Test Lab Guide: Windows Server 2016 with Integrated Exchange 2016, SfB Server 2015 and SharePoint 2016

WARNING! This is a pretty long and detailed blog post 🙂

I decided to upgrade (or actually reinstall) my test lab with the most recent version of Windows Server (including the most recent versions of Exchange, SfB Server and SharePoint). All my server virtual machines are built from a clonedGolden Windows Server Image” in VMware workstation, and I also use the same principle for my clients. This way you can deploy new servers/clients very fast, and they will take up much less disk space compared to installing from scratch.

This “custom” TLG is based on:

Windows Server 2012 R2 Test Lab Guide (including the Basic PKI add-on from here) and
Test Lab Guide: Configure an Integrated Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint Test Lab

with my own Exchange add-ons including:

  • A script for configuring the virtual directories
  • Certificate from domain CA
  • Zevenet Load Balancer (formerly known as Zen)
  • A second server (EX2)
  • Another script for copying the virtual directories from an existing server to a new one
  • Database Availability Group (DAG) between EX1 and EX2
  • Moving a user from one database to another

More about these later on.

I’ll start with an overview of the whole TLG, including my own add-ons:

tlg2016_overview

Fig 1. Test Lab overview – a modified picture from the TLG. (I also configured the Internet subnet (131.107.0.0/24), even though not visible in this picture).

 

The whole project started by following the Windows Server 2012 R2 Test Lab Guide. I then added the Basic PKI infrastructure. These Test Lab Guides were actually “translatable” straight from Windows Server 2012 R2 to Windows Server 2016. I got a “Duplicate IP address error” on one of the servers however, but it was easily solved by following: http://support.huawei.com/enterprise/en/knowledge/KB1000068724. (I have no idea why I got this error (hasn’t happened before), but then again it doesn’t matter now that it was solved).

I then moved over to the Test Lab Guide: Configure an Integrated Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint Test Lab. Step 1 was already done so I moved over to Step 2 and 3 – Installing and configuring a new server named SQL1. Step 3 includes a link to a separate SQL Server 2012 Test Lab Guide, and this TLG also happen to be more or less translatable straight to SQL Server 2016. So yeah, I actually have no further comments about the installation. Step 4 guides you through the Client2-installation, but there’s really nothing to comment about this installation either (pretty basic stuff).

 

Exchange 2016, EX1

It was now time for the Exchange server, EX1. Note to self: Use at least 6GB ram for the VM or the memory will run out. This installation also has a separate guide:

https://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/24277.test-lab-guide-install-exchange-server-2013-on-the-windows-2012-r2-base-configuration.aspx.

It’s fine for the most part, however instead of downloading the evaluation version of Exchange I suggest you download the newest Exchange Server 2016 CU instead. This way you’ll get the newest updates from scratch. And yes, all setup files are included in the CU so you can use it as a “clean install”. The prerequisites for Exchange 2016 (on Windows Server 2016) are a bit different compared to Exchange 2013 (on Windows Server 2012 R2) also. The only thing you need to download and install “separately” is Microsoft Unified Communications Managed API 4.0, Core Runtime 64-bit. There’s no need for Microsoft Knowledge Base article KB3206632 if you have a recent/patched version of Windows Server 2016. After that just copy/paste the PowerShell command from the prerequisites page:

Install-WindowsFeature 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, RSAT-ADDS

Then run setup.exe and install Exchange. Use the default options. After completion, follow Step 6: Demonstrate EX1 as an email server in the Exchange TLG. I did NOT try to send an email message from Chris to Janet at this stage though, as I wanted to try this after the Load Balancer was installed. But for now, happy days, Exchange installed!

 

Script for configuring the virtual directories

Usually when installing an Exchange server you change the virtual directories/namespace to something other than the server hostname (default). This namespace is the same name that should be included in the certificate. (I didn’t like the fact that this TLG use self-signed certificates so I added my own subchapter about getting a certificate from a domain CA, see next chapter). In a production environment you should plan the namespace and certificate prior to installation, but in this TLG it doesn’t matter that much. I decided to go with the namespace “exchange.corp.contoso.com”. (Autodiscover (DNS url) should also be included in the certificate (request), which it is by default). Anyhow, I first added the mentioned A records (exchange and autodiscover) to DNS. I pointed them to 10.0.0.11 at this stage (but that will change after the Load Balancer installation). I then changed the virtual directories according to the above plan. For this I used a nice script found from:

https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/office/Set-all-virtual-directories-f4ec71d3

This script is very nice. The only thing that got me worried was the fact that it tried to change the PowerShell virtual directory. Afaik you shouldn’t change that. Anyway, no big deal, I just answered “no” (seen in screenshot) when the script asked me to change this. Here are a couple of screenshots from the script in action:

tlg2016_set_allvdirs_script1

Fig 2. set-allvdirs.ps1 script

tlg2016_set_allvdirs_script2

Fig 3. set-allvdirs.ps1 script, continued

 

Certificate from domain CA

After all the virtual directories were set, it was time to get a new certificate which reflect the above changes. I headed over to trusty practical 365 to refresh my memory. This time I used EAC when requesting a new certificate. I changed the domains to reflect my newly configured environment. I added exchange.corp.contoso.com and autodiscover.corp.contoso.com and removed all the other hostnames. The other options were pretty basic so nothing special there. I then saved the certificate request and copied it over to my domain CA. However, when I tried to process the certificate request on the CA I was greeted with an error message:

tlg2016_cert_req_error_from_ca

Fig 4. Certificate Request Processor error

A bit of investigation led me to the following url: http://mytechweblog.blogspot.fi/2012/11/the-request-contains-no-certificate.html, which had a solution:

“certreq -submit -attrib “CertificateTemplate: WebServer” WebServerCertReq.txt”

tlg2016_cert_req_manual_submit

Fig 5. Certification request with manual submit.

This solution worked for me, nice! I then saved the .crt file and imported it into Exchange from the same place in EAC where I made the request. However, shortly after this I noticed that EAC and OWA still gave certificate errors. This was strange, but then again nothing new. I had a look in IIS/Bindings, and surely the wrong certificate had been assigned. I corrected this so the newly requested certificate was in use:

tlg2016_cert_assignment_from_IIS_on_ex1

Fig 6. Exchange certificate from domain CA.

 

Zevenet Load Balancer

It was now time to install the Zevenet Load Balancer. The reason for installing the Load Balancer at this stage had to do with the fact that I had now preconfigured all the Exchange virtual directories + autodiscover in DNS. This also meant that it’ll be very easy to point DNS at the Load Balancer instead of the Exchange server/CAS further down the road.

I headed over to https://www.zevenet.com/products/community/ and downloaded the newest version. I installed it following my own old blog post. The main difference this time was that I didn’t bother to use clustered servers. (I already know that it works and we’re using clustered LB’s in production). After installation I did the initial configuration:

tlg2016_zen_new_virtual_network_interface

Fig 7. New virtual network interface. The new VIP was set to 10.0.0.61 (the server IP is 10.0.0.60).

 

I then created a new farm, which listens on port 443 on the newly created virtual network interface IP (VIP):

tlg2016_zen_new_farm

Fig 8. New Farm

 

After this I edited the farm and configured the “real IP”:

tlg2016_zen_edit_real_ip_servers_configuration

Fig 9. Real IP’s. In my case, 10.0.0.11 is the “real” IP for EX1.

