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A few weeks ago the Exchange 2013 version of the Powershell Cookbook was published by Packt Publishing. This version also introduced a additional writer for the book: Jonas Andersson. A frequent Exchange blogger with quality articles so before I started reading I was convinced the book should be from high quality also. The second writer is the one who was also responsible for the first part Mike Pfeiffer. Those who missed the first part and are working with Exchange 2010, please read the book it contains very usefull info.

Enough about the writers and the first part . Let’s start reviewing the secondary part which is mostly decicated to Exchange 2013. The book starts from the beginning so if you are not familiar with Powershell the book will introduce how Powershell will work and you can benefit from it. And trust me I also found some nice tips for future use my scripts although I use Powershell almost every deployment.

Once the writers discus some basics which you really want to know they describe the abilities Powershell will give your per part of Exchange. For example they discuss which Powdershell cmdlets you can use for managing the Exchange Transport part. Per Exchange part a very clear description is given including some really nice examples.

As last and bonus part the writers describe how you can use EWS via Powershell which extends Powershell again. For those who are familiar with basic Powershell this is a must read chapter.

So what’s my conclusion about the book: a really nice book both for Exchange Powershell starters but also for people that are more experienced with Powershell for Exchange.

You can buy the book via the site below:

Packt Publishing

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Exchange 2010 SP3 Rollup 2 released

Microsoft has released Exchange 2010 SP3 Rollup 2 yesterday. This rollup will fix the following issues:

  • 2837926 Error message when you try to activate a passive copy of an Exchange Server 2010 SP3 database: “File check failed”
  • 2841150 Cannot change a distribution group that contains more than 1,800 members by using ECP in OWA in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2851419 Slow performance in some databases after Exchange Server 2010 is running continuously for at least 23 days
  • 2853899 Only the first page of an S/MIME signed or encrypted message is printed by using OWA in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2854564 Messaging Records Management 2.0 policy can’t be applied in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2855083 Public Folder contents are not replicated successfully from Exchange Server 2003 or Exchange Server 2007 to Exchange Server 2010
  • 2859596 Event ID 4999 when you use a disclaimer transport rule in an environment that has Update Rollup 1 for Exchange Server 2010 SP3 installed
  • 2860037 iOS devices cannot synchronize mailboxes in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2861118 W3wp.exe process for the MSExchangeSyncAppPool application pool crashes in an Exchange Server 2010 SP2 or SP3 environment
  • 2863310 You cannot send an RTF email message that contains an embedded picture to an external recipient in an Exchange Server 2010 SP3 environment
  • 2863473 Users cannot access Outlook mailboxes that connect to a Client Access server array in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2866913 Outlook prompts to send a response to an additional update even though the response request is disabled in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2870028 EdgeTransport.exe crashes when an email message without a sender address is sent to an Exchange Server 2010 Hub Transport server
  • 2871758 EdgeTransport.exe process consumes excessive CPU resources on an Exchange Server 2010 Edge Transport server
  • 2873477 All messages are stamped by MRM if a deletion tag in a retention policy is configured in an Exchange Server 2010 environment

Especially when you are planning to migrate from Exchange 2010 from Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2007 this rollup is recommended. The rollup fixes an issue which can occur with Public Folder replication between Exchange 2003/2007 and Exchange 2010. Because replicating the public folder content is one of the steps you might see this issue if you won’t deploy Exchange 2010 SP3 rollup 2.

The second interesting thing in the release notes is a fix for the MsExchangeSyncAppPool which crashes. This issue occurs only when offering ActiveSync services to your end-users and you will use Apple devices. In this case it can happen that the CPU usage on the CAS is high (between 80% and 100%). Users might in this case not be able to sync their mailbox content because throttling is applied. Cause of this issue is the throttling mechanism. Exchange 2010 SP3 Rollup 2 contains a fix for this issue which should prevent this issue from occurring again.

Looking at the third issue you may think what? Slower performance which is experienced by users when their mailbox is hosted in a database which his created after Exchange 2010 SP3. This problem occurs only if the database is online for more then 23 days.

