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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.

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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

Migrating from Gmail to O365 – Step by Step

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Hello everyone,

Today’s post is going to take a different approach. It’s a video tutorial. The session is going to be a full step by step guide that describes how you can migrate from a gmail environment to an Office 365 environment using an IMAP migration process.

You can use the Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) to migrate user email from Gmail, Exchange, and other email systems that support IMAP migration. When you migrate the user’s email by using IMAP migration, only the items in the users’ inbox or other mail folders are migrated.

An administrator performs an IMAP migration to Office 365. All email, but not contacts or calendar information, can be migrated for each mailbox.

Note:

  • It is required that you create a mailbox for each user before you migrate their email from the gmail account.
  • You can migrate a maximum of 500,000 items from a user’s mailbox (emails are migrated from newest to oldest)
  • The biggest email you can migrate is 35 MB.
  • You can only migrate items in a user’s inbox or other mail folders. This type of migration doesn’t migrate contacts, calendar items, or tasks.
  • Migration provisioning requires the user passwords or delegated access to user mailboxes using administrator credentials.

 

Watch-out for a step by step guide in the near future. If you do encounter any errors, please do comment below. Cheers!!

Written by judeperera

August 29, 2016 at 10:21 am