Exchange 2013 Designing Factor

Exchange 2013 designing plays a major role in the successful deployment and long running Exchange without any issues. The main objective before designing the solution is to understand the technical and business requirement. These requirements has be understood, reviewed and documented thoroughly. Given below are the business and technical requirements which need to be considered before designing a new solution. These requirements vary from customer to customer depending on their type of business, country regulation, infrastructure, budget etc.

Business requirement

Total Cost of Ownership

It is both the direct and indirect cost and benefits with the implementation of the new solution. It includes purchase of the hardware, license, power, maintenance, engineers, hidden cost, etc.

Reduction in Implementation Time

There are tons of works required to implement Exchange and management, always looks for the automated process to deploy the new solution. Projects allow bounded by tight time lines and automated deployment, configuration and versions are the only to meet the tight deadlines. Automated process reduces human efforts, time and errors.

Service Uptime

Uptime of the server and uptime of the service are two different things. Server can be up but the services can be down. It has no meaning when the servers are up and services are down. Service uptime is measure in percentage and business expects to have very minimal down time. To provide 99.999 percent of uptime, it comes with the huge cost.

No or Minimum user impact

Migration of users to the new environment should have minimum or no impact. Users should be able to continue to send and receive emails with continue access calendars, shared mailboxes, and delegate mailbox during the migration.

Compliance and Legal requirement

New solution comply with compliance and legal requirement of the organization. It should support legal hold, eDiscovery, Role based access control etc. to meet the needs.

Supportable and expandable

There are tons of dependent applications which integrate with exchange. New version of exchange should be fully supported by both in house and vendor applications. It should also be scalable to accommodate the expansion of the organization growth.

Security

It should offer strong encryption and security from any kind of security threats and breaches. Security threats or breaches can be like spoofing, phishing or spamming, which can be very unhealthy to the organization and cause damage in terms of reputation and money. Mobile devises are easy sources of security threats, implementing encrypting thought Active sync policy would secure it. Other comment

Data Retention and Recovery

Companies have different retention polices for different types of emails. Some needs to retain the email forever and some would need to retain them for 7 years and some may be for just a year. One the other side, these retained email should be available for recovery depending on the requirement. These recoveries can be for the accidental deletion of email or recovery of email of several years back for the legal dispute.

Exchange Recovery time Objective (RTO) and Recovery point object (RPO)

RTO is defined as part of the disaster recovery and business continuity plan. Exchange Recovery time object is the acceptable account of time taken to restore after a disaster or service distribution occurs. Depending on the criticality of the service, RTO time varies and exchange being one of the most critical applications, which would need to have the RTO time as low as possible. It can be specified in seconds, minutes, hours or days. For example, if the RTO time is around 4 hours then you need to invest huge amount of money to provide redundant infrastructure but If RTO time is about day or two, then it would give some time to restore the service at the reduced infrastructure investment

RPO is also defined as part of the business continuity and disaster recovery plan. It is the maximum acceptable level of data loss after any disaster or catastrophe. It represents the point in time data to be recovered to resume the normal operation. It is calculated in Seconds, minutes, hours or days. If the RPO is 5 hours, then exchange data must be backed up once in 5 hours. Lower the RPO, higher the infrastructure investment cost and vice versa.

Technical Requirement

Easy Administration and implementation

It should be easy to manage, implement and the interface should be easy to use and provide remote PowerShell management. It should also provide the scope for automation to reduce the management and administration efforts.

Bigger Mailbox size

Users never want to delete anything from their mailbox; they want to keep everything. To address this issue, new Exchange solution should support bigger mailboxes

Bigger Database

Bigger database support reduces the number of databases in the organization. It also reduces the maintenance and management efforts. Newer disk provides larger storage space and accommodate bigger Database.

Client Support

It should support rich clients like Outlook, Outlook Web access, various mobile devices like blackberry, Active sync and Mobile device management solution.

High Availability and Disaster recovery

High Availability (HA) and Disaster recovery (DR) are very important for a business. Loss or unavailability of emails can be huge loss to the business; thus, HA and DR can help in reducing the complexity of delivering business continuity.

