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Step by Step Guide for Installing Exchange Server 2019 Preview

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The following section describes a step-by-step guide for the installation of Microsoft® Exchange Server 2019 Preview. The installation considers a single server deployment of Exchange Server 2019. Additional details of the topology and architecture of the lab environment which was used in the installation is described here;

Active Directory Domain Controller(s)
Operating System Windows Server 2019 preview
Forest Functional Level Windows Server 2019 preview
Domain Functional Level Windows Server 2019 preview
Exchange 2019 server(s)
Operating System Windows Server 2019 preview
.Net Framework Version 4.7.2 (default)

 

 

Exchange 2019 prerequisites

Domain Controller Support

The following Active Directory writable Domain Controller(s) are supported;

  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2016 (Core and Desktop Experience)
  • Windows Server 2019 preview (Core and Desktop Experience)

Operating System Support

  • Windows Server 2016 (Core and Desktop Experience)
  • Windows Server 2019 preview (Core and Desktop Experience)

.Net Framework Support

Other requirements

 

Active Directory preparation

The first task in the installation of any version of Exchange is to prepare the Active Directory environment where the Exchange Server will be placed. However, prior to the preparation, it should be checked against the above Domain Controller support prerequisites mentioned earlier. Once the above requirements are verified for consistency, proceed with the following preparation tasks on the server/computer which will be used to prepare the Active Directory.

We will be using the Exchange Server itself to prepare the Active Directory.

  1. Install .NET Framework 4.7.1 or .NET Framework 4.7.2 as supported by your Operating System (mentioned above)

    Note: .Net Framework 4.7.2 is already included and is not required to download or install with Windows Server 2019 preview

  2. Once the installation is complete perform a reboot.
  3. Open a Windows PowerShell
  4. Run the below command to install Remote Administration tools

    Install-WindowsFeature RSAT-ADDS


  5. Run the below command to install the server prerequisites

    Install-WindowsFeature NET-Framework-45-Features, RPC-over-HTTP-proxy, RSAT-Clustering, RSAT-Clustering-CmdInterface, RSAT-Clustering-Mgmt, RSAT-Clustering-PowerShell, Web-Mgmt-Console, WAS-Process-Model, Web-Asp-Net45, Web-Basic-Auth, Web-Client-Auth, Web-Digest-Auth, Web-Dir-Browsing, Web-Dyn-Compression, Web-Http-Errors, Web-Http-Logging, Web-Http-Redirect, Web-Http-Tracing, Web-ISAPI-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Filter, Web-Lgcy-Mgmt-Console, Web-Metabase, Web-Mgmt-Console, Web-Mgmt-Service, Web-Net-Ext45, Web-Request-Monitor, Web-Server, Web-Stat-Compression, Web-Static-Content, Web-Windows-Auth, Web-WMI, Windows-Identity-Foundation, RSAT-ADDS


Prepare Active Directory and domains

To prepare the active Directory and the Domains for Exchange 2019, follow the following steps. To execute the commands, the commands should be run using the Schema Admins group and the Enterprise Admins group membership.

  1. Mount the Exchange Server 2019 Preview Installation Media
  2. Open up a Command Prompt
  3. Navigate to the Exchange Installation media path
  4. Run the following command to extend the schema.

    Setup.exe /PrepareSchema /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

  5. Once the setup completes successfully, run the following command

    Setup.exe /PrepareAD /OrganizationName:”<organization name>” /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms


  6. Run the below command to prepare each of the Active Directory domains

    Setup.exe /PrepareAllDomains /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms


    Now that your Active Directory forest and the domains are prepared, we can finally get running the Exchange Installation Wizard

Install Exchange Server 2019

If you’re installing the first Exchange 2019 Preview server in the organization, and the Active Directory preparation steps have not been performed, the account you use must have membership in the Enterprise Administrators group. If you haven’t previously prepared the Active Directory Schema, the account must also be a member of the Schema Admins group.

