Deploying Exchange Server 2013 (Part 1)

by [Published on 21 March 2013 / Last Updated on 20 June 2013]

In this article series the author explains how to deploy Exchange Server 2013 RTM in a brand new environment.

If you would like to read the other parts of this article series please go to:

Exchange Server 2013 is bringing a lot of exciting new features which deserve several articles to describe each one of them in detail. If you haven’t had a chance to look at this new release, I will be listing my favorite top 4 enhancements/changes, as follows.

  1. New Architecture
    There are only two roles now: Mailbox and Client Access. The new Mailbox role will contain all components of CAS/HUB/Mailbox and UM comparing with Exchange Server 2010 roles and it will handle all processes for any given mailbox. The new CAS will proxy, authenticate and redirect requests. Just by doing this change the future upgrades will be easier, since there is no translation work being done at CAS. The NLB is much simpler as well, because we need only Layer 4 level on our Load Balancers.
  2. Management Tools
    Exchange Management Console is gone, the two ways that we have to manage the product is using either Exchange Management Shell or the web interface EAC (Exchange Admin Center).
  3. Outlook client
    Because of the architectural change, the product has changed how the clients will connect to the server. The decision was to remove MAPI and use only Outlook Anywhere (RPC over HTTP).
  4. Public Folders and Collaboration
    They are back and with cool new features, such as: new replication method using a single-master replication model. In this new release we will also have a Site Mailbox which is a feature that will integrate Mailbox and SharePoint information in a single location for the end-user.

In order to have the transition in place we must have Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 3 installed on all servers before installing the first Exchange Server 2013. When Exchange Server 2013 CU1 (Cumulative Update) is released then you can join an Exchange Server 2013 in an existent organization.

If you are old-school Exchange admin you may be asking, how am I going to install CU1 to have the integration if I have to install RTM and then apply CU1, right? I understand you but we are wrong! Starting with Exchange Server 2013 the CU1 will contain the full bits of the products, and we are going to install the Exchange Server 2013 CU1 version for that transition.

For now we are going to work in a brand new environment in order to show you the step by step how to deploy the new Exchange Server 2013. Just to make sure that we are clear do not use your production environment and wait for the CU1 and documentation that will follow before that.

The hardware requirements to deploy Exchange Server 2013 are similar to the current Exchange Server 2010 and the following key points can help you build a test lab. However, I recommend building your Exchange Server 2013 lab using the latest versions or at least most updated versions of Active Directory and Operating System.

  • The minimum requirement for Active Directory at this point is the forest functional level set at least to Windows Server 2003
  • The Domain Controllers must be running at least Windows Server 2008
  • The Schema can be running even on Windows Server 2003 SP1
  • Like the other versions, it’s highly recommended to deploy Exchange Server 2013 as a member server
  • Exchange Server 2013 is supported on Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 or higher

In this article series we are going to focus on the new platform (Windows Server 2012), and we are going to use a simple scenario (Figure 01) where we will have a Domain Controller (UYDC01) and two (2) Exchange Servers (UYEX01 and UYEX02). Each one will host one of the roles. The Active Directory domain and forest will be running in Windows Server 2003 native mode.   

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Figure 01

Installing the pre-requisites on Windows Server 2012 Operating System…

In this section we are going to cover the basic requirements to install Exchange Server 2013 on top of a Windows Server 2012. The first step after installing the Operating System is to make sure that we have all Windows Updates installed (Figure 02).

Also, there are a couple of pre-requisites such as: server must be part of a domain, static IP address (recommended) and that the time zone is configured properly.

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Figure 02

After having the updates in place, we need to download some software that will be required during the installation process. Here is the list that can download to save installation time:

Installing Windows Server 2012 features…

We have a couple of ways to get stuff done before starting the Exchange Server 2013 setup. The traditional (documented) way is to go to PowerShell and install all features required by Exchange Server 2013 based on its role. We have a set of features for CAS and another set of features for Mailbox and CAS Roles in the official documentation. To be honest with you, if you compare the features you will find out that the only difference is the RSAT-Clustering-CmdInterface feature between CAS and Mailbox/CAS role and that feature basically allows cmdlets to manage the cluster. So, if you are not that worried about this feature being added on both roles you can keep consistency and leave it there as default for either deployment.