Integration

It should be able to integrate with another application and systems in the organization. Some of other applications like Lync, SharePoint, office application, some in house and other third party application. Organization will have many in-house built or third party application like SAP, HR etc. and this needs to be supported by the exchange server.

Virtual or Physical

Exchange is resource intensive application and depending on the organization policy some may want to implement physical and other want to go for virtual. Over the years, virtualization has proved to provide better performance with CPU and Memory. Microsoft also supports Exchange 2013 on virtualization technology like HyperV and Vmware, they also have provided some guidelines and best practice when Exchange is been implemented on vitalization. It’s totally a technical requirement from the Exchange team on the path they wanted to take to implement exchange.

Understanding Current Environment

Understanding current environment plays a major rules in designing the solution. It is very important to understand every component of the exchange and its depending tools which works in collaboration of exchange. Without understanding current environment, it would be impossible for anyone to design the new solution.

To start with need:

1. Exchange Architecture diagram

2. Exchange designing document

3. Exchange Configuration Information document

4. Exchange Server CPU Utilization and specifications

5. Exchange server Memory utilization and specifications

6. Exchange Mailbox Database configuration and Size

7. Exchange server Storage utilization type and design

8. Network diagram

9. Current High Availability and Disaster recovery model

10. Vendor support documents and support number.

11. Active directory diagram with server details

12. Blackberry and Mobile device Management (MDM) software and server details

13. SharePoint solution

14. Instant Messaging and Unified Messaging solution

15. Backup Solution

16. Fax solution

17. Archiving solution

18. Journaling

19. Antivirus Software

20. Gateway and Spam filtering solution

21. Email Encryption

22. Business Custom Application

23. Monitoring and reporting solution

24. Custom Outlook plugins

25. Signature Software

26. Server Patching Solution etc.

There are various native and exchange built-in tool available to pull the necessary information on the current environment and they play the vital role in designing.

1. Exchange profile Analyzer

2. Exchange Environment Report

3. Microsoft Exchange Server User Monitor (ExMON)

4. ExIISLogParser

5. Exchange Best Practice Analyzer

With these information, we get some good idea on the all the business and technical requirement and also help to get the complete knowledge on the existing environment. It helps provide solution which is ideal for the requirement and to accommodate the business growth. I hope this article helps you to considers all the factors before designing a messaging solution for your organization.

Configuring Outlook Anywhere via ARR on IIS 7

If you are trying to configure Outlook Anywhere to route via ARR sever on IIS 7 then you will not be able to connect and you should get error “outlook unable to connect to the Exchange sever.”

in IIS logs you should find the error code 404.13 (which mean content length is too large)

Solution:

By Default IIS ‘Maximum allow content length’ is set to 30 MB. We just have to reset it to 2 GB(2147483648 byes).

To configure this select the required website and double click  on ‘Request Filtering’

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Select ‘Headers’ tab and click on ‘Edit Feature Settings’ then increase the ‘Maximum allow content length’ to 1 GB (1073741824 bytes)

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Deploying Microsoft Exchange e-mail Server – Guides, books and Admin deployment documents

Top 5 Microsoft Exchange Server Books by MVPs, Consultants and Expert Administrators

I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite Microsoft Exchange authors into the top list of books covering

· Deployment

· Architecture

· Configuration

· Deployment

· Sizing

· Load Balancing

1 – Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Sizing, Designing and Configuration – A Practical Look – 9.99$

By Krishna Kumar

It’s a book on Microsoft Exchange Server 2013, it will be on sizing, designing and configuring with a practical look. It will be based on the practical scenario for different organization with approximately user of 5,000, 10,000, 25,000 and 50,000. It also contain various migration scenario like migration from Exchange 2003, Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010. It also includes information on Office 365 migration scenario with Exchange 2013.

Copy of the book can be bought from Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B013XBVBDW/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb

2 – Exam Ref 70-341 Core Solutions of Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 (MCSE) 1st Edition – 35.51$

By Bhargav Shukla, Paul Robichaux

Prepare for Microsoft Exam 70-341–and help demonstrate your real-world mastery of the skills needed to deliver effective Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 solutions. Designed for experienced IT pros ready to advance their status, Exam Ref focuses on the critical-thinking and decision-making acumen needed for success at the MCSE level.