  1. Mount the Exchange Server 2013 Preview Installation Media
  2. Start Exchange 2019 Preview Setup by double-clicking Setup.exe
  3. On the Check for Updates page, select whether you want Setup to connect to the Internet and download product and security updates for Exchange 2019 Preview and click Next

  4. Once you click Next, the setup will copy the installation binaries to the local drive and prepare for the installation

  5. Once completed, you will be prompted with the Introduction Page
  6. The Introduction page gives additional guidance for the installation procedure. Review the content and Click Next to continue

  7. On the License Agreement page, review the terms. If you agree to the terms, select I accept the terms in the license agreement, and then click next

  8. On the Error Recommended Settings page, select whether you want to use or not the recommended settings such as error checks and usage feedback etc. and then click next

  9. As you can see, just like Exchange 2016, Exchange 2019 only has a Mailbox role and Edge role only. Proceed with your requirement and to be sure, make a tick on the “Automatically install windows server roles and features…” Although we have covered this initially, running this will ensure that if we have missed anything, the setup will install it for us

  10. On the Installation Space and Location page, either accept the default installation location or click Browse to choose a new location with adequate storage space, click next to proceed

  11. If installing the Mailbox role a Malware Protection Settings page will appear. Choose whether to enable or disable malware scanning and click Next. (For demo purposes, I will be proceeding with Yes)

  12. On the Readiness Checks page, view the status to determine if the organization and server role prerequisite checks completed successfully. If unsuccessful, perform the required tasks and click Back, and Next to run the Readiness check again. If successful, click install to proceed with installing Exchange Server 2019

  13. Now the installation will proceed, note that this will take time depend on your environment

  14. Once the setup completes the installation, on the Completion page, click Finish

  15. Now that the Exchange installation is complete, it’s always good to reboot your server

Review Exchange Installation

Once all the above tasks are performed, proceed with the below steps to verify the installation using the Exchange 2019 Administrative Center and PowerShell.

The Exchange Administration Center (EAC) is the web-based management console in Microsoft Exchange Server 2019 Preview that allows for ease of use and is optimized for on-premises, online, or hybrid Exchange deployments. To navigate to the Exchange Admin Center;

  1. Open the web browser.
  2. Navigate to the bellow URL, provide your credentials and then click sign in.

    https://localhost/ecp


  3. Review the tabs and sections in the new Admin Center

There you go. Time to play! Hope this guide helped you. Don’t forget to keep on checking for some exiting new posts on how to play around with the all new Admin Center as well as a step by step guide for installing Skype for Business Server 2019 preview in the next couple of days.

Really appreciate all your comments, especially if i have missed anything or made a mistake regarding the installation. 🙂

(c) Copyrights Reserved! Do not share or use any content in any way without approval from poster!

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Written by judeperera

August 6, 2018 at 5:44 pm

Move Transport Database Files in Exchange 2013/2016 Step by Step

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Issue:

In terms of sizing an Exchange Server environment, it is always advised and recommended to follow the Microsoft Sizing guides, this specifically means that you need to go through the Exchange Sizing Calculator. The tool gives you estimated values of how your databases, logs and transport queues are going to grow. So, if you do not properly plan these sizes, you might end up getting your disks full.

The scenario which I’m going to talk about is such situation where the free space of the C Drive almost got full. While digging in what’s being eating up the storage, we found out that the Exchange Transport queue, or Mail.que file is the culprit.

Exchange Transport Queue

A queue is a temporary holding location for messages that are waiting to enter the next stage of processing or delivery to a destination. Each queue represents a logical set of messages that the Exchange server processes in a specific order. In Exchange 2016, queues hold messages before, during and after delivery. Queues exist in the Transport service on Mailbox servers and on Edge Transport servers.

