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Tag Archive: Exchange 2010


So lately I’ve had a few customers ask ..

“How come I haven’t heard about this tool you’re talking / showing me until now?”

This was in regards to a performance analysis tool a customer found particularly useful. He went on to wonder out loud. “

“Shouldn’t there be like a master list of Microsoft utilities or tools we can / should be using on our Exchange environments?”

So I took this as an opportunity to start building such a list. So below is a list of utilities, where to get them, when you may need to use them, and the version or versions they are applicable to. Enjoy!

 

*Note* this list will evolve over time. Obviously as a Microsoft employee I am only going to highlight our utilities, it’s a legal thing I try to avoid Smile If you have a suggestion for something that should be on it that I’ve missed, please send me an email or leave a comment!"

VSSTester Script – Exchange 2010 – validate the proper operation of Exchange 2010 VSS writers and collect relevant troubleshooting information.

http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/scriptcenter/VSSTesterps1-script-4ed07243

MFCMAPI – Any version – This is an excellent tool to look directly into a mailbox or OST file to view item level attributes and settings. Handy for things like finding hidden items, finding mailbox stored settings that appear in outlook, deleting persisting rules or alerts.

http://mfcmapi.codeplex.com/releases/view/104434

Experfwiz – Exchange 2007 & higher (soon to be 2013 as well) - Powershell based script to create counter logs or data collect sets on the server to collect only the exchange relavent objects and counters.

http://experfwiz.codeplex.com/releases/view/91486

PAL – Any version – This powershell based tool will parse your previously collected perf data and review it against a collection of XML configuration files that other PFE’s in Microsoft have managed and kept updated. The tool will then spit out a beautiful HTML report with graphs, charts, and tables of your data compared to our best practice recommendations. Great for proving performance / sizing issues and gathering ammunition to bring to management if you need help in justifying a hardware purchase or scale out! *NOTE* newer versions of this tool are x64 only!

http://pal.codeplex.com/releases/view/51623

OffCat – outlook 2003 and higher – This tool will aid support technicians in finding common misconfigurations in your full Outlook clients

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36852

Network Message Analyzer – Any version – This next gen version of the old school “Net Mon” tool makes collecting network traces and packet captures much easier than in the past. want to confirm that the pesky Outlook client is constantly losing network connectivity? this is the tool for you.

https://connect.microsoft.com/site216/Downloads

Microsoft Script Center Repository – Any version – Looking for a script or automation tool to speed up a repetitive process? Looking for an easier way to capture some data and maybe email you a report of it? This is the place to be. It has many of these types of community generated scripts from users looking to help others with similar needs. Some of the contributors are local gurus, MVP’s and even Microsoft Employees and PFE’s! Great thing about this is that it’s more than just Exchange script here, it spans all MSFT technologies

http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/scriptcenter/site/search?f%5B0%5D.Type=RootCategory&f%5B0%5D.Value=Exchange&f%5B0%5D.Text=Exchange

Exchange Remote Connectivity Analyzer – All versions – This site also known as “EXRCA” is now embedded in the Exchange 2010 Admin console. We’ve expanded it’s scope and use now to include integration / testing with hosted (O365) environment as well as the above mentioned Message Header analyzer.

https://www.testexchangeconnectivity.com/

Autodiscover Self Test – Exchange 2007 and up – Great internal only test script to see if AutoD is working in a non-internet facing site where the EXRCA tool can’t be used.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/provtest/archive/2010/08/13/exchange-server-2010-sp1-beta-hosting-deployment-part-9-autodiscover.aspx

Exchange Client Network Bandwidth Calculator – Any version – This (still Beta) tool allows you to be able to created some rough numbers on the amount of bandwidth a set of clients, both mobile and full clients could place on your infrastructure as things like versions change and concurrent use varies.

http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/office/Exchange-Client-Network-8af1bf00

CalCheck tool – Outlook and Exchange 2003 and higer – Command line utility to run against a mailboxes calendar to look for issues related to permissions, free/busy publishing, and auto booking. Now 2010 has a component built-in to handle this as well (Understanding Calendar Repair & EHLO blog post on CRA)

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=28786

Datacenter Switchover Troubleshooter – Exchange 2010 – Great PPTX to walk you through the process and ensure you’re following the proper steps along the way!

http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Exchange-2010-Datacenter-09a81fc6

Log Parser Studio – Any version – Great UI based utility with some canned queries to parse IIS logs. Want to see your top 20 EAS users?

http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/office/Log-Parser-Studio-cd458765

Exchange Legacy API Scanner – Exchange 2010 – This tool scans servers looking for dependancies that are no longer supported in 2010. Great for look ahead remediation

http://exapiscanner.codeplex.com/

Exchange Pre-Deployment Analyzer – Scans your entire topology to ensure you meet the organizational and AD prerequisites to deploy a certain version of Exchange

2010 – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=11636

Exchange Deployment Assistant (EXDeploy) – Ever wonder what all the steps and things to worry about were on how to deploy a clean or upgraded version of Exchange? Here is your walkthrough! Nice since you can save it in PDF format as well for offline reference!