You can download Exchange 2010 SP3 rollup 2via the link below:

download

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SefaUtil GUI

If you have worked with Lync Enterprise voice then you have probably used Sefautil (secondary extension feature activation). A cmdline tool which allows you to configure several settings related to enterprise voice for example:

  • call forward
  • simultaneous ringing
  • call pickup (only Lync 2013)

A cmdline works OK but because you forget the parameters which you can use it maybe hard sometimes. To make this a lot easier I developed a wrapper around the tool: SefaUtil GUI.

SefaUtil GUI

The tool is based on a Powershell script and allows you to configure the same functionalities as the cmdline tool does only then via a GUI. The tool contains two tabs. The first tab Main contains all the functions. On the second tab Info you can find some diagnostic info such as the Lync Server version, the directory where Sefautil is located and logging information. The logging which is created can be exported by pressing a button so you can review what has changed.

Installation

The script needs to be placed on a machine where the Sefautil tool is installed. A detailed description of how to install Sefautil can be found on this page: Deploy the SEFAUtil tool.

Besides the tool you will need to install the Lync Core components.

In some cases it is necessary to change the executionpolicy for the script, more info can be found on this page: Using the Set-ExecutionPolicy Cmdlet.

You can start the tool like this: start-sefautil -pool poolfqdn

Download

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Deploy Exchange 2013 CU’s

This weeks the second version of the second cumulative update has been released for Exchange 2013. As you may already know Microsoft has changed his update process completely with the introduction of Exchange 2013. No more rollups and only cumulative updates (CU’s).

A pretty big change as the CU’s require you to make changes to the AD also as step of the update process. For those not familiar with rollups of Exchange 2010, the rollups where just bit updates and did not include AD changes. In Exchange 2010 the AD changes where only included in service packs.

CU’s are a complete install of Exchange 2013. So if you plan to install Exchange 2013 in the future you will only need to install the latest CU and you’re done.

But what has changed from deployment standpoint? Well pretty much because we now have to think of the Managed Availability feature of Exchange 2013. This feature will continually monitor the environment and takes action if necessary.

You can compare it with placing a node in maintenance mode in a load balancer. Although with placing a node in maintenance mode in a load balancer only ensures that it doesn’t offer any traffic anymore to the specific server.

Managed availability goes steps further, it can do this because the monitors contain knowledge about the product something load balancers don’t have.

For changing the status of the components on a server you will need to use the Set-ServerComponentState cmdlet. Using this cmdlet with the necessary parameters you can influence the components of a server.

Which components are active on a server depends on which roles are deployed to  server. To find out which components are available on a server you can run Get-ServerComponentState. In the example below you will see an output example of a multi-role Exchange 2013 server:

get-servercomponentstate

As you can see all components are up and running. Let’s assume that we have prepared our AD and are now ready to deploy the bits on our Exchange 2013 servers.

Our environment consists of two Exchange 2013 multirole servers. A third server is used as the File Share Witness (FSW) to maintain quorum.

get-servercomponentstate serverwideoffline

The first step will me to ensure that the transport queues will be empty before continuing the process. Using the Set-ServerComponentState cmdlet we can set the status of a component. Besides the status we will need to provide the requestor. In this case the requestor we are going to use is maintenance.

Set-ServerComponentState –identity ex02 –component –state draining –requestor  maintenanceget-servercomponentstate serverwideoffline

hub_draining

By using the cmdlet above we will put the transport component in draining state. This means it will take care of the messages which are currently in the queue but will not accept any new messages.

You can speed up the process by moving the messages to a transport component hosted on another server. To do this you will need to use the move-messages cmdlet:

Redirect-Messages -server ex02 –targetserver ex01.corp.local

redirect-message

To check if the queues are empty we can use the good old get-queue cmdlet:

Get-Queue –server ex02

queue

If all queues are clean we can continue with disabling all the other components which are active on the server:

Set-ServerComponentState –identity ex02 –component serverwideoffline –state inactive –requestor maintenance

set-servcomponentstat serverwideoffline restore hub

To verify if all components are set to the status inactive we could run the Get-ServerComponentState cmdlet again:

get-servercomponentstate serverwideoffline

Now all components are inactive it’s time to handle the database availability group (DAG) part.