 

I then converted the Exchange certificate (in a Linux VM) for use within Zevenet LB:

openssl pkcs12 -in file.pfx -out file.pem -nodes

Source: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/15413646/converting-pfx-to-pem-using-openssl

 

It was then time to import it into Zevenet LB:

tlg2016_zen_manage_certificates

Fig 10. Certificate imported

 

After this I made changes in DNS so that all traffic would go through the Load Balancer:

tlg2016_zen_dns_edited

Fig 11. Editing DNS.

 

Now it was finally time to check that Outlook was working correctly from client1 (or 2):

tlg2016_outlook_connection_status_through_zen

Fig 12. Outlook Connection Status

Well yes, it was. Perfect! 🙂

That quite much summarizes the Load Balancer part. Now moving over to the installation of the second Exchange server, EX2.

 

 

Exchange 2016 – second server, EX2

Now that everything was working as it should with EX1, it was time to add another exchange server to the environment. There were no special notes about this installation, I just followed the same guide as with the first one. One thing that was different however, was the script. I now used a script that could automatically copy the virtual directories from an existing Exchange server during deployment. The script can be found at:

http://www.expta.com/2016/07/new-set-autodiscoverscp-v2-script-is-on.html

I’ll copy/paste some information:

The script is designed to be run during installation. Normally, you would run this script from an existing Exchange server of the same version while the new server is being installed.

That sounded almost too good to be true and I had to try it. That said, I had a test-run from EX1 while EX2 was installing:

tlg2016_set_autodiscover_scp_script1

Fig 13. Set-Autodiscover.ps1 script. Looks promising…

…but it wasn’t:

tlg2016_set_autodiscover_scp_script2

Fig 14. Can’t set the virtual directories.

I had the script running during the whole installation of EX2, but no luck. I suspected that it would be better running the script immediately after the installation instead. That said, I had a go just after the finished installation of EX2:

tlg2016_set_autodiscover_scp_script3

Fig 15. Running the script immediately after the EX2 installation.

Yes, much better this time. All the virt dirs were set within a couple of seconds, and I’d say this “lag” would be fine for a production environment as well. I would also like to “thank” the script for reminding me to install a certificate on this second server. That said, I opened up EAC and chose the new EX2 server from the pull-down menu under certificates. I then chose “import” and used the same certificate I made for EX1. It got imported nicely:

tlg2016_imported_cert_ex2

Fig 16. Imported domain certificate

 

Be sure to enable all needed services on the newly imported certificate also:

tlg2016_setting_services_on_imported_certificate_ex2

Fig 17. Overwriting existing SMTP certificate. At the same time I also chose to enable the IIS, POP and IMAP services.

 

Checking certificates from EMS:

tlg2016_checking_certs_from_ems

Fig 18. Checking active certificates. Looks good!

 

…and while you’re at it, check that OWA won’t give you certificate errors:

tlg2016_checking_that_cert_ís_ok_from_owa

Fig 19. OWA

It doesn’t. All good! (The new certificate wasn’t yet active In Fig 16, therefore the status url bar is red).

Only thing left to do now was to add this second IP (10.0.0.12) to “real servers” in Zevenet Load Balancer. After this change, the “dual exchange server setup” was ready for use.

 

DAG

With both EX1 and EX2 up ‘n running, it was time to configure a Database Availability Group (DAG) between the servers. I’ve done this many times before, and I’ve always used the same guide whether it’s for Exchange 2013 or Exchange 2016. The guide I’ve used is:

https://practical365.com/exchange-server/installing-an-exchange-server-2013-database-availability-group/

It’s very straight forward without any extra bs. Some notes:

  • I’m using the “SP1 (APP1)” server as the witness server.
  • I pre-staged a computer account in AD named “EXDAG”
  • I did not configure a dedicated replication network. (Overkill for a test lab).
  • I did not move the Default Mailbox Databases from the default folder path onto storage volumes dedicated to databases and transaction log files. (Again, a little overkill for a test lab).

tlg2016_manage_db_availability_group_membership

Fig 20. Manage Database Availability Membership

 

After this step was done I configured database copies following yet another good (and familiar) follow-up guide from the same series:

https://practical365.com/exchange-server/exchange-2013-dag-database-copies/

I’ve got no additional comments about the database copies, they work just as intended/written in the guide 🙂 Below you’ll find some related screenshots:

tlg2016_add_mailbox_db_copy

Fig 21. Add Mailbox Database Copy

 

tlg2016_databases_overview_after_db_copy_and_dag

Fig 22. Database overview with database copies.

 

Moving users

I moved the user “Janet” from the original database on EX1 over to the database on EX2. This way I “spread out” my (two 🙂 ) users so their mailboxes are situated on different servers. This is good for failover testing and so forth.

tlg2016_move_user_janet_to_ex2

Fig 23. Moving Janet to another database (server).

 

tlg2016_move_user_janet_to_ex2_2

Fig 24. Moving Janet to another database (server), continued.

 

The above steps now completes the whole Exchange-part of the TLG.

 

 

Skype for Business Server 2015, LYNC1

It was now time to move over to the Lync-part of the TLG. The first change was actually the software itself – I’m installing Skype for Business Server 2015 instead of Lync Server 2013. As with other software in this lab, the prerequisites are way different for SfB Server compared to Lync Server. I used a combination of

https://blogs.perficient.com/microsoft/2017/08/skype-for-business-how-to-install-on-windows-server-2016/ and
http://www.garethjones294.com/install-skype-for-business-server-2015-on-windows-server-2016-step-by-step/

as a base for my deployment. Some additional notes:

  • Note to self: Use at least 3GB ram for the VM.
  • (Newest) Cumulative Update has to be installed, otherwise SfB Server won’t work at all on Windows Server 2016.
  • As I installed SfB Server in an isolated network (no internet access), I also had to define the source (which is the Windows Server 2016 DVD) in the PowerShell prerequisite command:

          tlg2016_sfb_install_prereq_from_powershell

          Fig 25. Prerequisites installation for SfB Server 2015 on Windows Server 2016.

 

I then continued following the TLG guide again, and moved over to the chapter “To prepare Active Directory”. Some notes:

  • Installed newest version of offline-Silverlight manually.
  • Chose not to check for updates.
  • Added the DNS SRV records, but they didn’t work when I tested them (probably outdated info in the TLG). This was no big deal, as lyncdiscoverinternal can be used instead for example. You could also Google for updated information, but I didn’t feel it was necessary for this TLG.
  • Everything went fine until “21. From the Topology Builder Action menu, select Publish Topology.” I was greeted with:

          tlg2016_sfb_publishing_topology

          Fig 26. Publishing Topology error.

          tlg2016_sfb_publishing_topology_error

          Fig 27. Publishing Topology error, continued

Well, after some investigation (googling), it turned out this just had to do with UAC: http://terenceluk.blogspot.fi/2013/03/publishing-new-lync-server-2013.html. Surely, after running the deployment wizard again as an administrator (run as), it worked!