2013 – Exchange 2013 Deployment Assistant

2010 – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/exdeploy2010/default(EXCHG.150).aspx#Index

Exchange Mailbox Server Calculator – 2010 / 2013 – Great tool generated directly from the product group themselves (Ross Smith IV specifically and company) to assist in trying to define sizing guidance for this critical role. Understand this calc is only as good as the data you input. The more accurate your collected data, the greater chances you’ll have at a stable and properly loaded Exchange server. A 2013 version of this tool is hopefully going to be released in the near future (TBD)

http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Exchange-2010-Mailbox-Server-Role-/

2013 – http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2013/05/14/released-exchange-2013-server-role-requirements-calculator.aspx

Exchange Processor Query Tool – This tool will query the machines you plan on using for the above mailbox calc and get the proper values for the SPECint ratings section

http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Exchange-Processor-Query-b06748a5

Microsoft Connectivity Analyzer Tool – Any version – Connectivity issue analyzer for the top most common issues. Install and run locally!

https://testconnectivity.microsoft.com/?tabid=client

Exchange Server User Monitor (ExMon) – Exchange 2000 and higher – Awesome tool to see exactly which mailboxes are pulling the most load against your servers. Could be used to define who may be a good fit for client throttling.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=11461

Exchange Server Profile Analyzer – Exchange 2007 – To accurately collect existing messaging profiles (sent / recv per day, average mailbox size, etc.) This data is incredibly important for use in the mailbox calculator. Comes in 32

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10559

Public Folder Replication Troubleshooter – Exchange 2003 – Guided walk through (GWT) for attacking Public Folder Replication issues

http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2012/11/12/public-folder-replication-troubleshooter.aspx

PST Capture tool – Exchange 2010 & 2013 – Centralized tool to collect, capture and import network based PST’s into mailboxes or Exchange server based archives

http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2013/02/22/time-to-go-pst-hunting-with-the-new-pst-capture-2-0.aspx

LoadGen – Exchange 2010 – utility to be able to simulate load (client load) on a CAS/HUB role server before actually installing exchange to verify the resources allocated or installed to the server will be sufficient.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=20322

JetStress – Exchange 2010 (soon to be 2013 as well) – utility to be able to simulate load (client load) on a Mailbox role server before actually installing exchange to verify the disk subsystem exposed to the server will be sufficient.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff706601(v=exchg.141).aspx

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=4167

TCPView – All versions – displays all TCP and UDP endpoints on a system. Great for verifying a certain kind of traffic or connection is or is not taking place.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897437.aspx

PortQry UI – All versions – Tool for testing ports or access to a remote system. Can that system accept Port 25 SMTP traffic? Confirm it here

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=24009

EAS Troubleshooter script - all versions – Great PS1 file to assist in parsing the IIS logs and finding potential issues. Also aggregates a lot of the data on mobile devices admins need these days

http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2012/01/31/a-script-to-troubleshoot-issues-with-exchange-activesync.aspx

Report CAL information script – Exchange 2010 – Portion of code to report exactly how many licenses of each type you should have. Easy auditing utility.

http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/exchange/68321b75-ab3d-4e04-9fe1-6a42de23b67f

“Hey Chad, how come I see two IP addresses in Failover Cluster Manager (FCM)? Then only one is “online” and the other is “Offline”? Is there an issue with my DAG?”

Well let’s get some context here. This large customer has a stretched dag that spans two geographic and AD sites. This DAG (per Microsoft best practices) has two internal private IP’s for the MAPI networks at each location. For some additional reading, follow the linked rabbit hole below!

Understanding Database Availability Groups

So this stretched DAG is up and running successfully, replication is firing away from their primary datacenter to their DR datacenter with no issues. Everyone is happy and copy and replay queue lengths are low. Along comes their server monitoring team running around with their arms in the air screaming the Exchange 2010 sky is falling!

“There is an issue with your Exchange cluster, what would you like us to do to it for you?”

The correct answer here used (and much credit to my customer) was “Nothing”. Although Exchange DAG’s utilize Failover Cluster features of Windows Server 2008, it’s not as integrated as it was in the 2007 CCR days. Although Exchange leverages part of FC within Server 2008, it’s primary management method should always be the EMC or EM Shell. My token line about this is “If you’re in FCM, you’ve got some serious issues. Exchange DAG clusters should always be managed from EMC or EMS unless you’re doing a DC switchover and/or being assisted by Microsoft Support services (premier)”

So what are we looking at here?

DAG_IP

So the server team sees a resource “Offline” and panics. This image you see above is normal and  expected. Now the cluster “Owner” in any DAG case is the PAM or Primary Active Manager. The two IP’s we see above are going to be selected between based on which node of the stretched cluster is currently the PAM. In this example one of the nodes on the 10.84.189.X network is the PAM. How can we verify this? Easy sauce..

Get-DatabaseAvailabilityGroup A0000-DAG0102-V –Status | FL Name, *Prim*

If this node listed from the output fails, a new PAM will automatically be elected. If this node is on the same side of the stretched DAG, the DAG IP used listed above doesn’t change. If the selection / promotion process chooses a server on the far side the online / offline IP listing above would flip flop. There can only be one online IP for the DAG at anytime.

“Should I move my PAM to one datacenter over the other?”

Good question. Do you run an active / passive (Primary / DR) kind of scenario? do you have poor network connectivity to the other side of the stretched dag? Then maybe. Best case scenario with any Cluster management in Exchange is let the mechanisms manage themselves until it’s absolutely necessary to intervene.

Good afternoon all, hoping you are having a good weekend! I wish I could say I had a bunch of sleep last night but I can’t. One of my customers reached out to me in frustration at 1 am. They were in the middle of doing some initial Disaster Recovery testing for their new 2010 Exchange environment. For some background info this is a very large company with a mix of 2003, 2007 & 2010. They just added the 24 Exchange 2010 servers into the mix. They have a small pilot set of users on the 2010 side (around 250 users of their 100k +) The servers are split between two primary datacenters. Half of the 2010 servers in each. There are two Database Availability Groups. Each with 12 servers a piece, 6 per datacenter.

