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Archive for August, 2007

New Office Communications Server and Office Communicator Team Blogs

For those who are interested in OCS, there are two new blogs that have just been created:

Office Communications Server Team Blog:
http://communicationsserverteam.com/default.aspx

Office Communicator Team Blog:
http://communicatorteam.com/default.aspx

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Major update to the E2k7 Storage Calculator

Microsoft has made changes to the Exchange 2007 Mailbox Server Role Storage Calculator. These changes include:

• LUN Architecture
• Backup Architecture
• I/O Calculation
• SCR & Log Capacity Calculation
• Log Generation

For a detailed list of changes, visit the following site:
http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2007/07/05/445802.aspx

To view the official blog post and/or to download, visit the following site:
http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2007/01/15/432207.aspx

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CCR Unscheduled Failovers and Database Mounting Issues

I’ve seen several people on forums talking about CCR unscheduled failovers not failing over correctly and databases not being mounted properly. I did quite a bit of testing today on this and found a couple things. First thing I noticed is that with no Rollups installed and a default CCR configuration (Best Availability) that when you do an unscheduled failover, such as pulling the network cable, the databases failover to the passive node but the storage groups sit at online pending and then go to failed. When you bring the old active server back, replication ensues and the storage groups go from failed to online. For those that work on CCR clusters should know that there are 3 CCR availability settings to choose from.

  1. Lossless
  2. Good Availability
  3. Best Availability (Default)

The above situation is typical of Lossless. When a Lossless failover occurs, the databases most likely won’t mount. This is because with lossless, the databases/logs have to be in perfect condition. In order for the passive node (new active) to be able to mount the databases, the administrator has to intervene or you will have to get the old active up and running so replication can resume which will result in the database being able to mount.

Good availability and Best Availability are very similar in that they will allow the databases to be mounted at the cost of losing 3 (good) or 6 (best) availability. Of course with this, you will have to accept that you “might” lose some data if your Transport Dumpster configuration settings are improperly configured. When you bring back up the old active which will be the new passive, to make sure that databases/logs are consistent, you’ll want to do a re-seed.

Now with the issue I explained in the first paragraph, best availability is not working as intended. If you are seeing this issue, make sure you install the latest Rollup which is currently at Rollup 4. Go to my other article here for more information in regards to Rollup 4. As soon as I installed Rollup 4, this issue started to go away and whenever an unscheduled failover occured, it would failover properly and the storage groups would come online and the databases would mount.

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Update Rollup 4 for Exchange Server 2007 (KB940006)

Microsoft has released Update Rollup 4 for Exchange Server 2007. This can be downloaded here and more information is available here.

This is a cumulative update rollup and replaces the following:

  • KB930809 Update Rollup 1 for Exchange Server 2007 (KB930809)
  • KB935490 Update Rollup 2 for Exchange Server 2007 (KB935490)
  • KB935999 Update Rollup 3 for Exchange Server 2007 (KB935999)

This cumulative update rollup fixes the following:

  • KB930463 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/930463/) You receive NDR messages for some recipients when you send e-mail messages on an Exchange 2007-based server
  • KB937656 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/937656/) You experience problems in Outlook Web Access for Exchange 2007 after daylight saving time (DST) starts in New Zealand in 2007
  • KB936300 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/936300/) A mailbox move operation stops responding when you move a mailbox from an Exchange 2003 mailbox store or from an Exchange 2007 mailbox store to another Exchange 2007 mailbox store
  • KB932561 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/932561/) Appointments that are sent from one Exchange organization to another by using Exchange 2007 may be incorrect by one hour if one organization is in the Western Australia time zone
  • KB937861 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/937861/) You receive a non-delivery report (NDR) message when you try to send an e-mail message to a third-party connector address by using a third-party connector on an Exchange 2007-based computer
  • KB938359 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/938359/) The Microsoft Exchange Information Store service stops responding in Exchange 2007 after you enable the Standard Response option on a moderated public folder
  • KB940052 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/940052/) Error message when you use the Exchange Management Console to try to reconnect a mailbox to a user account: “The specified mailbox is not unique on database”
  • KB933314 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/933314/) Mobile devices cannot send e-mail by using the AirSync feature in an Exchange Server 2007 organization that has more than one thousand accepted domains
  • KB939560 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/939560/) Users cannot download offline address books in Exchange 2007 when you use Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration version 4.0
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Exchange 2007 SP1 and Server 2008

Microsoft has released information on how Exchange 2007 SP1 and Server 2008 will work together. Obviously you can just go to article located here and read about it, but I wanted to blog about this and give some key points about operating on Server 2008 and one of the more disappointing things that many organizations will face when they begin to deploy Server 2008.

