A brief sojourn into the world of Exchange 2010

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Okay so this post is going to seem way out of place because it has utterly nothing to do with SharePoint and instead focuses on Microsoft Exchange Server. To explain why I have to give you a quick history lesson.

Before I was a SharePoint guy, I was a networking, infrastructure and security guy. In fact I met and worked with Jeremy Thake before either of us were full-time SharePoint guys. If you were to ask him I’m sure he would tell you I was a bit of an infrastructure and security nazi back then. What warms my heart though is that since then I have mellowed out and now Jeremy has taken on some of those nazi tendencies (I have heard him threaten to “hunt you down if you do that” at user group presentation – referring to some dodgy SharePoint developer practice that will hurt you later).

Anyways, I still get asked to do the odd bit of Cisco, Active Directory and Exchange work. Although my interest in these areas is practically nil, some part of me likes to have a crack at it every so often to make sure I can get on the bike again – so to speak. Each time I get on the bike, I then remember why I got off in the first place ;-( (It’s a bit like eating KFC – you swear you will never do it again but given enough time, the pain seems to fade)

This time around, I agreed to help a client extricate themselves from the evil nightmare that is Small Business Server 2008, to real, grown up Windows Server environment. They had outgrown SBS and had been taken over by a foreign company and there was a need for AD domain trusts, among many other things – something that SBS can’t do. As part of this I had to get Exchange, SharePoint, AD, WSUS, Certificate services and various other things like RRAS, DHCP and DNS off the Small Business Server and onto real servers.

So first up my big Exchange 2010 lesson learned and then some detail on how you too can make Small Business Server 2008 history in your organisation.

My first and last exchange post: Exchange 2010 RTM and SP1 do not play nice!

Due to the nature of this upgrade, I had to set up a temporary exchange server 2010 box to be a temporary mailbox store. Provided that any Exchange 2007 servers in the organisation are running Service Pack 1, mail can happily route between Exchange 2007 and 2010 servers. Once the migration of mailboxes was complete, we decommissioned the Small Business Server following the steps outlined in the next section. We then installed a fresh, new Win2008R2 + Exchange 2010 as the final server – only this time with Exchange 2010 service pack 1 (the client used newer media this time).

All went well, the new server installed fine. So now I had two Exchange 2010 servers in the organisation, one RTM and one SP1. I was able to manage both servers using Exchange system manager on both servers and there was nothing untoward in the logs on either server.

However, when I tried to move a mailbox from the RTM box to the SP1 box, I received the following error:

Service ‘net.tcp://<servername>/Microsoft.Exchange.MailboxReplicationService’ encountered an exception. Error: MapiExceptionNoAccess: Unable to open message store. (hr=0x80070005, ec=-2147024891)

Diagnostic context:
    Lid: 18969   EcDoRpcExt2 called [length=132]

[blah blah blah skip ugly stack trace stuff]

Exception details: MapiExceptionNoAccess (80070005): MapiExceptionNoAccess: Unable to open message store. (hr=0x80070005, ec=-2147024891)

[blah blah blah skip more ugly stack trace stuff]

As you can see, not a helpful message at all. So I tried to initiate the mailbox move from the SP1 server instead of the RTM server. This time, I received a different error:

There are no available servers that are running the Mailbox Replication Service.
+ CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (0:Int32) [New-MoveRequest], MailboxReplicationTransientException + FullyQualifiedErrorId : 5C08CF31,Microsoft.Exchange.Management.RecipientTasks.NewMoveRequest

Now as Johnny says, this error suggests that no exchange server in the organisation is running the mailbox replication service. However in my case the RTM box was running this service and it was started. Clearly something was amiss.

Google didn’t show much about this problem, and I considered calling Microsoft support, but knew full well that they would probably make me install SP1 on both boxes before investigating. So I installed SP1, following Gnawgnu’s advice about surviving an Exchange 2010 Service Pack 1 install. All went smoothly and when I reattempted the mailbox move, everything worked fine.

Moral of the story, apparently a stack trace is an appropriate error message for an incompatibility between Exchange versions. C’mon exchange product team, you are no better than SharePoint in terms of horrible error messages. Surely a version check would be an easy use-case to test for?

How to extricate yourself from Small Business Server 2008

For what its worth, getting SBS2008 out of your domain is a bit like pulling teeth. It really doesn’t want to go. Nevertheless it can be done and I largely followed this unofficial guide and can confirm that it works for me (I have added a couple of steps below, and also remember, this is SBS2008 we are talking about so its bound to go wrong somewhere)

1. Upgrade the AD schema of the SBS2008 domain

  • Using your new Win2008 R2 media find the adprep utility and run: Adprep /forestprep and Adprep /domainPrep
  • On SBS 2008 ensure that the schema version is updated to 47 and *not* 44 by checking the HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\NTDS\Parameters\Schema Version registry key

2. Install Win2008R2 on your soon to be new domain controller and add it as a member server of your SBS2008 domain

3. Install the Active Directory Domain Services role and then launch the Active Directory Domain Services Installation Wizard (dcpromo.exe).

  • On the Choose a Deployment Configuration page, click Existing forest
  • On the Additional Domain Controller Options page, make sure the DNS and Global Catalog is checked
  • Check all of your group policies for reference to the original SBS server and repoint to the new AD server (recreating share folders where necessary)
  • Move FSMO roles to the new AD server: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;255504
  • Add the AD certificate services role and backup/restore the certificate store
  • Install DHCP and backup/restore config from SBS box and then remove DHCP role from SBS2008
  • Change DHCP scopes so DNS points to the new DC, as well as statically assigned devices

6. Install Win2008R2 on your soon to be Exchange Server and install Exchange 2010 (with the hub, client access server and mailbox roles)

  • Patch Exchange 2007 on your SBS2008 Server to SP1 if it is not already (otherwise you cannot move mailboxes to the Exchange 2010 server)
  • Note: You need to download a special Exchange SP1 installer for Small Business Server as the default installer will refuse to install on account that a SBS box does not meet minimum conditions for install
  • Move mailboxes and public folders from SBS2008 server to the new Exchange 2010 Server
  • Export IIS certificates from the SBS2008 server to the new server and then set up client access (OWA, ActiveSync and Outlook Anywhere) with the same certificate
  • Reconfigue your router/firewall to the ne server for OWA/Activesync/Outlook Anywhere

7. Uninstall Exchange 2007 from SBS 2008

8. Install Win2008R2 on your soon to be SharePoint Server and install Search Server Express 2010 or whatever SharePoint edition you have paid for

  • Create a new web application
  • Restore Companyweb site using database reattach method
  • Reconfigure companyweb search to use enterprise search template that comes with Search Server Express 2010
  • Install Microsoft fax (if you used faxing in SBS2008) and enable email based fax routing
  • Configure incoming email to SharePoint by configuring a subdomain in active directory and configuring a remote domain in Exchange 2010 Hub Transport
  • Mail enable the Faxes document library in companyweb
  • Set the destination for faxes to be the Faxes document library in companyweb

8. DCPromo down SBS 2008 and remove SBS 2008 from the network.

9. Crack open a beer and celebrate your victory


Thanks for reading

Paul Culmsee


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