Areas to Consider For a Smooth Exchange 2010 Installation (Part 2)

If you would like to read the first part in this article series please go to Areas to Consider For a Smooth Exchange 2010 Installation (Part 1).

 

Introduction

 

This is the second and final part of an article looking at areas you can consider for a smooth installation of Exchange Server 2010. In part one, we looked at important tools such as the Exchange Pre-Deployment Analyzer and then moved on to look not only at ensuring the correct operating system version, but also many important configuration areas of the operating system. Without further ado, let’s complete our look at the operating system configuration areas followed by some in-depth areas such as the page file configuration and the network interface configuration.

 

Other Operating System Checks (Continued)

 

In part one, we covered 13 operating system checks that can be performed. There are two more to mention here in part two.

 

 

  1. If no Internet connectivity is available from the Exchange 2010 servers, has the setting titled Check for publisher’s certificate revocation been disabled in Internet Explorer? Having this setting enabled on servers that do not have Internet connectivity can slow down the deployment of Exchange Server 2010 Update Rollups. To fix this issue, follow these steps but remember to re-enable this option, if your configuration requires it, after the installation of the update rollup:
    a.     On the Exchange Server 2010 server, run Internet Explorer
    b.     Select Tools (or click the tool icon) and choose Internet Options
    c.     On the Internet Options window, select the Advanced tab
    d.     On the Advanced tab, scroll down the list of settings until you reach the Security section
    e.     In this section, clear the option Check for publisher’s certificate revocation as you can see from Figure 2-1

 


Figure 2-1: Disabling Checking for Publisher’s Certificate Revocation

 

 

  1. Configure the network interfaces on your server, which is especially important if the server you are installing is to become a member of a Database Availability Group (DAG). This deserves its own dedicated section within this article and so you can find this information in the section titled Network Interface Configuration.

 

Client Access Server Active Directory Site

 

In part one of this two-part article, we discussed the importance of ensuring that the server is installed into the correct Active Directory site before the Exchange Server 2010 software is installed. The Active Directory site where you install a Client Access Server can potentially affect things further down the line if you move that Client Access Server to another Active Directory site. When a Client Access Server is first installed, the AutoDiscoverSiteScope parameter is set to the name of the Active Directory site that the Client Access Server is installed into. If you then move the Client Access Server to a different Active Directory site, the AutoDiscoverSiteScope parameter is not updated with the new information, so that must be changed manually.

 

The AutoDiscoverSiteScope parameter controls the Active Directory site used for autodiscover. In other words, client machines connecting to this Client Access Server for autodiscover purposes must belong to one of the Active Directory sites listed in the AutoDiscoverSiteScope parameter.

 

Page File Configuration

 

It is important to correctly configure the page file size on all Exchange 2010 servers and this is something you should look to plan well before you get around to installing Exchange Server 2010. Microsoft’s current guidance on page file sizing for Exchange Server 2010 is:

 

 

  • If the server has less than 8GB memory, the page file should be 1.5x the amount of memory.
  • If the server has 8GB or more of memory, the page file should be set to the amount of installed memory plus an additional 10MB.

 

For those servers that do not have a dedicated page file drive allotted, there will just be a single page file configured as per the above sizing recommendations. For those servers that have a dedicated page file drive allotted, you can configure the page file for the dedicated drive as per the above sizing recommendations. Additionally, for Windows kernel memory dumps, you will want to ensure you have a page file on the C: drive large enough to support a kernel memory dump.

 

Network Interface Configuration

 

If you’re deploying an Exchange 2010 server that is not to be part of a DAG, then the network interface configuration will be fairly straightforward. However, there are additional considerations if the server is to be part of a DAG. For example, there is a possibility that you are deploying more than one network interface for your DAG member. This is because a DAG member requires at least one network to function as the MAPI network and optionally you can configure one or more network interfaces to function as replication networks. Therefore, if your design states that you will be using at least one network interface as a replication network, now is a good time to ensure that the server has the correct number of network interfaces configured.

 

Take the network interfaces shown in Figure 2-2 as an example. Here you can see that we have a MAPI network and a replication network; this is clear because I have taken the time to rename the network connections to reflect their usage. This aids in management and troubleshooting so you might like to consider doing this.

 


Figure 2-2: Renamed Network Connections

 

However, network configuration before installation of Exchange Server 2010 goes beyond simply giving the interfaces meaningful names. The MAPI and replication networks require different configuration settings. At the time of writing this article, current Microsoft recommended practice for the MAPI network says that the Client for Microsoft Networks, File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks, TCP/IP v4, Link-Layer Topology Discovery Mapper I/O Driver and Link-Layer Topology Discovery Responder networking features should be enabled. Additionally, you can optionally enable the QoS Packet Scheduler and TCP/IP v6 networking features. However, for the replication network, the current Microsoft recommended practice for the replication networks at the time of writing this article is for the Client for Microsoft Networks and File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks networking features to be disabled.

 

Operating System Pre-Requisites

 

There are three main areas to consider regarding the operating system pre-requisites, namely the required operating system components, the required hotfixes for the version of Windows that you are installing Exchange Server 2010 onto and the Microsoft Filter Pack.

 

Exchange Server 2010 can be installed on Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 and by default, these operating systems install without several system components that are required for Exchange Server 2010. These system components must be installed before Exchange Server 2010 is installed and the method to do this varies depending on whether Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 is used as the operating system version. Additionally, the exact system components that need to be installed varies depending on which of the five Exchange Server 2010 roles are being deployed.

 

For example, if you are installing a multi-role server that includes the Mailbox, Client Access server and Hub Transport server roles, you’ll need to ensure that operating system components such as the .NET Framework, IIS and the Active Directory management tools are installed. Installing these operating system components via PowerShell is very quick and easy.

 

 

  1. Run Windows PowerShell. Ensure that you run PowerShell using elevated permissions by choosing the “run as administrator” option.
  2. Run the Import-Module ServerManager command.
  3. Run the Add-WindowsFeature cmdlet with the appropriate parameters to deploy the correct operating system components.

 

For example, the following command is used to deploy the .NET Framework, Active Directory management tools and Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services components on an Exchange Server 2010 server running the Edge Transport server role. The –Restart parameter ensures that the system is restarted immediately after the components have been installed.

 

Add-WindowsFeature NET-Framework,RSAT-ADDS,ADLDS –Restart

 

Figure 2-3 shows the Add-WindowsFeature cmdlet being used. Microsoft provides clear guidance on the deployment of these operating system components in the topic titled Exchange 2010 Prerequisites. In this topic, you will also see that there are several hotfixes required for the operating system version that you will be installing Exchange Server 2010 onto. It is of course important that you take the time to review these hotfixes, test in your test lab, and deploy onto the servers prior to installing Exchange Server 2010. As you might expect, the Exchange Server 2010 installation program will detect any missing components and fail the prerequisite checks.

 


Figure 2-3: Adding Required Windows Features

 

Summary

 

That completes our look at areas you can consider for a smooth installation of Exchange Server 2010. Hopefully you can use these areas to create an installation check-list that you can use to help ensure that your upcoming deployments of Exchange Server 2010 go as smoothly as possible.

 

If you would like to read the first part in this article series please go to Areas to Consider For a Smooth Exchange 2010 Installation (Part 1).

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