Roll Back Options for installing SP1 on a DAG

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I've been reading a lot of scary posts about failed SP1 installs. Is it possible to install SP1 on one DAG member and one CAS server just to see if it will hose something? Is it possible to mount databases from a pre SP1 DAG member to an SP1 DAG member and vice versa? We are using a lot of clients that MS usually doesn't regression test (entourage, IMAP and pop clients, non MS active sync clients) so I would like to be able to quickly roll back if necessary.

I would like to do the following:

1. Upgrade one cas in our array (perhaps shut off the other)

2. Upgrade a DAG member with un active database copies

3. Activate databases on upgraded sp1 DAG member


5. If problems cannot be resolved, fail back to non SP1 DAG member. Roll back or Reinstall RTM on upgraded SP1 CAS and DAG member.
Would this work? If not what is the roll back procedure if any?


Be aware of other implications of the upgrade A DAG member running the RTM version of Exchange 2010 can move its active databases to a DAG member running Exchange 2010 SP1, but not the reverse. After a DAG member has been upgraded to Exchange 2010 SP1, its active database copies can't be moved to another DAG member running the RTM version.

Ok so activating back to an upgraded DAG member is a one way thing. What about creating a test database with a few test mailboxes for this. If there is a problem, move or delete the test mailboxes.



As others have said the short answer is there is no rollback.

SP1 extends your schema, and completely uninstalls/reinstalls Exchange on your server and thus cannot be "uninstalled" with any kind of ease. In all honesty I would treat the DAG as one logical unit ... you will cause more problems than you will ever avoid by running a mixed-mode DAG.

Other things of note:

1. When roles are seperated, MS recomends the CAS be upgraded before the MBX. People who use 2-node solutions with a hardware loadbalancer will quickly run into a problem as they can't upgrade thier CAS seperate from thier MBX/DAG. This causes all sorts of trouble if you dont put the non-sp1 box into maintenance mode.

2. SP1 enables features that were disabled by default, and changes the way you enable other features. Pay special attention to throttling, fixing the RPC address book reply port, SSL offloading, and in general any setting you made by editing a .config file. Having an array/DAG with differetn features enabled/disabled will cause nothing but trouble.

3. EMC needs to be updated on all the clients if they want to connect to the server (assuming they dont RDP) after the upgrade.

Not to scare you, as honesly I think SP1 is a good step forward, but it's not without it's growing pains.

Steve Goodman

As Justin says and you've read via Khoj, there is no rollback on an Active Mailbox database. Yes, you could risk making a test mailbox database on the DAG and activating that, but then you have the problem of re-seeing databases on a rebuilt server to RTM if you decide you want to roll back. It would be a bit of a mess.

Whilst on the Exchange TAP for SP1 we did this upgrade in total hundreds of times across quite a few servers and had to consider each time having to roll back. Firstly.. We *never* had to roll back. But we did have to consider how we could quickly switch everyone onto RTM if needed.

So what we did was fairly straightforward. Firstly, we have always maintained a test environment (virtual) with test clients etc. This mirrors the production environment logically/config wise and avoids most issues.

The second thing we did proved to be unneccessary, but may be worth mentioning. We setup another AD site for a core set of Exchange 2010 RTM server (the AD site was to enable CAS proxy from SP1 > RTM, and provide seperation); as you can downgrade a mailbox from SP1 to RTM by moving the mailbox we had a quick switch mechanism to move users with issues to RTM quickly.

However, running ExBPA and understanding things like Justin mentions are worthwhile to avoid any issues, along with assessing your third party software and looking for any implications up front. It's a great SP, big move forward but like most product not perfect.


Steve Goodman
Check out my Blog for more Exchange info or find me on Twitter

AndyD_ [MVP]

Like everyone says, do them all at once. Create an upgrade plan and knock them out.

As was mentioned already, You can however upgrade only all the CAS first if they are separated. Then do the next roles after that. The important thing is that any CAS in an array has to be upgraded to the same level at once ( You will run into ActiveSync issues otherwise and its not suppoted) . And of course, any mailbox servers in a DAG have to be upgraded at the same time as well.

But, I hear you. Its not a warm fuzzy and is different in many ways from the upgrade methods with previous versions of Exchange.
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