Now in this test they were using Datacenter Activation Coordination Mode (DAC) for both DAGs. In their test window they were able to successfully fail over from the primary datacenter both DAGs. They were able to test all parts from the secondary site (Mail flow , OWA access, ActiveSync, etc..) Now when their phase of the test needed them to restore messaging services back to the primary datacenter is where they started to experience issues. One of the two DAGs worked fine when they rejoined the nodes from the primary site. Now the other DAG had some issues when failing back. They were properly trying to execute the Start-DatabaseAvailabilityGroup cmdlet with the –ActiveDirectorySite parameter pointing to their primary AD site. This was failing stating that one or more of the nodes were already in the cluster! They confirmed this using the Get-DatabaseAvailabilityGroup cmdlet and looking for the “StartedMailboxServers” and StoppedMailboxServers” attribute of the DAG. Now remember these attributes are NOT indicative of the actual state of the server. The servers could be completely turned OFF but still appear in the “StartedMailboxServers” list. These attributes are what is used to figure out quorum as well as making database mounting decisions when DAC mode is enabled. So one of the servers that should have been evicted and appearing in the “StoppedMailboxServers” list was still in the started servers list.

This got my client wondering why. They also noted that the Cluster Services were disabled and stopped on the evicted nodes. Now they errantly set the service to automatic and tried to start the service. This should not be done since if the Start-DatabaseAvailabilityGroup cmdlet works successfully it will do this for you. Let the PowerShell commandlets do their job. When they set the service to automatic again, The evicted nodes were randomly then showing in the “StartedMailboxServers” list, even though the service wasn’t even running. This was merely adding to the confusion. So we set the affected 6 modes back to disabled. This again showed the correct started and stopped servers list once more. Now to figure out why it was failing we looked at the Failover Cluster Manager administrative console on each node to verify if the nodes that should still be listed in the cluster, in fact still were. We found on the one node that it still was listing itself as a down member of the cluster. All other nodes did in fact show just the proper nodes from the secondary datacenter. Now Exchange needs to match what the cluster thinks for it’s state and who’s in and who’s out. Since this wasn’t coalescing the Start-DatabaseAvailabilityGroup cmdlet was failing. Now being a member of the premier field engineering group I have access to internal knowledge bases and cases. What I did next likely shouldn’t be done without guidance from Microsoft Premier Support Services or PFE’s. Normally when managing DAG’s and their membership the EMS and EMC should always be used. Making changes in the FCM console is not recommended for most cases. Since the one server and only the one server was incorrectly reporting cluster membership we used the FCM to manually evict the node to align what exchange thought of membership to match the FCM. Once we did this and re-ran the Start-DatabaseAvailabilityGroup cmdlet it re-added the previously evicted nodes (including the troublesome one) back into the DAG. Not only did the cmdlet complete successfully, the FCM console now showed all 12 servers as members and being UP in status.

Finally to ensure that the DAG was fully functional they queried for all database copies and reported on each’s replication status and database stated. All showed mounted or healthy! At this point they were to run the Move-ActiveMailboxDatabase cmdlet to shift the active Database copies back to their primary datacenter! They also could have used the RedistributeActiveDatabases.PS1  script included with Exchange 2010 outlined at the end of this TechNet article on Managing Mailbox Database copies

So you may or may not have seen the horrendous error described in the title of this post. If you have, I feel your pain. If not, go play the lottery cause you are one lucky Exchange admin. That or you just leave well enough alone and haven’t modified Exchange out of it’s default load. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of IIS. Heck, it gives us the wondrous platform for OWA and the new 2010 only Exchange Control Panel (ECP). IIS can sometimes be too plentiful in its logs and sometimes downright stingy on what is really happening under the hood. The following scenario is the latter of the two.

Customer just set up a new 2010 virtual lab environment (2003,2007 & the new 2010 boxes) a total of 10 new VM’s were made to simulate a small portion of the planned rollout. The VM’s were made from a template and added to the domain and were under a set of GPO’s that the exchange folks didn’t 100% understand the level of control. When they first tried to log into OWA, they got the dreaded IIS 500.19 Internal Server error. The error specifically called out the failure to add a part of the web.config file. This one in particular was referencing a custom HTTPHeader relating to IE.

Those of you not in the know with IIS 7 or higher, it no longer use the IIS Metabase to hold it’s configuration. It has been fully replaced with a hierarchy of configuration XML files. Go figure, Microsoft using XML formatting?! Who woulda thunk it. Seriously though, when the W3WC services start and the default websites load, it reads these files from the top down. Server wide settings are held in the parent file (C:\Windows\System32\Inetpub\inetsrv) called ApplicationHost.Config. Then from there, it’s possible to override these global settings on a persite basis using downlevel web.config files. These files can be edited directly and since there isn’t a “Save” button really anywhere the changes are immediate. If the site refreshes it’s config, it will be applied immediately. Some settings within the files are loaded at first start of the web sites and kept in memory.

Knowing this relationship of IIS config helped me figure our next steps. Here is what had been done before I was called in..

  • IISreset
  • Reboot server
  • Remove the web.config file
  • Remove the one offending line in the /OWA web.config file. Note: This allowed the authentication page to load, but after authentication, the rendering never completed and the site hung.
  • Reviewed the windows server application event logs

I had hoped we could find more detail in the error message before I started to mess with any config files (Yes, of course I back them up first silly). So I went and enabled Failed Request Event Tracing or FRET. I specifically wanted to see more details around any error in the 500-550 range as a catch all. Although the FRET output was ultra detailed (shows which modules and components are used in every stage) it didn’t give the additional info I was looking for, so I retargeted the .config files.

