How-to – Install Updates on Exchange Server 2010 Database Availability Groups

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An Exchange Server 2010 Database Availability Group (DAG) provides several benefits to an organization, primarily that of continuous availability of mailbox databases.

To update the DAG members with new patches, update rollups or service packs, the update process should be managed to prevent all of the DAG members from being offline at the same time.

To do this you can move the active mailbox databases off a particular server so that it can be patched, and if necessary rebooted, without causing any downtime for mailbox users on that database.

This tutorial demonstrates how to update the servers in an Exchange Server 2010 Database Availability Group without causing the mailbox databases to go offline.  For this tutorial Update Rollup 4 for Exchange Server 2010 is being installed.

Preparing a DAG Member for Updates

The first step is to move active mailbox databases to another DAG member so that the server can be updated.
To see a list of mailbox databases and their current active server use the Get-MailboxDatabase cmdlet.

[PS] C:\>Get-MailboxDatabase

Name                           Server          Recovery        ReplicationType
----                           ------          --------        ---------------
Mailbox Database 02            EX1             False           Remote
Mailbox Database 01            EX2             False           Remote

In this example I want to apply updates to server EX1, and I can see that it currently hosts the active copy of Mailbox Database 02.

If your environment has a lot of DAG members and mailbox databases you can refine this query to only show active mailbox databases for a specific server.

[PS] C:\>Get-MailboxDatabase | where {$_.Server -eq "EX1"}

Name                           Server          Recovery        ReplicationType
----                           ------          --------        ---------------
Mailbox Database 02            EX1             False           Remote

Move the mailbox databases using the Move-ActiveMailboxDatabase cmdlet.

[PS] C:\>Move-ActiveMailboxDatabase "Mailbox Database 02" -ActivateOnServer EX2

Confirm
Are you sure you want to perform this action?
Moving mailbox database "Mailbox Database 02" from server "ex1.exchangeserverpro.local" to server
"EX2.exchangeserverpro.local".
[Y] Yes  [A] Yes to All  [N] No  [L] No to All  [?] Help (default is "Y"): y

Identity        ActiveServerAtS ActiveServerAtE Status     NumberOfLogsLost   RecoveryPoint MountStatus MountStatus
                tart            nd                                            Objective     AtMoveStart AtMoveEnd
--------        --------------- --------------- ------     ----------------   ------------- ----------- -----------
Mailbox Data... ex1             ex2             Succeeded  0                  14/09/2010... Mounted     Mounted

All of the mailbox databases are now active on server EX2.

[PS] C:\>Get-MailboxDatabase

Name                           Server          Recovery        ReplicationType
----                           ------          --------        ---------------
Mailbox Database 02            EX2             False           Remote
Mailbox Database 01            EX2             False           Remote

As another example, if there were multiple databases active on a server you can move all of them with a single command.

[PS] C:\>Get-MailboxDatabase | where {$_.Server -eq "EX1"} | Move-ActiveMailboxDatabase -ActivateOnServer EX2 -Confirm:$false

Identity        ActiveServerAtS ActiveServerAtE Status     NumberOfLogsLost   RecoveryPoint MountStatus MountStatus
                tart            nd                                            Objective     AtMoveStart AtMoveEnd
--------        --------------- --------------- ------     ----------------   ------------- ----------- -----------
Mailbox Data... ex1             ex2             Succeeded  0                  14/09/2010... Mounted     Mounted
Mailbox Data... ex1             ex2             Succeeded  0                  14/09/2010... Mounted     Mountede

Note the use of -Confirm:$false to avoid having to confirm each move. Use this option with caution.

After moving all active mailbox databases off the server that you are planning to update, the final preparation step is to block activation on the server to prevent it from automatically reactiving a database copy while you are performing maintenance.

First check the current activation policy on the server using Get-MailboxServer.

[PS] C:\>Get-MailboxServer EX1 | fl Name,DatabaseCopyAutoActivationPolicy

Name                             : EX1
DatabaseCopyAutoActivationPolicy : Unrestricted

Next, use Set-MailboxServer to block activation.

[PS] C:\>Set-MailboxServer EX1 -DatabaseCopyAutoActivationPolicy Blocked

Stop Conflicting Services

If the mailbox server is running any Exchange-integrated services, such as antivirus software, these should be disabled prior to the update.
For example to disable Forefront use the FSUtility command.

