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I am building a network architecture from scratch for a small company (~20 users). I plan to use the "classical" model: -A server that contains Active Directory -A server that contains Exchange server

1 - Can we use Microsoft exchange without Microsoft active directory (ie not have a AD server at all)? 2- In order to have a fail-safe architecture, do we need 2 Domain controllers and 2 exhange servers (ie 4 in total)? or do we only need 2 domain controllers and 1 exchange server?

Thank you.

PS. Sorry guys for being lazy. I will hire a consultant certainly but at least I have an idea now about what to do. Thank you.

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closed as not constructive by adaptr, EEAA, Dave M, pauska, joeqwerty Dec 13 '12 at 14:19

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

You're asking if you can use Exchange without having AD. You really need to hire a professional. – pauska Dec 13 '12 at 14:10
While you might need 4 servers for full redundancy (depending on your requirements as mentioned in the Answers), these could be run on as few as two physical servers using virtualization (ESX or Hyper-V would be recommended) – Chris S Dec 13 '12 at 14:34

1) no, you need AD

2) It depends how much downtime is acceptable in the event of a failure. If you don't want to restore mail databases from backup, then have two Exchange servers and use DAGs. If you're OK going to tape for a restore in the event of a failure, then do one Exchange server. Definitely two DCs though. Always at least two DCs.

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These are all very generic questions that show you haven't invested any time in reading the Microsoft documentation; these things are very extensively documented.

Yes, you need AD to run exchange. No, you don't need two of each.
This all depends on your requirements, which you don't seem to have.

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Yes, You do need two of each. Or you're fucked if one of either breaks. – Tom O'Connor Dec 13 '12 at 13:15
Correction: You want two of each. I'd just follow the MS documentation, which doesn't state that redundancy is required. A marginally more intelligent question from the OP would have helped, too. – adaptr Dec 13 '12 at 14:32
In which case, I'd say MS are living in a fantasy world.. based on past experience, I'd also say that's not a surprise. – Tom O'Connor Dec 13 '12 at 14:42
Well, since the products technically don't require redundancy, you can hardly expect them to say otherwise :) I don't doubt that they do advise it in any Best Practices documents on the subject. – adaptr Dec 13 '12 at 14:45

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