Normally with this IIS hierarchy if there is a conflict between the level above and below, the more granular setting will win. This didn’t really make that criteria as it was trying to add the settings from the downlevel file. I (against all better judgement) edited the applicationhost.config file to remove the one line that was trying to be duplicated and after an IISRESET, worked like a charm. Best Practices dictate that all configurations should be done via the IIS GUI unless scripted via Appcmd.exe or PowerShell. Editing the config files directly is a dangerous game. This was purely a test environment and we were under the gun to get it going.

Root cause analysis still needs to be done to determine the source of this issue.

UPDATE: root cause was there was an IIS manual modification of the ApplicationHost.config file in their VM template for some internal application compatibilities. They will now update their Exchange 2010 server build document and remove this extraneous line.

As a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) you would never expect me to post a blog review on a product that could somewhat compete with my company’s business. Now my company doesn’t produce any streamed or Computer Based Training (CBT) so this technically isn’t a conflict of interest.

I realize that people learn in different ways. People have very different lives. So some people would just rather have a relaxed video to talk them through a process or technology and can pick it up easily. Others require interaction with a Instructor Led Training (ILT) session. A lot of people can’t carve out the time away from work for a full blown ILT classroom environment. A lot of times your company can’t afford a full ILT class either. They have the desire to learn but can only afford a 30 minute span here or 2 hours a few times a week. If this is the case (and it is for a lot of people out there) then CBT learning is definitely for you.

Now it’s very rare that I endorse products on here. I try to shy away from such things as they could be taken the wrong way or can be misconstrued. So when I do, you know I do so because I really believe in the product or service.

Now that the *disclaimer* is out of the way let’s get to the goods. Maybe goods isn’t a correct word to describe the product were about to talk about, GREAT is a better word. I had the pleasure of reviewing a product from our friends over at Train Signal, (Follow them on Twitter – @TrainSignal). I have personally met some of the Train Signal team in person and they are a real pleasure to work with.

I have heard some pretty bad things about other CBT’s and was a bit hesitant at first. Within the first hour I was completely sold. The particular products I have been review is part of their Exchange 2010 series. In particular the Exchange 2010 MCITP and the soon to be released Exchange 2010 backup and recovery packages. I enjoyed the choice of formats. All of train signal’s products are available in a DVD or streaming option. I chose the DVD for one as I like to use my Windows Phone 7/zune device for podcasts in long car rides and the train commutes. The additional files and free transcenders for those of you which are certification hungry is a HUGE bonus. You are really getting a lot of content here for your buck.

Let’s talk about the instructor for both of these series for a bit. One of the biggest things that any online / remote instructor has to tackle is connecting with the audience. This is harder to convey things like body language and looks and glances are unavailable. Your style of delivery and tone / pitch of your voice really becomes truly make or break. Our instructor on these series is the soon to be famous J. Peter Bruzzese.  (Follow him on Twitter – @JPBruzzese) J.P is a Microsoft MVP for Exchange, Triple-MCSE, MCT, MCSA, MCITP: Messaging, CNA, CCNA, CIW Master, and CIW Certified Instructor! He is definitely well versed in IT! As a fellow instructor I tend to be a little more critical than the normal student. I also like to consider myself a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in Active Directory and Exchange. So when I started going through J.P.’s courses I was very refreshed in his great delivery, style and technical acumen. No one ever knows everything about technology, but he has to be close. I’ve been teaching Exchange for years and I was able to pick up a few things! He uses great real world analogies and doesn’t completely swim in the Microsoft Kool-aid. He regularly references technologies that aren’t always MS focused or delivered, to give you a sense it’s not a sales pitch.

Now the content itself covers almost every possible reach in the Exchange 2010 landscape. Everything from Backup, recovery, new SP1 features, message management, etc.. The content is in the right size chunks. You don’t have to commit 2-3 hrs for a lesson, nor does the content delivered feel overpowering. So between the right size, J.P.’s delivery I found it to be a perfect fit. The beautiful and best part is that it’s SO on point. If you’re an Exchange 2010 admin who’s been thrown into the mix, you will learn best practices and look for things to optimize in your existing environment. For you cert-mongers out there it’s almost a complete solution for exam readiness. If you are planning a deployment, these series will be able to fully understand all the mechanisms involved to properly plan your upcoming migration to Exchange 2010.

In summary I give Train Signals products in general and especially the Exchange 2010 series a 5 out of 5 stars!

So near the end of January I was lucky enough to escaped the void of the classroom and get back to hands-on work. I was able to act as a consultant for my training firm and go on-site to an old student of mine’s place of business. Our task seemed simple. Migrate a single exchange 2003 server to a mailbox redundant 2010 solution.

Just drop down a few new 2010 boxes and call it a day right? Not so much. Any migration can have hiccups and issues along the way. We had originally chipped out four days to complete the process. Due to some SAN issues we lost our first day and then had to get everything ready in just 3. One box and about 350 mailboxes it should be easy right? We planned for extra time thank goodness. If we originally planned on 3 and now only got 2 we’d be very hard pressed to have that done. We did in fact get the major steps done in 3 days. let’s review all that happened.

For security purposes let’s not give out our clients domain name and such, let’s focus on what we know and what was learned over the 3 days. Here is where we started.

Single domain forest. All DC’s and GC’s were at the Exchange 2010 minimum of 2003 SP1 or higher. Domain functional level was 2003 as was the forest functional level. Permissions on the accounts to be used for installation were in place, so let’s get started. All inbound mail via his MX record was going into his SonicWall and then being placed into his Cisco IronPort device for scrubbing before being delivered to the 2003 Exchange server.

