What is Storage Group?
Storage Group is a grouping of Mailbox and/or Public Folder Databases, which shares a single backup schedule and a single set of Transaction log files. Storage Groups are managed using their separate server process and the idea behind splitting databases up in Storage Groups is primarily to reduce the overhead that results from multiple sets of transaction log files.
What are the storage group and database size limitations in Exchange 2007, compared with Exchange 2003?
Exchange Server 2003 Standard edition supported 1 Storage Group and 2 Stores – one Mailbox and one Public Folder Store (when excluding the Recovery Storage Group of course). Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise Edition supported a total of 4 Storage Groups each containing a maximum of 5 store databases per Storage Groups (thus maximum 20 databases per server). The limit of a database size in Exchange Server 2003 Standard edition was 16 GB (although raised to 75 GB when Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2 was applied). There was no limit on a database size when talking about Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise edition (well actually there is a 16 Terabyte limit but this limit is caused by hardware).
Exchange Server 2007 comes in two flavours, a standard edition and an enterprise edition, just like previous versions of Exchange. The Mailbox Server when talking about the Exchange Server 2007 Standard edition supports a total of 5 Storage Groups and 5 databases. Unlike Exchange 2003 and previous versions of Exchange there’s no longer a database storage limit in the standard edition. The Mailbox server in the Exchange 2007 Enterprise edition supports up to 50 Storage groups and a maximum of 50 databases per server. Exchange 2007 allows you to create up to 5 databases in each Storage Group as is the case with Exchange 2003, but best practice is to create 1 database per Storage Group. So why should you have a one to one relationship between storage groups and databases? Well primarily because you’ll be up and running a lot faster considering disaster recovery scenarios, etc.
No Storage Groups In Exchange 2010… Exchange 2010 has only mailbox databases and they are organizational objects in EMC. Mailbox databases no longer connected to the server object they become *Peers*. Database management has also been moved from Server configuration node in exchange console EMC. The mailbox databases are placed in the Organization Configuration ->Mailbox location in the console rather than the server level in exchange 2007. The database names has to be unique through out the exchange organization as well. This means that we can’t have duplicate mailbox database names like in 2007 (in different storage groups, of course).
As there are no storage groups, this will also mean that the database will have its own logs as well…
One of the goals of ESE in Exchange 2010 is to reduce the cost of maintaining and managing a database. Database maintenance is comprised of several tasks that manage and keep the integrity of your mailbox database.
Database maintenance is divided into the following:
Store mailbox maintenance
ESE database maintenance
In Exchange 2007, ESE database maintenance was disk-intensive. In Exchange 2010, improvements have been made to increase performance. In Exchange 2010, on large or very heavy profile servers, the store mailbox maintenance task only lasts approximately 45 minutes, while ESE database maintenance usually took from six to eight hours per
night to complete on large Exchange 2007 databases (2 GB quotas). In Exchange 2010, improvements have been made to support both large mailboxes as well as to support JBOD storage and storage without the use of RAID.
Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 includes many improvements to the Exchange database architecture:
Public folder reporting has been enhanced.
Databases are no longer associated with storage groups. Storage groups have been removed.
Investments in store schema and Extensible Storage Engine (ESE) optimizations have reduced IOPS by 70 percent.
Describe the differences in the permission model between Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2010.
Exchange 2003 Security and Permissions Model
To help simplify management of permissions, Exchange Server 2003 provided predefined security roles that were available in the Exchange 2003 Administrative Delegation Wizard. These roles were a collection of standardized permissions that could be applied at either the organization or the administrative group level.
In Exchange 2003, the following security roles were available through the Delegation Wizard in Exchange System Manager:
Exchange Full Administrator
Exchange View Only Administrator
This model had the following limitations:
A lack of specificity. The Exchange Administrator group was too large, and some customers wanted to manage their security and permissions model at the individual server-level.
A perception that the Exchange Server 2003 security roles only differed in subtle ways.
There was no clear separation between administration of users and groups by the Windows (Active Directory) administrators and Exchange recipient administrators. For example, to perform Exchange recipient related tasks, you had to grant Exchange administrators high level permissions (Account Operator permissions on Windows domains).
Exchange 2007 Security and Permissions Model
To improve the management of your Exchange administrator roles, which were called "security groups" in Exchange 2003, the following new or improved features have been made to the Exchange security and permissions model:
New administrator roles that is similar to the built-in Windows Server security groups.