 

I now moved over to the “To install Lync Server 2013 core components” -part of the TLG. Notes:

  • I was only running step 1 and 2 at this stage.
  • The IIS URL Rewrite Module problem was well known, I’ve even blogged about it.
  • After step 2 was done, it was time to install the newest CU for SfB, otherwise SfB Server won’t run at all on Windows Server 2016.
    • Remember to run the SfB Management Shell as an Administrator.
    • Everything went smoothly with the CU installation!
  • I moved over to Step 3 – Deployment Wizard/SfB Server 2015 Core Components.
    • Everything went fine!
  • Step 4 was different for SfB compared to Lync. You can’t start services from the Deployment Wizard in SfB Server 2015.
    • Instead, you start them from the SfB Management Shell with the command “Start-CsWindowsService
    • The command didn’t run as planned though:

                tlg2016_sfb_start-cswindowsservices_error

                 Fig 28. SfB Server 2015 Deployment Log.

    • I tried to manually start the “Skype for Business Front-end” service from “Services” in Windows.
      • Did not work either, got stuck in “starting…”
      • Tried old school method and rebooted the server.
        • Worked, all services were now up ‘n running after reboot 🙂
  • I moved over to the “To enable users in the Lync Server Control Panel”-part of the TLG and enabled the users.
  • Yep, all done, working! 🙂

 

 

SharePoint 2016, SP1

SharePoint was the last (and the “easiest”) software candidate on the list. Yet again the prerequisites were different compared to the 2013 version of the TLG. My notes:

  • SP1 is the server name, not Service Pack 1 🙂
  • I tried various offline methods for the prerequisite installation. What a headache. Spare yourself the pain and DO NOT try to install the prerequisites without an active internet connection. I repeat, DO NOT try it.
  • I then installed the prerequisites with “Install software prerequisites” from default.hta. Everything went smoothly.
  • I continued following the TLG and the “To prepare DC1 and SQL1 –part. Nothing to add or comment here.
  • I continued following the TLG and the “To install SharePoint Server 2013” –part. Nothing to add or comment here.
  • Happy days, SP1 installed!

 

 

Configure integration between EX1, LYNC1, and SP1

As a last step in this TLG, I configured server integration between the servers. I would advise you to stay away from the TLG script and use newer information instead. The script has failed me before, and surely it failed this time also when I tried it. In other words, skip the script.

As a first step though, check the SP1/APP1 certificate. The TLG tells you to add a https site binding and select the certificate with the name sp1.corp.contoso.com. This won’t work, at least not for me (never has). Instead, when creating the new https binding, choose the certificate that has been issued to the SP1/APP1 server (never mind the confusing “friendly” name):

tlg2016_sp_checking_cert

Fig 29. Checking SSL certificate in SharePoint/IIS

I got a warning about the certificate already being used for the Default Web Site, but this can be ignored (at least in this TLG).

 

Now we’re ready to move over to some “fresh” information about integration. For starters, have a look at:

Exchange <-> SfB: http://lyncdude.com/2015/10/06/the-complete-skype-for-business-exchange-2016-integration-guide-part-i/index.html
Exchange –> SharePoint and SfB: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj649094(v=exchg.160).aspx
SfB –> SharePoint: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj204975.aspx
SharePoint –> Exchange: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj655399.aspx
SharePoint –> SfB: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj670179.aspx

All links are compatible with the 2016 versions also. Here are the results from my own environment:

 

Skype for Business:

tlg2016_oauth_sfb_check_current_cert

Fig 30. Checking current OAuth certificate and OAuth configuration.

tlg2016_oauth_sfb_setting_cs_auth_configuration

Fig 31. Setting OAuth configuration and checking the configuration.

 

tlg2016_oauth_sfb_to_ex

Fig 32. SfB –> Exchange integration

tlg2016_oauth_sfb_to_sp

Fig 33. SfB –> SharePoint integration

 

tlg2016_oauth_sfb_to_ex_and_sp_check

Fig 34. Checking partner applications. Both Exchange and SharePoint are integration partners.

 

Exchange:

tlg2016_oauth_ex_to_sfb

Fig 35. Exchange –> SfB integration

tlg2016_oauth_ex_to_sp

Fig 36. Exchange –> SharePoint integration

 

tlg2016_oauth_ex_to_sfb_and_sp_checking

Fig 37. Checking partner applications. Both SfB (Lync) and SharePoint are integration partners.

 

SharePoint:

tlg2016_oauth_sp_to_ex

Fig 38. SharePoint –> Exchange integration

tlg2016_oauth_sp_to_sfb

Fig 39. SharePoint –> SfB integration

 

tlg2016_oauth_sp_to_ex_and_sfb_checking

Fig 40. Checking partner applications. Both Exchange and SfB are integration partners.

 

The integration chapter above now finalizes this whole TLG. It was a fun project and I hope someone will find this information useful.

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Exchange 2007 to 2013 migration

This time around I’ll write about all the steps I used for a successful Exchange 2007 to 2013 migration in a small size company (about 40 users). I’m not quite sure (yet) if we will do the upgrade to 2016 directly afterwards, however I’ll make a new 2013 to 2016 migration blog post if we decide to do so. At this point I can also state that it is impossible/not supported to do a migration from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2016 directly, at least without 3rd party software. You can have a look at the “migration chart” at https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms.exch.setupreadiness.e16e12coexistenceminversionrequirement%28v=exchg.160%29.aspx for example. If you want to pay extra money and go directly from 2007 to 2016 it should be possible with CodeTwo Exchange Migration, http://www.codetwo.com/blog/migrate-legacy-2003-or-2007-exchange-to-exchange-2016/ for example.

Anyways, onto the migration stuff itself. As always you should start with the homework. This time I don’t have that many sources for you – instead some quality ones which gets the job done properly. Start off by reading:

The second link is awesome! Read it slowly and carefully. You’ll be a lot smarter in the end. Lots of stuff to think of, but very nicely written.

I didn’t follow the guide exactly to the word (as usual), but I couldn’t have done the job without it. Some changes for our environment:

  • We do not use TMG. All TMG steps were bypassed and were replaced by similar steps according to our own firewall policies.
  • We have a Linux postfix server that handles all incoming email. It also handles antivirus and spam checking of emails. After these checks are done, it forwards email to the Exchange server.
  • Storage configuration / Hard drive partitions / Databases weren’t created the same way as in the guide.
  • Certificates were renewed by our “certificate guy”. No need for complicated requests etc.
  • No stress tests and/or analyses were done. No need.
  • Configured recipient filtering (there’s a chapter about it).
  • A script which deletes old IIS and Exchange logs was introduced (there’s a part written about this also).

 

My own steps for the migration process:

On the old server:

  • Patched Exchange Server 2007. Also installed the latest Update Rollup (21). You should have a fully patched (old)server before installing/introducing a new Exchange Server in the domain.

          exchange2007_Update_rollup21

  • Took screenshots of all current configurations (just in case). Most of the settings will migrate however. Stuff to backup are nicely documented in the above homework-link.
    • Namespace
    • Receive connectors
    • Send connectors
    • Quotas
    • Outlook Anywhere, OWA, OAB, EWS, ActiveSync settings
    • Accepted domains
    • Etc.. etc. that would be of use
  • Got a new certificate which included the new host legacy.domain.com
  • Installed the new certificate (on Exchange 2007 at first):

          exchange2007_install_new_cert

 

On the new server:

  • Installed a new server, Windows Server 2012 R2.

                   exchange2013_rsat-adds-installation

      • Moving on to the other prerequisites:

                   exchange2013_prerequisites

 

Moving on to the actual Exchange installation

  • Had a look at my partition table, just to check that everything looked OK. (it did):

          exchange2013_partitions

  • The partition layout should be quite self-explanatory so I won’t comment on that. I will however tell setup to use the existing partitions. I actually resized the partitions a bit after this screenshot…
  • Once again following information from the excellent guide, I used the latest CU as installation source (NOT the installation DVD/ISO).

               exchange2013_prepare_schema

               exchange2013_prepare_AD_and_domain

 

  • Actual installation (note paths for DB and Logs):

          exchange2013_installation_from_powershell

  • Done. Moving over to post-installation steps

 

Post-installation steps

  • Checking and changing the SCP. This should be done asap after the installation.

          exchange_checking_scp

          Checking SCP.

          exchange_changing_scp

          Changing SCP.

