First Observations of Exchange 2007 – 2nd Installment

Hi again, it has been a week or so since I last got a chance to have a look at the beta 2 release of Exchange 2007. But having finally got the site hosted yesterday I have now got another chance. So, here goes for a second installment of observations on the new code.

At the end of the first installment, I was looking at the new version of OWA 2007 so?I will begin where?I left off.

The first thing to mention is that the options section of OWA has had a re-design. Instead of all options being on one long scrolable page the options section is now a series of tabs on the left hand pane. One interesting point to note is that the Password change section now appears to be enabled by default in comparisoin to OWA 2003 and before where you had to make certain changes to enable it. (see link below)

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/297121/

It is also clear OWA now is designed to be much easier to use for those with disabilities. This has been when demonstrated on the msexchange team blog.

Likely I have mentioned this before, but the new mobile features warrent an article of their own and with time will get one in the next couple of months!

Moving onto the calendar section one thing I can’t seem to find after only a few minutes of looking is how to view the whole month in the main pane. Maybe someone can enlightlen me!

Like the Mobility section of the options tab the new Documents folder is something that warrents more attention soon.

But now, moving back to the new administration interface it is hard to miss the new tools section which now, unlike the CTP version from March is now populated with all the tools you would expect. This is now a great section and means that admins have direct access to tools like the ExBPA, ExPTA, ExDRA and the mail flow troubleshooter tool. Alongside these the Mail Tracking tool and the queue viewer tools are all in this section too.
Clicking the message tracking icon starts a completely redesigned tools which from early testing doesn’t seem to work terribly well. The interface is fine although clicking through the wizard seems to end up with a grey page with no content. Something to continue investigating no doubt!

Lastly for this installment, a quick look at the Client access section of the Server Configuration area. Looking at the properties page of the Exchange (Default Web Site) it is great to see on the authentication tab that you can now setup all the authentication for OWA in one area including specifying how users login to OWA either with their user name, UPN or the traditional domain\username.

So that is all for now, hopefully I will have some time to write a third installment soon, but in particular I am going to start investigating some areas specifically such as, mobility, powershell and the replication features.

More soon
Cheers
Nathan


Warning of downtime.

Hi,

For anyone who read this original post (talking about downtime today (Thursday 3rd Aug)) well we had the downtime, but the migration had to be aborted because it was taking too long!

So, now the plan is to do this on Saturday. With a bit of luck it will all be done by Saturday night, but I guess we may be out all day!

Sorry

Nathan


Site Teething problems

Hi,

Just to let everyone know, that I have had a few server problems this morning which took the site down for an hour or so.

I am investigating the issues and will as promised move the site to a propper hosting company as soon as I can.

Sorry for any inconvenience.

Cheers

Nathan


The PowerShell / Monad divide

I thought it might be helpful to add a few comments about what “PowerShell” and “Monad” mean. The technologies are basically the same thing. In time Exchange 2007 will transition from Monad to PowerShell.

Exchange 2007 Beta 2 uses a build of Monad equivalent to Release Candidate 0. In some, as yet undefined,?later build of Exchange 2007?”Monad” will transition to “PowerShell”.

It’s the same basic technology but you need to know which you are running.

Significant differences include the fact that Monad scripts use a .msh file extension and PowerShell scripts use a .ps1 file extension. Also some cmdlets are renamed in PowerShell, for example get-drive becomes get-PSdrive.

What I term “core” PowerShell available for general admin tasks. Core PowerShell is now at Release Candidate 1.

Download Core PowerShell RC1 from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=2B0BBFCD-0797-4083-A817-5E6A054A85C9&displaylang=en?if you are interested. You don’t need it to run Exchange 2007 Beta 2, however.

If you are unsure which version of Monad / PowerShell?you are using type

$host.version

on the command line. If you are?running the Exchange 2007 Beta 2?flavour of Monad the version is 1.0.8553.0. If you are running PowerShell RC1?the version is?1.0.9567.1.


Finding relevant PowerShell commands

When you first start with the Exchange?Management Shell the number of cmdlets available can seem overwhelming.

If, for example, you look for all Exchange cmdlets using

get-excommand

you will see information on 368 cmdlets. You can confirm that using the command:

(get-excommand).count

To add some focus to your search for relevant Exchange commands use wildcards with the get-command cmdlet. For example, to find cmdlets relevant to POP3 configuration type

get-command *pop*

which returns information on any cmdlet whose name includes the character sequence pop. The relevant commands are displayed.

