A Gotcha to Installing EBS in an Existing Environment

I encountered a problem this week-end that baffled me for a while… Here is the infrastructure, the problem, and the solution.

image This network diagram is a rough sketch of the relevant portions of the network.  At present I have a server (HP DL585 G2) working as my virtualization parent, with my Windows Small Business Server 2008 (SBS) running in a child machine.  This SBS box is very new to the environment, and will likely soon be used to record migrating from SBS 2008 to EBS 2008… but for now it does its thing.

I was given a clean server (HP DL385 G5) and tasked with creating a virtual Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (EBS) infrastructure for demonstration purposes at an upcoming event.  I installed the server with Windows Server 2008 (x64) Enterprise Edition with all of the necessary patches, installed the Hyper-V role, making sure that I patched Hyper-V as well (KB950050).

This was probably the twentieth time I have gone about installing EBS since I joined that beta program, and although there are a lot of ‘gotchas’ I am fairly adept at avoiding most of them.  Both the Management Server and Messaging Server have multiple virtual hard drives (each running on its own drive); I had pre-created two virtual networks (SWMI_Int and SWMI_Ext).  The EBS Security Server had two virtual NICs… one connected to each network, while the Management and Messaging Servers were connected to the Internal network.

I was fairly certain that I had followed the ‘measure twice, cut once’ rule to the best of my ability, and the installation was going very smoothly.  I ran the EBS Preparation and Planning Wizards, and the installation of the Management Server and Security Server went smoothly… but in my experience they always do, and it is the Messaging Server that causes the most issues.  Sure enough…

The first problem I encountered was an Intermittent Network Issue.. during the Domain Configuration pass.  This was not the first time I had seen this happen, and the Retry button allowed me to continue without doing any maintenance. 

The Exchange Server Installation pass failed, and also offered a Retry option… but to no avail.  The message told me to look in the C:ExchangeSetupLogs directory for guidance.  The relevant portion of the log file (always the last few lines :)) are listed below:

[10/25/2008 10:24:07 PM] [2] Running <C:Windowssystem32ldifde,exe> with arguments <-i –s “vSWMI-Msg.swmi.local” –f “C:Program FilesWindows Essential Business ServerBinEXCHSVR80SetupServerRolesCommonSetupDataPostWindows2003_Schema0.ldf” –j “C:UsersAdministrator.swmiAppDataLocalTemp” –c “<SchemaContainerDN>” “CN=Schema,CN=Configuration,DC=swmi,DC=local”>.

[10/25/2008 10:24:39 PM] [2] Process C:Windowssystem32ldifde.exe has finished with exit code 8206.

[10/25/2008 10:24:39 PM] [2] [ERROR] Unexpected Error

[10/25/2008 10:24:39 PM] [2] An error occurred when executing ‘ldifde.exe’ to import schema file ‘C:Program FilesWindows Essential Business ServerBinEXCHSVR80SetupServerRolesCommonSetupDataPostWindows2003_schema0.ldf’. Error code: 8206. More details can be found in the error file ‘C:UsersAdministrator.SWMIAppDataLocalTemp.ldif.err’.

I followed the clues to the ldif.err file, which was much more succinct:

Entry DN: CN=ms-Exch-Access-Control-Map,CN=Schema,CN=Configuration,DC=swmi,DC=local

Add error on entry starting on line 1: Busy

The server side error is: 0x21a2 The FSMO role ownership could not be verified because its directory partition has not replicated successfully with at least one replication partner.

The extended server error is:

000021A2: SvcErr: DSID-030A0AF2, problem 5001 (BUSY), data 0

An error has occurred in the program

If the FSMO (Flexible Single Master Operation) role ownership could not be verified there was a problem with a domain controller… but the DC was installed from scratch in a pristine environment less than ten hours earlier, and had not been altered.  I pressed Retry knowing it wouldn’t work, and went up to bed.

In the morning I was greeted by the same error in the same spot… why weren’t my FSMO roles verifiable?  More importantly, what was different from the last time I installed EBS in September?  I was working off the same source files on the same platform… the only additions to my infrastructure were the SBS 2008 server, and my Windows Home Server (WHS).

WHS is not an Active Directory server, so it wouldn’t have anything to do with FSMO roles.  The Small Business Server, on the other hand, is… and what the two (SBS and EBS) have in common is that they both MUST hold all five FSMO roles on their primary server… and failing to do so not only is a licensing breach, it will also cause any number of unexpected errors.

Could it be that simple?  I configured the settings of the EBS Security Server’s external NIC… the one that was on the same subnet as my SBS box.  Lo and behold, when I pressed Retry the installation continued without any issues.

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