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…

Converged OWA User Interface

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

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)

Exchange 2013 Hybrid Prerequisites (Part I)

In a hybrid environment the on-premises Exchange organization (which can be either Exchange 2010 or Exchange 2013) is integrated with Exchange Online. In a hybrid configuration you basically create one ‘virtual’ Exchange organization with the following features:

  • One cross-premises Address Book;
  • Secure cross-premises mail flow;
  • Cross-premises Free/Busy information, mail tips and out-of-office features;
  • Seamless migration to Exchange Online and vice versa;
  • No recreation of OST file;
  • Automatic reconfiguration of Outlook profile;
  • OWA URL Redirect.

To create a Hybrid environment you need at least one Exchange hybrid server on-premises. This can be an Exchange 2010 server but I always recommend using an Exchange 2013 server for this because of the improved hybrid connectivity in Exchange 2013. For redundancy purposes (and performance for larger environments) you better use multiple Exchange 2013 Hybrid servers.

Another prerequisite for creating a Hybrid environment is that you must have Directory Synchronization in place, so DirSync is used for synchronization user accounts, groups and contacts, all other communication is handled by the Exchange 2013 hybrid servers as shown in the following picture:

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Continue reading Exchange 2013 Hybrid Prerequisites (Part I)

The operation on mailbox failed because it’s out of the current user’s write scope

When you want to change an email address on a Mailbox in Office 365 you get the following error message:

The operation on mailbox “<mailbox>” failed because it’s out of the current user’s write scope. The action ‘Set-Mailbox’, ‘EmailAddresses’, can’t be performed on the object ‘Stacey Brown’ because the object is being synchronized from your on-premises organization. This action should be performed on the object in your on-premises organization.

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This issue is caused by the fact you’re synchronizing user objects from a local Active Directory using DirSync or WAADSync, and you want to change properties in Office 365. This is not possible since the Source of Authority is your local Active Directory, and not Windows Azure Active Directory. This means you have to change all the user’s properties in Active Directory, including his email address.

Continue reading The operation on mailbox failed because it’s out of the current user’s write scope

Install Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update 9

Microsoft has released Exchange 2013 CU9, three months after the release of CU8. Microsoft has made a solid Cumulative Update this time (just like CU8 by the way) and during testing not much issues were found.

There aren’t any new features in this Cumulative Update, and personally I don’t expect any new features anymore in future Cumulative Updates either. All development efforts at Microsoft are currently targeted towards Exchange Server 2016.

The official announcement of CU9 can be found on The Exchange Team Blog, CU9 itself can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center, just as the accompanying CU9 UM Language Packs.

Continue reading Install Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update 9

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