File Description
Mail.que This queue database file stores all the queued messages.
Tmp.edb This temporary database file is used to verify the queue database schema on startup.
Trn*.log Transaction logs record all changes to the queue database. Changes to the database are first written to the transaction log and then committed to the database. Trn.log is the current active transaction log file. Trntmp.log is the next provisioned transaction log file that’s created in advance. If the existing Trn.log transaction log file reaches its maximum size, Trn.log is renamed to Trn nnnn.log, where nnnn is a sequence number. Trntmp.log is then renamed Trn.log and becomes the current active transaction log file.
Trn.chk This checkpoint file tracks the transaction log entries that have been committed to the database. This file is always in the same location as the mail.que file.
Trnres00001.jrs
Trnres00002.jrs
These reserve transaction log files act as placeholders. They’re only used when the hard disk that contains the transaction log runs out of space to stop the queue database cleanly.

Solution:

In simple, we can move the Mail.que database and log files associated to a different location. The below step by step guide will take you through how you can achieve this.

Before going ahead, here are some tips when it comes to moving your queue database.

  • Ensure that the destination disk/drive has enough and additional buffer space, remember that during peak times, this can grow. If it’s possible to attach a separate disk for this, go ahead. It’s even better.
  • The move process requires the Exchange Transport service to be stopped until the data is moved to the new location. This means that there will be a downtime where mail flow on the server will be interrupted.
  • The transport queue files are located in the below path
    %ExchangeInstallPath%TransportRoles\data\Queue

Once you have the disk and the downtime planned, we can start the procedure.

  1. Navigate to the location that you would will be moving the data to.
  2. Create a folder where the queue database and transaction logs will be moved. In my case, I’m moving the data do the below path;
    "F:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\TransportRoles\data\Queue"
  3. Right click on the above folder “Queue”, select Properties
  4. Navigate to Security tab, click on Edit under Change permissions

  5. Under Permissions verify that the below accounts are listed and the shown permission level is present. It not, add the user/service account and assign permissions
    1. Network Service: Full Control
    2. System: Full Control
    3. Administrators: Full Control
  6. Click OK to apply the permissions to the folder.
  7. Open Notepad using Run as Administrator
  8. Using notepad, click Open and Navigate to the below path

    %ExchangeInstallPath%Bin\

  9. Open the EdgeTransport.exe.config file (you may want to take a backup of the file in case something goes wrong)
  10. On the config file lookup for the following content;
    <add key="QueueDatabasePath" value="<CurrentLocation>" />
    <add key="QueueDatabaseLoggingPath" value="<CurrentLocation>" />
  11. Now we need to modify the <CurrentLocation> and replace it with the new path for the queue files. In our case this will be as below;
    <add key="QueueDatabasePath" value="F:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\TransportRoles\data\Queue" />
    <add key="QueueDatabaseLoggingPath" value="F:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\TransportRoles\data\Queue" />

  12. Save and close notepad.
  13. Open Services.msc
  14. Stop the Microsoft Exchange Transport Service.

  15. Navigate to the below path where the old queue files are located at;
    %ExchangeInstallPath%TransportRoles\data\Queue
  16. Take a backup of all the files in the folder into a different location just in case.
  17. Move existing database files (Mail.que, Trn.chk, Trn.log, Trntmp.log, Trn nnnnn.log, Trnres00001.jrs, Trnres00002.jrs, and Temp.edb) to the new location. This is the location you mentioned in Step 11.

  18. Go to Services.msc and Start the Microsoft Exchange Transport service.

  19. Monitor the status of the new location and the files.
  20. Verify that the old path is empty and no new files are being created.
  21. Send a few mails with attachments to verify and monitor mail flow.

450 4.7.320 Certificate validation failed

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Issue


The environment was running Exchange Server 2016 (n-1)CU with Office 365 in a hybrid mode. The issue came up when users on-prem noticed that they are unable to receive emails from their own O365 cloud users. Looking more into this, figured out the following user mail flow scenarios;

  • On-prem users can send/receive mails within on-prem and to/from internet users
  • O365 cloud users can send/receive mails within O365 and to/from internet users
  • On-prem users cannot send/receive emails to/from O365 users

So obviously, this had to do something with the hybrid connector since that’s the tunnel that bridges the two environments.