We began with bringing up the OS of the first Exchange 2010 box in a VMWare virtual environment. The OS was to be 2008 R2 Enterprise edition. Why enterprise? Well we planned on using a DAG (Database Availability Group). This HA (High Availability) feature requires the failover clustering component within Server 2008. That was still in standard edition back in the 2003 Server days, but has been removed in 2008 RTM and higher. So now that R2 server is ready and fully patched / updated, let’s get the Exchange pre-req’s on there for the Exchange bits install. To speed things up we used a pre-made script that automates all the installation of required items as they pertain to Exchange role requirements. You too can download it HERE. It was created by Exchange MVP Dejan Foro. You can hit his whole site here – www.exchangemaster.net.

Think your ready for Exchange install time? Not so fast son. There are four KB document fixes that will need to get put on 2008 R2 before anything else is started.

Before you start contemplating putting that Exchange 2010 media in or mounting that ISO. Check your DNS and active directory to ensure it’s solid and stable before continuing. Also make sure that you have your 2003 / AD settings all up to snuff.

  • Ensure your 2003 address policies are not split between authoritative and non-authoritative. This may require you to modify or even rebuild them.
  • Check your Recipient update services in that they are pointing to a valid DC that still exists Smile
  • Ensure any external or manually created trusts are working and verifiable.
  • Is your domain a SLD? (Single label domain – “Consoso”, not “contoso.com” when you have ADUC open).
  • Ensure IPv6 and the windows firewall is enabled. Either of these could kill your install of Exchange.

OK, NOW you can begin your installation of Exchange. I recommend copying the source files locally to a new folder called “C:source” or something like that. Now download the latest rollup (RU) for the version of Exchange (RTM vs. SP1) and placing it in the updates folder. This will slipstream the updates during the installation and save you steps later!

Step 1.) Preparation of AD

This went very easy as we had a single domain and all the rights necessary. Wasn’t a fast process but experienced no errors when we ran setup.com with the following switches..

/preparelegacypermissions – this is ONLY needed if you have 2003 exchange. Skip if you have 2007

/PrepareAD – do you know your organization name? you can find it in the ESM.

Step 2.) Install Exchange on your first server. Have a plan here. Don’t just rip off a “typical” install (core 3 roles – CAS/HUB/MBox) if  you’re unsure, use the Exchange Deployment assistant.

We knew we were only going to have 2 servers with all three roles on them. We chose to do the “typical” install. We also set the “External” address for his CAS role to the same thing as his existing 2003 OWA URL (I.E. – “Http://mail.contoso.com”)

Now we have a fully functional Exchange 2010 server with nothing coming into it, and not hosting any mailboxes.

 

This is a great starting post and will continue to cover hiccups we hit in a future post. (ran out of time Smile )

Windows phone 7. Is it a game changer? new paradigm? No. I own one. I’ve just moved from an iPhone 3G. Is it better than it? too early to say honestly. iPhone’s have had the luxury to evolve their platform over time. This is still RTM of WP7. I think the interface is fantastic and the “flow” of it refreshing. I do hate how few apps there are still. I expect this to improve over time as it has for the Droids. For that reason alone I still keep my old iPhone handy for certain things Sad smile 

The WP7 devices are consumer focused. I expect they’ll be ready for prime time in the enterprise soon as it evolves as has the iPhone. One of the things that shocked me was the serious limitations on the EAS policy features for WP7. Another being the NO local sync for non-cloud mail based users. My wife was personally affected by this. One of the reasons she stayed with the iPhone 4

Uber blogger extraordinaire Paul Thurrott (twitter @thurrott) expounds on what has been removed and what is really left when it comes to EAS support on WP7. The article “Windows Phone 7 and Exchange Activesync” can also be found on his WP7 primary page of http://windowsphonesecrets.com/ or his other site http://www.winsupersite.com/

Below is a tidbit of what Paul reports..

What is left?

Its important to note that Windows Phone 7 devices only support a subset of the Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) policies available with Exchange 2003, Exchange 2007, and Exchange 2010. Currently, Windows Phone 7 supports the following EAS policies:

  • Password Required
  • Minimum Password Length
  • Idle Timeout Frequency Value
  • Device Wipe Threshold
  • Allow Simple Password
  • Password Expiration
  • Password History
  • Disable Removable Storage
  • Disable IrDA
  • Disable Desktop Sync
  • Block Remote Desktop
  • Block Internet Sharing

If I have a NLB or hardware load balancer – why do I need a CAS array?

This is an excellent question and it’s all about client connectivity, transparency of the connection to the user and automagic cutover in the event of a CAS array member failing. this becoems even more important now that ALL client connections including RPC MAPI connections are now going through the CAS role. Heck if you look at the MAPI account config for an exchange mailbox user it now shows the CAS server name, not the Mailbox role server name. To avoid client reconfiguration or disconnection and forcing a re-query for available CAS boxes, we have CAS arrays to assist in this.

The following information was found in this TechNet page Understanding RPC Client Access. NOTE – this is for RPC high availability, if you still want OWA / EAS  / ECP high availability MS recommends a solution like Forefront Threat Management Gateway.

When a Client Access server array is defined in an Active Directory site, it serves as a single contact point for all client connections within that Active Directory site. A Client Access server array can include one or many Client Access servers.

Each Active Directory site can have a single Client Access server array. A Client Access server array doesn’t provide load balancing. A separate load balancing solution is still needed. For more information about load balancing, see Understanding Load Balancing in Exchange 2010.

Microsoft recommends that you create a Client Access server array even if you only have a single Client Access server within your organization. When a Client Access server array is created, clients connect through the virtual name of the Client Access server array rather than directly to the fully-qualified domain name (FQDN) of your single Client Access server. If a single Client Access server needs to be replaced within an Active Directory site or a second Client Access server is added, no profile updates are necessary on the clients.

