Exchange 2013 in Azure: Part 1 (Installation Prerequisites)

*Note that as of this time, production deployments of Exchange 2013 on Windows Azure are NOT supported. This implementation is purely for evaluation and testing purposes.

Okay, so how do we go about installing Exchange 2013 in the cloud you might ask? Well the first thing to do is to consult the System Requirements and Installation Prerequisites for Exchange 2013. The full list of System Requirements can be found here on Microsoft Technet and the list of Installation Prerequisites can be found here. The Exchange 2013 preview help files can be found here.

I. Exchange 2013 – System Requirements

1. Older versions of Exchange:
Exchange 2003 and older: NOT SUPPORTED
Exchange 2007: Requires SP3* and update rollup* installed on ALL E2k7 servers in the organization.
Exchange 2010: Requires SP3* to be installed on ALL E2k10 servers in the organization.
Mixed Exchange 2007/2010: Prerequisites above should be installed for all servers.
* At the time of writing, neither Service Packs nor rollups were available for downlevel versions of Exchange, so I had limited ability to test interop capabilities of Exchange.
Hybrid Exchange: Exchange 2013 supports hybrid implementations of Exchange on-premise and on the cloud

2. Directory Service Requirements
Exchange 2013 requires an Active Directory Forest Functional mode of 2003 or higher. The following Operating System versions are supported by Exchange 2013 for the Active Directory server roles listed below:
-Schema Master (One Per Forest)
-Global Catalog Server (One per each site you plan to run Exchange 2013)
-Domain Controller  (One per each site you plan to run Exchange 2013)

  • Windows Server 2012 Standard or Datacenter/ Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard or Enterprise/ Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter RTM or later/ Windows Server 2008 Standard or Enterprise (32-bit or 64-bit)/ Windows Server 2008 Datacenter RTM or later/ Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition with Service Pack 2 (SP2) or later (32-bit or 64-bit)/ Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition with SP2 or later (32-bit or 64-bit)

Note on Exchange Server Placement on DCs: Microsoft does not recommend installing Exchange 2013 on a Domain Controller. Once Exchange is installed on a Domain Controller, the server cannot be demoted to a member server and vice versa.

3. IPv6 Support:
Exchange 2013 provides full support for IPV6, meaning to say that all servers can communicate with each other end-to-end in an Exchange 2013 environment via IPv6. Click here for more information.

4. Hardware Requirements:
CPU: x64/ AMD64 or Itanium64 platforms supported
Memory: Mailbox (8GB min) Client Access (4GB min) Mailbox/Client combined (8GB min) Page File size: Page file minimum and maximum should be set to Physical RAM plus 10MB Disk Space: 200MB of available disk space on the system drive. 30GB on the Drive that will host the Exhange binaries with an additional 500MB for each UM language pack. A message queue database with at least 500MB of free space. (NTFS formatting for the following: System Partition; Exchange Binary Files; Transaction Log Files; Database Files; other Exchange Files.) DVD Rom Drive. Supported Screen resolution of 1024×768 pixels.

5. Supported Operating Systems:
Exchange 2013 is supported only for full installations of Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 editions. For a Windows Server 2012 Core server, you must run the following command to convert the server into a supported installation:

     Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra, Server-Gui-Shell -Restart

For Mailbox and CAS Server roles, the supported Operating Systems are Windows Server 2012 Standard or Datacenter†; Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard with SP1; Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise with SP1; Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter RTM or later.

†The Database Availability Group (DAG) feature of Exchange 2013 requires that the Mailbox Server role be installed with a Windows Server 2012 Datacenter or Windows Server 2008 SP1 Enterprise edition OS.

6. Management Tools:
(Note that support is for 64-bit editions) Windows Server 2012 Standard or Datacenter; Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard with SP1; Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise with SP1; Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter RTM or later; 64-bit edition of Windows 8; 64-bit edition of Windows 7 with SP1

7. Client Versions:
Exchange 2012 supports the following versions of Microsoft Outlook: Outlook 2013; Outlook 2010 SP1 with April 2012 Cumulative Update ; Outlook 2007 SP3 with July 2012 Cumulative Update; Entourage 2008 for Mac, Web Services Edition; Outlook for Mac 2011

8. Server Hostnames:
While this might seem painfully obvious to some, the hostname of your Exchange Server cannot be changed once you install Exchange 2013. It’s a good design principle to finalize your naming conventions prior to implementing Exchange 2013.

