Deployment changes in Exchange 2003 SP1


Exchange 2003 SP1 brings us a lot of new features that customers have been requesting, as well as product fixes since Exchange 2003 was released. Here is a list of major features that SP1 is bringing with some descriptions. Please do ask questions on this as we can discuss this in more detail too :) There will also be documentation that will be released with SP1 that will go into a lot of detail on this stuff. This is not a complete list of features.

 

  1. Cross-site resource moves

 

This is probably the biggest change that we are getting. This functionality will allow us to do a cross-site moves of mailboxes, DLs, custom recipients and public folder directory objects between sites while your Exchange organization is still in mixed mode. This is intended to be used when moving objects from Exchange 5.5 sites.

 

Before, you were able to move mailboxes between Administrative Groups only when your organization was switched to native mode, so no Exchange 5.5 servers could be present.

 

There are several things that we must have to perform a good cross-site move, such as ADC has to be upgraded to Exchange 2003 SP1 version, there is a hotfix that has to be installed on Exchange 5.5 servers and we have to make sure that directory replication between 5.5 servers and SRS is functioning correctly. There are more details about all this but - it is absolutely essential that ADC and Dir Rep work correctly or else the cross-site move will fail. Large environments will have to wait until all of the replication after cross site move settles.

 

In case there is a question about distribution group memberships and email addresses - the cross-site moved objects will preserve the distribution group memberships and their original email addresses. Yeah - that is very cool :)

 

  1. Outlook profile update tool

 

This is a new tool that we have created to make the updating of Outlook profiles easier after the mailbox has been moved cross-site. This is a command-line tool that can then be deployed and scripted as such to make it easier to touch the registries on multiple clients (as the client registry is where we keep the client profile information). The use of profile update tool will be required for proper and supported configuration that will actually work after mailboxes have been cross site moved. If the tool is not run, the clients will have to create new Outlook profiles.

 

  1. Recover Mailbox Data (RMD) feature

 

The major advantage with the Recovery Storage Group (RSG) in Exchange 2003 RTM is that it provides greater flexibility when restoring mailboxes and mailbox stores, as you are no longer required to setup a separate active directory and recovery server. You can now simply recover to the same server or to any server in the administrative group. 

 

In Exchange 2003 RTM, after you restore a mailbox store to the Recovery Storage Group, you must use the Exchange 2003 Exmerge utility to move the recovered mailbox data from the Recovery Storage Group to the regular storage group.

 

This is confusing, as it requires a separate tool. The Recover Mailbox Data (RMD) Feature in Exchange 2003 SP1 Exchange System Manager (ESM) will replace the necessity for Exmerge in the majority of recovery cases.

 

The new functionality allows you to either merge or copy the data from mailboxes restored to Recovery Storage Group, while using the user interface very similar to Move Mailbox. Mailboxes will be selected from within ESM.

 

Please note that even though the RMD functionality (the new way) can be compared with Exmerge functionality (the old way) - the RMD does not use Exmerge engine. So - there are no PST files involved and there is subsequently no 2GB limitation as you have with PST files. Also, there are still a few scenarios where Exmerge would be a better tool than RMD.

 

  1. ADCTools and Deployment Tools improvements

 

In the initial release of Exchange 2003, a common concern about using the ADCTools functionality to generate connection agreements for large or complicated environments was the lack of control over what connection agreements would be created. Whatever connection agreements were created by the ADCTools would replace existing connection agreements. Additionally, whatever connection agreements it created would immediately begin to replicate without providing any opportunity to review the new connection agreements first.

 

Changes have been made to ADCTools in Exchange 2003 SP1 to provide better control over the connection agreements that are created, including the ability to postpone initial replication until after connection agreements have been reviewed by the administrator. We are providing an XML file (that ADC will look for when creating new connection agreements) where you can configure the behavior of new agreements - if they will be enabled for replication immediately or not. We are also providing a script that can be used to bulk enable all connection agreements for replication at the later time.

 

As far as ADC itself goes - there are multiple changes that went into ADC that makes the cross-site resource move possible too, as ADC has a bunch of work in that area too.

 

  1. RPC/HTTPS improvements

 

In Exchange 2003 RTM, configuring the RPC/HTTPS Front End and Back End topology involved a lot of manual registry editing and was very hard to maintain as new servers were added or removed.

