Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Exchange 2010 Edge Role + 2 NIC cards + DNS issues

I am trying out a few technologies that are new to me for one of our clients, namely Exchange 2010 with the Edge role on a DMZ server, as well as installing Threat Management Gateway on the Edge server... good times! I am sure there will be several posts on TMG coming soon... I can feel it now...

Anyway, I ran into a DNS problem with my fresh Exchange 2010 install that took a little bit of doing to figure out what was going on. The basic layout of the environment is that they have a single Exchange 2010 server on their LAN with the CAS/HUB/MBX roles installed, and a single EDGE role on a DMZ server that is on the domain. This Edge server has two NIC cards... one for the inside network so it can talk to the domain and do windows authentication, and one for the outside network so that it can receive mail and publish the Exchange web interface.

Shortly after installation, mail started queuing up on my edge server. Taking immediate advantage of the tools in front of me, I used the Queue viewer and noticed a few DNS warnings that certain domains could not be resolved. Thinking I was smart, I proceeded to put in hosts entries on the Edge server... nope, didn't solve it. I then thought that perhaps it was using the external interface's DNS server to try and resolve internal server names... so I took the DNS servers away from the external NIC card... still no luck.

Then, I stumbled upon a setting that suddenly cleared it all up: on the edge server, if you open up the Exchange management console, right click on the Edge server in the middle pane, and go to properties, there is a tab for 'External DNS lookups.' I set this to the Inside NIC card, and bam, mail started flowing.