This article applies to:

Exchange 2016

This article describes how to properly perform a maintenance procedure on a 2 node Exchange Database Availability Group (DAG).

You will typically need this in order to perform maintenance work like hardware installation, patching, software upgrades and similar, where it is necessary to shut down or reboot an Exchange machine that is part of a DAG.

For this purpose Microsoft delivers 3 PowerShell scripts as a part of your Exchange installation :


Those scripts will automate a lot of steps for you. For example, StartDagServerMaintenance.ps1 will set the Exchange server into maintenance mode, which will prevent that other servers in the DAG, attempt a database failover onto the maschine where you are currently performing maintenance work. Also all active databases will be moved to the other node(s). And after the maintenance work is done, you will be able to automatically redistribute database with the RedistributeActiveDatabases.ps1 script based on the configured activation preference.

Those scripts are located in the Exchange scripts folder. In Exchange PowerShell the path to this folder is preloaded in the variable $exscripts. Therefore you don’t need to memorise the langly path or to wonder around seaching for it (in case Exchange was installed in a non-default path). In order to switch directly to Exchange scripts folder, just type the following command in the Exchange PowerShell window.

cd $exscripts

So here are the steps on how to perform maintenance on your Exchange 2016 DAG:

On Server1

cd $exscripts
.\StartDagServerMaintenance.ps1 -ServerName SERVER1 -OverrideMinimumTwoCopies

Do you maintenance work

.\StopDagServerMaintenance.ps1 -ServerName SERVER1

On Server2 (same process as on Server1)

cd $exscripts
.\StartDagServerMaintenance.ps1 -ServerName SERVER2 -OverrideMinimumTwoCopies

Do your maintenance work

.\StopDagServerMaintenance.ps1 -ServerName SERVER2

Now that maintenance work is done on both servers, all database copies are active on SERVER1 and we need to redestribute them back to server(s) where those belong. For that purpose you can execute the following script

.\RedistributeActiveDatabases.ps1 -DagName DAGNAME -BalanceDbsByActivationPreference -Confirm:$False

Additional tips:


In order to verify that everything went OK with the database moves, at any given time, you can use the following command.

Get-MailboxDatabaseCopyStatus -Server SERVER1 | Format-Table -Autosize
Get-MailboxDatabaseCopyStatus -Server SERVER2 | Format-Table -Autosize

On servers that are handling larger amount of data it can take some time until indexing service picks up. So if for example ContentIndexState shows any value other than Healthy, simply wait 10-15 minutes. As a last resort you can force the retry by simply restarting the Microsoft Exchange Search Service.


In this example we used the -OverrideMinimumTwoCopies switch with the StartDAGServerMaintenance.ps1 script. The script will by default make sure that there are at least 2 available copies of data available, before it attempts to move a database. Since we here have only 2 nodes during maintenance on one of those you will actually have only 1 active copy available during the maintenance. Therefore the usage of the switch -OverrideMinimumTwoCopies is necessary. In environments where you have 3 or more copies of a database, you can omit this switch.

Dejan Foro