Deploying Exchange Server 2013 (Part 3)

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

In this third and final article of the series ‘Deploying Exchange Server 2013’, the author explores a couple of new features and how to create your first objects in Exchange Server 2013.

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

Introduction

In this article series we went through the installation process of a new Exchange Server 2013 on two new servers. Now that you have a Mailbox and a CAS server up and running we are going to visit the basic settings to get your environment running in a brief tour and during the process we will see some of the new features. The objective of this article is to show you how to create your first users, configure mail flow, certificates and how to find stuff on the new interface. If you want to go through all details of each feature, hang in there and wait for the upcoming articles here at MSExchange.org where each feature will be explained.

First glance at Exchange Server 2013 and testing basic features..

Let’s look around our new Exchange Server 2013 deployment and we start noticing a couple of changes. The first thing is that the Exchange Management Console is gone, however we still have Exchange Toolbox (Figure 01) and that GUI has some of the tools that we have been using for ages such as Remote Connectivity Analyzer and Queue Viewer.   

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Figure 01

If you want to manage your Exchange Server 2013 you have two options: EAC (Exchange Admin Center), as shown in Figure 02, or Exchange Management Shell. The first one is easy to access using a web browser just point out to https://<server-Name>/ECP (in our case UYEX02 which is our CAS) and type in your credentials and from there you will be able to manage your organization, servers and recipient information.

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Figure 02

The Exchange Admin Center (EAC) interface is simple and it is very easy to find stuff you need. You won’t be more than 2 or 3 clicks away in average from the settings that you are looking for. The interface has a static menu on the left side and when we select one of the items you will be presented with all possible features related to that scope in a new horizontal menu. From there the administrator can start managing the features.

There is also a standard set of icons in the Toolbar area to manage all settings as shown in figure 03, starting on the left we have the plus sign icon which means add stuff, the pen icon is the Edit one, the trash icon is the deletion, then we have Search, Refresh and the ... icon which can be considered More Actions.. When we select something on the list view (located right above the Toolbar) then detailed information for the selected object will show up on the right side (Details Pane), as shown in Figure 03.

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Figure 03

Since we have the EAC open, let’s check the servers of our organization. Click the Servers item and on the right side a list of all servers will appear (Figure 04). If you are coming from Exchange Server 2007/2010 this view would be similar to the Server Configuration item view. If we look closely we can see that on the Servers section we can also configure DAG, Databases, Virtual Directories and certificates.

If you click the desired server more options will show up on the right side, and in this scenario we could register the new product by clicking the Enter Product Key link.

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Figure 04

Managing a new domain in Exchange Server 2013

In order to test the product you probably want to create your own domain, and that is easily done by clicking the Mail Flow item and then Accepted Domains in the tab area and finally the Add… icon, as shown in Figure 05.

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Figure 05

The result will be a new page where we have the same options that we have using Exchange Management Console on Exchange Server 2007/2010, as shown in Figure 06. Type in the information and click Save, the new domain will show up on the List View.

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Figure 06

Now that we have configured the domain we can change the Default Policy. By default it will only include the FQDN of your Active Directory defined to our new domain. In order to change the Default Policy click the Mail Flow item, then Email Address Policies on the Toolbar area and double-click the Default Policy entry. Click Email Address format as shown in figure 07 and double-click the only entry that we have.

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Figure 07

Let’s uncheck the option Enter a custom address type, and click Select an accepted domain, also let’s click Make this format the reply email address as shown in Figure 08. Then click Save twice, a message box will be displayed, click OK.

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Figure 08

There is a catch in some of the interfaces in EAC and that is a good example, the Default Policy was changed, however it wasn’t applied and to do that we need to select the entry on the List View and then a link on the right side (Figure 09) will show up with an action, in our case the Apply action.

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Figure 09

Creating mail-enabled objects…

The SMTP address configured at organization level and defined to stamp any new mail-enabled object with our domain leads us to create our first user in our new environment. Click Recipients and then the Add icon under Mailboxes tab. The new wizard page (Figure 10) will require the information about the new mailbox, and we can choose which organization unit the new object will be created in. If we click More options… we will be able to manage Database, Archive Database and Address Book Policies.

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Figure 10

You may be wondering... Am I going to have just these few attributes to manage users from EAC? Well the answer is no, however you will need to double-click the desired mailbox (after creating it) to be able to configure specific settings, as shown in Figure 11. In this example we are able to manage the SMTP address for that specific user.

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Figure 11

Mail Flow…

Due the architectural changes in Exchange Server 2013, the transport component has changed a little bit and a further article on this topic will be required. However the good news is that any Exchange Server 2013 by default accepts external mail traffic without any special configuration. This configuration can be checked on the Receive Connector called Default Frontend <ServerName> and since we have the roles installed on two servers we should look at the CAS server role.

In order to send messages we need to create a Send Connector, using DNS resolution and selecting which servers can use the connector to send messages out. The Send Connector can be managed in the Mail Flow / Send Connectors section, as shown in Figure 12. By default only the Mailbox role will show up on the list of the source servers but we can change such behaviour by changing the option “Proxy through client access server” on the properties of the newly created connector.

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Figure 12

Managing Certificates…

In Exchange Server 2010 the Certificate Wizard was really cool, but now with EAC it became a piece of cake! We can fully manage the certificate process through the EAC. The only thing is that we are going to use a UNC path to move files around during some wizards. Anyway, to start managing your certificates let’s go to Servers and then Certificates (Figure 13).
Note:
After installing a new certificate make sure that you assign the services to the new certificate and an IIS Reset is still required to refresh the settings.

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Figure 13

My 2 cents of advice is to create your certificate in an internal Certification Authority for your lab, it will be easier this way when it comes to configuring your Outlook client access. Then start thinking about going live using Public Certificates.

Connecting to your Exchange Server 2013 …

The easy way to start testing the mailbox that you have just created is using OWA. Just point your browser to https://ServerName.FQDN/owa and after authenticating and defining the regional settings the user will have access to the new Outlook Web App interface (Figure 14).

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Figure 14

If you want to use Outlook to connect to your new Exchange Server 2013, I would recommend you to use the Office13 to check the new features out on both sides of the fence. If you have your certificates properly configured your Outlook autodiscover will work like a charm and you will notice some of the new features - no more connection to a FQDN instead the client will connect to the Mailbox GUID@UPN-Suffix, as shown in Figure 15.

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Figure 15

Also, in Outlook settings there are no more settings for MAPI (Figure 16).

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Figure 16

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Figure 17

Conclusion

In this final article we have seen a couple of items related to new features in Exchange Server 2013.

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

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