 

Exchange 2003 SP1 includes a ESM integrated User Interface (UI) that will allow you to easily select RPC/HTTPS front end and back end servers. The new UI will be visible on the properties of the server in ESM.

 

  1. Clustering changes

 

In versions before Exchange 2003 SP1, no matter how many nodes in the cluster you had, you could only have one instance of Public Folder store that was associated with the MAPI folder tree. In Exchange 2003 SP1,  we have added the ability to have multiple MAPI Public Folder databases on the single multi node cluster. Seeing that Outlook 2003 cached mode puts a greater strain on folders like the Outlook Address Book, providing the ability to spread the load across multiple Public Folder stores in a cluster allows for a better client experience.

 

  1. Database engine changes

 

There have been several changes here:

 

- Transaction log replay has been greatly improved - we have seen great improvements in the speed of transaction log replay. This obviously does depend on the hardware quite a bit too, but the gains will be significant on any hardware when comparing with pre Exchange 2003 SP1 database engine.

 

- Built-in correction of -1018 errors - because of the different checksum model that has been introduced in Exchange 2003 SP1, the database engine is now able to correct a single bit database page checksum errors. In our experience, a lot of the -1018 errors we have seen were single-bit errors, so this should help.

 

  1. Domain rename and Exchange

 

Exchange 2003 SP1 Web Release will include the updated domain rename script that will allow for a domain to be renamed with Exchange servers in the organization. Please note that this is not a simple process and it does come with some strings attached even after SP1.

 

- Nino Bilic

Comments (30)
  1. How about better release notes that indicate that you need the GZIP patch before you begin the install?

    http://www.sbslinks.com/exchange.htm

    Then how about some documentation how our OMA settings are messed with inside the IIS and we must then adjust the settings:

    http://www.sbslinks.com/domain.htm

  2. Tim Watts says:

    Has anyone else run into problems downloading the updated S-MIME control when logged into OWA through SSL?

    I’ve tried it on two different servers (EXCH2K3 SP1). Both have the same problem, if a user is logged into their mail box through SSL, and go to download the updated S-MIME control, it errors out saying it can’t find the server/file. The download works fine when logged into OWA without SSL. This same condition exists if the user is inside or outside of a firewall.

    Tim

  3. Lydia Ash says:

    On downloading the SMIME control – there’s a KB for this and a fix coming out from IE shortly. To work around this, going to Tools – Options – Advanced in IE on the client machine and deselecting the HTTP 1.1 checkboxes should fix the issue – you may also need to turn off "Do not save encrypted pages to disk".

    This only afects the download, though.

  4. Tim Watts says:

    Hi Lydia, thanks for such a quick response.

    I tried what you suggested about deselecting the http 1.1 checkboxes in IE, but no difference unfortunately.

    Do you happen to know the KB article number? or any other possible solutions?

    Thanks again,

    Tim

  5. Johann Froehlich says:

    Exchange SP1 OMA:

    Problem when you try to reply to a sender whose display name contains german special charecters.

    Anyone a clue on that?

    Thanks, JF

  6. Anthony says:

    Hello guys,

    Has any of you attempted to upgrade your e2k3 cluster to e2k3 SP1?

    Thank you,

    Anthony

  7. R.J says:

    Anthony,

    Here are the steps I followed to upgrade my cluster to SP1.

    Install SP1 on passive node, restart the box.

    Take Exchange Virtual Server offline on Active Node*.

    Move Exchange Virtual Server to Passive Node

    Bring all resources online (except Exchange related)

    Upgrade Exchange Virtual Server **

    Install SP1 on the current passive node, restart the box

    Test failover.

  8. Christer says:

    Hi,

    I have major problems relaying outgoing email via smarthost after I installed Exchange 2003 SP1. Exchange can’t relay outgoing email to our SMTP gateway (smarthost) after the upgrade. Exchange can send email fine by itself if I remove the smarthost. Incoming email is working fine with and without the smarthost. What is happening is that Exchange is making the connection to the smarthost and then conneciton just stays for as much as 800 seconds. I might have 5-6 connections from Exchange server in the current session on the SMTP (smarthost) gateway server. No email is every delivered to the SMTP gateway and everything gets stuck on the Exchange server. No error message in the EventViewer on Exchange or the SMTP gateway. I am not kidding, there is nothing at related to SMTP or DNS or anything that could have anything to do with this problem in the EventViewer. I also installed the latest service pack on ISA 2000 (firewall, different server) the same day, but I don’t think it has anything to do with as a) exchange can send email by itself b) the ISA rules for both servers are identical. Both the SMTP gateway and the Exchange (2003) server are running on Windows 2003.

