Tag Archives: Exchange 2016

Deploy Exchange 2016

Exchange 2016 is the latest version of Exchange, and it’s not very different compared to Exchange 2013. When it comes to requirements, there are some differences though:

  • Domain Controllers need to be at Windows 2008 level;
  • Domain Functional Level (DFL) and Forest Functional level need to be at Windows 2008 level;
  • The Exchange servers themselves need to be running Windows 2012 or Windows 2012 R2. At the time of release Windows Server 10 is not supported.

There’s also something like Simplified Architecture. This is the Exchange 2013 Preferred Architecture, enforced on Exchange 2016. This means that there will be only one Exchange 2016 server role on the internal network, the Exchange 2016 Mailbox server. This is the same as the old Exchange 2013 multi-role server, but at this moment there’s no choice left. You have to install the Exchange 2016 Mailbox server, and you cannot opt to install a dedicated Client Access server anymore.

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Exchange 2016 – What’s new?

Now that Microsoft has Exchange Server 2016 it’s time to have a closer look at what’s new in the product. It might not be a surprise that it looks a lot like Exchange Online. Not surprisingly since Microsoft is developing Exchange for the cloud, and Exchange on-premises is just a spin-off of Exchange Online, released on a quarterly basis.

It might be blunt to say, but Exchange 2016 is nothing more than Exchange 2013 Service Pack 2, if you look at the version numbering with PowerShell (Get-ExchangeServer | Select Name,AdminDisplayVersion) you’ll see that it’s actually a minor upgrade from 15.0 (Exchange 2013) to 15.1 (Exchange 2016).

The question can be raised why a new version? It’s all about the support lifecycle, and get rid of support for Exchange Server 2007. Customers need a new version, from a support point of view or from a license point of view (software assurance).

But, back to Exchange 2016… it is a new version, and with a new version also new features are introduced and other features are deprecated or removed.
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Exchange 2013 CU10

Microsoft silently released Exchange 2013 CU10 on September 15th 2015, right on track with their quarterly cadence, and as expected. There are no new features in this Cumulative Update, but besides a lot of hotfixes there’s also a change to RBAC which require changes to the Configuration Partition in Active Directory.

So, no changes to the Active Directory Schema, but you have to run Setup.exe /PrepareAD /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms before you start the actual setup. Please note that you have to do this, even if you run the GUI version of setup. If you omit this step the changes won’t be applied to Active Directory. As a result, the RBAC changes might not be available after your upgrade. A similar issue happened with CU9 as written down in this blog post MessageCopyForSentAsEnabled and MessageCopyForSendOnBehalfEnabled not available in CU9.

Before installing Exchange 2013 CU10 in your production environment I recommend testing it thoroughly in a lab environment. The last couple of CU’s have been pretty successful without too many issues, but there might be specific issues in your own organization that Microsoft is unaware of.

When upgrading DAG members please remember you disable all the Exchange server components as explained in my blog about deploying Exchange 2013 CU9.

You can download CU10 here, and the CU10 Language packs here. A complete list of issues resolved can be found in Knowledge Base Article KB3078678.

At the same time Microsoft released released Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 3 Update Rollup 11 (KB3078674).

When Exchange 2016 is released in the (near) future, you will need Exchange 2013 CU10 or Exchange Server 2010 SP3 Update Rollup 11 for coexistence. This will be hardcoded in the product, so if you’re planning to deploy Exchange 2016 in the future you have to install these version.

Also, when you’re running an Exchange 2013 Hybrid scenario with Office 365 you have to use the latest version, so in this case Exchange 2013 CU10 is mandatory.

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:


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

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