How to rebuild an Exchange edge transport server

Since the edge transport server’s configuration info isn’t stored in Active Directory, you can’t rebuild it as you would other server roles. We’ve got the instructions you’ll need.

When it comes to rebuilding Exchange server roles, it’s usually as simple as typing the Setup /M:recoverserver...

command. But that’s not the case for the edge transport server. The edge is not a domain member, therefore its configuration information is not stored in the Active Directory database. To rebuild it, you must use a unique set of recovery techniques.

Exporting the edge transport server configuration
The key to rebuilding the edge transport server role is exporting your edge configuration and keeping it in a safe place. That way, it’s easy to access in times of disaster. If a disaster has already struck and you don’t have a copy of your edge configuration, you can still rebuild the server. The only problem is you’ll have to configure it manually.

When you export the edge configuration file, you’re actually writing the following information to an .xml file:

  • Attachment filtering entries
  • Address rewrite entries
  • Content filtering configuration
  • Recipient filtering configuration
  • IP allow list
  • IP block list
  • Send and receive connector configuration information
  • Accepted domain configuration
  • Remote domain configuration
  • Transport agent information such as priority and status
  • Logging paths

Exporting the edge configuration is a simple process because Microsoft provides a PowerShell script to automate it. To export the edge configuration, open the Exchange Management Shell (EMS) and enter the following commands:

CD “\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V14Scripts”
./ExportEdgeConfig –CloneConfigData:”C:\EdgeConfig.XML”

Once you’ve created the EdgeConfig.xml file, move it off your Exchange server and store it in a safe place.

Importing the Exchange edge configuration
If disaster strikes and you need to rebuild your edge transport server, the first step is to install a clean version Exchange Server to your edge transport server. Once the edge transport role is installed, rename the server so that it matches the name you used previously.

The next step is to import the edge configuration. To begin, copy your EdgeConfig.xml file to the new edge transport server. For the sake of this tip, let’s assume that you’re copying the file to C:\.

Note: You can use any path you like, just make sure to adjust your file paths accordingly.

Once the EdgeConfig.XML file is in place, open the EMS and enter the following commands:

CD “\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V14\Scripts”
./ImportEdgeConfig –CloneConfigData:”C:\EdgeConfig.xml” –IsImport $False –CloneConfigAnswer:”C:\CloneConfigAnswer.xml”

Exchange will now create a file named C:\CloneConfigAnswer.xml. Open this file in Notepad. If the file is empty, all is well and you can delete the .xml file. The CloneConfigAnswer. xml file will be populated only if an error occurs during the import process.

Re-establishing the Exchange edge subscription
Importing the edge configuration will restore the edge transport server’s configuration data, but you must also re-establish the edge synchronization. Before you do, take a moment to verify that DNS name resolution is working on the edge transport server as well as on the hub transport server.

The next step is to create an edge subscription file. To do so, open the EMS on the edge transport server and enter the following command:

New-EdgeSubscription –FileName “C:\EdgeSubscriptionInfo.xml”

The next step is to remove the old edge subscription from your hub transport server. To do so, open the EMS on your hub transport server and enter the following command:

Remove-EdgeSubscription –Identity <edge transport server name> -DomainController <the name of your domain controller>

Copy the EdgeSubscriptionInfo.xml file to the hub transport server and remove it from the edge transport server (leaving a copy on the edge transport server is a security risk). Now enter the following command into the EMS on the hub transport server:

New-EdgeSubscription -FileData ([byte[]]$(Get-Content -Path "C:\EdgeSubscriptionInfo.xml" -Encoding Byte -ReadCount 0)) -Site "Default-First-Site-Name"

You have now established the edge synchronization and the rebuilding process is complete.

As you can see, it’s pretty easy to rebuild an edge transport server. That said, if you have a current -- and full -- server backup of your edge transport server, it is probably easier to restore the backup than to manually rebuild the server.

Brien Posey
is an eight-time Microsoft MVP with two decades of IT experience. Before becoming a freelance technical writer, Brien worked as a CIO for a national chain of hospitals and healthcare facilities. He has also served as a network administrator for some of the nation’s largest insurance companies and for the Department of Defense at Fort Knox.

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