Exchange Server 2016 and Microsoft Cloud - Deployment Guide (Part 2)

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

Introduction

In the previous article, we went through the installation process of the Domain Controllers on the main site (Toronto) and in this article we will focus on the Exchange Server 2016 deployment process. At the end of this article we will have an environment similar to Figure 01.


Figure 01

Step 02 – Exchange Server 2016 Deployment…

Exchange Server 2016 introduced a new architecture which has only two roles: Mailbox Server and Edge Transport Servers. In our article series, we will use only Mailbox Servers and that reduces a lot of complexity during the deployment process because we can have a consistent installation process and same hardware across all servers, from the high availability perspective we don’t need to worry about the ratio between CAS/HUB roles and Mailbox Servers because everything is on the same role, as long we have enough servers running we can guarantee the availability of the service.

During the design which is the most important phase of the project, the administrator should focus on defining the scope of the project and plan accordingly. That includes number of servers, high availability options, resiliency, number of users and their usage profile and so forth.

The Exchange Team provides a great tool to help size the Exchange Server solution. It is a spreadsheet called Exchange Server Role Requirements Calculator (currently in version 7.8 and can be found here), as shown in Figure 02.


Figure 02

Exchange Server 2016 prerequisites...

The first step to build the Exchange Servers is to gather all requirements in a folder and then we will replicate the same steps on all Exchange Servers. Initially we will deploy two (2) Exchange Servers on the main site and later on we will perform the same steps on the Disaster Recovery site.

These are some of the key steps to streamline the Exchange Server deployment, as follows:


Figure 03

The next step is to install the prerequisites on the Operating System and we can do that using Server Manager or PowerShell. The easiest way by far is using PowerShell (Figure 04). We just need to run the following cmdlet on a PowerShell and restart the computer after the installation is completed.

Note:
When compared with Microsoft recommendations, you will notice that we have two additional features, which are telnet-client and RSAT-ADDS. They were added to help with the troubleshooting process and also to allow the administrator to prepare (only on the first installation) and manage Active Directory from the Exchange Server.

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, telnet-client, RSAT-ADDS.


Figure 04

After the restart, the next component that must be installed on the server is the Microsoft Unified Managed API 4.0, Runtime. The installation is simple, just use default values to complete the installation.

The third and final step is the Exchange Server 2016 installation process, double click on the ISO file (Yes, nowadays Microsoft releases an ISO file instead of the compressed .exe file) and that will create a new drive letter with the Exchange Server 2016 source installation, open it and right-click on setup and click on Run as Administrator (Figure 05).


Figure 05

First Exchange Server 2016 and Exchange Organization…

The installation process is simple and we will cover all steps using the graphical user interface to deploy the first Exchange Server 2016 in our environment.

  1. In the Check for Updates? Page. We download the latest Cumulative Update, but it is always nice to check for the latest updates, select Connect to the Internet and check for updates and click Next.
  2. In the Downloading Updates page. If there are no updates, we will be informed, just click Next.
  3. In the Introduction page. Just an introductory page about Exchange Server 2016, click Next.
  4. In the License Agreement page. Read the agreement and if you are okay, select I accept the terms in the license agreement and click Next.
  5. In the Recommended Settings page. Select Use recommended settings and click Next.
  6. In the Server Role Selection page. Select Mailbox and Automatically install Windows Server roles and features that are required to install Exchange Server, as shown in Figure 06. Click Next.


Figure 06

  1. In the Installation Space and Location page. Leave default settings and click Next.
  2. In the Exchange Organization page. This page will be displayed only on the first Exchange Server, here is where we define the Exchange Organization name (Figure 07) and for this article series we will use infralab, click Next.


Figure 07

  1. In the Malware Protection Settings page. Leave default settings which is protection enabled and click Next.
  2. In the Readiness Checks page. That is a key portion of the setup, go over all the information and work on the issues and if everything is at least Warning, we can start the installation process by clicking on Install (Figure 08).


Figure 08

The process will take several minutes, wait for the completion and the final result should be a final page saying Setup Completed. After this point we can start connecting on Exchange Admin Center (ECP), PowerShell and start managing the server.

Additional Exchange Server 2016 deployment…

In the previous section, we deployed exchange using graphical user interface and we can use the same procedure for the additional servers. As we discussed previously, since we have a single role to deploy throughout the organization, we may as well create a simple deployment process using the command line interface.

For that reason, we will make sure that all prerequisites are in place, and we will run the following command to install the Exchange Sever 2016 using command line on all additional servers of this article series (including the DR site), as shown in Figure 09.

Setup.exe /Mode /Role:Mailbox /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms


Figure 09

Conclusion

In this article we covered the installation process of the first Exchange Server which created the Exchange Organization, and how to install the additional servers. For now, we deployed just two Exchange Servers but down the road we will be performing the same steps on the Disaster Recovery site of our environment.

Additional Information:

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

Anderson Patricio

Anderson Patricio is a Canadian MVP in Cloud and Datacenter Management, and Office Server and Services, besides of the Microsoft Award he also holds a Solutions Master (MCSM) in Exchange, CISSP and several other certifications. Anderson contributes to the Microsoft Community with articles, tutorials, blog posts, twitter, forums and book reviews. He is a regular contributor here at Techgenix.com, MSExchange.org, ITPROCentral.com and Anderson Patricio.org (Portuguese).

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