  • Everything looks good!
  • Next, we’ll install the new certificate on the Exchange 2013 server:

          exchange2013_install_new_cert

           A simple “import” will do the job.

  • Also have a look at the certificate in IIS (and change to the new one if necessary):

          exchange2013_install_new_cert_in_IIS

           exchange2013_outlook_anywhere

Following the guide you should change the authentication to NTLM:

“As Outlook Anywhere is the protocol Outlook clients will use to communicate with Exchange Server 2013, replacing MAPI/RPC within the LAN, it’s important that these settings are correct – even if you are not publishing Outlook Anywhere externally. During co-existence it’s also important to ensure that the default Authentication Method, Negotiate, is updated to NTLM to ensure client compatibility when Exchange 2013 proxies Outlook Anywhere connections to the Exchange 2007 server”.

  • Moving over to the send and receive connectors.
    • The send connector automatically “migrated” from the old server.
    • The receive connector did NOT migrate from the old server. This is because Exchange 2013 use different roles for transportation compared to 2007. 2007 included only Hub Transport, but Exchange 2013 use both Hub Transport and Frontend Transport. For those of you interested in this change, read http://exchangeserverpro.com/exchange-2013-mail-flow/ and http://exchangeserverpro.com/exchange-2013-configure-smtp-relay-connector/ for example.
    • The CAS receives mail on port 25 and forwards it to the “backend” mailboxes that listens on port 2525.
    • I left the “Default Frontend servername” with its default settings:

               exchange2013_default_frontend_recieve_connector

    • …and configured a new SMTP relay-connector which has “our settings”. This connector has to be “Frontend Transport”. You cannot create a new connector as Hub Transport. You’ll be greeted by an error message if you try:

              exchange2013_recieve_connector_error

Information about this can be found at:

http://markgossa.blogspot.fi/2016/01/bindings-and-remoteipranges-parameters-conflict-exchange-2013-2016.html
http://exchangeserverpro.com/exchange-server-2013-upgrade-fails-due-to-receive-connector-conflicts/

If you want to create a new receive connector that listen on port 25, you can do this but you have to create it using the Frontend Transport role if you have either an Exchange 2016 server or an Exchange 2013 server with both the CAS and MBX roles installed on the same server”.

All our University email (and this specific company’s email) is received via a Linux postfix server. This server handles all spam filtering and antivirus. After these checks are done, the mail is delivered/forwarded to Exchange.

exchange2013_aasmtp_relay_security

exchange2013_aasmtp_relay_scoping

 

After these steps were done, I continued with:

  • Configuring mailbox quotas to match those on the old server.
  • Configuring the Offline Address Book to be stored on the new server.
  • Checking the log locations – should the transport logs be moved to another location or left at the default location? I changed them so they will go to the log-partition. In the end, this is just a small percentage of all logs generated. All other non-transport logs gets filled under C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\Logging. I’m using a PowerShell script to delete all logs older than 30 days, and the same goes for the IIS logs in C:\inetpub\logs. The script looks like this, and is run via Task Scheduler daily:

$DateToDelete = 30
$StartFolder = “C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\Logging”
$Year = (Get-Date).Year
$Day = Get-Date
Get-ChildItem $StartFolder -Recurse -Force -ea 0 | where{!$_.PsIsContainer -and $_.LastWriteTime -lt (Get-Date).AddDays(-$DateToDelete)} | ForEach{Add-Content -Path “Delete Log $Year.log” -Value ” $_.FullName”; Remove-Item -Path $_.FullName }
$DateToDelete = 30
$StartFolder = “e:\Logs”
$Year = (Get-Date).Year
$Day = Get-Date
Get-ChildItem $StartFolder -Recurse -Force -ea 0 | where{!$_.PsIsContainer -and $_.LastWriteTime -lt (Get-Date).AddDays(-$DateToDelete)} | ForEach{Add-Content -Path “Delete Log $Year.log” -Value ” $_.FullName”; Remove-Item -Path $_.FullName }
$DateToDelete = 30
$StartFolder = “c:\inetpub\logs”
$Year = (Get-Date).Year
$Day = Get-Date
Get-ChildItem $StartFolder -Recurse -Force -ea 0 | where{!$_.PsIsContainer -and $_.LastWriteTime -lt (Get-Date).AddDays(-$DateToDelete)} | ForEach{Add-Content -Path “Delete Log $Year.log” -Value ” $_.FullName”; Remove-Item -Path $_.FullName }
exit

And the command to run from task scheduler:

  • PowerShell.exe -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Command “& ‘D:\pathtoyour\scripts\clearlogging.ps1′”
    • Runs daily at 03:00

As you’ve probably noticed from my Exchange installation screenshots, I already pointed the Transaction logs to a different partition in the installation phase (E:\Databases\DB1). These logs don’t need manual deletion however, they get deleted via the backup solution automatically (Veeam). The key here is that the backup software has to be Exchange aware. The other logs at e:\ are the Transport logs (E:\Logs), which are only a tiny part of the whole logging structure (C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\Logging) in Exchange. You could leave the Transport logs in their default location though, as the above script will go through that directory also…

 

Recipient filtering / Stopping backscatter

As a nice bonus, Exchange 2013 can now handle recipient filtering (filter out non-existent users) properly. For more information about recipient filtering read:

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb125187%28v=exchg.160%29.aspx
http://exchange.sembee.info/2013/mbx/filter-unknown.asp
https://www.roaringpenguin.com/recipient-verification-exchange-2013

The filtering CAN be done without an Exchange Edge server even though Internet will tell you otherwise. We enabled it on our postfix server following tips found on https://www.roaringpenguin.com/recipient-verification-exchange-2013. Installation on the Exchange-side on the other hand looked like this:

exchange2013_recipient_filtering1
exchange2013_recipient_filtering2

exchange2013_recipient_filtering3

I also enabled Anonymous users on the “Default receive connector”:

exchange2013_default_recieve_connector

Happy days! We can now filter out non-existent users on Exchange rather than manually on the postfix server.

I also checked that recipient filtering was active and working:

exchange2013_recipient_filtering_test_telnet

Yes, it was 🙂

With all this done I now moved forward with the configuration. Again, following http://www.msexchange.org/articles-tutorials/exchange-server-2013/migration-deployment/planning-and-migrating-small-organization-exchange-2007-2013-part13.html

 

Getting ready for coexistence

I’ll start off by copy/pasting some text.

