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Use PowerShell’s Move-ClusteredMailboxServer cmdlet to transfer CMS to a passive cluster node

As you must already realize that you can’t be an Exchange 2007 administrator without knowing or learning PowerShell. As you have to use PowerShell to accomplish some of the tasks and for some tasks even though you can do it in EMC (Exchange Management Console) but Microsoft recommend that you do it through Exchange Cmdlet.

If you manage Exchange 2007 in a clustered environment (currently only supported for mailbox server role). You must have used the below cmdlet to transfer Exchange Server 2007 clustered mailbox server (CMS) to a passive cluster node.

Move-ClusteredMailboxServer –Identity:NYCESP02 –targetmachine:NYCMBXP03

What it does is to make the current passive node NYCMBXP03 an active node on cluster NYCESP02

For details about the above cmdlet, type get-help Move-ClusteredMailboxServer –full in PowerShell prompt.

Sounds easy? But there is a catch – see below

PS C:\Documents and Settings\yl.admin\My Documents\PS> Get-ClusteredMailboxServerStatus -Identity nycesp02
Identity : NYCESP02
ClusteredMailboxServerName :
State : Online
OperationalMachines : {NYCMBXP03 <Active>, NYCMBXP04 <Quorum Owner>}
FailedResources : {}
IsValid : True
ObjectState : Unchanged

While it indeed transferred the owner for the Exchange group but the quorum or the cluster group owner is still on NYCMBXP04 (the previous active node).

There is nothing wrong with that and it is actually by design: The move-ClusteredMailboxserver cmdlet only moves the Exchange group and there is no impact on the cluster group!

Unfortunatly for some Exchange 2007 administrator they just leave their Exchange cluser like that! They were told by Microsoft and others that the recommended way to move Exchange group is to use the above cmdlet. They get it then they notice the fact the cluster group wasn’t moved and they are “concerned” to move the cluster group through cluster administrator GUI because they think that’s not the right way. As the result they leave their Exchange cluster in the “split-brain” mode – the exchange group is owned by one node and the cluster group is owned by another node!

While Microsoft indeed recommed to use Move-ClusteredMailboxServer to move the Exchange group but that’s only for the Exchange group, it has no impact on the cluster group and it doesnt’ prevent you use the cluster administrator GUI to move the cluster group! You actually need to do that!

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Ying Li obtained a Master degree of Medicine in China and worked in the medical field before he came to the states in 1996. He made the career switch from troubleshooting people to troubleshooting computers after he came to the states. Not entirely a surprise there, if you know that his second preference for college is Mathematics. Ying is two times Admin Framework MVP awardee (2007-2008).His previous employment experience in the US includes UUNET, MCI WorldCom. MMC (Marsh & McLennan Companies), Merrill Lynch. He is currently employed by Related Companies as a Senior Infrastructure Engineer. He is proficient in virtually all Microsoft products (Office/Back office). His craving for efficiency naturally leads him to scripting, automation and before you know it, PowerShell! He is currently a MCSE (NT4, 2000, 2003) and MCITP Server Administrator. Ying enjoys wines and love to travel. His non work related passion is to advocate Health Living!

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