Microsoft announces Exchange Support for Azure VM as a Witness Server

Posted by bink on October 31 2014, 6:37 PM.

Today at Teched in Barcelona Microsoft announced in a Exchange session by Scott Schnoll that Exchange will soon support for Azure VM as a Witness Server:

As of January 1, 2015, Microsoft will support using an Azure laaS file server VM as a witness server for an on-premises DAG .

  • Testing and validation has been completed (by Tim McMichael)
  • Documentation is in progress
  • DAG should be extended to multiple sites to benefit (no benefit to single site DAGs)

This is not the same as the 'Cloud Witness' in Windows Threshold (aka Windows Server Technical Preview)

I did suggest that scenario in a previous post on Cloud Witness, sorry for that, but the Exchange Engineering team has not yet decided if they will do the work required to support this.


Below you can see an architectural overview of Exchange with Azure VM as a Witness Server:


Click for larger view


High level steps that need to be taken:

  1. Prepare Azure Networking
    a. Create Network Services
    b. Connect On-Premises VPN Gateways to Windows Azure
  2. Configure Virtual Machines in Azure
    a. Configure Directory Server
    b. Configure File Server
  3. Configure Exchange 2013 to use Azure Witness
  4. Validate and Test