Welcome back to our series on installing Exchange 2016 into your existing organization. In this post, we’re going to get our server built and ready, based on both sizing guidelines and the prerequisites needed to actually install Exchange 2016. Remember, in this series we’re presuming that you’re running Exchange 2010 today, and are ready to start adding 2016 into the mix. In our last post, we got our Active Directory ready to go. If you missed that post, or haven’t extended your schema and set your permissions yet, click http://www.techtalk.gfi.com/installing-exchange-2016-into-an-existing-exchange-2010-org-the-prep-work/ and get that sorted first. Then, come back here for what’s next.
Exchange 2016 isn’t a particular hardware pig, per se, but like its predecessors it wants to run on 64bit hardware and have as much RAM as it possibly can. The minimums are pretty light, but who builds based on minimums? That said, here are those minimums.
Intel X64 or AMD64 required. The more cores the better, but plan on a minimum of 2 and a maximum based on your total user load and available Global Catalog server cores.
Regular Exchange mailbox servers (remember, no roles here other than mailbox and edge) need at least 8 GB of RAM, and will use as much as you can give them. If you are virtualizing, make sure the RAM allocated is fixed, not dynamic. For Edge Transport, the minimum is 4 GB, but figure you want to give them at least 8 GB.
Put this on a fast disk, and set the minimum and maximum to RAM+10MB. If you have more than 32GB of RAM, I’m jealous, and set the min/max to 32778 MB.
Let’s assume that whether you are using physical or virtual hardware, you are going to deploy Exchange on a disk other than where the operating system is installed. Provide an additional 200MB on the C: drive, 30GB on the drive you will install Exchange to, and at least 500MB on the disk that stores the message queue database. You will need another 500MB for each UM language pack, and unless you want to only support POP3 mailboxes of 10MB each, you’d better plan on lots of extra disk space for your users’ mailboxes. VHDs can be thin provisioned but I’d recommend thick for production mailbox use.
The C: and D: drive (or wherever you install Exchange) both must be formatted NTFS, but the database, log, and content index volumes can be formatted ReFS if you prefer.
Operating System guidelines
Exchange 2016 will run on the 64bit full GUI version of either Microsoft Windows Server 2012 or Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2. It will not install on a server running Windows Server Core regardless of version. Sure, you should be able to do everything in the EMS (go PowerShell!) but this is Windows, and we still want our GUI!
For the management tools, you can also install on 64bit versions of Windows 10 or Windows 8.1, should you want to manage from your workstation instead of remoting into the server.
It’s a server, so of course it should have a static ip.addr assigned. That said, you can use DHCP if you really want to, but keep the following in mind. Exchange 2016 does support IPv6, but only when IPv4 is also installed and bound. You cannot run in a fully IPv6 environment…yet. Your Exchange server should also have outbound Internet access on TCP 80 and 443. If you must proxy, do not require authentication for this server. During the install and also when services start, the server will attempt to verify digital signatures on binaries and for that, it needs Internet egress.
Also – please, please, pretty please – remember that it is explicitly unsupported to have a firewall between an Exchange server and any other Exchange server in the org, or between the Exchange server and any domain controller. See http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2013/02/18/exchange-firewalls-and-support-oh-my.aspx and fully expect this guidance to apply to Exchange 2016 too. The only exception to this is for Edge Transport servers, which are expected to be in the DMZ and have limited access. Exchange is an intranet application. If you don’t want to let it have the communications it needs but you still want to use Outlook and Exchange, go migrate to Office 365.
You need to install the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5.2 on your server before you begin the install of Exchange 2016. You can download that from https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2934520.
You will need to install the following prerequisites in addition to the .NET Framework 4.5.2.
A bunch of Windows components, best installed all at once from an administrative PowerShell session with this command. Install-
WindowsFeature AS-HTTP-Activation, Desktop-Experience, NET-Framework-45-Features, RPC-over-HTTP-proxy, RSAT-Clustering, RSAT-Clustering-CmdInterface, RSAT-Clustering-Mgmt, RSAT-Clustering-PowerShell, Web-Mgmt-Console, WAS-Process-Model, Web-Asp-Net45, Web-Basic-Auth, Web-Client-Auth, Web-Digest-Auth, Web-Dir-Browsing, Web-Dyn-Compression, Web-Http-Errors, Web-Http-Logging, Web-Http-Redirect, Web-Http-Tracing, Web-ISAPI-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Filter, Web-Lgcy-Mgmt-Console, Web-Metabase, Web-Mgmt-Console, Web-Mgmt-Service, Web-Net-Ext45, Web-Request-Monitor, Web-Server, Web-Stat-Compression, Web-Static-Content, Web-Windows-Auth, Web-WMI, Windows-Identity-Foundation
Windows Management Framework 4.0 http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40855
Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5.2 https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2934520
Microsoft Unified Communications Managed API 4.0 http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?linkId=258269
At this point, you are ready to proceed. Check back soon for the next article in this series!