9. Virtualization Support:
Please refer to the note on Virtualization for Exchange 2013 here.

10. Infrastructure Requirements
There’s some additional information that you ideally would want to hash out prior to commencing your Exchange 2013 installation.

  • Storage: How you plan to allocate storage (Spindles/IO) on your Exchange Servers
  • Connectivity: The number of Networks and VLANs to support Exchange (Client Access/Intra-Server/High-Availability/Backup & Management) to name a few.
  • IP Address allocations
  • Monitoring, Management and Backup: What devices, agents would need to be installed on the servers.
  • DNS Namespaces: DNS affects how clients access your services and also how Active Directory advertises these services to the rest of your network.
  • Security: Exchange 2013 relies very heavily on Web Services to support a number of features, including Exchange ActiveSync and Outlook Anywhere. You will need to obtain and register SSL certificates on your Exchange Servers.

II. Exchange Lab Configuration

Here’s a bit of information about my Lab environment prior to installation of Exchange 2013

1. VM Hosts:
All are running Windows Server 2012 Datacenter Edition virtual server instances on the Microsoft Azure cloud service.
chimplabdc01: Domain Controller (Forest Root + Global Catalog)
chimplabexmbx01: Exchange Mailbox Server Role
chimplabexmbx02: Exchange Mailbox Server Role
chimplabexcas01: Exchange Client Access Server Role
chimplabexcas02: Exchange Client Access Server Role

2. Domain Name:
I’ve configured chimplabdc01 as the first Domain Controller for the roadchimp.com domain and joined my other VMs as member servers to this domain.  For more information on how to setup an Active Directory Forest in Windows Azure, please refer to the following article.

3. Active Directory prerequisites:
Microsoft Exchange 2013 requires that the functional level of your forest is at least Windows Server 2003. Click here to read more about verifying and raising your Domain and Forest functional levels.

Prior to installing Exchange 2013, we need to prepare the Active Directory Domain Services directory store (fancy word for the database) by running a couple of commands:

Forest Prep – Helps to extend the schema (user accounts now have email-enabled attributes such as a mailbox location) Schema changes propagate throughout your forest to all Domain Controllers, so be ware that this could set off replication traffic on your environment.

Domain Prep – Sets up special administrative groups and accounts, as well as assigns permissions to specific OUs. Take note that Domain Prep must be run once for each domain in your Active Directory Forest that you want to install Exchange 2013 in.

Windows Components – Each host that you run these commands on must have the following prerequisite components installed ahead of time:
– Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5††
– Windows Management Framework††
– Windows Remote Administration Pack
††FYI these components are already installed on Windows Server 2012.

You can install the Remote Administration Pack by launching PowerShell on your selected server and typing:

Windows Server 2012: Install-WindowsFeature RSAT-ADDS
OR
Windows Server 2008: Add-WindowsFeature RSAT-ADDS

Don’t forget to reboot your computer once you’re done. You can type restart-computer from the command prompt.

4. Windows Server Components:

A. The Windows Mailbox Server role requires a number of Prerequisites to be installed. You can perform this task quite simply by launching powershell on the target server and pasting this code (Windows Server 2012):

Install-WindowsFeature AS-HTTP-Activation, Desktop-Experience, NET-Framework-45-Features, RPC-over-HTTP-proxy, RSAT-Clustering, RSAT-Clustering-CmdInterface, Web-Mgmt-Console, WAS-Process-Model, Web-Asp-Net45, Web-Basic-Auth, Web-Client-Auth, Web-Digest-Auth, Web-Dir-Browsing, Web-Dyn-Compression, Web-Http-Errors, Web-Http-Logging, Web-Http-Redirect, Web-Http-Tracing, Web-ISAPI-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Filter, Web-Lgcy-Mgmt-Console, Web-Metabase, Web-Mgmt-Console, Web-Mgmt-Service, Web-Net-Ext45, Web-Request-Monitor, Web-Server, Web-Stat-Compression, Web-Static-Content, Web-Windows-Auth, Web-WMI, Windows-Identity-Foundation

For corresponding code blocks for Windows Server 2008, please click here and scroll down to the heading “Windows Server 2008 SP1 Prerequisites” .