  9. mike says:

    We use a 3rd party junk mail gateway and we have the same routing problem. No SP1 yet. The Exchange servers that were upgraded from 2000 do not have the problem. Only new Exchange 2003 installs. I was hoping SP1 would fix the problem but it doesn’t look like it. Same issue as yours, the exchange servers try to to send the messages, make the connection and it just sits there until the timeout value is reached.

  10. Al says:

    As part of our effort to centralize multiple Exchange 5.5 sites to a central Exchange 2003 site, we are very interested in the new Cross-site ressource move that SP1 provides.

    Yet, reading at the blog, it seems that there is some updates to apply on our Exchange 5.5 servers. Could you provide more info on this fix ?

    Thanks

  11. Alex Ingerman says:

    Johann,

    Can you elaborate on what is the problem that you are experiencing? Also, which device are you using to access OMA? Is this functionality which worked in Exchange Server 2003, but broke with SP1 installation?

    Thanks,

    Alex

  12. Jason says:

    on the problems where SMTP mail just sits there, this sounds like a similar problem I saw on E2K after applying some hotfixes. PSS suggested that I update the NIC firmware/drivers on my servers (dell poweredge 2650’s) because they said it was a combination of those being out of date and my server trying to use pipelining when talking to my sendmail smarthosts. After updating all the drivers/firmware the problem went away. It didn’t make much sense to me, but the problem was fixed.

  13. Shiv Kumar says:

    Hi,

    I am running windows 2003 DC with Exchange 2003 front-end & backend without any problem. But I am no being able to update my exchange server to SP1. When I run SP1 update I received error reading that before updated I have to run domainprep & forestprep from this update can any one have the idea what is the problem in my exchange.

    Regd

    Shiv

  14. Mat Sutton says:

    I thought I’d install SP1 onto my OWA front end server first. Error appears when updating SMTP service. Allowed to continue. Appears to have updated and OWA back up OK. Holding off before upgrading clustered backend as we use EXIM as a smart host and the comments above have heightened caution.

  15. HiltonT says:

    Hi,

    I, too, am experiencing the S/MIME control issues that Tim Watts is seeing. I have tried the "http 1.1 and encrypted pages" workaround that Lydia Ash mentioned with the same result Tim had – it didn’t work.

    As I have no intention to allow non-SSL traffic into my network (nor that of any of my clients), I’d *really* like to know which KB article refers to this issue, as there seems to be no articles referencing "s/mime" when I perform a search.

    Any ideas on how long the IE fix will be?

    – HiltonT

  16. HiltonT says:

    Hi All,

    The magic continues…

    I tried it again (Lydia’s workaround) and it worked this time. Oh well, at least its a simple enough workaround. As it is a secure page that you are visiting, make sure both the http 1.1 stuff *and* the "do not save encrypted pages" are disabled. I’m sure I did this the first time around, but maybe not.

    Oh, and after the control is installed, you can re-enable http 1.1 and disabling encrypted page saving, and it all works fine again.

    Regards,

    HiltonT

  17. Akash Jauhar says:

    I tried Lydias workaround and it worked for me too.. great work….

    thanks

    Akash

  18. Andy Iwaszko says:

    I am interested in finding out more about the workings of the Outlook profile update util. Could you direct me to something that details the changes it makes?

    At a client recently I was unable to use modprof due to Outlook 98 clients still being widely used, so resorted to ‘old faithful’ Kix.

    I searched the reg_sz and _binarys to change all references to site and or servername from one to another in the default (or any) Outlook profile.

    As far as I’ve been told and have heard, all 3000 profiles were updated successfully and now point to the accounts moved by a swing server method.

    The thing was I couldn’t be sure that I had made all required changes and so would appreciate any pointers to the structure of Outlook profiles….

    Cheers,

    Andy

  19. Problem with cross site mailbox move says:

    I performed a cross site mailbox move from an Exchange 5.5 box (Server A) to an Exchange 2003 server (Server B) in a different site. The actual move itself went fine. Now, I can send messages from the mailboxes that were moved from server A to server B, but I can’t send messages to those users from existing mailboxes on server B.