You can use the Exchange Management Console (formerly Exchange System Manager) and the Exchange Management Shell to view, add, and remove members from any administrator role.
What's New in Exchange Server 2007 SP1?
You can install Exchange 2007 SP1 on a computer that is running the Windows Server 2008 operating system
Improvement in Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA)
Recover Deleted Items
Local Distribution List
What's New in Exchange Server 2007 SP2?
You can deploy Exchange Server 2010 in your organization once all of the Client Access servers in your organization have been upgraded to Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 2 (SP2).
Exchange 2007 Service Pack 2 includes a VSS plug-in for Windows Server Backup to support Exchange backups. Once SP2 is installed, you can use Windows Server Backup to back up and restore your Exchange 2007 SP2 databases.
New Exchange auditing events and audit log repository enable Exchange administrators to more easily audit the activities occurring on their Exchange servers.
What's New in Exchange Server 2007 SP3?
Windows Server 2008 R2 Support
Exchange Server 2007 SP3 supports all Exchange 2007 roles on the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system.
Windows 7 Support
Exchange 2007 SP3 supports the installation of the Exchange 2007 management tools on a computer that is running Windows 7. Additionally, Exchange 2007 SP3 provides support for the installation of the Exchange 2007 Management Tools together with the Exchange Server 2010 Management Tools on the same Windows 7-based computer.
Improved Password Reset Functionality
Exchange 2007 SP3 introduces password reset functionality for Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.
Updated Search Functionality
Exchange 2007 SP3 includes updates to the Exchange Search (MS-Search) component.
Support for Right-to-Left Disclaimer Text
Exchange 2007 SP3 includes support for Right-to-Left text in e-mail message disclaimers in a right-to-left language, such as Arabic.
What are the major changes in the way Exchange 2010 stores work? Name some of the changes in comparison with Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2007.
The following is a list of core store functionality that's included or has been changed in Exchange 2010:
Deprecated storage groups
Mailbox databases no longer connected to the server object
Improvements in Extensible Storage Engine (ESE) for high availability, performance, and database mobility
Flattened Outlook store schema
Enhanced reporting with public folders
In Exchange 2010, the store schema has been changed to remove the dependency of mailbox databases on the server object. In addition, the new schema has been improved to help reduce database I/O per second (IOPS) by refactoring the tables used to store information. Refactoring the tables allows higher logical contiguity and locality of reference. These changes reduce the store's reliance on the secondary indexes maintained by ESE. As a result, the store is no longer sensitive to performance issues related to the secondary indexes.
Store resilience and health has also been improved by adding several features related to detecting and correcting errors and providing alerts, such as the following:
Mailbox quarantine on rogue mailboxes
Transport cut-off to databases with less than 1 GB of space
Thread time-out detection and reporting
Name the system prerequisites for installing Exchange 2007 in your existing Active Directory forest.
Windows Server 2003/R2 x64 SP2
Windows Server 2008 x64
Microsoft .NET Framework Version 3.0/Microsoft .NET Framework Version 2.0 (with update/SP1)
Microsoft Windows PowerShell
Microsoft Management Console (MMC) 3.0
Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) service must not be installed.
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) service must not be installed.
IIS (for OWA)
Name the system prerequisites for installing Exchange 2010?
1- General Prerequisites:
Make sure that the functional level of your forest is at least Windows Server 2003, and that the Schema Master is running Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 2 or later.
The full installation option of Windows Server 2008 SP2-64bit or Windows Server 2008 R2-64bit must be used for all servers running Exchange 2010 server roles.
Both Windows Server 2008 SP2-64bit or Windows Server 2008 R2-64bit Standard & Enterprise are supported and we can use them to install Exchange 2010.
DNS must configure correctly in your Active Directory forest. All servers that run Exchange Server 2010 must be able to locate Active Directory domain controllers, global catalog servers, and other Exchange servers.
For all server roles other than the Edge Transport server role, you must first join the computer to the appropriate internal Active Directory forest and domain.
2- Operating System Components Prerequisites:
Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 (SP1)
Windows Remote Management (WinRM) 2.0
Windows PowerShell V2
In addition to the above, we need to install the following windows components (features):
RSAT-ADDS (requires a reboot)
3- Software Prerequisites:
For Hub Transport or Mailbox server role, Microsoft Filter Pack is required to be installed. You can download the Microsoft Filter Pack from the Microsoft website.