Another consideration about this feature is the RSAT-ADDS that is required when we are going to prepare the schema, and it’s not too bad since sometimes the Exchange Administrator wants to manage users from the server console.

Long story short, I would add the only two discrepancies in the cmdlet to have it as standard on my environment and here is the full version of the cmdlet that you can run on the PowerShell logged on as an administrator:

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, RSAT-Clustering-CmdInterface, RSAT-ADDS

The cmdlet action is shown in Figure 03.

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Figure 03

Note:
If you want to run the cmdlets for CAS, based on Microsoft documentation you need to remove RSAT-Clustering-CmdInterface and if you are not going to prepare Active Directory then remove RSAT-ADDS from the cmdlet.

After adding all features on the server the only remaining steps are Microsoft Unified Communications API 4.0 and Filter Pack installation. You can check them out in step 3 and 4 of our next section because in either scenario we are going to share the same steps.

Installing Windows Features using Exchange Server 2013 Setup Wizard

If you don’t want to type in too much information in PowerShell, you can use this lazy approach that will have the same result:

  1. Install Desktop Experience on the server by running the following cmdlet:
    Add-WindowsFeature Desktop-Experience (Figure 04)
    Note: This feature is a requirement to install Microsoft Unified Communications Managed API 4.0

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Figure 04

  1. Restart the server (if you are still in PowerShell just type in Restart-Computer)
  2. Install the Microsoft Unified Communications Managed API 4.0 as shown in figure 05 (just leave the default settings)

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Figure 05

  1. Finally install Filter Pack and its Service Packs. You may want to restart for a fresh Exchange Server 2013 installation.

We are going to explain Figure 06 in our next article of this series but I would like to show how the features that we haven’t installed manually (if you opted for the lazy approach) will be installed during the deployment process. First of all, you don’t need to remember anything during the GUI phase, because the option Automatically install Windows Server roles and features that are required to install Exchange Server is selected by default, but that is going to be the option that will provide all features during the setup process.

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Figure 06

Microsoft Filter Pack and Exchange Server 2013…

Finally, we have the Microsoft Filter pack dilemma and it has changed in this new version. Exchange Server 2013 uses a new search engine however the Filter Pack is still required when you want to use Transport Rules for either Office OneNote or Publisher files.

It’s up to you as it doesn’t hurt to install it. I would recommend going ahead and installing it on Exchange Server 2013 that will have the Mailbox server role deployed.

The installation is a straight forward process and the only decision making is during the license agreement portion of the package which is not challenging at all.

Exchange Server 2013 and IPv6

That is another common topic among Exchange Administrators; some of us like to disable IPv6 in the registry of the server hosting Exchange Server 2010, and in this new version Microsoft recommendation is to leave there even if you are not using IPv6.

Bear in mind that some features do not support IPv6 such as: IP Allow and Block List Provider and Sender reputation in the Protocol Analysis agent.

User Account Settings and Exchange Server 2013 deployment…

Just a follow up in this area, if you use UAC (User Account Settings) make sure that you right-click on the setup.exe installation from Exchange and run it as Administrator (Figure 07).

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Figure 07

On other hand, if you don’t want to use this security feature now is the time to disable it, and there are a couple of ways to do that. A simple one is to open msconfig, then go to the Tools tab, and select Change UAC Settings item, and then click Launch. In the new window (Figure 08), set the bar to the bottom (Never Notify) and click OK and restart your server.


Figure 08

Conclusion

In this article we went over the process to install all Exchange Server 2013 pre-requisites on windows Server 2012 and covered questions about some topics including Filter Pack, IPv6 and features to be installed on the server.

Additional Information:

If you would like to read the other parts of this article series please go to:

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