Recently, customers have been asking whether Microsoft supports Antigen 9.0 and Forefront Security for Exchange Server on third-party clusters (meaning non-Microsoft Cluster Service clusters). The following blog describes Microsoft’s official support policy for Microsoft Antigen 9.0 for Exchange and Forefront Security for Exchange Server running on non-Microsoft clusters.
Microsoft Customer Support Services (CSS) supports Microsoft Antigen 9.0 for Exchange Server and Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server clustering based on the failover clustering features of the Microsoft Cluster Service (MSCS). The MSCS is provided with applicable versions of Microsoft Windows operating system software. To be fully supported by CSS, a Microsoft Exchange installation that is running on MSCS must be installed on hardware that has passed Windows Catalog testing as a cluster system. For more information about the Microsoft support policy for server clusters and the Hardware Compatibility List, see the article “The Microsoft support policy for server clusters, the Hardware Compatibility List, and the Windows Server Catalog” in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: 309395 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/309395/)
Several third-party vendors offer clustering services and solutions for applicable versions of Microsoft Windows operating system software that do not rely on MSCS. CSS will try to help a customer troubleshoot and provide support for an Exchange-related issue when Exchange is installed on a third-party clustering solution. CSS will try to help a customer with such issues until it is reasonably believed that the cause of the issue is an incompatibility between the third-party clustering solution and Exchange. As part of making this determination, CSS may try to independently reproduce the issue. If the issue cannot be reproduced in a fully supported Exchange clustering environment, (For example, MSCS clustering on a Windows Catalog certified cluster system.) CSS may refer the affected customer to the vendor of the third-party clustering solution or suggest removing the third-party solution to help resolve the issue.
To be very clear, removal of the third-party clustering solution is not a precondition to receiving CSS’s support services. However, if less drastic troubleshooting efforts do not effectively resolve the issue, and there is a reasonable basis for CSS to believe that the third-party clustering solution may be the cause of the problem, CSS may have to request that the customer remove the third-party solution in order to continue troubleshooting. Otherwise, CSS may have to refer the customer to the vendor of the third-party clustering solution for additional troubleshooting support.
The customer will be completely responsible for engaging a vendor’s support organization. CSS will try to provide the customer with reasonable assistance in working with a vendor’s support organization to help resolve a customer’s cluster service issues. However, CSS should not be considered the primary liaison between the customer and the vendor. We strongly recommend that customers develop support relationships with each vendor whose hardware or software is part of their Exchange solution.
Microsoft does not perform in-depth testing of applicable versions of Windows or Antigen 9.0 for Exchange Server or Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server software with third-party vendor services and solutions. Additionally, there is no Microsoft hardware or application certification program for these solutions. Therefore, we cannot provide information about the actual performance or interaction of third-party clustering services and solutions that are running Exchange.
The following table outlines the specific versions of Microsoft Antigen 9.0 for Exchange Server and Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server and Windows software that are required to create MSCS-based Exchange clusters.
Operating system version/Exchange version
Microsoft Antigen 9.0 for Exchange
Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise
Microsoft Exchange Server 2003
Microsoft Antigen 9.0 for Exchange Server SP1
Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server
Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server SP1
For more information about the configurations for Exchange running on MSCS-based clusters that we recommend, visit one or both of the following Microsoft Web sites:
· Antigen for Exchange Cluster Installation Guide http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb913988.aspx
· Forefront Security for Exchange Server Cluster Installation Guide http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb892168.aspx
Holly L. Kipp
CSS Security Senior Support Engineer