How would you easily install all the Windows Server 2008 R2 roles and features required for Exchange 2010?
Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1 allows us to install all Operating System prerequisites using just the Exchange Setup wizard. When we use the Exchange Server 2010 SP1 Setup wizard, there is a new option called Automatically install Windows Server roles and features required for Exchange Server. Just by clicking on that option will be installed all prerequisites automatically.
Installing Exchange Server 2010 Pre-Requisites on Windows Server 2008
First, install the following software components.
1. .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1
2. .NET Framework 3.5 Family Update
3. Windows Remote Management and Windows PowerShell 2.0
4. 2007 Office System Converter: Microsoft Filter Pack (for Hub Transport and Mailbox Server roles only)
Run the following from an elevated command prompt.
C:\>sc config NetTcpPortSharing start= auto
Next we need to install the operating system components. The Exchange source files contain a series of ServerManagerCmd.exe answer files in XML format that can be used to install the operating system pre-requisites for each of the server roles.
Each file relates to a specific Exchange 2010 deployment scenario.
exchange-all.xml – all server roles
exchange-base.xml – only the requirements for Forest and Domain prep operations
exchange-cadb.xml – Central Admin Database role
exchange-cas.xml – Client Access Server role
exchange-eca.xml – Central Admin role
exchange-edge.xml – Edge Transport Server role
exchange-hub.xml – Hub Transport Server role
exchange-mbx.xml – Mailbox Server role
exchange-typical.xml – Typical Exchange server (Client Access, Hub Transport, and Mailbox Server roles)
exchange-um.xml – Unified Messaging role
Execute any of the answer files using ServerManagerCmd.exe and the -inputPath parameter (that can be shortened to -ip). Here I am installing the pre-requisites for a “Typical” Exchange 2010 server.
servermanagercmd -ip exchange-typical.xml –restart
-restart option used to restart server automatically
How would you check your Exchange configuration settings to see if they’re right?
Run Microsoft Exchange Best Practices Analyzer tool.
Looking to install Exchange 2007 on Windows Server 2008. What SP version do you need? And for R2?
Exchange Server 2007 SP1 required for installation on Windows Server 2008 and Exchange Server 2007 SP3 required for Windows Server 2008 R2.
What’s a Rollup Update? What’s the latest RU for Exchange 2007 – 2010?
An update rollup is a tested, cumulative set of hotfixes, security updates, critical updates, and updates that are packaged together for easy deployment. A rollup generally targets a specific area, such as security, or a component of a product.
At the time of this writing, Update Rollup 4 for Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 2 and Update Rollup 10 for Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 are available.
How can you easily integrate a RU in the Exchange 2007 – 2010 installation media?
The Exchange installation folder includes an Updates folder. When you perform a new Exchange installation, you can copy an update rollup to the Updates folder. In this scenario, the update rollup package is applied during the installation of Exchange. The Updates folder supports only new installation of Exchange server.
Name a few reasons for using 64-bit hardware and OS version for Exchange 2007 – 2010.
64-bit hardware provides the system architecture that is required to support the increased memory, storage, and enhanced security requirements in a more cost-effective manner. Trends indicate that demands on messaging systems will continue to grow and 64-bit servers provide the system architecture to meet these demands while reducing costs within organizations through server and disk storage consolidations. With a larger addressable space, the Exchange servers can utilize more memory thereby reducing the required input/output per user (IOPS), enabling the use of larger disks as well as low cost storage such as SATA2 drives.
Exchange 2007 came in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Name a couple of reasons for ever needing the 32-bit version.
You need exchange 2007 32bit to export mail box into PST file.
Wanting to manage Exchange 2007 – 2010 from a remote computer, name a few of your management options.
There are a few options for managing Exchange 2007 servers remotely. First off, you can install the Exchange 2007 management tools onto a separate machine from your Exchange server, as long as that machine is running either the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) or later, Windows Server 2003 R2, or Windows XP SP2 or later. Note that installing any of the server roles (client access, mailbox, edge, and so on) on 32-bit hardware is not supported in production environments, but is supported for installing the management tools on a
32-bit machine. Also note that as of the initial release of Exchange Server 2007, the management tools are not supported on Windows Vista.
In some organizations, the IT department creates a single server to be the management server, installing all the necessary management tools for various products on this server. Then the administrators who need to use those tools access the management server via Terminal Server so they can perform remote administration. In other settings, users install the management tools on their own desktops.