After a Client Access server array is defined within an Active Directory site, all Client Access servers within that Active Directory site are automatically part of the Client Access server array.

The high level steps are here..

  1. Create a Client Access array
  2. Configure load balancing
  3. Configure IP ports
  4. Configure RPC encryption settings
  5. Configure your Mailbox databases
  6. Ensure low latency and sufficient network speed

     Create a Client Access Array

You can create a Client Access array within your Active Directory site by using the following command.

New-ClientAccessArray -Name name -Site site_name -FQDN internal_only_CAS_Array_FQDN

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After the Client Access array has been created, you’ll also need to create the address in DNS and associate it with the virtual IP address used for the Client Access array.

It’s important that the (FQDN) specified in the command be only resolvable internally. If the name is also resolvable externally, these external clients will attempt to connect to the array via a TCP connection instead of HTTPS.

  Configure Load Balancing

Load balancing is recommended for high availability, failover, and for spreading the traffic load over multiple servers to help performance. When you choose a load balancing solution, consider the following:

  • Windows Network Load Balancing isn’t supported on Windows failover cluster servers.
  • You can’t use a Client Access array across multiple Active Directory sites. Instead, create two Client Access arrays and load balance separately within the sites.
  • Hardware load balancers typically monitor return traffic, port availability, or service availability to ensure that servers that can’t answer client requests aren’t given network connections.
  • Some load balancing solutions, such as ISA 2006 or TMG 2010, can’t do RPC load balancing or monitor RPC services. These solutions aren’t recommended unless all clients are connecting via Outlook Anywhere and all traffic is encapsulated inside HTTP.

For more information about load balancing, see Understanding Load Balancing in Exchange 2010.

Configure IP Ports

An IP port is an opening through which information can pass from the originating computer to the destination computer. By default, the dynamic port range for outgoing connections on Windows Server 2008 R2 is 49152 to 65535. Exchange 2010 Client Access changes this range to 6005 through 59530. The range was expanded to provide sufficient scaling for large deployments. This is a large range of ports to balance through your firewall between the client and the Client Access servers or Client Access array.

By fixing the MAPI and directory endpoints, you can greatly reduce the number of ports that need to be load balanced. The MAPI endpoint can be statically configured in the registry and the directory endpoint can be fixed in a configuration file.

To fix the MAPI endpoint, use the following setting in the registry.

HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSet ServicesMSExchangeRPCParametersSystemTCP/IP Port [DWORD] is the value for the IP port to use

To fix the directory services endpoint, edit the RpcTcpPort value in the configuration file Microsoft.Exchange.AddressBook.Service.Exe.config.

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Microsoft doesn’t recommend that you change the default value of the Outlook Anywhere ports.

 

  Configure RPC Encryption Settings

In Exchange 2010, the RPC endpoint is encrypted by default. However, Outlook 2003 doesn’t enforce encrypted MAPI connections. When you upgrade your organization to Exchange 2010, your clients running Outlook 2007 or later versions will automatically be compatible with the change to RPC Client Access, since they support RPC encryption by default. Outlook 2003 doesn’t use RPC encryption, however, and RPC Client Access requires it by default. If you haven’t turned off RPC encryption, which we don’t recommend, your users will need to configure Outlook 2003 for RPC encryption or you’ll need to use a Group Policy to force Outlook 2003 to use RPC encryption.

Symptoms of this problem include the following error messages:

  • Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. Unable to open the Office window. The set of folders could not be opened.
  • Unable to open your default e-mail folders. The information store could not be opened.

If your users are using Cached Exchange Mode, Office won’t display an error, but will start in disconnected mode.

For more information about this issue, including workarounds, see Outlook Connection Issues with Exchange 2010 Mailboxes.

 

  Configure Outlook 2003 to Use RPC Encryption

To configure Outlook 2003 to use RPC encryption, use the following steps.

  1. Click Tools > E-Mail Accounts > View or Change an Existing Account.
  2. Select the account and click More Settings.
  3. Select the Security tab.
  4. Select Encrypt data between Microsoft Office Outlook and Microsoft Exchange Server.
  5. Click OK

In addition to the RPC encryption requirement, UDP notification support was removed from Exchange 2010. As a result, Outlook 2003 can only use polling notifications in online mode. This will result in a slight delay in updates to item status (30 seconds on average with up to a one-minute delay) when changes are made to items in a mailbox accessed by Outlook 2003. There are two workarounds for this issue:

  • Use Outlook 2003 in Cached Exchange Mode.
  • Adjust the polling interval on the Client Access server. This will impact the performance of the Client Access server.

For more information about this issue, see E-mail messages take a long time to send and receive.

  Configure Your Mailbox Database

Each Mailbox database contains an RPCClientAccessServer value. This value is established when the database is created and it determines the Client Access server or Client Access array that the clients with mailboxes on that Mailbox server will use. This value also determines the location of the RPC end point. For Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 clients, this value is obtained from the Autodiscover service.

The default value of the RPCClientAccessServer is determined by the following rules:

  • If you have configured a Client Access Server array within your Active Directory site, the address of that array will be used.
  • If an array does not exist within the Active Directory site and if you have both the Client Access server role and the Mailbox server role on the same physical server, the value of RPCClientAccessServer property for a particular Mailbox server will be the same as the Mailbox server.
  • Otherwise, the value of the RPCClientAccessServer property for a particular Mailbox server will be set to a random Client Access server within the Active Directory site.

    Ee332317.note(en-us,EXCHG.141).gifNote:

    We don’t recommend that you install all the server roles on a single computer that’s also a domain controller. Although this configuration is supported, it’s not recommended.