“With our database settings in place and ready to go, we can start thinking about co-existence – before we do though, it’s time to make sure things work within Exchange 2013! So far we’ve got our new server up and running, but we’ve still not logged in and checked everything works as expected”. Source: http://www.msexchange.org/articles-tutorials/exchange-server-2013/migration-deployment/planning-and-migrating-small-organization-exchange-2007-2013-part13.html

With this information in mind, I started testing according to the above link. The chapter of interest was “Testing base functionality”. All tests passed. Very nice 🙂

With all tests done, and all users aware of the migration, I did the following after work hours:

    • Asked the “DNS guy” to make a CNAME record for legacy.domain.com pointing to the old server.
    • Changed all virtual directories on the old server to use the name “legacy”.
      • Things to remember:
        • No external url for Microsoft-Server-ActiveSync.
        • Autodiscover Internal URL / SCP record on both Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2013 server should point to the new server.
    • DNS records are changed to point to the new server.
      • autodiscover and the namespace –record
    • Had a look at the send connector. Everything seemed OK. (Settings were migrated from the old server). However, minor change:
      • Removed the old server from the “source servers” and added the new server. New mail should be sent from the new server (and not from the old one anymore):

               exchange2013_send_connector

    • postfix was also configured to route mail to the new server instead of the old one.
    • Done. Next in line is moving/migrating mailboxes to the new server. Yay.

 

Migrating mailboxes

I started out by following the guide at http://www.msexchange.org/articles-tutorials/exchange-server-2013/migration-deployment/planning-and-migrating-small-organization-exchange-2007-2013-part15.html , more specifically the part about “Pre-Migration Test Migrations”. I moved a couple of test users and after that I sent and received mail to/from these users via Outlook and OWA. No errors were noticed, so I moved over to the real deal and started moving “real” mailboxes. Again, nothing special, I continued following the information at http://www.msexchange.org/articles-tutorials/exchange-server-2013/migration-deployment/planning-and-migrating-small-organization-exchange-2007-2013-part16.html. I did a batch of 10 users at first (users A to E) and all of them were successfully migrated:

exchange2013_migrate_users_a_to_e

(The remaining mailboxes were also successfully migrated).

 

Upgrading Exchange AD Objects

Now it was time to upgrade the AD Objects following information from http://www.msexchange.org/articles-tutorials/exchange-server-2013/migration-deployment/planning-and-migrating-small-organization-exchange-2007-2013-part16.html.

exchange2013_ad_object_upgrade1

exchange2013_ad_object_upgrade2

The first two objects didn’t need an upgrade, they were apparently already automatically upgraded during the migration process. The distribution group in the screenshot that needed an upgrade is a mailing list/distribution group.

 

Public Folders

The old environment didn’t use public folders so luckily there were no need to migrate these. I did run into some problems with Public Folders however. More information in the chapter below.

 

Problems

  • Everything seemed fine, BUT after a couple of days one user didn’t see any new mail in a delegated mailbox she had. She also got the dreaded password prompt every time she started Outlook.
    • Later I heard that also other users were prompted for password
  • This got me thinking about authentication methods. I’ve seen this before. A couple hours of googling still had my thoughts in the same direction, authentication methods.
  • I still wonder why all of this happened though, knowing that ALL mailboxes were now hosted on the new Exchange 2013 server. Why on earth would someone’s Outlook even check for things on the old server? Maybe some old Public Folder references etc. perhaps? Don’t know, the only thing I do know is that it had to be fixed.

Some links about the same dilemma (almost, at least):

http://ilantz.com/2013/06/29/exchange-2013-outlook-anywhere-considerations/
https://gonjer.com/2016/07/02/outlook-prompts-for-credentials-with-exchange-2010-and-20132016-coexistence/
http://blogs.microsoft.co.il/yuval14/2014/08/09/the-ultimate-guide-exchange-2013-and-outlook-password-prompt-mystery/ (L. Authentication Issue)
http://silbers.net/blog/2014/01/22/exchange-20072013-coexistence-urls/

The thing is, I had authentication set to “NTLM” on the new Exchange 2013 server during the coexistence, following the very same guide as with almost everything else in this post. The NTLM setting should be “enough” afaik. One thing that wasn’t mentioned in the guide however, was how the old server was/should be configured. I’m quite sure there are many best practices for Exchange 2007 also, but I myself hadn’t installed that server in the past. Well, hours later, comparing different authentication methods, I finally think I got it right. Here’s the before and after:

exchange2013_get-outlookanywhere_auth_methods

Before: old server IISAuthenticationMethods were only Basic.

exchange2013_set-outlookanywhere_iis_auth_methods

Solution: Adding NTLM to IISAuthenticationMethods (on the legacy server)

exchange2013_get-outlookanywhere_auth_methods_after_change

After: NTLM added

I also removed the “Allow SSL offloading” from the new server for consistency. Not that I know if it helped fixing the problem or not.

exchange2013_remove_ssl_offloading

You get kinda tired from all testing and googling, but hey, at least its working as it should and users aren’t complaining anymore! 🙂

 

  • Shared mailbox dilemma. When you send a message from the shared mailbox, the sent message goes into your own Sent Items folder instead of the shared mailbox sent items.

If the shared mailbox is on Exchange 2010 and only has the Exchange 2010 sent items behavior configured, the settings are not converted to the equivalent Exchange 2013 settings during migration. You will need to manually apply the Exchange 2013 sent items configuration. It is probably best to do that before moving the mailbox. The Exchange 2010 settings are retained though”. Source: http://exchangeserverpro.com/managing-shared-mailbox-sent-items-behaviour-in-exchange-server-2013-and-office-365/

    • Well, no wonder my settings didn’t stick when migrating from 2007 to 2013. I configured the correct settings again:
      • Get-Mailbox mysharedmailbox | Set-Mailbox -MessageCopyForSentAsEnabled $true -MessageCopyForSendOnBehalfEnabled $true

 

Decommission Exchange 2007

Still following the guide, it was now time to decommission the old Exchange 2007 server. First off I left the server turned OFF for a week. No problems were encountered, so I decided to move on with the real decommissioning work.

  • Didn’t need to touch any TMG rules (obviously, since we don’t use TMG)
  • Removed unused Offline Address Books (OAB)
  • Removed old Databases
    • Mailbox Database removal was OK.
    • Public Folders were a whole different story. What a headache. I followed almost every guide/instruction out there. Did NOT WORK. I got the “nice” message: “The public folder database “ExchangeServer\Storage Group\Public Folder Database” contains folder replicas. Before deleting the public folder database, remove the folders or move the replica to another public folder database”. God dammit. We’ve never ever been using Public Folders. Well, luckily I found some useful “fixes” after a while. Some “fixes” that MS won’t mention. Solutions:
    • Removed CN=Configuration,CN=Services, CN=Microsoft Exchange, CN={organisation name i.e First Organisation}, CN=Administrative Groups, CN={Administrative Group name}, CN=Servers, CN={servername}, CN=Information Store, CN={Storage Group Name}, CN={Public Folder Database Name} with ADSIEdit (after I had backed up the key with help from http://www.mysysadmintips.com/windows/active-directory/266-export-active-directory-objects-with-ldifde-before-performing-changes-with-adsi-edit for example).
    • Ran the Get-MailboxDatabase | fl name,pub* –command again, but to my surprise the damn Public Folder Database wasn’t gone. Instead it was in the AD “Deleted Objects”. FFS, it CAN’T be this hard removing the PF Database (reference).
    • Trying to get rid of the deleted object with ldp didn’t work either: “The specified object does not exist”. I was getting even more frustrated.
    • Well, at least now according to EMC I have no active Mailbox Databases. That’s good news, so I can now remove the Storage Groups even though this annoying PF DB reference still exist in AD. I can live with it for now, and hopefully when the Tombstone Lifetime expires, so will this PF DB reference. (That wasn’t the case however, continue reading)
  • Removed Storage Groups, FINALLY:

           exchange2007_storage_group_removal_success

                     exchange2013_arbitration_and_system_mailbox_check

      • System mailboxes are already on the new server. Good.
  • Uninstalled Exchange 2007 from control panel.
    • At least I tried. Of course there were problems. Again.

