Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1
Windows Server 2008 was Microsoft’s catalyst for upgrading the original Exchange Server 2007 RTM* to SP1. Be aware, there is only one correct sequence for installing Exchange Server 2007 on Windows Server 2008.
Other than support for the new ‘Longhorn’ server, this is a typical service pack 1; full of improvements and enhancements, but no headline-making features.
*(RTM Release to Manufacturer, original version)
Topics for Exchange Server 2007 SP1
- Install Exchange 2007 on Windows Server 2008
- Avoid These Upgrade Paths
- General Features of Exchange 2007 SP1
- Problems with Exchange Server 2007 SP1
- SolarWinds Patch Manager Review
Correct Procedure to Install Exchange 2007 on Windows Server 2008
There is only one sequence which will ensure that Exchange Server 2007 works consistently with Windows Server 2008. There are other work-arounds to get Exchange 2007 on Windows 2008, but in my opinion, they are storing up problems for the future. Invest the time in getting your installation right first time.
Begin with a clean install of the underlying operating system, Windows Server 2008; only then install Exchange Server 2007 SP1 from a DVD or image. As with many modern service packs, Exchange 2007 SP1 supports slipstreaming. This means that the service pack is integrated with the original version; the benefit is that the original files and those in SP1 are installed at the same time. In my mind’s eye, the SP1 files replace the RTM files where necessary, the resulting files are then burnt into an image and labelled, ‘Exchange Server 2007 SP1’.
Here are three further details to ensure success first time:
1) Make sure the Windows Server 2008 computer is a member server, and not a domain controller.
2) Plan to use the 64-bit version of Exchange 2007 (and Server 2008!) for every scenario except testing.
3) Microsoft recommends that you should avoid the Windows 2008 Server Core option, instead, go for the default install with the traditional GUI.
If you are building a clustered mailbox server, you must first install the Windows Server 2008 Failover Clustering feature. Then you can install Exchange Server 2007 SP1.
These sequences are wrong, avoid these upgrade paths:
There are at least three tempting Exchange 2007 upgrade methods, but you should avoid them all because they create unsupported and troublesome configurations.
- Don’t upgrade Windows Server 2003 to Server 2008, and then install Exchange Server 2007 SP1.
- Don’t upgrade Windows Server 2003, with Exchange Server 2007 SP1, to Windows Server 2008.
- If you manage to get Windows Server 2008 working with Exchange Server 2007 RTM, you should not be tempted to apply SP1. Go back to the drawing board, and build from a clean install of Server 2008.
- Avoid installing Exchange Server 2007 SP1 on a Windows 2008 Server Core system, because it is not supported. Stick with the default, the full Windows 2008 system with the GUI.
Thus, if you want to prevent problems for the future, don’t even think of trying a work around for an upgrade, instead cut your losses and revert to a clean install starting with Windows Server 2008. Remember, you can always use the ‘swing’ technique and move mailboxes from the old server to the new; all that you need is one extra 64-bit computer.
With SPM you can push out patches, which companies such as Mozilla Firefox or Adobe Acrobat provide. The point is that because WSUS does not do this for non-Microsoft software updates, you need a good add-on to take care of this task. With the Patch Manager you can even create your own packages to apply to your servers or clients.
I am guessing, but service pack 1’s feature list looks as thought Microsoft has engaged their top project manager to oversee SP1. It seems as though he has listened to customer feedback from the RTM version, trawled forums, and sat down with the Exchange 2007 team and asked, ‘What could we have done better?’ Then the project manager produced a list of improvements and enhancements to be delivered is SP1. This procedure is typical of the first service pack, a welcome but unspectacular list of improvements. It is only later in the development cycle when SP3 or SP4 tend to introduce brand new features.
To my way of thinking, Exchange Server 2007 SP1 will always be the ‘Longhorn service pack’. Other benefits of running Exchange 2007 on Windows Server 2008 include, support for IPv6, and for high availability, Standby Continuous Replication (SCR).
Public Folders Return with Their Own ‘Pad’
By popular demand Exchange 2007 now has Public Folders, just as previous versions of Exchange supported this storage system. To check and configure the settings,
- Launch the Exchange Management Console.
- Navigate to the console tree, click Toolbox.