So back to the basics, lets trace down the error messages and see if we can get a clue. In order to see where our mails are stuck, you need to first check the delivery reports. Log in to the O365 Exchange ECP as administrator and navigate to Message Tracing. On the message tracing log, you will see something like below;

11

We’re almost there now. The above indicates that why O365 is not delivering the mails to on-prem environment is because as on the first item, we have configured to use TLS between the hybrid environments. Thus due to whatever reason, the certificate presented from the on-prem public IP does not match the certificate that is been binded in the Hybrid Configuration. Now in order to validate this, we need to look at two points;

  • Ensure that the certificate is not expired
  • Check Hybrid Configuration certificate settings: To validate that you have the correct certificate open up the Exchange PowerShell module on your on-prem and run the below command;

Get-HybridConfiguration

12

Now as you can see, the Hybrid configuration is configured with the correct certificate. So nothing to worry on that.

  • Exchange Connector TLS settings: The next connection point would be our internal Exchange Server receive connector. Why this connector is important is that when O365 is trying to connect with the exchange server for mail delivery, it will try out TLS for authentication. This is because we have TLS enabled; meaning we should have the correct certificate binded to the corresponding Receive Connector. In many cases this would be the Default FrontEnd connector. Run the below command and ensure that the property tlscertificatename is set correctly and is the same as the above certificate.

Get-ReceiveConnector -Identity “<ExchangeServerName>\Default Frontend <ExchangeServerName>” | fl

In my case, the certificate was all fine and is set for the one as expected.

So, the certificate itself, exchange setup and office 365 hybrid setup is all configured as expected. Yet somehow, Office 365 is telling me that the certificate is not correct.

This is where we would need to properly test TLS in a more informative manner. We will now see how we can use a method where we can see the TLS communication that is made to our on-premises.

Enter CheckTLS web testing provider. The provider has many tools to check TLS mechanisms but in our case, we are looking at the receiving part. Thus we will head over here.

https://www.checktls.com/TestReceiver

What it does?

TestReceiver performs all the steps that Internet email systems go through to send email. It records every command and byte of data it sends and every answer and byte of data that the other email system sends. TestReceiver never actually sends an email, it just gets as close as possible, learning as much about the remote system as it can.

Because CheckTLS focuses on security, TestReceiver tries to establish a secure (TLS) connection with the recipient’s system. Along with recording everything, it looks at the security of the recipient’s system for things like: certificate contents and signers, encryption algorithms, key lengths, hostname mis-matches, incorrect wild-card usage, weak cyphers, etc.

So is this safe? absolutely. Since it only checks whatever is already published by your organization. It doesn’t grab your email ID, username or passwords.

  1. So head over to the site and under the Input fields, type your domain name in the eMail Target
  2. Ensure that under the Output Format you have selected Detail (this will provide you a verbose log of the connection status, more meaningful)
  3. Click Run Test.
  4. Give it some time to run the test and notice the logging which happen in the background. This is the session initiation that happens in real time.
  5. Once the test is completed, look in the detailed log.13

 

And we have found the culprit. Just have a closer look at the above image. You can see that the TLS authentication does start however the certificate validation fails. The reason is that the issuing certificate is not our Exchange Certificate, but a self signed certificate by the barracuda appliance which is front-ending to external connections.

When Office 365 tries to initiate a TLS session, it is getting this self signed certificate thus the required URLs are not found (mail.domain.com) hence it drops the connection and throws out;

450 4.7.320 Certificate validation failed.

If this is your case, bump up your network team and ask them to bind the correct certificate from the appliance. Once its configured properly, run the below tests again to validate that everything is all good.

  • CheckTLS Receive validation – Ensure correct certificate is thrown out
  • Office 365 Connector Validation

If everything is successful, send out couple of emails and you will see that mailflow is working as expected. For the mails that were queued, give some time and it’ll start flowing.

Got any inputs? Please feel free to let me know your ideas.

Cheers..

Windows Server Restarting often with BSOD

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Issue


So here’s the case, during the last two weeks we’ve identified quite a few scenarios where the Domain Controllers kept on restarting out of nowhere. Here are the symptoms;

  • BlueScreen (BSOD)
  • Restarting every 5-10 mins or quite often
  • Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2

Upon going through the dump analysis of those cases and digging in more, the root cause was related to a SRV.SYS windows driver. Apparently this is a driver that handles SMBv1 connections. The restarting is due to a memory overflow in the system.