?


Exchange 2007 first hours of use

Following on from my post on installing E2K7 here are some more thoughts on Exchange 2007 after a few hours of use.

1. You no longer use ADUC to perform Exchange tasks like setting up a mailbox.

2. You now get the option to setup various types of mailbox be that: User, Room, Equipment, Linked.

Of those the only one whose function is not totally obvious is the linked mailbox. This appears to be “a mailbox that is accessed by a security principle (user) in a separate trusted forest.”

3. When creating mailboxes through ECM (Exchange Configuration Manager) you can create a user at the same time. Another thing which caught my eye during the create mailbox process is that you can assign an Exchange ActiveSync mailbox policy. This suggests that the security policy element of Exchange 2007 has been greatly extended and is now accessible through the UI. Finally at the end of the user and mailbox creation process you are given a code snipet so that you can run a similar command in the mgmt shell. For me this is a great feature!

4. Now on the user properties in the email addresses tab when you want to add a new address it defaults to SMTP. Much simpler and far fewer clicks than 2003!

5. On the mailbox settings tab also on the user account it is interesting to see the Messaging Records policy section. I didn’t find the properties button immediately, but the feature seems interesting as a way of implementing Mailbox management policies simply.

6. Having setup a new mailbox I then loaded up an XP client and did a few test mails. Having done that to populate the mailboxes I fired up the new OWA. The most interesting thing on first impression is the new Documents tab which has replaced the public folders tab. This seems to give access to sharepoint and other windows file shares which looks very interesting. Looks like I will have to install the Sharepoint 2007 beta 2 and see where that takes me!

7. Finally for this post another OWA feature. You can now open up a message and select the message details button which shows you the message headers!

Well that is all for tonight. No duobt there will be more to follow as we all set out to discover a what is clearly going to be a very polished and feature rich new product!


First Observations about Exchange 2007

Hi,

Well as mentioned in other posts (and all over the Internet!) Exchange 2007 beta 2 is finally with us.

I thought I would take this opportunity to post about my first experiences with the product. All being well, over the next few weeks this will develop into a seriers of posts looking at the new features and components of Exchange 2007.

So here goes, first thing is make sure you download the correct version! In my excitement I went for the 64bit download which of course didn’t run!

Having got past that I setup a small test lab with two machines running 2003 Server R2 Enterprise, fully patched. I then setup the first as a DC and joined the second to it. Finally I made sure they both had net access using a nice little VMWare appliance machine running IPCOP.

Having got all that done I then moved onto installing Exchange. I started the installer which is no longer in the /setup/i386/setup.exe location but is an MSI in the root directory of the extracted files. The installer has five main steps the top two of which were already done:

1. Install .net framework 2.0

2. Install MMC (I assume this is version 3?

3. Install Command Shell

4. Install Exchange

5. Patch Exchange

So I had 1 and 2 already done but I had to install the new Command Shell (formerly Monad, now Powershell). Interestingly the installer actually install Monad RC0 although a newer version branded as Powershell is available.

Anyhow, that done I moved on to install Exchange. I went for the default option to install Mailbox, Transport and Client Access roles and the mgmt tools on the one server. Then prereqs were checked!

Well I failed. First I had to raise the domain functional level to at least Windows 2000 Native and then I needed IIS WWW component installed. I did this and then retried the check. This time it worked and continued. All went well until the Mailbox server install when things bombed out with an error about accessing the IIS metabase. To cut a long story short I guess this was because I didn’t restart setup after installing IIS like I was asked to! Having rebooted I did add/remove programs and selected change on Exchange 2007. I installed the missing role and that is where I am now.

Hopefully after some testing tonight I will have a little more for you!

Cheers

Nathan


Exchange 2007 info

For those of you who haven’t found this site yet, here is the Microsoft area for Exchange 2007.

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/2007/default.mspx

Interestingly, it appeared earlier today that Beta 2 was available for download, although it now seems to have disappeared.

Still looks like it could be with us very soon 🙂

Another thing which is available is the new Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server. Forefront Security for Exchange protects organizations against the latest threats by managing multiple antivirus scan engines at multiple layers throughout the e-mail infrastructure.

I guess therefore that this is simply the next version of Antigen.

One thing to consider is that it requires 2007 to be installed.

Cheers

Nathan