There are a two ways to put a DAG member in maintenance mode. Those who are familiar with Exchange 2010 will remember the start-dagmaintenance script which will help you in putting s DAG member in maintenance model Well good news the script is still available and can be found in the same location as in Exchange 2010, the Exchange scripting directory.

Another method to put  DAG member in maintenance mode is to set the status of the cluster component using the Suspend-ClusterNode, for example:

Suspend-ClusterNode

suspend-clusternode

Once the cluster node has been stopped you will need to prevent the databases from being moved d on the member:

Set-MailboxServer  -Identity ex02-DatabaseCopyActivationDisabledAndMoveNow $trueSet-MailboxServer  -DatabaseCopyAutoActivationPolicy Blocked

set-mailboxserver activation

And as final step we want to set the auto activation policy temporarily to blocked:

Set-MailboxServer  -Identity ex02 -DatabaseCopyAutoActivationPolicy Blocked

Now all prerequired steps have been taken it is time to kick of the setup. In this blog we will use the cmdline to update our Exchange 2013 server. To update the server start the setup using the following parameters:

Setup.exe /m:upgrade /IacceptExchangeServerLicensing

This will start the upgrade to CU2 as you can see below:

setup.exe /m:upgrade

Once the setup has finished you might decide to reboot the server. Once the server is back online it is time to restore the services.

To restore the services we will need need to perform the steps mentioned earlier only then in reverse order.

So we will start with putting the DAG member back online:

First we will make the DAG member and active of part of the cluster again:

Resume-ClusterNode

Once this has been done we need to remove the limits for database failovers which we configured earlier:

Set-MailboxServer  -Identity ex02-DatabaseCopyActivationDisabledAndMoveNow $trueSet-MailboxServer  -DatabaseCopyAutoActivationPolicy Blocked

Set-MailboxServer  -Identity ex02 -DatabaseCopyAutoActivationPolicy Blocked

resume-clusternode

Now our DAG member is back online we need to change the component states to active:

Set-ServerComponentStatus –identity ex02 –component serverwideoffline –status active –requestor maintenance

set-servcomponentstat serverwideoffline restore

When running the Get-ServerComponentStatus cmdlet you will see that the status of the transport component is still draining.

To stop the draining process for the transport component we will need to run the Set-ServerComponentStatus cmdlet again only using a different action parameter:

Set-ServerComponentStatus –identity ex02 –component transport –status active –requestor maintenance

set-servcomponentstat serverwideoffline restore hub

Now when running the Get-ServerComponent cmdlet again the status of each component should show active.

get-servercomponentstate_fullrestore

Here ends the blog about how to install a CU on an Exchange 2013 server. If you hate to type the cmdlets manually then have a look at this script from Michael van Hoorenbeeck:

Micheals script: open

The script will perform the same cmdlets only with less typing for your and will simplify the proces of putting a server in maintenance and restore the services again.

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Congratulations 2013 Microsoft MVP!

Microsoft-MVP-badge

Today I received the MVP (Most Valuable Professional) award for the 5th time from Microsoft. This award is valid for one year and each year you have to earn it again.
The award is given by Microsoft to people for their work in the community. What the exact things are they will look at is still a black-box.

You can become a MVP in several categories from Excel to Exchange. In this last categorie I received the MVP award. Besides me several other people received the MVP award among them The UC Architects Steve Goodman, Paul Cunningham and Justin Morris.

If you would like to know more about the MVP program have a look at the site below:

open

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Cleanup Shadow Redundancy Queues

Depending on your environment a Hub server will contain one of more shadow redundancy queues. You could clean them up by using the queue viewer but this can be a lot of work if you have multiple Hub servers in that case Powershell is the way to go.

The Cleanup_ShadowRedundancyQueue script verifies if there are shadow redundancy queues on a server with one of more messages in it. The script will removed messages from the queue that are at least one day old. You could of course change this option if you like.

The script uses one parameter server which is used to specify the name of the Hub Transport server you would like to check.

The script can be downloaded via the link below:

download

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Review ScanMail Suite for Microsoft Exchange

Exchange 2013 is available for a few months now and people may start to consider to implement it either in greenfield or in their current Exchange environment. The last one is an option which became an option with the release of Exchange 2013 CU1.