BugCheck 50, {ffffe00171aad000, 1, fffff80004652c20, 0}

Probably caused by : srv.sys ( srv!SrvOs2FeaToNt+48 )

Followup:     MachineOwner
---------

*******************************************************************************
*                                                                             *
*                        Bugcheck Analysis                                    *
*                                                                             *
*******************************************************************************

PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA (50)
Invalid system memory was referenced.  This cannot be protected by try-except.
Typically the address is just plain bad or it is pointing at freed memory.
Arguments:
Arg1: ffffe00171aad000, memory referenced.
Arg2: 0000000000000001, value 0 = read operation, 1 = write operation.
Arg3: fffff80004652c20, If non-zero, the instruction address which referenced the bad memory
	address.
Arg4: 0000000000000000, (reserved)

STACK_TEXT:  
ffffe001`71aad000 00000000`00000001 ffffd000`208c8700 : nt!KeBugCheckEx
ffffe001`6c82a040 ffffd000`208c8700 fffff800`276e5c76 : nt! ?? ::FNODOBFM::`string'+0x26b6e
ffffe001`71aad000 ffffc000`320d2000 fffff800`27754445 : nt!MmAccessFault+0x769
fffff800`04652b52 00000000`00000010 00000000`00000246 : nt!KiPageFault+0x12f
ffffe001`71aacff8 5c725c6e`5c725c36 ffffc000`320c2138 : srv!SrvOs2FeaToNt+0x48
00000000`00000000 ffffc000`320b2010 00000000`00000002 : srv!SrvOs2FeaListToNt+0x125
fffff800`00010fe8 ffffe001`71a9c010 ffffe001`70d56010 : srv!SrvSmbOpen2+0xc3
ffffe001`70d56010 ffffc000`320b2010 00000000`00000002 : srv!ExecuteTransaction+0x2ca
00000000`00000000 ffffe001`00000035 ffffe001`0000f3d0 : srv!SrvSmbTransactionSecondary+0x40b
ffffe001`6ef9c388 ffffe001`70d56a80 fffff800`0461b010 : srv!SrvProcessSmb+0x237
ffffe001`70d56010 00000000`00000000 ffffe001`70d56020 : srv!SrvRestartReceive+0x114
ffffc000`329656f0 ffffe001`6ef9c340 00000000`00000080 : srv!WorkerThread+0xffffffff`ffffbda5
ffffe001`72281040 ffffd001`8b5e9180 ffffe001`71ef7040 : nt!IopThreadStart+0x26
ffffe001`72281040 ffffe001`6dbc6880 ffffd000`208c8c90 : nt!PspSystemThreadStartup+0x58
ffffd000`208c3000 00000000`00000000 00000000`00000000 : nt!KiStartSystemThread+0x16

Resolve


 

Check your Updates!!!!! Well, in all our cases the client servers were not patched. The BSOD was due to the SMBv1 memory overflow.

In order to fix the issue, head over to the Microsoft Security Bulletin MS17-010 – Critical website, look for your Operating System, patch it ASAP.

Pretty strange why it was all good until now. Anyhow, whatever said and done another good reminder for everyone who’s lazy on updating their systems.

WannaCrypt attack; Keeping protected.

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Issue


I’m pretty sure you know it already. There’s a serious Ransom-ware spreading across the globe and this one is again I repeat. Pretty darn serious!

Behold! “WannaCrypt” is here. This is so severe, that it has been reported that more than 95k PC’s are already infected.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The problem is that the ransom-ware if hit, will lock (encrypt) your files. So that you have no way of opening it without unlocking (decrypt). To unlock, the makes of the malware is demanding a ransom. And we never know if they will give you the key as well.

Apart from that this can spread across to other computers. Which makes things worse. The spread is using something called a Remote code execution that existed in Microsoft Server Message Block 1.0 (SMBv1) component.