- If you have applied SP1 you should now see the PFMC (Public Folder Management Console).
You can perform old familiar tasks with PFMC
- View and modify public folder properties
- Add or remove public folders
- Update the public folder hierarchy
- Mail-enable or mail-disable a public folder
- Manage Send As permissions for mail-enabled public folders
- Also, connect to other servers that have public folders
Thanks to Charles Graziadio for drawing my attention to the advantage of applying Exchange 2007 SP1.
The best feature of this new this new version of SolarWinds VM Monitor is that it checks Windows Hyper-V. Naturally, it still works with virtual machines on VMware ESX Servers. VM Monitor is a clever desktop tool that not only tests that your server is online, but also displays the CPU and memory utilization for each node.
It’s easy to install and to configure this virtual machine monitor, all you need the host server’s IP address or hostname and the logon info. Give this virtual machine monitor a try – it’s free.
OWA (Outlook Web Access)
OWA continues to improve as it matures as a technology. The highlights of SP1’s enhancements are:
- Recover deleted items through Outlook Web Access.
- Users can create their own Personal Distribution Lists
- Users can copy folders and individual items
- Support for Public Folders through the /owa virtual directory
- For secure email there is now S/MIME
- Improved delegation so that others can access some of your folders – watch out for the Delegation Wizard
Improvements for the Unified Messaging Server Role
Again it is the emerging, maturing technologies that require the most tweaking, making clunky components in the RTM version work smoothly in SP1. Unified Message enhancements include:
- The ability to record high-fidelity voice messages in Exchange Unified Messaging
- Integration of missed call notification e-mail messages with Office Communicator 2007
- Users can now open their Outlook Voice Access from Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 without needing a PIN
- QoS (Quality of service) support
- You can configure Unified Messaging to use the Secure Realtime Transport Protocol (SRTP)
SP1 adds more settings to the Exchange Management Console (Formerly the Exchange System Manager), for example the ability to set additional message limits on connectors. Speaking of the Exchange Management Console, Microsoft has added new features in many areas. It’s as though they pruned back too far when they reduced Exchange 2003’s seven levels, to three levels in Exchange Server 2007. Now with SP1 features that were not ready or settings that were overlooked have been introduced.
One welcome new feature is the ability to import and export .pst files. Indeed, Microsoft has revamped the Move Mailbox tool to make migrations and transitions to Exchange Server 2007 that bit easier.
The bad news with every service pack these days is that it inadvertently introduces a few, often obscure problems. The good news is that there is an Update Rollup 1 to fix such problems for Exchange Server 2007 SP1. Here are some of the problems that the Rollup 1 fixes:
- The Autodiscover service fails in Outlook 2007 after you install Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1.
- Sundry garbled OWA messages in ‘Subject’ field, especially the ‘?’.
- The Store.exe process hogs the CPU. You may also get: these Event IDs 9659, 8206, 8213, or 8199 in the log.
- The Microsoft Exchange Information Store service hangs.
- Email messages get stuck in the submission queue.
- An external NDR message is sent to all recipients on a distribution list.
- An application cannot run Windows PowerShell commands by impersonating a user account.
- Beware, SP1 resets Connector Receive MaxMessageSize to 10 MB.
Here is where you get your Update Rollup 1 for Exchange Server 2007 SP1
Import users from a spreadsheet, complete with their mailbox. Just provide a list of the users with the fields in the top row, and save as .csv file. Then launch this FREE utility, match your Exchange fields with AD’s attributes, click and import the users. Optionally, you can provide the name of the OU where the new mailboxes will be born.
- Bulk-import new users and mailboxes into Active Directory.
- Seek and zap unwanted user accounts.
- Find inactive computers.
I have only mentioned my personal favourite improvements and enhancements for Exchange Server 2007 SP1. It’s only when you get down to the technical level that you truly appreciate the breadth and depth of the advances. You can see the full list of what’s new in Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 SP1 here.
The killer reason for getting this service pack 1 is so that you can install Exchange 2007 on the Windows Server 2008 operating system. Take care because there is only one correct way to achieve this dual installation. Elsewhere, this typical of the first service pack, enhancements and improvements to tidy up ‘stuff’ that was clunky, or missed the deadline for the RTM version.
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