A lot has changed in Exchange 2013 the server which contains the Mailbox role does all the work and the CAS does only proxying and redirection. Redirection is only used for SIP request to the UM server.

From antivirus perspective also a lot has changed. This since Microsoft has announced that it will discontinue Forefront Protection for Exchange. So what options do we have for AV then in Exchange 2013? There are two options

  • Use the build-in AV solution from Exchange 2013
  • Use a 3rd party solution which supports Exchange 2013

The first one might be an option for organizations who can live with the limited functionality. However I think most organizations will start to use 3rd party solutions.

Starting from Exchange 2013 can’t hook in on the VSAPI which was available in previous releases and was used to perform scanning.

Currently all vendors are working hard or have already released their new versions of the product which is compatible with Exchange 2013.

Among those vendors is Trend Micro, they have just release the RTM version of ScanMail™ Suite for Microsoft® Exchange™  , also known as SMEX. You may think that it took long before they released the new version for Exchange 2013 but keep in mind Exchange 2013 is totally different then Exchange 2010 as discussed earlier.

SMEX console

With SMEX 11 Trend Micro does continue to build on previous releases of the product only then available for Exchange 2013. Starting from SMEX 11 you can’t install the product anymore on Exchange 2003. This is a logical result of the support for Exchange 2003 will end in April 2014.

Just like the previous releases SMEX will give organizations the possibility to perform both transport and mailbox scanning. It does contain several scan filters which can be used to perform scanning

As this blog would be to long too describe all of the filters in detail I have out them in the table below. In this table the scan filters are listed including a short description:

Scan Filter description
Attachment Blocking Allows you to scan for attachment types and block them
Content Filtering Allows you to verify messages for specific content and block them
Data Loss Prevention Solution to scan messages for certain content to prevent the leakage of data
Spam Prevention Rules Filter which allows you to perform basic antispam filtering
Web Reputation Filter which allows you to scan content for malicious url’s

All these methods are built on the years of experience Trend Micro has in the world of antivirus for Exchange.

Web Reputation Services

Now we know which filters are available let’s have a look at some new/enhanced features of SMEX 11. From the documentation there are 3 featured where they performed a lot of work to include these in the product.

At first the web reputation service (WRS), as already described in the table this feature will check url’s to websites in messages. For each url it sends a query to check the reputation of a url. If the url has a value which passes the threshold SMEX will perform the configured action.

Queries can be either send directly to the Smart Protection Network (a Cloud based solution) or a Smart Protection Server which is located on the local network. You can limit the Smart Protection Server to prevent queries to the Smart Protection Network but this will restrict the web reputation security level to low. The reason for this is that the Smart Protection Servers cannot maintain the complete repository of the Smart Protection Network.

New functionality introduced in WRS is the integration of the Trend Micro Command & Control (C&C) Contact Alert Services. Using this services you can benefit from the Global Intelligence list. This list is compiled by Trend Micro Smart Protection Network from sources all over the world and test and evaluates the risk level of each C&C callback address. The Web Reputation security level determines the action that needs to be taken on malicious websites or C&C servers bases on the assigned risk levels. Besides the C&C service integration it is also available on other Trend layered defense such as network, endpoint and server security. It will give you a holistic review of entire organization cyber security and targeted attack visibility.

Search and Destroy

The next feature is the search and destroy feature, I think most people will know what it does. Indeed search for items and destroy them. However this is the short story.

The search and destroy functionality is only available when SMEX is installed on an Exchange 2010 SP1 or Exchange 2013 server. When looking under the hood you will find out that SMEX does use the e-discovery functionality from Exchange for this.

So before you can use the functionality you will need to ensure that the service account you are going to use for search and destroy has the required permissions. For those who are unfamiliar with Exchange, since Exchange 2010 Microsoft has implemented Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) to specify what users can do. Exchange contains a default RBAC role called Discovery Management which is attached to the security group Exchange Discovery Management. So in this case add the service account to the group and you should be able to perform search and destroy tasks.