            exchange2007_uninstall_failiure

Got some tips from https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/exchange/en-US/6469264a-dc33-4b07-8a7c-e681a0f9248f/exchange-setup-error-there-was-a-problem-accessing-the-registry-on-this-computer?forum=exchangesvradminlegacy. Solution was simply to start the Remote Registry service. It now uninstalled nicely.

          exchange2013_get-mailboxdatabase-with-pf

  • Removed legacy DNS entries
  • Firewall guy was informed that the server was decommissioned and all its firewall rules could be removed.
  • Turned off the server and archived it.
  • Happy days. No more Exchange 2007.

 

Security hardening

I always aim to keep my servers secure. This one was no exception, so I was aiming for at least a grade A on the Qualys SSL Labs test, https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/. I followed the guide from https://scotthelme.co.uk/getting-an-a-on-the-qualys-ssl-test-windows-edition/ and voilà, grade A was achieved  🙂 I left the HTTP Strict Transport Security policy alone for now however, it will need some more testing.

exchange2013_qualys_ssl_labs_test_grade_A

Installing SharePoint 2013 in a two-tier topology

I got the task of installing SharePoint 2013 for a small business. The SharePoint site won’t be used by that many people simultaneously, so the server load will remain quite small. With that in mind I had to figure out a suitable topology. There are many, many sources on the web describing this, so getting information wasn’t a problem. In the end, I decided to go with a two-tier topology. A single-tier would have been sufficient, but It’s nice to have a separate SQL-server which can be used by other applications/servers as well.

“In a two-tier deployment, SharePoint 2013 components and the database are installed on separate servers. This kind of deployment maps to what is called a small farm. The front-end Web servers are on the first tier and the database server is located on the second tier. In the computer industry, the first tier is known as the Web tier. The database server is known as the database tier or database back-end”.

Source: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee667264.aspx

Another useful link:

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc263199.aspx (you’ll find a nice document/pdf describing Streamlined Topologies for SharePoint 2013). The document states that a two-tier farm is sufficient for up to 10.000 users. More than enough in my case.

My installation is actually based on https://captainofsharepoint.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/the-art-of-installing-sharepoint-2013-in-a-3-tier-topology-part-one/, even though I would call this a two-tier topology and not three. The SQL-guide from this post is not used, as it suggest installing every component (which is unnecessary). Shortly said there are only two servers included in my setup, namely:

  • SharePoint 2013 (more about features and roles later in the document)
  • SQL Server 2014 Standard

I won’t go into the hardware details of the servers themselves because it varies so much from deployment to deployment. It’s easy to scale out with more memory or better/faster SAN-disks if you have the need for it in the near future. It’s also a good idea to read the following information before installing: http://sharepointpromag.com/sharepoint-2010/top-10-sharepoint-2010-configuration-mistakes-and-how-fix-them

 

AD Accounts for SharePoint and SQL

My first task was to create the needed service accounts in Active Directory. There’s a very good site describing the needed accounts at http://www.toddklindt.com/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=391. I only used

  • sp_install (SharePoint installation)
  • sp_farm (SharePoint Farm Account)
  • ​sql_install (SQL server installation account)
  • ​sql_user (SQL user account)

from the list. Later I created an account named sp_srv for running miscellaneous services. This is more than plenty for such a small deployment. You can read more about service accounts here:

SharePoint 2013 Service Accounts Best Practices Explained:
http://absolute-sharepoint.com/2013/01/sharepoint-2013-service-accounts-best-practices-explained.html (I’m using medium security option)

Initial deployment administrative and service accounts in SharePoint 2013:
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee662513.aspx

SharePoint 2013: Service Accounts:
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/14500.sharepoint-2013-service-accounts.aspx

 

SQL Server 2014

Next on the checklist was the installation of SQL Server 2014. SQL is a requirement for SharePoint so it should be installed before you install SharePoint itself. I decided to go with http://sharepointpromag.com/sql-server-2012/sql-server-2012-sharepoint-2013-database-server-setup as a base for my installation. Before installing, I also suggest reading the following (you can never be too prepared):

A simple install of SQL Server 2012 for SharePoint Server 2013 or 2010:
http://blogs.msmvps.com/shane/2012/09/17/a-simple-install-of-sql-server-2012-for-sharepoint-server-2013-or-2010/

Instruction Guide for Installing SQL Server 2012 SP1 for SharePoint 2013:
http://www.sharepointdoug.com/2013/02/instruction-guide-for-installing-sql.html

Install SharePoint 2013 – Part 4 SQL Server:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVBmzG0p76M

Service Account Suggestions for SharePoint 2013:
http://www.toddklindt.com/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=391

“The SQL Guy” Post #15: Best Practices For Using SQL Server Service Accounts:
http://blogs.technet.com/b/canitpro/archive/2012/02/08/the-sql-guy-post-15-best-practices-for-using-sql-server-service-accounts.aspx

 

Security

After doing some homework (reading articles) I came up with the idea of using SQL with a Named Instance (with SQL-aliases for SharePoint) instead of the Default Instance. I also thought of blocking the default SQL port and using a new static one (configured by SQL aliases). All of this to get better security. I buried this idea however, and instead running with the Default Instance following this guide: http://blogs.technet.com/b/rycampbe/archive/2013/10/14/securing-sharepoint-harden-sql-server-in-sharepoint-environments.aspx. (The server itself is already quite well firewalled by a hardware firewall). Some more information regarding the same matter:

Best practices for SQL Server in a SharePoint Server farm:
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh292622.aspx

Blocking the standard SQL Server ports:
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262849.aspx#PortProtocolService

Configure SQL Server security for SharePoint 2013 environments:
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff607733.aspx

If one ever decide to use SQL aliases, it’s advisable to read the following document: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sowmyancs/archive/2012/08/06/install-amp-configure-sharepoint-2013-with-sql-client-alias.aspx

I secured the SQL server using “server isolation” instead.

“Server Isolation can be done several different ways, but the end result is the same: configuring the server to only respond to authorized machines.”

Source: http://blogs.technet.com/b/rycampbe/archive/2013/10/14/securing-sharepoint-harden-sql-server-in-sharepoint-environments.aspx

In my environment, I’m only allowing traffic from the soon-to-be installed SharePoint server (using the above method).

 

Installation

With the security taken care of, it’s finally time for installation! Following the guide I mentioned earlier (http://sharepointpromag.com/sql-server-2012/sql-server-2012-sharepoint-2013-database-server-setup), I went through the steps. I got a firewall warning in the setup (Fig 1), but it was easily fixed by poking a hole in the windows firewall (Fig 2).

sql2014_install_firewall_warning

Fig 1. SQL Server 2014 Setup warning

 

sql2014_firewall_opening

Fig 2. Poking a hole in the firewall (Added the SharePoint server IP).