Resolve


Individual user

  1. Update your Antivirus application
  2. Update your Windows Operating System
    Running Windows XP? There’s good news for you. For older systems like Windows XP,  Windows Server 2003 etc Microsoft no longer provides updates as its support lifecycle is ended. However, Microsoft has been generous to publicly make available the patches for the below operating systems due to the severity of the case. Click on the below to view and download the updates needed.

    Windows XP SP2 x64
    Windows XP SP3 x86 
    Windows XP Embedded SP3 x86
    Windows 8 x86
    Windows 8 x64

  3. Run a full Anti-virus scan of your computer.
  4. Pray!

Corporate/Enterprise/ IT Admins

  1. If you have an enterprise Antivirus protection suite, make sure it’s engine is up to date.
  2. Push the latest AV updates to your client PCs.
  3. Update all your Windows Server Operating systems that includes both client and Servers.
    Thanks to Microsoft they’ve got you covered if you still have Windows Server 2003 Operating Systems as well.
    If you have WSUS or SCCM, get the updates and push it. If not, use the below ‘MS17-010’ link below to get the correct update for your system.

Windows Server 2003 SP2 x64
Windows Server 2003 SP2 x86

MS17-010 – Microsoft Security Bulletin Update

Oh and Windows 10 users, you’re all good. ^_^

Written by judeperera

May 13, 2017 at 9:56 am

Field Report: Edge Fails with “454 4.7.0 Temporary authentication failure”

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Issue


There was a scenario where it was noticed that outbound mails were not getting delivered. The environment had 2 Edge Servers together with 2 CAS/Mailbox servers, both being Exchange 2013. Upon checking the mailbox queue on the internal servers, it was noticed that the mails were stuck in the queue on the Send connector that was responsible for outbound mail delivery with Edge Server.

The Error reported the following.

451 4.4.0 Primary target IP address responded with: “454 4.7.0 Temporary authentication failure.”  Attempted failover to alternate host, but that did not succeed.  Either there are no alternate hosts, or delivery failed to all alternate hosts”

Additionally, the following tests were done.

  • System Clock was checked between all Edge, Mailbox/CAS and domain controllers. They were in the same time.
  • Checked for any replication issues between the domain controllers. No issues were found.
  • Checked for communication related issues between the Edge Server and the Internal Exchange Servers for the below ports. All required ports were open.
Network interface Open port Protocol Note
Inbound from and outbound to the internal network 25/TCP SMTP This port is required for mail flow to and from the Exchange organization.
Local only 50389/TCP LDAP This port is used to make a local connection to AD LDS.
Inbound from the internal network 50636/TCP Secure LDAP This port is required for EdgeSync synchronization.
Inbound from the internal network 3389/TCP RDP Opening this port is optional. It provides more flexibility in managing the Edge Transport servers from inside the internal network by letting you use a remote desktop connection to manage the Edge Transport server.
  • Checked the EdgeSync for Edge Server 01: The following results were noted.

    EdgeSync service cannot connect to this subscription because of error “No EdgeSync credentials were found for Edge transport server ED01.contoso.com on the local Hub Transport server. Remove the Edge subscription and re-subscribe the Edge Transport server.”

  • Upon checking the Event viewer, the following errors were thrown;
    • Event ID 1032

      Microsoft Exchange EdgeSync can’t find the replication credential on %1 to synchronize with Edge server %2. This may happen if %1 joined the current Active Directory site after subscription for %2 was established. To have this Hub Transport server participate in EdgeSync, re-subscribe %2 to the current Active Directory site.

Resolution


So basically, we see that the Edge Sync is not working as it should be. At the same time, we see that there’s a certificate issue as well. Upon checking the certificate, we identified that it’s from a local CA. So the next steps we would do is to;

  1. Re-assign Exchange services to the existing certificate
  2. Re run Edge Synchronization
  3. Verify

However, upon doing the service re-assigning to the existing services, the following error was thrown.