The search and destroy functionality uses two types of accounts which must be configured in addition to the Exchange part:

  • Search & Destroy Administrators, which can search for, monitor and delete undesirable content;
  • Search & Destroy operators, which can search for and monitor undesirable content;

At least one search & destroy administrator needs to be assigned, this since “normal” administrators won’t be able to perform the search & destroy tasks unless assigned this role.

Search & Destroy

The Search & Destroy feature has the ability to create PST files before removing the content. The content in that case will be exported to PST and stored in a folder on the local server. So if performing large search & destroy operations make sure you have enough space left on the volume where you install SMEX. This option does require the Exchange Mailbox Import Export role to be assigned to the user account.

So what happens when performing a search & destroy search:

  1. User specifies the search criteria;
  2. SMEX creates a new mailbox search in Exchange;
  3. Exchange performs the mailbox search, places the result in the discovery mailbox of Exchange and returns the results to SMEX;
  4. User can view the results and either chose to directly delete the content from the mailbox or first export it to PST;

I had a look at this specific feature of SMEX for a while during a co-existence scenario where both Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2013 were implemented. If you do plan to do this make sure to discovery mailboxes exist one for each environment at least else you won’t be able to perform searches. Despite this an additional throttling policy has to be assigned to the service account. This because Exchange will limit the amount of concurrent mailbox searches to a maximum of 2 by default.

Every step which need to be configure for search & destroy is very clear documented in the PDF which is available for download from the Trend Micro website.

Deep Discovery Advisor

New in SMEX 11 is the integration with Trend’s Deep Discovery Advisor. A new product which is currently only available as hardware appliance. Using Deep Discovery Advisor you will get a sort of virtual virus doctor in your network which offers:

  • Centralized location for aggregate, manage and analyze logs;
  • Advanced visualization and investigation tool which monitors, explores and diagnoses security events on your network;
  • Custom signature and custom defense against targeted attack.

To configuration in SMEX consists of a few steps:

  1. Enable the Advanced Threat Scan Engine;
  2. Configure the pickup directory on the Exchange Server;
  3. Specify the IP address of the appliance in SMEX;

Once configured SMEX will forward content that meets the criteria configured in the AV scanning method to the Deep Discovery Advisor. The Deep Discovery Advisor will analyze the content and will report back the results back to SMEX.

While they might have waited a bit longer than expected Trend Micro did a lot of good work which resulted in a new version of SMEX with a lot of new features.  Especially the search & destroy and enhancements in WRS are a great addition to the product. So if you decide to migrate to Exchange 2013 or have a current Exchange 2007 or Exchange 2010 environment and you are looking for an antivirus product for Exchange make sure you have a look at Scanmail.

A trail version of SMEX can be downloaded via the link below:

download

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Creating backups from Exchange databases is recommended just like backing up your other data. When using Netapp storage you can use the Snapmanager for Exchange to perform the backups. This product makes it possible to create a backup of a database within a few minutes.

Snapmanager does use the scheduled task from Windows for the scheduling part. Creating the backup tasks can be performed by using a wizard which is available in the Snapmanager console. When you want to do this for a few databases this is a method you can use but when you need to backup a large amount of databases it might be handy to create the backup tasks via a script.

The script is developed using Powershell and uses a XML template. The reason for this is that it is not possible to create a scheduled task via Powershell using the Windows 2003 template. Because Snapmanager for Exchange has this as s requirement so it can display the task in the NetApp console the only solution is to use a XML.

Before starting the script it may be required to modify some of the parameters in the XML:

  • author, this field can be used to change the creater of the task
  • interval, can be used to change the intervals between backups, by default every 8 hour the task is started
  • command, the command which will run, you might need to change this depending on the location where Snapmanager is installed
  • workingdirectory, here the same is applicable as for command and might need to be changed when the Snapmanager installation directory is changed

The script can be used either by specifying the parameters of by using a CSV. Below are two examples of how you can use the script:

Create_BackupSchedule.ps1 -database MBDB01 -server MBS01 -starttime 05:00AM 

Creates a scheduled task on a server called MBS01 and backups the database MBDB01 starting
at 05:00 AM.

Create_BackupSchedule.ps1 -CSV c:\script\backups.csv

Creates backup schedules on the servers using a CSV as input.

