration that I will give to each Interface on our node:

Interface Name

Configuration Item

Value

 
Local_LAN IP Address 172.31.253.170
  Mask 255.255.255.192
Gateway 172.31.253.129
Primary DNS 172.31.253.129
Append Parent suffixes of the primary DNS suffix Ticked
DNS Suffix for this connection justice.lab.com
Register this connection’s addresses in DNS Ticked
Use this connection’s DNS suffix in DNS registration Ticked

Heartbeat IP Address 192.168.1.1
  Mask 255.255.255.0
Gateway None
Primary DNS None
Append Parent suffixes of the primary DNS suffix Not Ticked
DNS Suffix for this connection None
Register this connection’s addresses in DNS Not Ticked
Use this connection’s DNS suffix in DNS registration Not Ticked
 


Naming conventions:

When using Windows clustering it is often prudent to label your interfaces according to the role that they play on the node – in my example below gives you an idea of what specifically mean:

SCCNICCFG01

Local_LAN Configuration:

Aside from the IP configuration and naming conventions that I have assigned to the Local_LAN interface the following are some additional configuration steps that you should consider taking:

  • Ensure that you have configured the correct link speed and duplex settings for the public interface – normally this will be 100MB/FD – however in a production environment you might wish to consult with the network guys – for example you might have a connection that is capable of Gigabit speeds.
  • You should take the time to optimise your overall LAN configuration the following steps will help ensure that the networking aspect of your cluster Node will function correctly:

Open the properties of your Network Configuration [ Start –> Settings –> Network Connections ] from the window that appears choose [ Advanced –> Advanced Settings ] – see below:

SCCNICCFG02

Ensure that the “LOCAL_Lan” connection for your cluster node is the first in the connections list (as per above) then click on the “Provider Order” tab – see below:

SCCNICCFG03

Ensure that the “Microsoft Windows Network” is the first in the providers list.

HeartBeat Interface Configuration:

As mentioned above the HeartBeat connection is used as a communications mechanism between cluster nodes – thusly it is very important that it is configured correctly.

From the table above you can see how I intend to configure the HeartBeat interface from an IP perspective – but there are a number of recommended configuration changes that you should make to the interface to ensure reliability within cluster operation – these changes are as follows:

  • On the properties of the HeartBeat interface un-tick – “Client for Microsoft Networks”, “Network Load Balancing”, and “File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks” – see below;

SCCNICCFG04

  • Open the properties of the “Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)” and then click on the “Advanced button” – from the “Advanced TCP/IP Settings” click on the “WINS” tab – un-check (or select) the following settings:
    • Enable LMHOSTS Lookup (should be disabled)
    • Disable NETBIOS over TCP/IP

When you are happy with your network configuration you should now join your first cluster node to the domain within your Lab environment.

Install Required Software and Windows Components:

Ok, at this stage we should have a node configured with the correct networking configuration for Windows 2003 clustering and which is also a member of a Windows active directory domain.

This section of the article I would like to go through the software and Windows components that need to be installed which make up the pre-requisites for Exchange 2007 and configuring the iSCSI targets.

Step 1 – Download and Install the Required Software:

Download the following Software to your Node:

.NET Framework 2.0 Redistributable Package (x86) – if you are building the SCC cluster in a x32 bit LAB

- OR –

.NET Framework 2.0 Redistributable Package (x64) – if you are building the SCC cluster in a x64 bit environment

Windows Powershell 1.0 (x86) – if you are building the SCC cluster in a x32 bit LAB

- OR -

Windows Powershell 1.0 (x64) – if you are building the SCC cluster in a x64 bit environment

Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator Version 2.07 (x86) & (x64) – at the bottom of the page you will find both the x32 and x64 versions of this software available for download – choose which one you will require according to your SCC cluster’s nodes architecture.

When you have downloaded the above software install the downloads in the following order:

.NET 2.0:

Double click on the “dotNetFX.exe” installation icon from the location where you downloaded it to.

You will be presented with the welcome screen – click on the “Next” button to begin the installation process – see below

SCCNICCFG06

You will then be presented with the EULA screen – tick the “I accept the terms of the license agreement” and then click on the “Install” button – see below:

SCCNICCFG07

.NET will now install on your cluster node – see below:

SCCNICCFG08

When the installation has completed you will be presented with the “Setup Completed” dialog box – click on the “Finish” button to end setup – see below:

SCCNICCFG09

Powershell 1.0 Installation:

When you have installed .NET 2.0 you can then install Windows Powershell. From the location where you downloaded Powershell to double click on the installer – which will present you with the Powershell 1.0 installation wizard – click on the “Next” button to begin the installation – see below:

SCCNICCFG10

From the screen that is presented to you choose the “I agree” option to accept the license agreement – then click on the “Next” button – see below:

SCCNICCFG11

Powershell will now install – see below:

SCCNICCFG12

When the installation has completed you will be presented with the summary screen below – choose the “Finish” button to exit setup – see below:

SCCNICCFG12a

Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator Version 2.07:

From the location in which you downloaded the Microsoft iSCSI software execute the installation package – from the welcome screen click on the “Next” button – see below.

SCCNICCFG14

From the installation options screen – tick all the available installable components and then click on the “Next” button – see below:

SCCNICCFG15

You will then be presented with the EULA – choose the “I agree” option and then click on the “Next” button – see below:

SCCNICCFG16

The iSCSI software will then install – when the process is complete – click on the “Finish” button – your computer will then reboot – see below:

SCCNICCFG17

Installing required Windows Components:

Now that we have installed the external components (e.g. the software that we have to download separately) to support Exchange 2007 SP1 and iSCSI we are ready to prepare the Windows 2003 installation on the cluster node for Exchange 2007.

As most of you will be aware in order for your cluster node to meet the installation requirements for Exchange 2007 SP1 the following items must be installed:

  • From [ Start –> Control Panel –> Add Remove Programs –> Windows Components ]:
      • Click on the “Application Server” option and then click on the “Details” button – see below:

SCCNICCFG18

When you have clicked on the details button you will be presented with the Application Server sub-components screen tick “ASP.NET”, “Enable network COM+ Access”, and Internet Information Services (IIS)” – ensure that IIS remains selected and then click on the “Details” button – see below:

SCCNICCFG19

When you have clicked on the “Details” button (for IIS) you will be presented with the IIS sub-components screen ensure that you have ticked the following (and only the following):

  • Common Files
  • Internet Information Services Manager
  • World Wide Web Publishing Service

SCCNICCFG20

When you are done click “OK” twice and then “Next” – Windows will then install the desired components.

Review and in the next part:

Ok, this has been yet again quite a large article – therefore I think that I will call it a day here – however to review what we should have accomplished during the course of this post:

In this article we have completed the following:

  • Configured VMWARE Server 2.0 to support the first SCC node of our Windows 2003 cluster
  • Installed Windows 2003
  • Install the required software to support Exchange 2007 SP1 with iSCSI based disk

In this next part we will go through the following:

  • Configuring the iSCSI targets in OpenFiler

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