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Exchange 12…First Impressions…Prerequisites March 30, 2006

Posted by Doug Blankenship in Exchange 12, Uncategorized.
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We have recently installed a global lab environment to begin testing Exchange 12 and evaluate what Microsoft has in store for us next year.  Thus far it has been an interesting ride.  Anthony Drewery (www.drewery.net/blog) has some excellent write ups on the test topology, naming schemes, and initial installation of the product.

As most of us do, we try to find any information pertaining to the product to better understand new enhancements, features, and functionality but not much is available other than the obvious resources such as Microsoft documented help on the product, help on specific command line queries (/?), recent Microsoft wecasts and blog postings much like this one, therefore, when testing a new products functionality things can be a bit more interesting.

My first impression is that E12 is somewhat similar to Exchange 2003 in its basic functions (i.e. moving mailboxes, creating SG's, and MS's, but it's also very different in the GUI screens, wizards, server roles and what they support, various logs created for setup, and specific logs for and monad shell commands.  I think Microsoft has done a excellent job in delivering what administrators have requested and have tried to provide a simpler administrative system for GUI and command line administrators alike.

Prerequisites for Exchange 12: 

My first question was what kind of hardware to use.  Microsoft Exchange blog has a excellent post regarding this very subject http://blogs.technet.com/exchange/archive/2006/03/13/421914.aspx for reusing reclaimed equipment. We were able to reuse some decommissioned equipment that has worked out very well.  We are using the following:

(one) Compaq Proliant ML370 PIII 1.3Ghz with 3Gb RAM, – Exchange 12 MB Server role

(two) HP NetServer LC2000r PIII 1Ghx, 1GB RAM,  – Exchange 12 BH, CA Server roles

(one) HP DL360 Xeon 2.8Ghz, 1GB RAM – To be determined.

My second question was regarding what prerequisites will Exchange 12 need in order to successfully install and use the product. I am breaking this down into two sections (Network Prep and Exchange 12 Prep)

Network Prep Consist of the following: (this information is from the MS documentation for E12 Beta1)

The domain controller that is the schema master must have Microsoft Windows Server™ 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) installed. (By default, the schema master runs on the first Windows® domain controller installed in a forest.)

Global catalog servers are running Windows Server 2003 SP1. It is recommended that you have at least one global catalog server in every domain where you plan to install Exchange Server "12". 

All domain controllers and global catalog servers in the Exchange Server "12" site are running Windows Server 2003. 

Active Directory® directory service domain functional level must be Windows 2000 Server-native or higher for all domains in the Active Directory forest where you will install Exchange Server "12". If your topology includes multiple forests, or if you must establish a forest-to-forest trust, the minimum forest functional level must be Windows Server 2003. 

You must not have any Microsoft Exchange Server version 5.5 servers in your Exchange organization and your Exchange organization must be in native mode. For more information about converting an Exchange organization to native mode, see How to Convert from Mixed Mode to Native Mode in Exchange in the Exchange Server 2003 Deployment Guide. 

Domain Name System (DNS) is configured correctly in your Active Directory forest.

Exchange 12 Prep: (this information is from MS documentation for E12 Beta1)

File Format RequirementsTo install Exchange Server "12", disk partitions must be formatted as NTFS file systems. This requirement applies to the following partitions:  

System partitionPartition that stores Exchange binariesPartitions containing transaction log filesPartitions containing database filesPartitions containing other Exchange files 

Operating System RequirementsFor details about Exchange Server "12" operating system requirements, see Exchange Server 12 Compatibility with Windows Server Operating Systems. 

Mailbox Server Role RequirementsThe Mailbox Server Role requires some components from Internet Information Services (IIS). Although the server roles that require these components have been separated from the Mailbox Server Role, the pre-requisites have not yet been removed from the Mailbox Server Role. To install the Mailbox Server Role, the following IIS components must be installed: 

Enable network COM+ accessInternet Information ServicesWorld Wide Web Service 

To install the above components, use Add or Remove Programs in the Windows® Control Panel. 

Note:  In this pre-release version of Exchange Server "12", if you use any applications that rely on the Recipient Update Service (RUS), such as Exchange Server Load Simulator (LoadSim), you must have an Exchange Server 2003 RUS installed in the same forest in which you are running Exchange Server "12". The RUS in Exchange Server "12" will not stamp mail-enabled objects in the background in the same way that the RUS in Exchange Server 2003 stamps mail-enabled objects. 
 

Client Access Server Role RequirementsThe Client Access Server Role requires that you install the following IIS component: 

World Wide Web Service 

The Client Access Server Role also requires that you install ASP.NET. 

To install these components, use Add or Remove Programs in the Windows Control Panel. 

Unified Messaging Server Role RequirementsExchange servers with the Unified Messaging Server Role require Speechify to be installed. If you run Setup.exe to install the Unified Messaging Server Role, and you do not have Speechify installed, Setup.exe will install it automatically. 

Bridgehead Server Role RequirementsThe Bridgehead Server Role does not have any unique software requirements. 

Gateway Server Role RequirementsThe Gateway Server Role does not have any unique software requirements.

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