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Server switchover in Exchange Server

Perform a server switchover in Exchange Server through Exchange Admin Center (EAC). Another way is to perform a server switchover with Exchange Management Shell (EMS). Why do you need to perform a server switchover? For example, you want to update your Exchange Server. First, move the mounted databases to another Exchange Server. After you move the databases, update and reboot the Exchange Server.

Introduction

You need to have the following requirements set up before you can perform a switchover:

Server switchover in Exchange Admin Center

Let’s have a look at how to perform a server switchover in Exchange Admin Center.

Prepare information

Sign in to the Exchange Admin Center. Navigate to servers > servers.

In our example, two Exchange Servers are running.

List Exchange Servers in EAC

Let’s check on which Exchange Server the mailbox databases are active. Go to servers > databases.

List mailbox databases in EAC

We did gather all the information we needed. Let’s proceed further to perform a server switchover.

Perform server switchover

Navigate to servers > servers. Select the mailbox server that you want to switch over. In the details pane, select Server Switchover.

Server switchover Exchange Server EAC

On the Server Switchover page, you will see two options:

  1. Accept the default setting of Automatically choose a target server (in which case, the system automatically selects the best Mailbox server for each database being switched over).
  2. Specify a server as target for switchover (click Browse to select a Mailbox server manually).
Server switchover Exchange Server target server switchover

We will choose the option Specify a server as target for switchover. It’s because we like to select the Mailbox server manually.

Click the second option and click Browse.

Server switchover Exchange Server specify  server as target

Select a Mailbox server, and click OK.

Server switchover Exchange Server select mailbox server

You will get back to the previous screen. The mailbox server is now specified. Click Save.

Server switchover Exchange Server save

The switchover is completed successfully. Click Close.

Server switchover Exchange Server completed

Verify server switchover

Check that the mailbox databases are moved to the specified Exchange Server.

Server switchover Exchange Server verify

The databases are active on the Exchange Server we choose as the target.

Server switchover in Exchange Management Shell

Let’s have a look at the steps to perform a server switchover in Exchange Management Shell.

Prepare information

Let’s list the Exchange Servers in the organization. Run Exchange Management Shell as administrator and run the Get-ExchangeServer cmdlet.

In our example, we have two Exchange Server 2016 in the organization.

[PS] C:\>Get-ExchangeServer | Format-Table Name, ServerRole, Edition, AdminDisplayVersion

Name      ServerRole    Edition AdminDisplayVersion
----      ----------    ------- -------------------
EX01-2016    Mailbox Enterprise Version 15.1 (Build 2308.8)
EX02-2016    Mailbox Enterprise Version 15.1 (Build 2242.4)

Run the Get-MailboxDatabase cmdlet to check on which Exchange Server the mailbox databases are mounted.

[PS] C:\>Get-MailboxDatabase -Status | Sort Server | Format-Table Name, Server, Mounted

Name Server    Mounted
---- ------    -------
DB01 EX01-2016    True
DB03 EX01-2016    True
DB02 EX02-2016    True
DB04 EX02-2016    True

List the databases only on a particular Exchange Server.

[PS] C:\>Get-MailboxDatabase -Status | ? {$_.Server -like "EX01-2016"} | Sort Name | Format-Table Name, Server, Mounted

Name      Server    Mounted
----      ------    -------
DB01-2016 EX01-2016    True
DB03-2016 EX01-2016    True

Now that we know which Exchange Servers are in the organization, we will perform a server switchover.

Perform server switchover

We want to move all the databases from Exchange Server EX01-2016 to Exchange Server EX02-2016.

[PS] C:\>Move-ActiveMailboxDatabase -Server "EX01-2016" -ActivateOnServer "EX02-2016" -SkipMoveSuppressionChecks -Confirm:$false

Identity        ActiveServerAtStart ActiveServerAtEnd Status     NumberOfLogsLost   RecoveryPointObjective MountStatusAtMoveStart MountStatusAtMoveEnd
--------        ------------------- ---------------   ------     ----------------   ---------------------- ---------------------- --------------------
DB01            EX01-2016           EX02-2016         Succeeded  0                  10/22/2021 12:09:47 PM Mounted                Mounted
DB03            EX01-2016           EX02-2016         Succeeded  0                  10/22/2021 12:09:47 PM Mounted                Mounted

Verify server switchover

After the switchover, we will verify if the move was successful.

[PS] C:\>Get-MailboxDatabase -Status | Sort Server | Format-Table Name, Server, Mounted

Name Server    Mounted
---- ------    -------
DB03 EX02-2016    True
DB04 EX02-2016    True
DB01 EX02-2016    True
DB02 EX02-2016    True

All the databases are active on the Exchange Server EX02-2016.

Read more: Copy receive connector to another Exchange Server »

Conclusion

We showed how to perform a server switchover in Exchange Server. Performing a server switchover can be done through Exchange Admin Center or with Exchange Management Shell. Always move databases before you start upgrading or rebooting your Exchange Server. For more information about server switchover, visit Microsoft Docs.

Did you enjoy this article? You may also like Move all mailboxes from one database to another. Don’t forget to follow us and share this article.

ALI TAJRAN

ALI TAJRAN

ALI TAJRAN is a passionate IT Architect, IT Consultant, and Microsoft Certified Trainer. He started Information Technology at a very young age, and his goal is to teach and inspire others. Read more »

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Hi,

    “Always move the databases before you start upgrading or rebooting your Exchange Server.” – what if I have 1 Exchange Server 2016 and I need to patch it every month on 2nd Tuesday, when MS updates become available?
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Andrejs,

      When you only have one Exchange Server, you can’t. I recommend you to plan updates in the evening or on the weekends. Suppose you have the budget, set up a second Exchange Server with a DAG. Then you can apply the server switchover as explained in this article.

      Don’t forget to install Cumulative Updates on Exchange Server, that’s different than Windows Updates.

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