Intersite domain connection issues

I have been battling a strange problem that has been difficult to 
troubleshoot and difficult to explain or categorize. I'm hoping that someone 
may have encountered similar issues and have some ideas.

Problem: About every 3 days or so, the exchange server in the branch office 
will experience some or all of the following problems:
    1. Mail flow between the main office and this branch office will stop 
including outgoing and incoming Internet mail and mail.
    2. From this server, I cannot connect to the administrative share (c$ or 
d$) of one or both of the domain controllers in the main office. One of the 
main office domain controllers is a Windows 2000 DC upgraded to 2003. The 
other DC in the main office is a Windows 2000 domain controller running 
Exchange 2003. Most of the time, the connection problems seem to be with the 
2003 DC. Whatever DC I am having trouble connecting with, the problem is 
bi-directional. I can log on to the other DC and I also cannot connect to an 
administrative share on the server in the branch office. However, from the 
server in the branch office, I can connect to shares on other servers in the 
main office.
    3. Most of the time, I can "fix" the problem by rebooting the server in 
the branch office. Until I can resolve the problem, I have resorted to 
rebooting this server every 3 days late at night. Sometimes a reboot of this 
server does not help and I have to reboot one of the other servers in the 
main office.
    4. If I wait too long to reboot the server in the main office, I cannot 
connect to the server with a terminal server connection. However, I can, 
establish a remote desktop connection to another Windows XP computer in that 
same office and use that computer to make a remote desktop connection to the 
branch office server.

This problem seems to have started shortly after upgrading the first DC in 
the main office from Windows 2000 to 2003. My event logs on all the servers 
are fairly clean. I cannot find anything in any of the event logs that give 
me a clue as to what is happening. It appears to be some sort of 
authentication problem between the branch office and the main office but the 
Application, Directory Service, DNS Server, File Replication Service, 
System, etc logs do not give me a clue as to what is happening. Dcdiag and 
other such tools seem to run without error. The long term solution that I am 
working on is to complete the Windows 2003 upgrades and break up the server 
in the branch office into a separate Exchange server (that is not a DC) and 
install a new Exchange server in the main office that is not a DC. Until I 
can get that accomplished, I am still battling this problem.

Following is a rough summary of the environment:

Environment: Main office and branch office geographically separated
Users: Aproximately 60 users between two offices.
Network: 100MB lan in each office
Inter-office Connectivity: VPN tunnel over a DSL connection
Domain: Mixed Windows 2000 and 2003 domain

Domain controllers:
Branch office currently has one server functioning as 
file/print/exchange/domain controller for a office of about 30 users
Main office has two domain controllers. One is an upgraded 2000 DC upgraded 
to 2003 running DNS. The other domain controller is the exchange server. It 
is still a windows 2000 domain controller but the Exchange server is 
Exchange 2003.

Exchange: Exchange 2003 (not native). There are two exchange servers in the 
main office and one exchange server in the branch office. One of the 
exchange servers in the main office accepts mail for the entire organization 
and is also hosts the mailbox stores for the main office of about 20 users.

If anyone has any ideas, I would certainly appreciate it.

Rod 


0
6/16/2005 2:54:35 PM
exchange.admin 57650 articles. 2 followers. Follow

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