From the console or shell you can perform operations on the servers in your organization. In the console, the servers are visible so you can perform operations on any of them remotely. In the shell, many of the tasks support a filtering flag like -server if you want to scope an operation to a single server. There are a few exceptions, however, for commands that must be run locally, such as the Get-NetworkConnectionInfo command.
What is the GAL?
The Global Address List (GAL) also known as Microsoft Exchange Global Address Book is a directory service within the Microsoft Exchange email system. The GAL contains information for all email users, distribution groups, and Exchange resources.
What is the OAB? When is it used?
An Offline Address Book is a container that stores a collection of Offline Address Lists. Outlook users can choose which offline address lists they want to download. Users who work offline connect to Exchange Server computers and download Offline Address Lists to obtain information about other users in their organization.
When an Administrator creates an Offline Address Book, the address list will be converted to a separate set of files and stored in an Exchange Public Folder. Offline Address Books typically contain at least one address list that represents the global address list (GAL). Users who are working offline with their Outlook clients can use this global address while they are on the road.
What is PowerShell and why do we care?
Windows PowerShell is a task-based command-line shell and scripting language designed especially for system administration. Built on the .NET Framework, Windows PowerShell helps IT professionals and power users control and automate the administration of the Windows operating system and applications that run on Windows. Built-in Windows PowerShell commands, called cmdlets, let you manage the computers in your enterprise from the command line.
The Exchange Management Shell, built on Windows PowerShell technology, provides a powerful command-line interface for Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 that enables automation of administrative tasks. With the Shell, you can manage every aspect of Exchange. You can enable new e-mail accounts, configure SMTP connectors, store database properties, store transport agents, and more. The Shell can perform every task that can be performed by the Exchange Management Console and the Exchange Web interface in addition to tasks that can't be performed in those interfaces. In fact, when a task is performed in the console and the Web interface, those interfaces use the Shell to perform the task.
Name major benefits of PowerShell v2 over V1
PowerShell Remoting : Using WS-Management, PowerShell 2.0 allows scripts and cmdlets to be invoked on a remote machine or a large set of remote machines.
Background Jobs : Also called a PSJob, it allows a command sequence (script) or pipeline to be invoked asynchronously. Jobs can be run on the local machine or on multiple remote machines. A PSJob cannot include interactive cmdlets.
Transactions : Enable cmdlet and provider developers to perform transactional operations. PowerShell 2.0 includes transaction cmdlets for starting, committing, and rolling back a PSTransaction as well as features to manage and direct the transaction to the participating cmdlet and provider operations. The PowerShell Registry provider supports transactions.
ScriptCmdlets: These are cmdlets written using the PowerShell scripting language. NOTE: The preferred name for script cmdlets is now Advanced Functions.
SteppablePipelines: This allows the user to control when the BeginProcessing(), ProcessRecord() and EndProcessing() functions of a cmdlet are called.
Modules : This allows script developers and administrators to organize and partition PowerShell scripts in self-contained, reusable units. Code from a module executes in its own self-contained context and does not affect the state outside of the module. Modules can define a restricted runspace environment by using a script. They have a persistent state as well as public and private members.
Data Language : A domain-specific subset of the PowerShell scripting language, that allows data definitions to be decoupled from the scripts and allow localized string resources to be imported into the script at runtime (Script Internationalization).
Script Debugging : It allows breakpoints to be set in a PowerShell script or function. Breakpoints can be set on lines, line & columns, commands and read or write access of variables. It includes a set of cmdlets to control the breakpoints via script.
Eventing: This feature allows listening, forwarding, and acting on management and system events. Eventing allows PowerShell hosts to be notified about state changes to their managed entities. It also enables PowerShell scripts to subscribe to ObjectEvents, PSEvents, and WmiEvents and process them synchronously and asynchronously.
Windows PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE) : PowerShell 2.0 includes a GUI-based PowerShell host (formerly known as Graphical Windows PowerShell) that provides integrated debugger, syntax highlighting, tab completion and up to 8 PowerShell Unicode-enabled consoles (Runspaces) in a tabbed UI, as well as the ability to run only the selected parts in a script.
Network File Transfer : Native support for prioritized, throttled, and asynchronous transfer of files between machines using the Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS).
New Cmdlets : Including Out-GridView, which displays tabular data in the WPF GridView object.
New Operators : -Split, -Join, and Splatting (@) operators.