Copy of the book can be bought from Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VO27P2Y/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb

3- Mastering Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 – 35.23$

By David Elfassy

Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 is touted as a solution for lowering the total cost of ownership, whether deployed on-premises or in the cloud. Like the earlier editions, this comprehensive guide covers every aspect of installing, configuring, and managing this multifaceted collaboration system. It offers Windows systems administrators and consultants a complete tutorial and reference, ideal for anyone installing Exchange Server for the first time or those migrating from an earlier Exchange Server version.

Mastering Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 is the complete reference for planning, installing, and maintaining the most popular e-mail server product available.

Copy of the book can be bought from Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GDEP1GA/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb

4- Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Unleashed – 35.70$

By Rand Morimoto, Michael Noel, Guy Yardeni , Chris Amaris and Andrew Abbate

Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 doesn’t just add dozens of new features: It integrates multiple technologies into a common, unified communications system that can add value in many new ways. Now, five leading Exchange Server consultants help you deploy Exchange Server 2013 quickly and smoothly–and then efficiently manage, troubleshoot, and support it for years to come. More than a comprehensive, authoritative reference, Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Unleashed presents hundreds of helpful tips and tricks based on the authors’ unsurpassed early adopter experience with Exchange Server 2013 in real production environments.

Copy of the book can be bought from Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ADQC24I/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb

5- Microsoft Exchange Server 2013: Design, Deploy and Deliver an Enterprise Messaging Solution – 37.72$

By Nathan Winters, Neil Johnson, Nicolas Blank

The latest release of Microsoft’s messaging system allows for easier access to e-mail, voicemail, and calendars from a variety of devices and any location while also giving users more control and freeing up administrators to perform more critical tasks. This innovative new field guide starts with key concepts of Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 and then moves through the recommended practices and processes that are necessary to deploy a top-quality Exchange service.

  • Focuses on the Exchange ecosystem rather than just the features and functions of the Exchange product
  • Focuses on scenarios facing real customers and explains how problems can be solved and requirements met
  • Zooms in on both on-premises deployments as well as Exchange Online cloud deployments with Office 365
  • Helps you thoroughly master the new version with step-by-step instruction on how to install, configure, and manage this multifaceted collaboration system

Whether you’re upgrading from Exchange Server 2010 or earlier, installing for the first time, or migrating from another system, this step-by-step guide provides the hands-on instruction, practical application, and real-world advice you need.

Copy of the book can be bought from Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DXJMZNK/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb

RecoveryFix for Exchange Server Recovery

One of the most important component of the Exchange server is the database and it stores the user’s mailbox with emails, contacts, calendar, tasks, notes etc.

MS Exchange is considered as mission critical application as most of the business transaction happens over email. Hence, it is very important that the database are protected. Exchange server provides multiple native option to protect the database. Exchange backups, multiple database copy, LAG database copy are the common ways to protect database with minimum or no data loss.

In spite of multiple options and complex configuration, there is always a possibility of exchange database getting corrupt and cause a major downtime for the users with data loss. Exchange native tool ‘ESEUTIL’ could be used to fix the database corruption, but in most of the occasions, it take enormous amount of time to fix the corruption. Alternatively, you could restore data from the backups but it is subjected to data loss between the backup time and the restore time.

Lepide software Pvt. Ltd. offers RecoveryFix for Exchange Server Recovery tool, it helps to recover Exchange database from corruption. It works on all version of Exchange database file starting from Exchange 5.5 to latest version of Exchange. It is a very simple, easy and efficient tool.

RecoveryFix for Exchange Server Recovery tool accepts the database file .edb and .stm (for legacy database only) as source files.

 

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Image: Selecting Corrupted database to recover

 

Operating the software, once the source database file is selected then it provides three different recovery mode options:

1. Automatic Analyze and recover: It is the recommended and fastest mode to restore the corrupted database. It scans through the database, fixes the corruption and lists all the recovered mailboxes in the database. Recovered mailboxes from the database can be exported to the .pst files.