Next step:

  • Enabled Server Feature: .NET Framework 3.5 (needed for SQL server installation)

Continued the setup:

  • SQL Server Feature selection:
    • Database Engine Services
    • Management Tools – Complete
  • That’s it, no extra crap;

“After selecting SQL Server Feature Installation and clicking Next, a list of SQL Server features is displayed, as shown in Figure X. We really need only one SQL Server feature for SharePoint: Database Engine Services. However, I will also install the Management Tools (Complete) feature, which gives you handy tools such as SQL Server Management Studio. As you browse through the list of features, you might be tempted to check more features than you really need. But unless you’re going to use a particular feature immediately, I don’t recommend installing it. If you want to add a feature later, such as SQL Server Reporting Services, you can just run Setup again and add the feature to your existing instance.”

Source (again): http://sharepointpromag.com/sql-server-2012/sql-server-2012-sharepoint-2013-database-server-setup

Server Configuration/Service Accounts:

  • SQL Server Agent and SQL Server Database Engine: sql_user (the AD account created earlier).

Database Engine Configuration/Specify SQL Server Administrators:

  • myadminaccount and sql_install (the AD account created earlier).

I’m using the default installation paths for SQL as this is a small scale installation.

Installation complete!

 

Tweaking

All tweaks are based on the following articles:

http://sharepointpromag.com/sql-server-2012/configure-sql-server-2012-sharepoint-2013
http://sharepointpromag.com/sql-server-2012/fine-tune-your-sql-server-2012-configuration-sharepoint-2013

  • Max degree of parallelism = 1
  • Maximum server memory 3.5GB (out of 4GB)
  • Model Database’s Recovery Model: simple
  • Compressed backups
  • Also adding the sp_install user to SQL, see below:

“To give the sp_install account the permissions it needs, in SSMS navigate to Security, Logins in Object Explorer. Right-click and select New Login. Under General, type the username and make sure you include the domain. Then on the Server Roles page, shown in Figure 3, select the dbcreator and securityadmin check boxes and verify that the public check box is still selected. Then click OK.”

sql_permissions_for_sp_install

Fig 3. Assigning Permissions to the sp_install Account

“Let me offer a few words of advice about setting the sp_install permissions. SharePoint assumes that those three roles, dbcreator, public, and securityadmin, have the default set of permissions in SQL Server. Don’t alter those permissions. I’ve seen DBAs in very secure environments try to lock down these three roles. Doing so will most certainly break SharePoint in crazy and unusual ways. That might not happen right away, and it might not happen to you when you’re using the interface. It could be a monthly timer job that fails, for instance. Also, don’t change any SQL Server permissions that SharePoint sets. SharePoint is very fussy, and if it sets permissions, it really needs them. Because of SharePoint’s rigidity on its SQL Server permissions, I recommend that you put SharePoint in its own SQL Server instance. SharePoint will thank you, and so will your DBAs.”

Source: http://sharepointpromag.com/sql-server-2012/configure-sql-server-2012-sharepoint-2013

That’s it for SQL, moving on to the SharePoint installation.

 

 

SharePoint Server 2013 installation

I’m being a bit lazy now and just copy/pasting information… why rewrite something that someone has already written (well)?

SharePoint Server 2013 checklist:

Before you begin to install and configure SharePoint 2013, do the following:

Source: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262243.aspx

Everything in order, let’s continue! (Again, the installation is quite much based on https://captainofsharepoint.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/the-art-of-installing-sharepoint-2013-in-a-3-tier-topology-part-one/)

Well, I didn’t get so far. The prerequisite checker failed with the message: Application Server Role, Web Server (IIS) Role: configuration error.

A suggested solution was to install a hotfix from Microsoft; https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2765260. This didn’t work however, as the fix was only for Windows Server 2012, NOT the R2 version. Next test was to follow a guide from http://blogs.msdn.com/b/fabdulwahab/archive/2013/08/29/sharepoint-2013-installation-and-configuration-issues.aspx:

Steps to fix (Installing .Net Framework 3.5):

  1. Insert the Windows Server 2012 installation image or DVD
  2. Open a command prompt window (run as Administrator) and run the following:
  3. Dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:NetFX3 /All /Source:D:\sources\SxS /LimitAccess

sharepoint_all_prereq_complete

Fig 4. Success! 🙂

 

Continuing with the setup…

sharepoint_install_server_type

Fig 5. Complete installation (production). Using default file locations (because small scale installation).

Done. The SharePoint Configuration Wizard will then run:

sharepoint_products_configuration_wizard1

Fig 6. Create a new farm

 

sharepoint_products_configuration_wizard2

Fig 7. Database settings. Database server and account settings were discussed in the SQL chapter.

 

sharepoint_products_configuration_wizard3

Fig 8. SharePoint Central Administration Web Application

Port 18811 (or whatever SharePoint chooses for you) must be blocked (outside the domain), otherwise the Central Administration URL will be open for anyone on the Internet.

 

sharepoint_products_configuration_wizard4

Fig 9. Completing the configuration wizard

 

sharepoint_products_configuration_wizard5

Fig 10. Configuration successful!

 

Services

There are A LOT of different services running on a SharePoint server. However, in a small scale environment, you’ll probably only need/use a few of these. I took a look at the old server and compared the services running there. Here’s a screenshot of SharePoint 2010 and its active services:

sharepoint_services_on_old_server2

Fig 11. SharePoint 2010 services

From the screenshot we can see that the following services are running:

  • Central Administration
  • SharePoint Foundation incoming E-Mail
  • SharePoint Foundation Web Application
  • SharePoint Foundation Workflow Timer Service

With this in mind, I tried to keep the services at a minimum on the SharePoint 2013 server as well.

I couldn’t find the exact same ones in 2013, but I decided to go with the following:

sharepoint_services

Fig 12. SharePoint 2013 services

  • Search Service Application
  • State Service
  • Usage and Health data collection

 

After SharePoint had configured itself I was greeted with a message that some services are running with the “wrong” accounts (Fig 13).

sharepoint_service_account_warnings

Fig 13. SharePoint Failing Services

The failing services are:

  • SharePoint Central Administration v4 (Application Pool)
  • SPTimerV4(Windows Service) = Farm
  • AppFabricCachingService (Windows Service)

 

My idea was to run the default SharePoint services with the “sp_farm” account. Other services can be run with the “sp_srv” account if/when needed.

Update: It’s not recommended running the Wizard, instead you should manually configure the settings.

 

You change the account settings in SharePoint –> Central Administration –> Configure service accounts. I changed the farm account to “sp_farm”. Everything more or less broke after that 😦 I had to do some googling to get it up running again.

Solution (before changing farm account to sp_farm):

  • Register the account (sp_farm) as a managed account. To change a managed account password go to Central Admin > Security > Configure Managed Accounts (/_admin/MangedAccounts.aspx). Click the Edit icon next to the account whose password you want to change.

           sharepoint_managed_accounts

           Fig 14. Register Managed Account.

  • Go to the Configure Service Accounts page and Select the Farm Account and set the new managed account
  • Reboot the server.