Exception Handling with Try-Catch-Finally : Unlike other .NET languages, this allows multiple exception types for a single catch block.
Nestable Here-Strings : PowerShell Here-Strings have been improved and can now nest.
Block Comments : PowerShell 2.0 supports block comments using <# and #> as delimiters.
New APIs : The new APIs range from handing more control over the PowerShell parser and runtime to the host, to creating and managing collection of Runspaces (RunspacePools) as well as the ability to create Restricted Runspaces which only allow a configured subset of PowerShell to be invoked. The new APIs also support participation in a Windows PowerShell managed transaction.
In the installation folder root you see setup.com and setup.exe. Which would you use and when?
Setup.com is used for all preparation work; basically it calls different backend procedures. Setup.com is also used in disaster recovery to reinstall all ex2k7 roles. Setup.exe is used for GIU installation.
What are the Exchange 2007/2010 server roles?
Exchange 2007 introduces a new concept to Exchange organizations, the concept of server roles. Similar to how a Windows server can host one or more roles. Server roles allow an administrator to split the functions of an Exchange
server and place each role, or a combination of roles, on different servers in the organization. With current Exchange servers you can make a server a Front-End server, or a Back-End server and that is about it. Exchange 2007 introduces five roles to the Exchange organization.
Edge Transport - The last hop of outgoing mail and first hop of incoming mail, acting as a "smart host" and usually deployed in a perimeter network, Edge Transport provides mail quarantine and SMTP service to enhance security. One advantage of this role is that is does not require Active Directory access, so it can function with limited access to the corporate network for increased security.
Hub Transport - The Hub Transport role handles mails by routing them to next hop: another Hub Transport server, Edge server or mailbox server. Unlike Exchange 2003 Bridgehead that needs Exchange admin defined routing groups, Exchange 2007 Hub Transport role uses AD site info to determine the mail flow. The Hub Transport and Edge Transport servers are very similar and in fact, one can forgo the Edge Transport server and configure the Hub Transport to accept mail from, and send mail to, the Internet.
Client Access - The Client Access server role provides the other mailbox server protocol access apart from MAPI. Similar to Exchange 2003 FrontEnd server, it enables user to use an Internet browser (OWA), 3rd party mail client (POP3/IMAP4) and mobile device (ActiveSync) to access their mailbox.
Mailbox - The Mailbox server role is responsible for hosting mailbox and public folder data. This role also provides MAPI access for Outlook clients. Note that there is also a variation of this role called Clustered Mailbox role, for use with high-availability MSCS clustering of mailbox data. When Clustered Mailbox role is selected, other server roles cannot be combined on the same physical server.
Unified Messaging - This role enables end users to access their mailbox, address book, and calendar using telephone and voice. IP-PBX or VoIP gateway needs to be installed and configured to facilitate much of the functionality of this server role.
What are the benefits of using roles, vs. the way Exchange 2000/2003 worked?
Server role is a logical concept used to organize Exchange 2007 services and features across one or more servers. While Exchange 2003 provided primitive server roles called BackEnd server and FrontEnd server, Exchange 2007 has more granular divisions.
Dividing Exchange features among several server roles has advantages:
More flexible deployment topology: For a small or medium company that has only hundreds of mailboxes and all users are centralized, customer can install all required roles on one physical server. For a large enterprise where tens of thousands of mailboxes span multiple physical locations, customer can choose to deploy each role on a separate server or even multiple servers per role to provide better performance and fault tolerance.
Better hardware utilization and scalability: Because each role only installs binaries and runs services for a specific feature set. Unlike older versions of Exchange, configuring a server that has only one or two roles will reduce Memory, CPU and disk space requirements for this server. In addition, roles are scalable so admin can load balance work of one role to multiple servers.
Easy to maintain: Upgrading, applying hotfix, or other server changes that could cause server outage can be isolated to one server role. This reduces maintenance down time and end user impact. Admin can also install or uninstall roles on a server as needed.
What are the Exchange 2003 equivalents of the various Exchange 2007-2010 roles?
Exchange 2007 Exchange 2003
Hub Transport Bridgehead server
Client Access Front-End server
Mailbox Back End server
The main differences between Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010. Feature
Jet EDB database
Jet EDB database
None, only data stores
ExOLEDB, CDOEX, WebDAV, EWS
Exchange Web Services (EWS)
Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010
Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010
SCC, CCR, SCR
Database Availability Group (DAG)
Outlook clients connect to
Client Access Server