Tag Archives: Exchange 2016

Exchange 2016 Cumulative Update 11

Most likely you’ve seen this information before, because of my vacation in Dallas and New Orleans I’m a bit behind with blogging 😊

But on October 16, 2018 Microsoft has released Cumulative Update 11 (CU11) for Exchange 2016, this is a little later than expected to align the release of Exchange 2016 Cumulative Updates with the upcoming release of Exchange 2019. . There’s only a release for Exchange 2016, there won’t be any new CU’s for Exchange 2013 since Exchange 2013 is already in extended support. There will be security updates for Exchange 2013 though.

Exchange server and .NET Framework is not a happy marriage and it continues to be a struggle, or at least it looks that way. Exchange 2016 CU11 now supports .NET Framework 4.7.2. This version of .NET Framework is not mandatory, installation of .NET Framework 4.7.2 can be before installing of CU11 or after CU11. The .NET Framework 4.7.2 will be required for a future CU of Exchange 2016.

Another dependency is Visual C++, you might have seen this in previous CU’s and also in Exchange 2010 Update Rollup 23 as well. To avoid any issue, install Visual C++ 2012 (https://www.microsoft.com/download/details.aspx?id=30679) before installing Exchange 2016 CU11.

Exchange 2016 CU11 does not have any schema changes. If you’re upgrading from an older version of Exchange 2016, Active Directory changes (in the configuration container) might be needed. These will automatically be applied by the setup application, but you can also choose to update the configuration partition manually by running setup.exe /PrepareSchema /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

As always, you should test a Cumulative Update thoroughly before bringing it to production, it won’t be the first time something goes wrong in production with a CU. But I have to say, I haven’t seen any major blocking issues so far…

More information and downloads of Exchange 2016 CU11:

Exchange 2016 Setup RecoverServer fails with internal transport certificate warning

I am currently working with a customer on their Exchange 2016 design, implementation and disaster recovery process. While writing a new Exchange 2016 disaster recovery document I ran into this issue in my lab environment while running “Setup.exe /Mode:RecoverServer /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms”.

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For search engine options this is a part of the actual error message.

Mailbox role: Transport service FAILED

The following error was generated when “$error.Clear();

Install-ExchangeCertificate -DomainController

$RoleDomainController -Services SMTP

” was run: “System.InvalidOperationException: The internal transport certificate for the local server was damaged or missing in Active Directory. The problem has been fixed. However, if you have existing Edge Subscriptions, you must subscribe all Edge Transport servers again by using the New-EdgeSubscription cmdlet in the Shell.

The solution looks simple since it says “the problem has been fixed”. However, running the setup application again results in the next error message.

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Again, for search engine possibilities:

Performing Microsoft Exchange Server Prerequisite Check

Configuring Prerequisites COMPLETED

Prerequisite Analysis FAILED

A Setup failure previously occurred while installing the HubTransportRole role. Either run Setup again for just this role, or remove the role using Control Panel.

For more information, visit: http://technet.microsoft.com/library(EXCHG.150)/ms.exch.setupreadiness.InstallWatermark.aspx

The Exchange Server setup operation didn’t complete. More details can be found in ExchangeSetup.log located in the

:\ExchangeSetupLogs folder.

Z:\>

To remove the watermark, start the registry editor on the Exchange 2016 server and go to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\ExchangeServer\v15\HubTransportRole and delete the Watermark and Action entries.

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Rerunning the setup application unfortunately results in the 1st error, despite the “the problem has been fixed” and the removal of the watermark entries.

It turns out that I have two Edge Transport servers in my environment, with an Edge Subscription. This Edge subscription is using the self-signed certificate for encryption purposes, and since this self-signed certificate on the new Exchange 2016 server differs from the original (before the crash) self-signed certificate the encryption possibilities fail.

To resolve this, using ADSI Edit to find the msExchEdgeSyncCredential on the Exchange 2016 server you are recovering, and delete all credential entries.

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When running the Setup application with the /RecoverServer option again (for the third time ) it will succeed and successfully recover the Exchange 2016 server.

Exchange 2016 CU10 and Exchange 2013 CU21 released

On June 19, 2016 Microsoft released Exchange 2016 CU10 and Exchange 2013 CU21, exactly 90 days after the previous CUs. Perfectly aligned with their regular quarterly release 🙂

Besides regular hotfixes there are a couple of important things to notice:

  • Exchange 2016 CU10 and Exchange 2013 CU21 need the .NET Framework 4.7.1. This is a hard requirement, so if .NET Framework 4.7.1 is not installed, the setup application will halt and generate an error message. You can use the Get-DotnetVersion.ps1 script that fellow MVP Michel de Rooij wrote to check the .NET version in advance.
  • A new requirement is the VC++ 2013 runtime library. This component provides WebReady Document Viewing in Exchange Server 2010 and 2013 and Data Loss Prevention in Exchange Server 2013 and 2016. In the (near) future the VC++ 2013 runtime library will be forced to install.
  • Standard support for Exchange 2013 ended on April 10th, 2018 and thus Exchange 2013 entered extended support. Exchange 2013 CU21 is the last planned CU. Customers need to install this CU to stay in a supported configuration, and to be able to install future Security Releases.
  • When running a hybrid configuration with Exchange Online, customers are required to install the latest Cumulative Update for Exchange 2013 or Exchange 2016, or install the latest Update Rollup for Exchange 2010 SP3.
  • None of these releases bring Active Directory Schema changes. You have to run Setup.exe /PrepareAD to activate new features like the following:
  • A new feature in Exchange 2016 CU10 and Exchange 2013 CU21 is the option to create shared mailboxes in Office 365 using the *-RemoteMailbox cmdlets. For example, after creating a user account in Active Directory you can use the following command to create a Shared Mailbox in Office 365 directly:
    Enable-RemoteMailbox -Identity <account> -Shared -RemoteRoutingAddress account@contoso.mail.onmicrosoft.com

Microsoft also released Update Rollup 22 for Exchange 2010 SP3. This Update Rollup brings support for Windows 2016 Domain Controllers (and corresponding Domain Functional Level and Forest Functional Level) and it fixes an issue with Web Services impersonation.

As always you should thoroughly test the new Cumulative Updates or Update Rollups in your test environment before installing in your production environment.

Installing a Cumulative Update hasn’t changed much over the years, so you can follow my previous blogpost about installing Exchange 2013 CU9, which is especially important when installing a Cumulative Update in a Database Availability Group.

More information and downloads:

Exchange 2016 Database Availability Group and Cloud Witness

When implementing a Database Availability Group (in Exchange 2010 and higher) you need a File Share Witness (FSW). This FSW is located on a Witness Server which can be any domain joined server in your internal network, as long as it is running a supported Operating System. It can be another Exchange server, as long as the Witness Server is not a member of the DAG you are deploying.

A long time ago (I don’t recall exactly, but it could well be around Exchange 2013 SP1) Microsoft started to support using Azure for hosting the Witness server. In this scenario you would host a Virtual Machine in Azure. This VM is a domain joined VM, for which you most likely also host a Domain Controller in Azure, and for connectivity you would need a site-2-site VPN connection to Azure. Not only from your primary datacenter, but also from your secondary datacenter, i.e. a multi-site VPN Connection, as shown in the following picture:

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While this is possible and fully supported, it is costly adventure, and personally I haven’t seen any of my customers deploy it yet (although my customers are still interested).

Windows 2016 Cloud Witness

In Windows 2016 the concept of ‘Cloud Witness’ was introduced. The Cloud Witness concept is the same as the Witness server, but instead of using a file share it is using Azure Blob Storage for read/write purposes, which is used as an arbitration point in case of a split-brain situation.

The advantages are obvious:

  • No need for a 3rd datacenter hosting your Witness server.
  • No need for an expensive VM in Azure hosting you Witness server.
  • Using standard Azure Blob Storage (thus cheap).
  • Same Azure Storage Account can be used for multiple clusters.
  • Built-in Cloud Witness resource type (in Windows 2016 of course).

Looking at all this it seems like a good idea to use the Cloud Witness when deploying Windows 2016 failover clusters, or when deploying a Database Availability Group when running Exchange 2016 on Windows 2016.

Unfortunately, this is not a supported scenario at this point. All information you find on the Internet is most likely not officially published by the Microsoft Exchange team. If at one point the Cloud Witness becomes a supported solution for Exchange 2016, you can find it on the Exchange blog. When this happens, I’ll update this page as well.

More information

Using a Microsoft Azure VM as a DAG witness server – https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn903504(v=exchg.160).aspx

Exchange 2016 Edge Transport Server and IPv6

I’ve never paid too much attention to IPv6, except for turning it off completely in case of strange issues. And admit it, most of you do the same.

Security is getting more and more important, and as a messaging consultant you want your Exchange environment top notch. In the Dutch community NGN I was pointed to internet.nl where you can check your presence on the Internet. Lots of red crosses when it comes to messaging and IPv6, reason for me to start looking into that.

In this blogpost I will focus on the Exchange 2016 Edge Transport server (I have two for inbound and outbound email) and the Exchange 2016 Mailbox server, which is load balanced behind a Kemp LoadMaster LM3600.

Exchange 2016 Edge Transport server

Although a lot of Exchange admins disable IPv6 on their Exchange servers (through a registry key) in case of strange issues, it is not a recommended solution.

I have two Exchange 2016 Mailbox servers, one Exchange 2013 multi-role server and two Edge Transport servers (one Exchange 2013 and the other Exchange 2016) for inbound and outbound SMTP traffic. There are two MX records which point to these Edge Transport servers. Both have an external IPv4 address.

The first step of course is to add an IPv6 address to the network adapter of the Edge Transport servers, your provider should be able to supply you with a sufficient IP range.

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This should not result in too much issues. If you want to ping your server on IPv6 make sure that the File and Printer Sharing (Echo request – ICMPv6-In) inbound rule is enabled in Windows Firewall.

The next step is to enable the Edge Transport server for IPv6 usage. The Mailbox server has everything setup by default, but the Edge Transport server is only configured for IPv4.

Continue reading Exchange 2016 Edge Transport Server and IPv6