Once you’ve completed running these components, you will need to download and install the following:

– You need to uninstall the Visual C++ 2012 Redistributable (x64) – 11.0.50727 package on your computer as the Exchange 2013 Preview does not support it.

– For installations running Windows Server 2008 R2, you must also register ASP.NET with .NET Framework 4.5 in Internet Information Services (IIS).  This must be done after you’ve uninstalled Microsoft Visual C++ 2012 Beta Redistributable (x64)”, but before you run Exchange 2013 Preview Setup.

To register ASP.NET with .NET Framework 4.5 in IIS, do the following:

– Open a Windows Command Prompt.
– Run the following command: %SystemDrive%\Windows\Microsoft.Net\Framework64\v4.0.30319\aspnet\_regiis.exe-ir -enable
– Run IISReset from the shell to restart IIS services.

B. The Windows Client Access Server role requires a number of components as well. Copy and paste the following block of code into a PowerShell prompt on your target CAS servers (Windows Server 2012):

Install-WindowsFeature AS-HTTP-Activation, Desktop-Experience, NET-Framework-45-Features, RPC-over-HTTP-proxy, RSAT-Clustering, Web-Mgmt-Console, WAS-Process-Model, Web-Asp-Net45, Web-Basic-Auth, Web-Client-Auth, Web-Digest-Auth, Web-Dir-Browsing, Web-Dyn-Compression, Web-Http-Errors, Web-Http-Logging, Web-Http-Redirect, Web-Http-Tracing, Web-ISAPI-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Filter, Web-Lgcy-Mgmt-Console, Web-Metabase, Web-Mgmt-Console, Web-Mgmt-Service, Web-Net-Ext45, Web-Request-Monitor, Web-Server, Web-Stat-Compression, Web-Static-Content, Web-Windows-Auth, Web-WMI, Windows-Identity-Foundation

For corresponding code blocks for Windows Server 2008, please click here and scroll down to the heading “Windows Server 2008 SP1 Prerequisites” .

Once you’ve completed running these components, you will need to download and install the following:

– You need to uninstall the Visual C++ 2012 Redistributable (x64) – 11.0.50727 package on your computer as the Exchange 2013 Preview does not support it.

– For installations running Windows Server 2008 R2, you must also register ASP.NET with .NET Framework 4.5 in Internet Information Services (IIS).  This must be done after you’ve uninstalled Microsoft Visual C++ 2012 Beta Redistributable (x64)”, but before you run Exchange 2013 Preview Setup.

To register ASP.NET with .NET Framework 4.5 in IIS, do the following:

– Open a Windows Command Prompt.
– Run the following command: %SystemDrive%\Windows\Microsoft.Net\Framework64\v4.0.30319\aspnet\_regiis.exe-ir -enable
– Run IISReset from the shell to restart IIS services.

5. Configure Windows Firewall

A firewall rule must be manually added to allow Exchange to access the registry of the Windows 2012 Client Access server. Do the following:

  1. Open Control Panel > Windows Firewall.
  2. Click Advanced Settings.
  3. In Windows Firewall with Advanced Security, click Inbound Rules and then click New Rule.
  4. Select Port and then click Next.
  5. Select TCP, and in Specify local ports, type 139. Click Next.
  6. Select Allow the connection and then click Next.
  7. Make sure Domain, Private, and Public are selected and then click Next.
  8. Enter a name and description for the new rule and then click Finish.

Next Section
Okay, now that we’re done with the operating system prerequisites, let’s move on to Part 2 of this series: Preparing Active Directory for Exchange 2013

Road Chimp, over and out

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