2. Advance Scan: It is selected when database is severely corrupted and ‘Automatic Analyze and Recover’ option fails. This mode performs deep scanning of the database and it takes some time to recover the database. Once the database is fixed, it lists all the recovered mailboxes in the database. Recovered mailboxes from the database can be exported to the .pst files.

3. Rebuild corrupted database: This option reduces unnecessary efforts of exporting the user’s mailbox to .pst file and sharing with the users. It creates/rebuilds a new clean database by fixing the corruption in the database. The new recovered database is ready to mount on the Exchange servers.

 

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Image: Recovery Modes to Recover Corrupted Database

 

Automatic analyze and recover and Advanced scan are the most common options, when you have bigger database and large number of mailboxes to recover. Once scanning process is done, it proves effective in fixing all the corruption and allows administrator to view/validate the mailboxes and its content.

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Image: RecoveryFix for Exchange Server Console

Administrator can save all the recovered mailboxes into .pst file format. These .pst files can be imported into the target user’s mailbox or any other temp mailbox. Administrators can also share the .pst with users and can be accessed through their MS Outlook.

Saving the recovered mailboxes can be done easily by selecting ‘Save’ button from the top ribbon bar. Saving option provides some great flexibility to filter only the necessary emails based on date.

Administrator can easily filter emails based on predefined date or custom date. Finally at the end, one just got to define the path of the destination folder to save the recovered .pst files.

 

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Image: Saving Option to export the .pst

 

Conclusions:

I think it’s a great tool to fix the corrupted Exchange database and at the same time can save your efforts and time. I recommend this tool for all the Exchange Server administrators. You can download the copy of the software from the Recoveryfix Website – http://www.recoveryfix.com/exchange-server-recovery.html

LepideMigrator for Exchange (LME)

Exchange migration involves a lot of effort and time; it is one of the most complex migrations to perform. After doing tons of exchange migration, I realized that not every environment is the same and not every migration is the same. During an exchange migration, everyone’s mailbox will be moved from one version of Exchange to the latest version or to the other organization. With the upgrade of Exchange servers, it is important that client outlook version is also upgraded to the latest level or to the level of Exchange servers. Thus, in a way everyone has to undergo some kind of changes with learning, while adopting a new Exchange environment into the organization.

LepideMigrator for Exchange (LME) is the new latest Exchange migration tool from Lepide which helps in performing a migration from one Exchange Environment to another which is either located locally or another network or even in the Office 365 or Exchange hosted solution in the cloud environment. It supports different migration scenarios, like

· Exchange 2003 / 2007 and Exchange 2010

· Exchange 2003 / 2007 and Exchange 2013

· Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2013

· Migration from any Exchange Server to Office 365

· Public Folder Migration

· Intra-forest Exchange Migration

· Cross-forest Exchange Migration

Given below are a few interesting features of the products.

1. Innovative technique to migrate the large number of mailboxes from source Exchange server to the target which enhances the performance. It can be installed on multiple computers and increase migration volume depending on the requirement. We can also schedule the mailbox move by creating schedule jobs. It provides rich filtering options to filter unwanted email and migrate only necessary email to the target and can also provide the option to undo or rollback the mailbox migration, if necessary.

2. Exchange migration is a time-consuming process which needs a lot of effort and time. To reduce the migration efforts, we can sync the complete source mailbox to the target much ahead of time and just do an incremental sync only before the final cutover. This helps in avoiding any kind of data loss and outage to the users.

3. Report is very important for the migration and helps in tracking migration history and plan for the future migration. Notification helps administrator to notify the status of the migration status with email alerts for the job status, job completion, or job cancelation.

Migrations of the mailbox using LepideMigrator for Exchange is a very easy process and let’s understand on how easy it is to configure and to migrate a mailbox from one forest to another.

Given below is the Setup of my lab

1. Source forest Green.com

2. Target Forest blue.com

3. Creating DNS forwarding and trust between green.com and blue.com

Given below is a step-by-step instruction to perform cross forest migration.