  20. Nino Bilic says:

    Andy,

    On the profile update tool, here is some more info on what it does and what it does not do; hope that helps:

    What this tool will do:

    – Delete properties for MAPI_AB_PROVIDER.

    – Reset Offline Address Book.

    – Deletes the OST if Outlook version is lower than 11 (Outlook 2003).

    – Delete Favorites File.

    – Deletes maximum receive units (MRU) (relates primarily to delegates).

    – Modifies the default profile only. Note: if the client is configured with multiple profiles or set to prompt for the profile to be used, the tool will modify the profile that was last specified as a Default profile.

    What it does not do:

    – It will not create new profiles and will only modify existing profiles.

    – It will not modify profiles other than the default profile (please see the note in the section “What the tool will do” above)

    – Will not run on Windows 95 or Windows 98.

    Looking overall, if you did a cross-site move, you should either create brand new profiles or should use this tool to fix the default profiles.

  21. bargod101 says:

    Do the migration tools in SP1 allow for Inter-Organization moves? We’re considering an Inter-organizational move to facilitate moving to Native Mode quicker. We’ve looked at tools from Quest and Aelita that suppossedly make inter-org moves "seamless". Just wondering if we could save the cash by just using the features of SP1.

    Thanks,

    Michael Bender

  22. Nino Bilic says:

    bargod101,

    SP1 consolidation tools actually help with cross-zite moves only. That was one of the biggest changes that were made in Sp1. For cross-Org moves, we still have the Migration Wizard as we did in Exchange 2003 SP1.

  23. Mike Smith says:

    It would be great if Microsoft can provide more readily available information on exactly what has changed in Sp1, along with the full comprehensive list of fixes & file versions that Ex2003 SP1 brings… (like they have done for previous Exchange2000/5.5 service packs & updates)

    So far the current available information on MS Downloads, TechNet/Premier Online, MS Exchange is poor & you’ll have to spend sometime digging around to find out more details..

    For example I had to go through various Microsoft TAM’s to find out about the changes in VSS in EXSP1 (i.e. Differential & Incremental backups are now possible.)

  24. The feature "Remote Storage Group" does not work in lokalized versions (in my case german). The problem is when i right click any mailbox in the RSG from the ESM that’s name contains a comma (Kossert, Joern) i get the following error:

    Es wurde eine ungueltige DN-Syntax angegeben:

    Einrichtung: LDAP Providor

    ID no: 80072032

    Exchange System Manager

    or

    An Invalid dn syntax has been specified.

    Facility: LDAP Providor

    ID no: 80072032

    Exchange System Manager

    Other people in the Newsgroup:

    microsoft.public.exchange.admin

    wrote that they have the same problem. Is there a hotfix in development?

    Thanks

    Joern Kossert

  25. Nino Bilic says:

    Joern,

    We have seen this problem before… please call in and open up a case with our support on this problem. If this is a bug, the case will be free for you.

  26. Ed Waters says:

    I have just installed the ADC from SP1 for the second time as part of an Exchange 5.5 migration. The first time we installed it, it caused mailboxes from remote sites to disapear. We went throught the loops with Microsoft and had to restore all of our sites.

    We have just installed it again on a new server with a new server name and once again mailboxes have disapeared. All pre-requesites and tests were carried out and everything passed. Exchange 2003 wasn’t installed at this stage.

  27. Nino Bilic says:

    Ed,

    Well – all I can say is really – please open up a case with PSS or – call in and REopen the one that you had. It sounds like the cause of this was never determined and this should definitely not be happening. In fact, I can’t think of a way how this would happen unless a delete was issued on the AD side (for example – if ADC created disabled accounts and then the disabled accounts were deleted). In any event – please call in with this. It is really out of the scope what we can troubleshoot in this form.

  28. Greg Lambert says:

    I imagine that the new cross-site mailbox move functionality has irratated the third-party tool providers that were previously the only source for this functionality. I for one saved big bucks and frustration by not having to get such a package. Besides, I’ve always felt that this should have been built in to Exchange from the beginning (or at least since 5.5).

  29. AndyT3 says:

    I have an issue with OWA since the upgrade to SP1 where any URL’s my clients click on supplies the OWA login page (in the new window you would expect to see the linked page in) as if the connection has timed out. However if you login a page cannot be displayed is returned. When you return to the OWA you also need to login again here to continue working.

    Any ideas?

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