On March 17 Microsoft released the 8th Cumulative Update for Exchange Server 2013, 98 days after the release of CU7 which is nicely in line with the quarterly release cadence of Cumulative Updates. This Cumulative Update is called CU8, not a word about Service Pack 2, so SP1 still continues to be the officially supported Service Pack.
There are some new features in CU8 that are worth noticing.
- With CU8 there are improvements for mobile clients in a Hybrid Configuration. When a Mailbox is moved the Outlook client will automatically detect and reconfigure accordingly. This was not the case with Mobile clients. This behavior has changed in CU8. When a mobile client connects the local Exchange server and the Mailbox is moved to Exchange Online an additional check for the TargetOWAUrl on the Organization Relationship object is performed. This will return an HTTP/451 redirect to the mobile client which in turn will be redirected to this new URL. This feature will be available to all EAS compatible devices that can handle the HTTP/451 redirect option. Unfortunately this feature is only available for onboarding customers (i.e. to Office 365) and not for offboarding (from Office 365) customers.
- There an improved migration for Public Folders migration, now supporting batch migrations. This is faster (supports multiple jobs), more reliable and provides an easier migration management.
- CU8 supports viewing calendar and contact types of modern Public Folders in OWA
Besides these new features there’s a ton of hotfixes in CU8. More information can be found in Microsoft knowledgebase article KB3030080, CU8 itself can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download site., the accompanying CU8 UM Language packs are available as well. At the same time Microsoft released Update Rollup 9 for Exchange 2010 SP3 and Update Rollup 16 for Exchange 2007 SP3.
This question pops up on a regular basis…. When installing CU8, there’s no need to install a previous build and then run CU8. This is not only true for CU8 but for every Cumulative Update. You can install Windows Server 2012 R2 and install Exchange 2013 CU8 and you’re done.
Upgrading an existing Exchange 2013 server to CU8 is not that difficult. Please note that only upgrading from versions n-2 is officially supported, which means upgrading from CU6 or CU7. You can upgrade from earlier versions of Exchange 2013 and most likely this will work, but if you run into issues and need help from Microsoft you might be charged with a regular support call.
For a Hybrid Environment you always need to be running the latest version of Exchange 2013 which means you should be upgrading from CU7 to CU8 when running Exchange 2013 on-premises.
Upgrading from an earlier version of Exchange 2013 is relatively simple. You can upgrade the Active Directory using the regular commands:
Setup.exe /prepareSchema /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms Setup.exe /prepareAD /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms Setup.exe /prepareDomain /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms
You can also use PowerShell to check the schema version using the following commands:
$root = [ADSI]"LDAP://RootDSE" $m = [ADSI]("LDAP://" + "CN=ms-Exch-Schema-Version-Pt," + $root.schemaNamingContext) $m.rangeUpper
For a complete list of version numbers and schema changes (in Exchange 2013) you can visit the following Microsoft site:
Upgrading the Exchange server can be achieved using the following command:
Setup.exe /mode:upgrade /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms
Please note that upgrading an Exchange 2013 server to the latest version is very similar to reinstalling an Exchange 2013 server. Any customization on the Exchange 2013 server is lost and you have to customize your servers again. Also when an upgrade fails there’s a distinct possibility you will lose your entire server and have to switch gear to a disaster recovery scenario. There’s no roll-back option after an upgrade to the latest (or any) version of Exchange 2013.
So please make sure you thoroughly test Exchange 2013 CU8 before bringing it into production.
Upgrading DAG members
When upgrading Exchange 2013 DAG members you have to put the Exchange 2013 server into maintenance mode before upgrading them. You can use the following PowerShell commands to put the Exchange 2013 DAG member into maintenance mode:
$Computer = $ENV:ComputerName Set-ServerComponentState $Computer -Component HubTransport -State Draining -Requester Maintenance Redirect-Message -Server $Computer -Target EXCH02.Contoso.com # Prevent DAG member becoming PAM Suspend-ClusterNode $Computer # Move all Mailbox Databases and prevent hosting copies on current server Set-MailboxServer $Computer -DatabaseCopyActivationDisabledAndMoveNow $True Set-MailboxServer $Computer -DatabaseCopyAutoActivationPolicy Blocked # Put the Exchange 2013 server in Maintenance Mode: Set-ServerComponentState $Computer -Component ServerWideOffline -State Inactive -Requester Maintenance
You can verify if the server is actually running in maintenance mode by using the following command in PowerShell:
Get-ServerComponentState $Computer | ft Component,State –Autosize
When checking the load balancer you can see that the Exchange 2013 server is marked as ‘offline’ due to the maintenance mode:
You can now safely upgrade the server to CU8 using the commands mentioned earlier.
Note. When running a dedicated Exchange 2013 CAS server and you want to put in maintenance mode you can use the following commands in PowerShell:
Set-ServerComponentState $Server -Component ServerWideOffline -State Inactive -Requester Maintenance Restart-Service MSExchangeFrontEndTransport
When the DAG member is successfully upgraded you can get the Exchange 2013 servers out of maintenance mode using the following commands in PowerShell:
$Computer = $ENV:ComputerName Set-ServerComponentState $Computer -Component ServerWideOffline -State Active -Requester Maintenance Resume-ClusterNode $Computer Set-MailboxServer $Computer -DatabaseCopyActivationDisabledAndMoveNow $False Set-MailboxServer $Computer -DatabaseCopyAutoActivationPolicy Unrestricted Set-ServerComponentState $Computer -Component HubTransport -State Active -Requester Maintenance Restart-Service MSExchangeTransport Restart-Service MSExchangeFrontEndTransport
Note. To get a dedicated Exchange 2013 CAS server out of maintenance mode you can use the following commands in PowerShell:
$Computer = $ENV:ComputerName Set-ServerComponentState $Computer -Component ServerWideOffline -State Active -Requester Maintenance Restart-Service MSExchangeFrontEndTransport
To verify if all services are available again you can use the following command:
Get-ServerComponentState $Computer | ft Component,State –Autosize
All Components should be marked as Active. An exception can be the ForwardSyncDeamon and ProvisioningRpc components which might be marked as Inactive. These are Exchange Online specific components so this can be ignored for on-premises deployments of Exchange 2013 CU8.
Exchange 2013 CU8 was released on March 17, 2015 and at the moment of writing the latest version of Exchange 2013. From a supportability point of view CU8 and CU7 are supported, and so are the upgrade paths. Upgrading from earlier versions of Exchange 2013 is not formally supported, but in this case it is not tested but in 99.9% of all upgrades it should work fine. If you run into issues you can call Microsoft for support and you might be charged for one incident, depending of the type of issue you’re facing.
Upgrading to Exchange 2013 CU8 is fairly easy, when upgrading DAG members you have to put the DAG members in maintenance mode before upgrading as described in this article. Please note that upgrading is basically a reinstall of the application, so all customizations are lost during the upgrade. Also, there’s no roll-back option after upgrading to CU8
As usual, please take your time for testing and evaluating Exchange 2013 CU8 before bringing this build into production.