The internal transport certificate for the local server was damaged or missing in Active Directory. The problem has been fixed. However, if you have existing Edge Subscriptions, you must subscribe all Edge Transport servers again by using the New-EdgeSubscription cmdlet in the Shell.

Though it said the problem has been fixed, we were still unable to get Edge Sync working. So the final thought was to;

  1. Generate new Exchange Server certificate
  2. Assign services to new certificate
  3. Re-run Edge-Sync

Viola!!! No more errors!!

Written by judeperera

January 10, 2017 at 11:46 am

Exchange Server Upgrade | Step-by-Step

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The guide will cover upgrading an Exchange Server 2013 CU8 into Exchange 2013 CU15.

In a nutshell, this is the procedure:

  1. Prepare the existing environment
    1. Download the latest binaries
    2. Remove Interim Updates
  2. Perform Upgrade
    1. Enable Exchange Server maintenance mode (High Availability)
    2. Upgrade Schema
    3. Install Exchange Binaries
    4. Enable Exchange Server services

Prepare the existing environment

Download Exchange Server SP/RU/CU binaries

When you are performing an Upgrade, you can go ahead and install the latest Cumulative Update (CU). You DO NOT, need to install all previous CU’s one by one in an incremental way. This is because a CU is a full installation of Exchange Server plus a collection of all the updates, patches and changes that has been made available so far.

For an Example, if you are on Exchange Server 2016 RTM, you can straight away install CU4. Because CU4 will contain all changes made in each of the CU’s previously released.

Exchange 2016

Version Blog post
Exchange 2016 CU4 Released: December 2016 Quarterly Exchange Updates
Exchange 2016 CU3 Released: September 2016 Quarterly Exchange Updates
Exchange 2016 CU2 Released: June 2016 Quarterly Exchange Updates
Exchange 2016 CU1 Released: March 2016 Quarterly Exchange Updates
Exchange 2016 RTM Exchange Server 2016: Forged in the cloud. Now available on-premises

Exchange 2013

Version Blog post
Exchange 2013 CU15 Released: December 2016 Quarterly Exchange Updates
Exchange 2013 CU14 Released: September 2016 Quarterly Exchange Updates
Exchange 2013 CU13 Released: June 2016 Quarterly Exchange Updates
Exchange 2013 CU12 Released: March 2016 Quarterly Exchange Updates
Exchange 2013 CU11 Released: December 2015 Quarterly Exchange Updates
Exchange 2013 CU10 Released: September 2015 Quarterly Exchange Updates
Exchange 2013 CU9 Released: June 2015 Exchange Cumulative Update and Update Rollups
Exchange 2013 CU8 Released: Exchange Server 2013 Cumulative Update 8
Exchange 2013 CU7 Released: Exchange Server 2013 Cumulative Update 7
Exchange 2013 CU6 Released: Exchange Server 2013 Cumulative Update 6
Exchange 2013 CU5 Released: Exchange Server 2013 Cumulative Update 5
Exchange 2013 SP1 Released: Exchange Server 2013 Service Pack 1
Exchange 2013 CU3 Released: Exchange Server 2013 Cumulative Update 3
Exchange 2013 CU2 Released: Exchange Server 2013 Cumulative Update 2
Exchange 2013 CU1 Released: Exchange Server 2013 Cumulative Update 1
Exchange 2013 RTM Exchange Server 2013 Reaches General Availability

Remove Interim Updates

Now that you have downloaded the binaries, you need to get rid of the Interim Updates that may have been installed in your environment. In some cases, if an Interim Update is installed, Microsoft Exchange Server CU’s or SP’s cannot be installed. Therefore, before installing the binaries, read the release notes for any information on removal of interim updates. Below steps will guide for that;

  1. In Control Panel, double-click Programs and Features.
  2. In the Currently installed programs list, click Interim Update for Exchange Server 201X (KBxxxxxx), where xxxxxx is the Knowledge Base article number that is associated with the IU.
  3. Click Remove.
  4. At a command prompt, run sn.exe -Vu * to enable strong name verification.
  5. Run sn.exe –Vl to verify that strong name verification is enabled.