The good:

  • SP1 contains the RTM bits of Exchange 2007. One of the main reasons this was done, is because if you have a Server 2008 environment, you cannot install Exchange 2007 RTM on Server 2008 and then upgrade Exchange 2007 to SP1
  • Exchange management tools for SP1 can now run under Server 2008 and/or Vista

The bad:

  • You will need a writable DC/GC in your site. What this means, is if you plan on deploying only a RODC/ROGC in a branch office, you cannot install Exchange 2007 in that branch office. You will need a writable DC/GC.
    • You can still have a RODC/ROGC in a site as long as there is a writable DC/GC in that site as well

The ugly:

  • You cannot upgrade Exchange 2007 servers to Server 2008 at all, no matter what! You cannot upgrade your Exchange 2007 box on Server 2003 to SP1 and then upgrade to Server 2008. This means you will need to install a new Server 2008 system, install Exchange 2007 on it, and then move-mailbox mailboxes over to the Server 2008 box. This becomes very bad if you have clustered servers. You will have to deploy an entire new cluster, and then move-mailbox mailboxes from your old cluster to your new cluster.
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Want to test drive Exchange 2007 and/or other products?

This isn’t anything really new, but something I figured I would post. Microsoft has been making products readily available for evaluation purposes on VHD files for some time now. VHD files are the virtualization files for Virtual Server and Virtual PC. If you are looking to test drive Exchange, ISA, Office, Vista, Server 2008, or some other Microsoft product, I would visit the following URL:

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/try/vhd/default.mspx

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Exchange 2007 SP1 Beta2

REDMOND, Wash. — Aug. 13, 2007 —Microsoft Corp. today announced Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and opened a technology preview for the software. Exchange Server 2007 SP1 features enhancements such as support for Windows Server® 2008, enhanced integration with Microsoft® Office Communications Server 2007, and improved mobile device management and advanced security technology.

Release Notes are located here.

SCR ready for production use:

  • Extends the existing continuous replication features and enables new data availability scenarios
  • Supports multiple targets per storage group
  • SCR enables a separation of high availability (comprised of service and data availability) and site resilience
  • SCR can be combined with CCR to replicate storage groups locally in a primary datacenter (using CCR for high availability) and remotely in a secondary or backup datacenter (using SCR for site resilience)

OWA:

  • New OWA themes (X-Box, Zune)
  • Supporting digital signatures with certificate that do not have email address in them for S/MIME

S/Mime features which were not complete in Beta 1:

  • HTML filtering (now S/MIME message reading and editing is full fidelity)
  • OWA Printing
  • Admin Settings
  • Both the new task and the updated MOM pack have been checked into the Beta 2 branch.
  • Integration with anti-junk/phishing mail features
  • Many bug fixes (in all features, not just S/MIME)
  • Exchange Web Services HTTP Proxy and new Web Services ID’s.

New EMC features:

  • Full Access permission management for mailboxes and mail-enabled public folders
  • Preview of AL/EAP/DL with custom filter
  • More ActiveSync policy settings

Office Communications Server 2007 and Exchange UM integration:

  • Support for additional types of UM dial plans
  • Additional logic for resolving internal calling numbers
  • Notification of forwarding when voice messages are left and the destination uses call forwarding
  • Support for recording high-fidelity voice messages
  • “Play on Phone” calls cannot be automatically forwarded when they are played on Communicator 2007
  • Outlook Voice Access can be accessed from Communicator 2007 without requiring the user to enter a PIN
  • Communicator 2007 clients can associate subjects and priorities with voice messages
  • Support for media streams to traverse firewalls
  • Integration of “missed call” notification e-mail messages with Communicator 2007

Other:

  • Both the new task and the updated MOM pack have been checked into the Beta 2 branch
  • Inter-Site Message Size Restrictions feature enable
  • Test-ReplicationHealth is a new task that MOM pack uses to monitor HA replication
  • MRM now supports policies on the message type “e-mail” in addition to other types of items (calendar, notes, etc)

Additional information:
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2007/aug07/08-13Exchange2007NewPR.mspx
http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2007/08/14/446656.aspx
http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2007/06/28/445538.aspx#445539
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/939531

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