  • If you created a Mailbox database before the creation of a Client Access array or the installed a Client Access server within the Active Directory site, you’ll need to reconfigure the value of the RPCClientAccessServer property. If no Client Access server exists in the Active Directory site when the Mailbox database is created, the value of the RPCClientAccessServer property will be set to the FQDN of the Mailbox server. To configure the value of the RPCClientAccessServer property, use the following command.
    Set-MailboxDatabase <name> -RPCClientAccessServer <internal_only_CAS_Array_FQDN>

  Latency and Bandwidth Requirements

For users running Outlook without Cached Exchange Mode, high latency times between the client and the server directly affect how frequently Outlook is unresponsive. In general, a latency of greater than 200 milliseconds (ms) to the home Mailbox server will result in poor client performance.

Because latency between the Client Access server and the mailbox should be less than 10 ms, we recommend that the value of the RPCClientAccessServer property always be configured to a Client Access array in the active Mailbox database site.

Ee332317.note(en-us,EXCHG.141).gifNote:

Changing the value of the RPCClientAccessServer property will force all clients to reconnect.

  Configuring the Address Book Service

The Address Book service is configured through the Microsoft.Exchange.AddressBook.Service.config file. This file allows you to configure the following:

  • The number of concurrent connections per user (the default limit is 50).
  • Disable or enable logging.
  • The location, size, and retention period for the log files.

To set the value of the maximum number of sessions per user, use the following value: <add key=“MaxSessionsPerUser” value=“50” />

To enable logging, use the following value: <add key="ProtocolLoggingEnabled" value="true" />

Great querstion from this week’s 10233 design of Exchange 2010 class. Our student asks

“in the past a mailbox move didn’t also move dumpster data. You had to recover it prior to the move. Has this changed in 2010?”

After some digging I was able to confirm that it IS now gathered along with everything else. Confirmed HERE found on the MSexchange.org site. Great article Neil!

 

The move request puts a special system message into the system mailbox on the mailbox database. The Microsoft Exchange Mailbox Replication service checks the contents of the system mailbox on each mailbox database to see if any move requests are waiting and then processes them accordingly. There are many benefits to having the mailbox moves carried out by this service. Here are three main areas that I typically encounter on migration projects that are addressed with move requests:

  • Mailboxes can now be moved online whilst the users are logged into them. Admittedly this is only available if the source mailbox is running Exchange 2007 SP2 or later, or Exchange 2010. However, this is a welcome addition to the overall mailbox moving process as it will help negate the need to move mailboxes out of core business hours.
  • Items in the dumpster are now moved as part of the process. In previous versions of Exchange, moving a mailbox did not move the items in the dumpster and it was therefore required that the user had to recover any deleted items prior to the mailbox move. It was all too easy to forget to inform the users of this fact and in some cases users who had been moved then proceeded to recover items from their dumpster only to find it completely empty.
  • The mailbox contents are no longer processed by the computer running the move process. It was often the case in Exchange 2007 that the Move-Mailbox cmdlet, or associated script, was run on an administrative machine rather than directly on the target Exchange 2007 server. However, in this scenario, the mailbox contents are moved from the source database to the administrative machine and then into the target database. This scenario was mitigated by running the cmdlet or script directly on the target database server. In Exchange 2010 this situation will not be encountered since the mailbox moves are performed by the Microsoft Exchange Mailbox Replication service running on the Client Access Server.

Now the following post has some parts from our friends at Exchangeserverpro.com. Please follow them on Twitter – @Exchservpro. Instead of re-inventing the wheel here I’d post some of their great content from the following two links..

Exchange 2010 CAS backup and recovery

and

Exchange 2010 Hub Transport backup and recovery

 

Now understand these steps listed below are if you are NOT going to be doing bare-metal or full server backups. Those obviously would be the easiest route.

Planning the Client Access Server Backup

As you plan the Client Access server backup strategy there are different techniques that you can consider depending on your requirements.

Backing up Everything

A full system backup of the Exchange 2010 Client Access server, along with a working Active Directory, will have all of the required information to recover the Client Access server.  Naturally this backup takes the longest to run, and will use up the most backup storage.

Backup up the Minimum

To reduce backup storage and keep the backup time frame shorter the minimum data on the Client Access server can be backed up.  This involves backing up the system state of the server, and configuration files stored in the ClientAccess path of the Exchange Server 2010 installation folder (C:Program FilesMicrosoftExchange ServerV14 by default).

Backing up Nothing

It may be practical to not back up the Client Access server at all if:

  • There are multiple, redundant Client Access servers deployed (ie Client Access Server Array)
  • The SSL certificates are exported or retrievable from elsewhere
  • Customizations to the Client Access server virtual directories can be quickly reapplied using an existing script

If all of those conditions are true then the Client Access server may not need to be backed up at all.

Backing Up and Restoring Client Access Servers

In this demonstration a Client Access server has been configured as a single-node NLB cluster and Exchange 2010 CAS array.

Exchange 2010 Client Access server configured with NLB

Exchange 2010 Client Access server configured with NLB

The external URL has also been configured.

[PS] C:>Get-OwaVirtualDirectory | fl name, *URL*

Name            : owa (Default Web Site)
Url             : {}
Exchange2003Url :
FailbackUrl     :
InternalUrl     : https://ex3.exchangeserverpro.local/owa
ExternalUrl     : https://mail.exchangeserverpro.local/owa
Recovering an Exchange 2010 Client Access Server

Because most of the Client Access server configurtion is stored in Active Directory when a Client Access server has failed you can recover the server using the following procedure.