Perform Upgrade

Enable Exchange Server maintenance mode (High Availability)

If you have standalone servers in your environment, then an upgrade will require you to go in for a downtime. Why? Because the services needs to be stopped during the upgrade process. In such a scenario, skip to the Upgrade section.

However, if your environment consists multiple servers in terms of 2xCAS or 2xMBX or 2x(CAS+MBX) or any of a combined scenario, it is highly advised that you perform upgrading of the servers one by one. This will ensure that your environment will stay online using the rest of the high available servers taking the downtime away.

There’s a catch in here. Let’s say we have a 2 Mailbox Server scenario: Server A and B. You decide to mount all databases into ServerA and upgrade Server B. Although this seems an okay way to do, it is not the case. Reason is that the Active Manager and other Exchange backend workers doesn’t know that you are doing a planned maintenance. Thus, the workers will think that the server is in a failed state. Can we fix this? Absolutely. You have to take the services on Server B or the server that you are about to do the upgrade into ‘Maintenance Mode’.

Below steps will guide you to do so;

  1. Run Exchange PowerShell as Administrator.
  2. Run below command to drain connections on the Hub Transport service
    Set-ServerComponentState <SERVER> -Component HubTransport -State Draining -Requester Maintenance

  3. Run below command to disable cluster services
    Suspend-ClusterNode <SERVER>

  4. Run below command to prevent databases from being mounted on the server. It will also immediately move any mounted databases on the server to other servers if copies exist and are healthy.
    Set-MailboxServer <server> -DatabaseCopyActivationDisabledAndMoveNow $true

  5. Verify that no mailbox databases are mounted on the server.

    Get-MailboxDatabaseCopyStatus

  6. Run below command to block databases being automatically activated on the specified Mailbox server.
    Set-MailboxServer <server> -DatabaseCopyAutoActivationPolicy Blocked

  7. Run below command to put the state of all components together to Inactive.
    Set-ServerComponentState <server> -Component ServerWideOffline -State Inactive -Requester Maintenance

  8. Close PowerShell.

Upgrade Schema

Now that the server has been put to maintenance mode and you are ready to proceed with the Upgrade process. First thing we need to do is, update the schema. This is critical because without the required schema updates, the setup will not proceed.

  1. Run command prompt as Administrator.
  2. Run below command
    Setup.exe /PrepareSchema /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

  3. Run below command
    Setup.exe /PrepareAD /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

  4. Run below command
    Setup.exe /PrepareSchema /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

  5. Navigate to the Exchange installation binaries folder.
  6. Run setup.exe.
  7. On the Check for Updates window, select your choice and click OK.
  8. On the Upgrade window, click Next.
  9. On the License Agreement page select “I accept ….” and click Next.
  10. On the Readiness Check page, ensure no prerequisites are pending. Click Next to proceed.
  11. Now the installation will proceed.
  12. Once the installation is finished, click Finish.
  13. Restart the server.

 

Now that the server has been upgraded successfully we can resume Exchange services back to normal mode. Follow the below steps.

  1. Run Exchange PowerShell as Administrator.
  2. Run below command to enable connections on the Hub Transport service.
    Set-ServerComponentState <SERVER> -Component HubTransport -State Active -Requester Maintenance

  3. Run below command to enable cluster services
    Resume-ClusterNode <SERVER>

  4. Run below command to enable databases from being mounted on the server.
    Set-MailboxServer <server> -DatabaseCopyActivationDisabledAndMoveNow $false

  5. Run below command to enable databases being automatically activated on the specified Mailbox server.
    Set-MailboxServer <server> -DatabaseCopyAutoActivationPolicy Unrestricted

  6. Run below command to put the state of all components together to Activate.
    Set-ServerComponentState <server> -Component ServerWideOffline -State Active -Requester Maintenance

  7. Close PowerShell.

Now that your server is back in the game. It’s time to upgrade the second server. Perform the steps above from the beginning to do so.

Happy Upgrading!! J

Written by judeperera

January 6, 2017 at 11:45 am