Changes on Exchange 2013

Note: This article is based on a pre-release product and may therefore be subject to changes.

Here’s an short list of the changes and notes regarding Exchange 2013:

Goodbye EMC, Hello EAC
The Exchange Management Console (EMC) is no more. A new web-based management interface, the Exchange Administration Center (EAC), replaces EMC and ECP (organization management functions). The EAC provides a single console for on-premise, hybrid or online deployments and doesn’t require installation of management tools. EAC can also be used to manage Public Folders.

The EAC also contains functionality to run reports on mailbox or administrator audit logs.

Less roles is more
Exchange 2013 reduces the number of Exchange server roles to two: Client Access server and Mailbox server (Exchange 2003 Front-End/Back-End anyone?):

· Client Access servers are used to proxy or process client traffic . Multiple CAS servers can still be organized in clusters using Client Access Arrays. New in Exchange 2013 is that client connections are stateless, which means you can use more simple (layer 4, i.e. IP address & port) load balancing solutions;

· Mailbox servers are used for data storage and UM. Multiple Mailbox servers can still be organized in clusters using Database Availability Groups.

Transport Servers MIA?
In Exchange 2013, mail flow is dealt with by both the Client Access server and the Mailbox server. The Client Access server hosts a service called Front End Transport service which will process messages from or to external sources. The Mailbox server hosts two transport-related services, Hub Transport and Mailbox Transport service, which will process messages from or to other Mailbox servers or deal with the retrieval or storage of messages.

Because the transport services are now co-located with Mailbox and Client Access servers, I do foresee challenges for organizations who designed infrastructure sections and farms purely to route and process messages. Of course, Mailbox servers will perform the same job, with this sort of defeats the common best practice of splitting roles in order to reduce attack surface. Something which didn’t exist with Exchange 2003, after which a more functional role model was developed for Exchange 2007 with the introduction of server roles. I know at least 1 customer who will ponder on creating hardening guides for Exchange 2013 when the time comes.

Public Folders
Unlike Exchange 2010, where Microsoft in early announcements mentioned the possible deprecation of Public Folders, Microsoft leaves no doubt when it comes to Public Folders and Exchange 2013. In fact, Microsoft made some interesting changes to the Public Folders architecture, where Public Folders reside in mailbox databases utilizing mailboxes. This enables Public Folders to have the same benefits as Mailbox databases, e.g. Database Availability Groups. Of course, this has serious implications for migration scenarios, but might prove an alternative for the “move to SharePoint” cliché.

Storage Engine
Exchange 2013 sticks with the ESE as the database engine of choice. The Information Store processes, now called Managed Store, have been revised, utilizing per database processes which enable faster fail-over and improved resilience. The engine integrates Microsoft’s FAST indexing engine.

Client Access servers deal with certificate management; Mailbox servers contain self-signed certificates which are automatically trusted. The EAC contains a notification center which will report on certificates nearing expiration.

Data Loss Prevention
Here, Data Loss doesn’t refer to loss of bits, but to loss of sensitive information. Exchange 2013 provides a mechanism to protect sensitive data. Supported clients, like Outlook 2013, provide notifications of possible policy breaches through Policy Tips, much like MailTips. More information on DLP here.

OWA 2013
Outlook Web App (OWA) in Exchange 2013 adds integrated apps, like Bing Maps. Apps can be managed using the EAC. Apps installed in Outlook 2013 also become available in OWA 2013 and vice versa. OWA 2013 also offers LinkedIn integration and merged calendar view (like in Outlook).

OWA 2013 supports the following browsers when compared to OWA 2010:

· Windows

o Internet Explorer 7 or later (same);

o Firefox 12 or later (was Firefox 3.0.1+);

o Chrome 18 or later (was Chrome;

o Safari 5.1 or later.

· Mac

o Firefox 12 or later (was 3.0.1+);

o Safari 5.0.6 or later (was 3.1+);

o Chrome 18 or later.

· Linux

o Firefox 12 or later (was 3.0.1+);

o Chrome 18 or later.

· Tablets & Smartphones

o Windows 8 PRE;

o iOS 5.0 or later for iPhone or iPad;

o Android 4.0 or later;

o Other browsers revert to Light mode

Note: iPad 1 has 256 MB, OWA 2013 requires 512 MB therefor it isn’t supported on iPad1 devices.

When using compatible browsers OWA 2013 supports offline mode, which means you can read or compose messages while disconnected, using your system to store the information. More information on which platform / browser combinations supports offline mode can be found here.

Recently, Microsoft announced it was no longer required to have an Enterprise CAL to perform Multi-Mailbox Searches in Exchange 2010. Like some predicted this was a clue on changes in Exchange 2013, which not only allows for cross-platform against Exchange, Lync and Sharepoint (In-Place eDiscovery), but allows you to export mail contents to PST files.

You can also search across primary and archive mailboxes in OWA.

Also, Legal Hold, now known as In-Place Hold, can now be performed based on queries and can be bound to a certain timeframe as well in Exchange 2013.

Unified Messaging
In Exchange 2013, UM functionality is split between CAS and Mailbox servers which explains the absence of the UM server role. The CAS server deals with call routing, while the Mailbox server provides UM services like synthesis.

Based on UCMA 4.0, Exchange 2013 UM utilizes the same engine for text-to-speech (TTS) and automatic speech recognition (ASR). The generated grammar files, previously generated and stored per server, are generated by the Mailbox Assistant running on the Mailbox server hosting the arbitration mailbox. The speech grammar files are stored in the arbitration mailbox and can be downloaded by Mailbox servers.

When trying to resolve the Caller ID, Exchange 2013 UM will consult different sources besides the default contacts folder, like other contact folders and social networks.

Updated MRS
The Mailbox Replication Service (MRS) has been updated in Exchange 2013 to enable bigger parallel moves, providing progress reports using notifications and to make the process more resilient by automatic retries and move priorization.

Site Mailboxes
Exchange 2013 introduces a new concept called Site Mailboxes, which bind an Exchange mailbox to a Sharepoint site. Goal is to enable users to collaborate easier, by enabling site members to utilize a single interface to access documents as well as related messages. More information on Site Mailboxes here.

PowerShell 3.0
The Exchange Management Shell is now based on WinRM 3.0.

Other changes worth mentioning:

o Lync 2013 can archive contents in Exchange 2013 and use it to store contacts;

o Exchange Workload Management, more information here.

o To skip the license screen during (unattended) setups, you can use the switch IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms with setup.exe, e.g.
Setup /m:Install /r:C,M /OrganizationName:X /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms


Previews Exchange 2013 and Lync 2013 are here!

Today, Microsoft unleashed the (Wave 15) previews for the following products:

Note: Be advised, links might be unavailable due everybody downloading the binaries. Check back later and keep trying.

· Exchange 2013 Preview

o Exchange 2013 Preview Online Documentation

o Exchange 2013 Prerequisites

o Exchange 2013 What’s New

o Exchange 2013 Preview Help File

· Lync Server 2013 Preview

· Office 2013 Preview

One big note for those with release management and planning in their job description: Everybody still on Exchange 2003 (and many customers are) need to follow an intermediate upgrade step when moving to Exchange 2013 when it goes RTM, as co-existence between Exchange 2013 and Exchange Server 2003 and earlier versions is not supported; the preview version isn’t supported in co-existence with any Exchange version by the way.