C:\> fsutility /disable

Another example is Data Protection Manager 2010, which may be configured to perform Copy backups from passive database copies at frequent intervals through the day. Make sure these jobs are paused to prevent errors or conflicts from occuring.

Disable Monitoring

If the DAG members are monitored using SCOM or a similar system then this should also be disabled or placed into maintenance mode.

This will prevent alarms from being raised as well as prevent any automatic remediation actions from being run by the monitoring agent that may cause the server updates to fail.

Updating the Server

Install the update following the deployment notes for that update type.

Update rollups come in the form of a .MSP file (Windows Installer Patch) that is applied to the server. Simply double-click the file or launch it from a command line window.

Service packs are a complete reissue of the Exchange Server setup files and are installed by running setup in upgrade mode, which can be run in either graphical or command line mode.

C:\> setup /m:upgrade

Both update rollups and service packs can take some time to install, so plan a large window of time for these updates.

Verifying the Update

After the update has completed, and if necessary the server rebooted, you should check the server’s health before placing it back into production in the CAS array.

Event Logs – look for error or warning events that have started since the update was applied.

Setup Logs – service packs write a complete setup log file to C:\ExchangeSetupLogs

Services – check the Exchange services are running (or at least those that you expect to be running, some such as IMAP and POP will be stopped if you have not explicitly enabled them)

[PS] C:\>Get-Service *exchange*

Status   Name               DisplayName
------   ----               -----------
Running  MSExchangeADTop... Microsoft Exchange Active Directory...
Running  MSExchangeIS       Microsoft Exchange Information Store
Running  MSExchangeMailb... Microsoft Exchange Mailbox Assistants
Running  MSExchangeMailS... Microsoft Exchange Mail Submission
Stopped  MSExchangeMonit... Microsoft Exchange Monitoring
Running  MSExchangeRepl     Microsoft Exchange Replication
Running  MSExchangeRPC      Microsoft Exchange RPC Client Access
Running  MSExchangeSA       Microsoft Exchange System Attendant
Running  MSExchangeSearch   Microsoft Exchange Search Indexer
Running  MSExchangeServi... Microsoft Exchange Service Host
Running  MSExchangeThrot... Microsoft Exchange Throttling
Running  MSExchangeTrans... Microsoft Exchange Transport Log Se...
Running  msftesql-Exchange  Microsoft Search  (Exchange)
Running  vmickvpexchange    Hyper-V Data Exchange Service
Stopped  wsbexchange        Microsoft Exchange Server Extension...

Returning the Server to Production

If the update was successful and the server healthy then it can be placed back into production.

Re-enable services such as Forefront Protection for Exchange.

C:\> fsutility /enable

Re-enable monitoring agents and alarms for the server.
Set the server’s activation policy back to its original setting.

[PS] C:\>Set-MailboxServer EX1 -DatabaseCopyAutoActivationPolicy Unrestricted

At this stage you might move all of the active mailbox databases to the server that was just updated so that you can update the other servers in the DAG. After all of the DAG members have been updated it is likely that mailbox databases will be active on servers that are not their first activation preference.

For Exchange Server 2010 RTM you can view the activation preferences for each database, and manually move active mailbox databases to their preferred server.

[PS] C:\>Get-MailboxDatabase | fl name,activationpreference

Name                 : Mailbox Database 02
ActivationPreference : {[EX2, 1], [EX1, 2]}

Name                 : Mailbox Database 01
ActivationPreference : {[EX1, 1], [EX2, 2]}

[PS] C:\>Move-ActiveMailboxDatabase "Mailbox Database 01" -ActivateOnServer EX1

Confirm
Are you sure you want to perform this action?
Moving mailbox database "Mailbox Database 01" from server "EX2.exchangeserverpro.local" to server
"ex1.exchangeserverpro.local".
[Y] Yes  [A] Yes to All  [N] No  [L] No to All  [?] Help (default is "Y"): y

Identity        ActiveServerAtS ActiveServerAtE Status     NumberOfLogsLost   RecoveryPoint MountStatus MountStatus
                tart            nd                                            Objective     AtMoveStart AtMoveEnd
--------        --------------- --------------- ------     ----------------   ------------- ----------- -----------
Mailbox Data... ex2             ex1             Succeeded  0                  14/09/2010... Mounted     Mounted

[This is a rivisited page. Original source page] http://exchangeserverpro.com