So you want to install Exchange 2016 into your existing organization, and you’re running Exchange 2010 today. In this miniseries, we’re going to go through exactly that. If you have 2003 or 2007, you’re too far out of date and will need to get to a current version. If you’re on 2013, a lot of this will be similar, but we’re focusing on the 2010 audience since they are the ones who most likely will want to upgrade to 2016 now. In our first post, we’re going to go over what it takes to get ready.
Now’s a really good time to sit down with your desktop management team (or the voices in your head if that is also you) to make sure all your clients are ready for Exchange 2016. The following are supported:
- Outlook 2010 SP2 (with KB2956191 and KB2965295) or later,
- Outlook 2013 SP1 (with KB3020812) or later,
- Outlook 2016,
- Outlook for Mac for Office 365,
- Outlook for Mac 2011 or later.
Pay close attention to the required patches for Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013. No patch-no work! You really don’t want to introduce Exchange 2016 into your org if you have any clients that are not compatible with Exchange 2016. Given the likelihood that your ADSS is not perfect, odds are really good an unsupported client will wind up trying to use a 2016 CAS, and it will fail.
Active Directory work
Exchange 2016 is going to require an extension to the Active Directory schema. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but just in case, yes, you need to extend the schema. If that means bribing the AD admins and getting a CR in place, get that going now.
Then, make sure you’re current on all your AD care and feeding tasks and that you have no replication issues. Extending the schema is really not as scary as everyone makes it out to be, unless you have replication issues, in which case this is not the time to discover that. Use repadmin to test your replication, and resolve any issues that it shows.
Assuming you are good to go here, the next step is to extend the schema. You need to be an Enterprise Admin and a Schema Admin, and you need to run the process on a server in the same AD site that the Schema Master is in. You will be connecting to the Schema Master to do this, so if the Schema Master is in a different datacenter, and you don’t want to transfer the role to a DC local to you, remote desktop into a server that is local to the Schema Master. RDP is much faster than LDAP!
You will need to use a 64bit server or workstation, and install the .NET Framework 4.5.2, and then the RSAT tools. Once you have that, download Exchange 2016 from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/confirmation.aspx?id=49161. Then, to actually extend the schema, do this.
- If you are not logged on as a user who is a member of Schema Admins and Enterprise Admins, open a cmd-prompt using “Run as different user.” If your account is in the right groups, just open an administrative command prompt.
- Change to the directory that has the Exchange 2016 setup files.
- Run this command
Setup.exe /PrepareSchema /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms
This will take some time to run (don’t have dinner plans).
- Once it completes, use repadmin as above to confirm that replication to all your domain controllers completes. Depending on how many DCs you have and how far away they are, this may be an overnight or an over weekend process. Don’t rush.
There are a significant number of changes to AD introduced by Exchange 2016, but all of them are for Exchange. Standard AD functionality won’t change. If you want to see everything that Exchange 2016 puts into AD, see https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb738144(v=exchg.160).aspx.
Once the schema changes have replicated, you can then move on to preparing Active Directory. Using the same account and in the same command prompt (only Enterprise Admin rights is required now, but you’re already there…) do this.
- Run this command, substituting your Exchange org name where appropriate
Setup.exe /PrepareAD /OrganizationName:"<organization name>" /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms
- This too will take some time to complete and then replicate. Use repadmin to confirm.
Then, you can prepare the domains. I like to prepare them all at once. It’s easier, faster, and really, do you have domains that won’t use Exchange?
- Still using the same EA account and probably in the same command prompt, run this command
Setup.exe /PrepareAllDomains /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms
You know what comes next…let it run, let it replicate, confirm replication is complete. Then confirm you are really ready to go.
- Fire up ADSIEDIT, and browse to the appropriate locations from the table below and verify the values.
Microsoft Exchange System Objects
CN=<your organization>, CN=Microsoft
At this point, you are ready to proceed. Check back soon for the next article in this series!