The script can be downloaded via the link below:

download

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Exchange 2010 SP3 Rollup 1 released

Microsoft has released the first rollup for SP3 today. This rollups contains several interesting fixes among them a fix to resolve an issue which was introduced in SP3

Below an overview of the issues which are fixed in this rollup:

  • 2561346 Mailbox storage limit error when a delegate uses the manager’s mailbox to send an email message in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2729954 Can’t send voice message to a selected non-primary email address in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2750846 Information Store service crashes when you mount public folder databases on an Exchange Server 2010 server
  • 2751628 Event ID 9682 does not record the folder name when you delete a public folder in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2756460 You cannot open a mailbox that is located in a different site by using Outlook Anywhere in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2763065 Move request log is logged when you move a mailbox in an Exchange Server 2010 SP2 environment
  • 2777742 Address Book service crashes on an Exchange Server 2010 Client Access server when a server has been running for 25 days or more
  • 2781488 RPC_S_SERVER_UNAVAILABLE (0x6BA) error code when you use a MAPI or CDO-based application in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2782683 Email message that a user sends by using the “Send As” or “Send On Behalf” permission is saved only in the Sent Items folder of the sender in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2784210 Ethical wall does not function as expected when the ReportToOriginatorEnabled property is disabled in an Exchange Server 2003 and Exchange Server 2010 coexistence environment
  • 2793348 Read receipt is sent unexpectedly when you view an email message by using Outlook Web App
  • 2796490 Microsoft Exchange Information Store service crashes on an Exchange Server 2010 Mailbox server
  • 2802569 Mailbox synchronization fails on an Exchange ActiveSync device in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2806602 EdgeTransport.exe process crashes on an Exchange Server 2010 Hub Transport server
  • 2814723 Server loses network connectivity and UDP ports are used up on an Exchange Server 2010 server
  • 2814847 Rapid growth in transaction logs, CPU use, and memory consumption in Exchange Server 2010 when a user syncs a mailbox by using an iOS 6.1 or 6.1.1-based device
  • 2816934 Error code 0X800CCC13 when an additional POP3 or IMAP account is used to send an email message and Outlook online mode is used to connect to an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2817140 Exchange Replication service crashes intermittently in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2817852 Cyrillic characters are displayed as question marks in the “To” field of message items in the Sent Items folder in an Exchange 2010 environment
  • 2818456 Attachments are missing from an embedded message in an Exchange Server 2010 SP2 environment
  • 2822208 Unable to soft delete some messages after installing Exchange 2010 SP2 RU6 or SP3
  • 2826066 VSAPI-based antivirus software causes delayed response in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2827037 Copy of an item is created in the Version subfolder in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2833888 No items are displayed in Outlook after you install Exchange Server 2010 SP3 or Update Rollup 6 for Exchange Server 2010 SP2
  • 2840099 ArgumentOutOfRangeException exception when an EWS application creates a new MIME email in an Exchange Server 2010 environment

 

Remark: before installing the rollup you may need to change the language settings if they are currently configured as Chinese or Japanese:

  1. Go to the Control Panel and change the language to English (United States)
  2. Install the rollup
  3. Change the language back to the original value

De update is te downloaden via onderstaande link:

download

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The Exchange Virtual Conference

Colleague Exchange MVP and The UC Architects member Paul Cunningham launched the idea to organize an Exchange Virtual Conference in January 2013. He asked several people who are active in the Exchange community to attend this conference among them me.

The last couple of months I have been pretty busy to get my presentation ready and to record the sessions. All the presentations are prerecorded and starting from yesterday every day a presentation will be available

Besides me the following speakers attend the conference:

  • JP Bruzzese
  • Serkan Varoglu
  • Jaap Wesselius
  • Michael van Hoorenbeeck
  • Paul Cunningham

The topics discussed are both Exchange 2013 and Office 365, although most of the presentations do focus more on Exchange 2013

Below an overview of the presentations:

The sessions are available via the links above but you can also take a look yourself at the site www.exchangevirtualconference.com.

Remark: not all sessions are available, as soon as a session is available I will update the list above.

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