Friday, August 7, 2015

First Glance on Exchange 2016 (Part 1)

Hi folks,

As you know our beloved Microsoft is about to produce Exchange Server 2016 in the Q4 this year. Meanwhile since 22 July we have Exchange 2016 Preview available for free to download with the accompanying documentation which can be find in TechNet Library.

As some of you may know architecture of Exchange 2016 has been changed as compared to 2013. CAS role has been removed and instead CAS service is now available on the Mailbox role. It is responsible for authentication, proxy, and limited redirection services, and the HTTP, POP, IMAP, and SMTP client access protocols. So it appears that Exchange 2016 Mailbox server is multi-role Exchange 2013 box. Of course there are a lot of improvements into storage and namely to DAGs.

Overall technical requirements are not much different of those that were in Exchange 2013, even though they are not 100% the same.

So I have decided to build the lab in my virtual environment at home. I have deployed 1 domain controller (Windows 2012 forest mode, as minimum Windows 2008 is now are required) and 2 Exchange servers.

Installation, doesn't differ much from what we had in Exchange 2013.

So first we start with installation of the Exchange 2016 prereqs in the following order:

1. Windows Features. You can find the code for installing necessary Windows 2012 R2 components as well as other prereqs on this page.

2. .Net Framework 4.5.2

3. UCMA 4.0

After this we need to prepare Active Directory for Exchange deployment. Of course when you install first server of the new Exchange release (whether the main version, Service Pack or Cumulative Update) AD should be extended to support new object types and attributes. Of course installation program can do it on your behalf which is good for lab but not very good in most of the production environments.

There are 3 commands to prepare AD in a more controlled fashion (commands are pretty obvious so I won't explain you what each of them does):

setup.exe /prepareSchema /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

setup.exe /PrepareAD /OrganizationName:EXCHORGNAME /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

setup.exe /PrepareDomain /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

If you want to make sure that AD prep has been successful you can refer to this my previous blog post. Or alternatively you can launch ADSIEdit  and see that container for Exchange organization has been created with all the necessary sub-containers.

After AD is prepared and all prereqs are in place we are ready to install our first Exchange 2016 server. Again installation methods didn't change from the last versions:

If you use command line unattended method you can use command like this one:

setup.exe /mode:Install /Roles:Mailbox /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

Alternatively you can use good old installation method as below. I believe no explanations are needed here.

After installation is over you can check if all Exchange services are running by using Test-ServiceHealth cmdlet

I will continue posting about this new version as I play in my lab and explore new features.

To be continued...