1. Install LepideMigrator for Exchange at the source or target forest. In this scenario, the tool is installed on the source forest green.com. It is installed on the Windows 7 machine with outlook client installed

2. To perform the configuration, start the LepideMigrator for Exchange, Right click on All projects -> click on ‘Add Project’ -> provide the name to the Mailbox migration project

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3. Then, create the new Job for the mailbox migration and provide the name for the same and click on ‘Next’

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4. Connect to the source forest domain control by providing the IP address and administrator credentials. Then click on ‘Next’

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5. Select all the necessary required users to migrate into the target domain and click on ‘Next’

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6. Input the target domain controller IP address and the admin credentials. Make sure to specify ‘Different Domain’ for cross forest migration scenario and then click ‘Next’. You can also pull down ‘Migrate To’ to select the different options like same domain or office 365.

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7. It also provides the filters to include or exclude the message based on date and folder. Click on ‘Next’ to continue

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8. Here, we need to map the source mailbox with the target forest mailbox. It provides the option to map the source mailbox to target pre-created mailbox automatically. If not, we could provide the CSV file specifying the source and target mailbox mapping.

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9. Another option could also be to create the target mailbox using the tool itself. Select all the source mailbox and click on message icon, then click on ‘Start’.

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10. Once the target mailbox is created, then you could see the mapping done automatically for each of the source mailbox with the target. Click on ‘Next’ to continue.

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11. Specify option to Skip the Bad item count or if you just want to do only the mailbox content synchronization, and then click on ‘Next’.

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12. Specify the email address to receive various notifications for Job start, Job stop, Job completion, mailbox migration start / finish etc.

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13. Notification configuration needs the SMTP address and other necessary configurations. Please provide the same and continue with the ‘Next’.

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14. Specify the time duration to deny or permit the migration for the specific time period. It is important to make sure that migration is not done at the production hours, which could have the user performance impact. Click on ‘Next’ to continue.

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15. Then schedule the migration depending on the requirement and click on ‘Next.

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16. Finally, verify the summary details and click on ‘Finish’ to complete the Job creation.

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17. It’s now the time to generate the license file and upload it to http://www.lepide.com/lepide-migration-for-exchange. It generates the generate activation file, download the import it to activate the same.

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18. Once the license is activated, we are ready to start the mailbox migration by right clicking on the Job and select the option ‘Start Job’.

Report Console

1. Report console helps to generate the migration statistics report. It helps to analyze the migration details and also to track the status. This report has the complete statistics of the migration performed using the server. It has details of number of jobs, with the domain details and the Exchange version specifications.

To start the report console

2. Start the LepideMigrator for Exchange

3. Click on tool -> click on Report Console

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4. Login with the account and password as ‘lepadmin’

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5. To understand the details of each of the migration job, click on the Job name. It gets the detailed information with number of mailboxes, total folders, migrated messages and status. Below is the reference screen shot.

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6. You could also generate some quick reports in html or pdf file using the options available in the bottom left corner of the LepideMigrator for Exchange tool.

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Conclusion:

This migration could take some time depending upon factors like the size of the source mailbox, bandwidth, source and target server performance, etc. Migration using a ‘LepideMigrator for Exchange’ is much simpler to configure and manage than a native migration tool. It provides option to migrate the account with SID History and also copy the password from the source to target account, which is very important for the cross forest migration scenario. It also provides option to migrate public folders and also apply the settings like mailbox rights, send as permission, public folder administration rights send on behalf, message delivery restriction, and public folder client permission.

I believe, LepideMigrator for Exchange is a compressive tool to perform migration under various scenario. This tool has all the features to perform end to end migration.

You can find the detailed information about the tool at http://www.lepide.com/exchangemigrator/ and  also download the trial version from http://www.lepide.com/exchangemigrator/download.html

ADFS Claim based Authentication for SharePoint with Cross forest authentication

 

Wonderful in-depth setup by step instruction to configure ADFS Claim based authentication for SharePoint with cross forest authentication by Jay Simcox from summit7systems.com

 

Part 1: The Beginning

Part 2: Installing and Configuring AD FS 3.0

Part 3: Configuring SharePoint 2013 for ADFS

Part 4: Troubleshooting

Part 5:Authentication Across Multiple Forest