  1. Install a new server to host the Client Access server role
  2. Configure the server to have the same name, IP address, and domain membership as the server that failed
  3. Install the Exchange Server 2010 pre-requisites
  4. Perform a recovery mode install of Exchange Server 2010

To run Exchange Server 2010 setup in Recovery Mode use the following command from an elevated command prompt.

setup /m:recoverserver

Setup performs a server recovery using the configuration information stored in Active Directory.

Welcome to Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Unattended Setup

By continuing the installation process, you agree to the license terms of
Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. If you don't accept these license terms,
please cancel the installation. To review these license terms, please go to

http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=150127&clcid=0x409/

...............
No key presses were detected.  Setup will continue.
Preparing Exchange Setup

    Copying Setup Files              ......................... COMPLETED

The following server roles will be recovered
    Client Access Role
    Management Tools

Performing Microsoft Exchange Server Prerequisite Check

    Client Access Role Checks         ......................... COMPLETED

Configuring Microsoft Exchange Server

    Preparing Setup                  ......................... COMPLETED
    Stopping Services                ......................... COMPLETED
    Copying Exchange Files           ......................... COMPLETED
    Restoring Services               ......................... COMPLETED
    Client Access Server Role         ......................... COMPLETED
    Exchange Management Tools        ......................... COMPLETED
    Finalizing Setup.                ......................... COMPLETED

The Microsoft Exchange Server setup operation completed successfully.
Setup has made changes to operating system settings that require a reboot to tak
e effect. Please reboot this server prior to placing it into production.

After the reboot you can verify that some configurations have been recovered, such as the OWA virtual directory URLs. However any other customized configurations that were stored in the system state or the file system are not recovered by this process. Those settings will need to be reapplied from the minimal backups, or reapplied manually or by using a script.

 

 

 

Planning the Hub Transport Server Backup

When you are planning the Hub Transport server backup strategy there are different approaches you can take depending on your requirements.

Backing up Everything

A full system backup of the server, along with a working Active Directory, encompasses all of the required information for a recovery.  However this backup takes the longest and will consume the most backup storage.

If a server failed and needed to be recovered from a full backup any undelivered messages still in the transport queue would be lost.  But it is impractical to backup the entire server multiple times a day just to protect the transport queue databases from data loss.

Depending on the Exchange environment and the backup infrastructure in place a full server recovery may take longer than simply rebuilding the server from scratch.

Backing up the Minimum

To save on backup storage and minimize the backup time frame the minimum data on the Hub Transport server can be backed up.  For most environments this would mean only backing up the transport queue databases and the log files on the file system.

Because these would be relatively fast to back up this type of backup could be performed multiple times per day to minimize the risk of losing undelivered messages.  This concern would mostly apply to high volume email environments where the transport queues are regularly backlogged.  Of course in those cases some attention should be paid to whatever performance bottleneck is causing the backlog, if it is something within the control of that organization to fix.

Backing up Nothing

A perfectly feasible backup strategy for the Hub Transport server is to back up nothing at all.  This would be practical if:

  • there are multiple, redundant Hub Transport servers deployed
  • the transport queues are not frequently backlogged
  • the organization does not wish to retain any log files from the Hub Transport servers

If all those conditions are true then it may not be necessary to back up the Hub Transport servers at all.

Backing Up and Restoring Hub Transport Servers

For the purposes of this demonstration I’ve configured a Hub Transport server with an additional Receive Connector.

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Message tracking logs are also enabled.

alt

Recovering a Hub Transport Server

As mentioned earlier most of the critical Hub Transport server configuration is stored in Active Directory.  When a Hub Transport server has failed you can recover the server using the following process.

  1. Install a new server to host the Hub Transport server role
  2. Configure the server with the same name and IP address as the failed server, and join it to the domain
  3. Install the Exchange Server 2010 pre-requisites
  4. Perform an installation of Exchange Server 2010 using Recovery Mode

To run setup in Recovery Mode use the following command to launch Exchange Server 2010 set from an elevated command prompt.

C:AdminExchange 2010>setup /m:recoverserver

Setup performs a server recovery instead of a normal installation.

Welcome to Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Unattended Setup

By continuing the installation process, you agree to the license terms of
Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. If you don't accept these license terms,
please cancel the installation. To review these license terms, please go to

http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=150127&clcid=0x409/

...............
No key presses were detected.  Setup will continue.
Preparing Exchange Setup

    Copying Setup Files              ......................... COMPLETED

The following server roles will be recovered
    Hub Transport Role
    Management Tools

Performing Microsoft Exchange Server Prerequisite Check

    Hub Transport Role Checks        ......................... COMPLETED
 This computer requires the 2007 Office System Converter: Microsoft Filter Pack.
 Please install the software from http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=123380.

Configuring Microsoft Exchange Server

    Preparing Setup                  ......................... COMPLETED
    Stopping Services                ......................... COMPLETED
    Copying Exchange Files           ......................... COMPLETED
    Restoring Services               ......................... COMPLETED
    Hub Transport Server Role        ......................... COMPLETED
    Exchange Management Tools        ......................... COMPLETED
    Finalizing Setup.                ......................... COMPLETED

The Microsoft Exchange Server setup operation completed successfully.
Setup has made changes to operating system settings that require a reboot to tak
e effect. Please reboot this server prior to placing it into production.

Restart the server as prompted.  When the server has finished restarting you can verify that configurations such as the additional Receive Connector and the message tracking log configuration have been recovered with the server.

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However the log files themselves are not restored during a Recovery Mode install of Exchange Server 2010.

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Neither are additional applications or agents that were previously installed ont he server.  For the Hub Transport server one notable item would the Microsoft Office Filter Pack.

Therefore the server is not fully recovered until all of those items, along with any further customizations to the server, have been manually applied.