Exchange 2013 Health Manager generating alerts in SCOM after reboot

We have a 26 server Exchange 2013 server environment, monitored by SCOM. Within Exchange 2013 Managed Availability is monitoring the health of the individual servers, and alerts are escalated to SCOM which sends out text messages to the Exchange administrators.

It is crucial to have this configured properly to avoid invalid or unneeded text messages being sent out.

I’ve noticed that after a reboot of an Exchange server Managed Availability can send out alerts, even when the probes and monitors involved have a global override. Using a global override Managed Availability should never send out alerts to SCOM anyways.

To avoid this from happening you can set the Managed Availability service on your Exchange 2013 server, which is the Health Manager service MSExchangeHM to “Automatic (Delayed Start)”.

The easiest way to do this is to use PowerShell using the Set-Service command:

Set-Service –ComputerName EXCH01 -Name MSExchangeHM –StartupType Type;

Where Type can be Disabled, Manual or Automatic.

Unfortunately it is not possible to set this to “Automatic (Delayed Start)” using PowerShell, but you can create a Registry key on the Exchange 2013 server to achieve this by using the Set-ItemProperty command:

Set-ItemProperty -Path “Registry::HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeHM” -Name “DelayedAutostart” -Value 1 -Type DWORD

To do this for all Exchange 2013 servers in your organization you can do something like this:

$ExServers = Get-ExchangeServer | Where {$_.Name –like “EXCH*”}
ForEach ($Server in $ExServers) {
  Write-Host “Setting Health Manager service on $Server to Automatic (Delayed Start)”
  Invoke-Command –ComputerName $Server {
    Set-ItemProperty -Path Registry::HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeHM -Name DelayedAutostart -Value 1 -Type DWORD
  }
}

MessageCopyForSentAsEnabled and MessageCopyForSendOnBehalfEnabled not available in CU9

You have Exchange 2013 CU9 running in your environment and you want to configure the option to store sent messages in the shared Mailbox instead of the user’s mailbox as described in my blogpost Exchange 2013, Shared Mailbox and Sent Items.

But when you open the Exchange Management Shell and try to change the Mailbox settings using the Set-Mailbox cmdlet, the options -MessageCopyForSentAsEnabled and -MessageCopyForSendOnBehalfEnabled are not available.

To solve this you can run the setup.exe /PrepareAD /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms command from the CU9 installation media.

But why wasn’t this run during installation of Exchange 2013 CU9 in the first place?

You might expect that when running the setup application (either using the GUI or using setup.exe /mode:upgrade) that the upgrade of the Active Directory Configuration partition automatically takes place.

However, this is not always the case. It turns out that when there are no Schema changes during the upgrade process, which is the case when upgrading from Exchange 2013 CU7 or CU8 to Exchange 2013 CU9, the preparation of the Configuration Partition in Active Directory is automatically skipped by the setup application.

This is a bit annoying and nothing will break (except the fact you’re missing some new functionality) and can be solved by running the Setup.exe /PrepareAD later on.

Exchange 2013, Shared Mailbox and Sent Items

When users are using shared mailboxes and send email messages out of this Mailbox, you want these messages to be stored in the shared Mailbox. This was already possible in Exchange 2010, but only starting in CU9 this is possible in Exchange 2013 as well.

It is a setting on the shared Mailbox and has to be set using the Exchange Management Shell and works for shared Mailboxes where both the Sent As permissions and Sent on Behalf of permissions are granted.

For shared Mailboxes with the Sent As permissions use the following command:

Set-Mailbox <mailbox> -MessageCopyForSentAsEnabled $True

For shared Mailboxes with the Sent On Behalf of permissions use the following command:

Set-Mailbox <mailbox> -MessageCopyForSendOnBehalfEnabled $True

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When testing with Outlook (2013 in this case) and a shared Mailbox where Full Access and Sent As permissions are granted the email message that was sent is stored in the shared Mailbox.

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A couple of remarks:

  • The email message is stored in the shared Mailbox, but a copy is stored in the user’s Mailbox as well.
  • This feature was already available in Office 365 (and can be set using Remote PowerShell).
  • If the –MessageCopyForSentAsEnabled and the –MessageCopyForSendOnBehalfEnabled are not available you should run the Setup.exe /PrepareAD /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms in your environment to make the appropriate changes in the AD’s Configuration partition.

Exchange 2016 Public Preview

On July 22nd Microsoft released a public beta of Exchange Server 2016. Although the RTM version of Exchange Server 2016 is still quite some time in the future, this beta version will give you the possibility to have an early look at the software.

At first glance Exchange 2016 looks like some sort of Exchange 2013 SP3 and at some point I can agree (after all, there’s nothing wrong with Exchange 2013). Picture this, Microsoft has ten thousands of servers running Exchange 2013 in their datacenters, and when upgrading to a new version Microsoft simply cannot afford to add to much complexity when upgrading, like when upgrading from Exchange 2007 (BPOS in those days) to Exchange 2010, or from Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2013. From this perspective it makes sense there aren’t too much differences. But actually there are many, many new features in Exchange 2016 so it also makes sense to talk about a new version. And from a Microsoft support point of view they also have to release new versions (both major and minor) to keep track of supporting older versions…

In this blog post I’ll show some nice features and improvements, but there are many, many more to discover. Let’s go ahead and have a quick look…

Outlook on the Web (OOTW)

One of the most visible improvements in Exchange Server 2016 is the new user interface (UI) which now looks like the Office 365 OWA interface, but with several new improvements (which will follow later in Office 365) which makes the new UI very slick:

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Figure 1. The new Converged OWA User Interface, now called Outlook on the Web (OOTW)

Continue reading Exchange 2016 Public Preview

Exchange 2013 Hybrid Configuration Wizard (Part II)

In my previous blog post I explained about an Exchange 2013 hybrid configuration, and what the prerequisites are for such a configuration and how to implement and configure one (or more) Exchange 2013 Hybrid servers.

In this blog post we’ll continue with the Hybrid Configuration and we will run the Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW) to actually create the Exchange 2013 Hybrid configuration.

Note. For simplicity I assume your Exchange 2013 is fully operational without any (certificate) issues on the Internet, which means you have configured all your Virtual Directories, Outlook Anywhere and Autodiscover. Everything must be working correctly to prevent any issues during configuration, possibly resulting in a misconfigured and not working hybrid configuration.

Run the Hybrid Configuration Wizard

Configuring Exchange 2013 is relatively easy and can be started from the Exchange Admin Center (EAC). The wizard that’s used here is known as the Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW) and in my experience a very stable (although there have been some glitches with the HCW in earlier CU’s of Exchange 2013) and efficient wizard, providing you have met all prerequisites of course.

Login to the Exchange 2013 Hybrid server and start the Exchange Admin Center locally. The reason for doing this locally on the server is that during the wizard some additional software needs to be installed for the OAuth part of the Hybrid configuration.

In the Exchange Admin Center in the navigation pane select hybrid. In the hybrid setup window click the enable button to initially enable the hybrid mode in your organization. The option My Office 365 organzation is hosted by 21Vianet should be left unchecked. Office 365 in China is hosted by 21Vianet so this option does not apply to us (unless you are in China and your organization is hosted by 21Vianet of course).

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Continue reading Exchange 2013 Hybrid Configuration Wizard (Part II)

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