 

Source: https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/office/en-US/8c330449-b9cd-4ed5-adeb-342466a8a59e/central-administration-no-longer-accessible-by-any-account-after-changing-farm-account-in-sharepoint?forum=sharepointadminprevious

Done. SharePoint is now installed 🙂

 

Security

You shouldn’t use http with SharePoint outside your domain. Instead you should use https (http over SSL). Request a certificate for your SharePoint site from a 3rd party certificate issuer (or similar), and then apply the certificate. You could/should also use http redirection (http –> https) and/or Alternate Access Mappings. You can follow these guides for example:

https://www.digicert.com/ssl-certificate-installation-microsoft-sharepoint-2013.htm
http://www.sharepointconfig.com/2010/03/configuring-a-sharepoint-website-to-allow-ssl-connections/
https://griffindocs.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/sharepoint-2013-how-to-add-ssl-to-a-web-application/
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/fabdulwahab/archive/2013/01/21/configure-ssl-for-sharepoint-2013.aspx

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sharepoint_strategery/archive/2013/05/27/alternate-access-mappings-explained.aspx
http://blog.blksthl.com/2012/12/03/a-guide-to-alternate-access-mappings-basics-in-sharepoint-2013/
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc261814.aspx
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc263208.aspx

https://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/eaab487a-bc94-4f06-981b-c62711764367/redirect-http-to-https-for-sharepoint-2013
http://www.jppinto.com/2010/03/automatically-redirect-http-requests-to-https-on-iis7-using-url-rewrite-2-0/
http://pcfromdc.blogspot.fi/2013/10/how-to-redirect-from-http-to-https-with.html
http://wellytonian.com/2014/01/sharepoint-http-https-url-redirect/
http://sharepoint.stackexchange.com/questions/64484/http-to-https-redirection-using-aam
http://www.sharepointbitme.com/?p=8

Test Lab Guide (with modifications): Configure an Integrated Exchange 2013, Lync 2013 and SharePoint 2013 Test Lab

I recently left my old position and started working at our University’s Computing Centre. This also meant changes to my job assignments. I’m now deep diving into Exchange, Lync and SharePoint. All of this will of course take (a lot of) time and I decided to start from scratch with a Test Lab Guide (TLG) – Test Lab Guide: Configure an Integrated Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint Test Lab. (No need to break peoples calendars just yet 🙂 ) This TLG will be the base for all my testing from now on so it’s important to get it working properly. I got the basics up ‘n running quite fast, but then more and more trouble arose. I followed the guide to the letter, but to no avail. Google was short on answers, so the problems needed to be split up into smaller chunks. The main problem was to configure cross-product integration with all the servers. In order for the Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint servers to participate in cross-product scenarios and solutions, they must be configured to trust each other through server-to-server authentication trusts (OAuth). There’s a script (https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj204975.aspx) for this, but it didn’t work for me 😦 (Well, might actually work better now when I have better basic understanding of what the script do. It probably also works better now that the certificates are configured correctly).

I got lots of error 401 and/or SSL errors, for example:

Cannot acquire auth metadata document from ‘https://sp1.corp.contoso.com/_layouts/15/metadata/json/’. Error: The remote server returned an error: (401) Unauthorized)

Cannot acquire auth metadata document from ‘https://sp1.corp.contoso.com/_layouts/15/metadata/json/’. Error: The underlying connection was closed: Could not establish trust relationship for the SSL/TLS secure channel.

After much digging around I came to the conclusion that it has to do with the servers’ certificates. I had certificates set up for auto-enrolment, but they somehow didn’t get auto-enrolled on the servers. A small detail, perhaps, but it took me forever to figure this out. I had to manually request the AD published certificates (https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc730689.aspx). It’s like begging for trouble playing around with self-signed certificates in an environment like this so I’m glad I got it sorted out.

The problems didn’t disappear even though I was using certificates signed from the Domain CA. The https binding in IIS defaults to whatever it feels like, so you have to change the https site binding to the certificate issued by your CA. Information about IIS site bindings can be found here http://www.orcsweb.com/blog/mark-newnam/how-to-set-up-site-bindings-in-internet-information-services-iis/ or here http://blogs.technet.com/b/chrad/archive/2010/01/24/understanding-iis-bindings-websites-virtual-directories-and-lastly-application-pools.aspx for example. After this was done everything was already much better.

Still, the script wouldn’t work. Step by step I decided to manually try stuff from the script instead. After much fiddling I got it working (don’t even remember how anymore, but it was a lot of trial and error). I did at least the following things (scroll backs in PowerShell and memory dumps from my head):

 

On the Exchange server (the first server that got all the server-to-server trusts working):

ex_lync_partnership

Fig. 1. Partner with Lync

ex_sp_partnership

Fig 2. Partner with SharePoint

 

Checking partnership with Get-PartnerApplication:

ex_get-partnerapplication

Fig 3. Get-PartnerApplication

Everything OK!

Source: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj649094%28v=exchg.150%29.aspx

 

On Lync server:

lync_ex_partnership

Fig 4. Partner with Exchange

lync_sp_partnership

Fig 5. Partner with SharePoint

 

Checking partnership with  Get-CsPartnerApplication:

lync_get-cspartnerapplication

Fig 6. Get-CsPartnerApplication

Everything OK!

Source: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj205253.aspx and https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj204975.aspx (This was the failing script for me, so I did it in stages as in the screenshots above). Many more sources also which I can’t remember…

 

On SharePoint server:

sp_ex_partnership

Fig 7. Partner with Exchange (never mind the error, the partnership was already done).

sp_lync_partnership

Fig 8. Partner with Lync

 

Checking Get-SPTrustedSecurityTokenIssuer:

sp_get-sptrustedsecuritytokenissuer

Fig 9. Get-SPTrustedSecurityTokenIssuer

Seems OK! The permissions on the SharePoint 2013 server was already set up at an earlier stage:

At the Windows PowerShell command prompt, type the following commands:

$exchange=Get-SPTrustedSecurityTokenIssuer
$app=Get-SPAppPrincipal -Site http://<HostName> -NameIdentifier $exchange.NameId
$site=Get-SPSite http://<HostName>
Set-SPAppPrincipalPermission -AppPrincipal $app -Site $site.RootWeb -Scope sitesubscription -Right fullcontrol -EnableAppOnlyPolicy

Source: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj655399.aspx, https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj670179.aspx

 

Well, I learned a lot yet again. I had to dig into much other stuff as well, but at least it was easily done with Google. The main problems were certificates and server-to-server trust issues. The TLG itself was very nicely written, although it didn’t work as expected for me. None the less everything is now set up and working so I can continue doing all kinds of tests. This test-environment will help me A LOT on my journey with Exchange, Lync and SharePoint. Wish me luck, I know I’m gonna need it 🙂

My next experiment will be to add another exchange server (or two) and use Database Availability Groups (DAGs). (Actually already done using the excellent guide at http://exchangeserverpro.com/exchange-server-2013-database-availability-groups/)

I’ll also be looking at High Availability for the CAS. Stay tuned!

More useful sources (out of the millions I already found):

http://memphistech.net/?p=280
https://digitalbamboo.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/setting-up-exchange-unified-messaging-with-lync-2013-integration-for-voicemail/
http://blog.insidelync.com/2012/08/the-lync-2013-preview-unified-contact-store-ucs/
https://mchahla.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/integrating-lync-server-2013-exchange-server-2013-owa/

Migrating MDT 2013 from Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2012 R2

Our Deployment Server (Windows Server 2008 R2) was getting a bit dated and I wanted to enjoy all the new WDS-features of Windows Server 2012 R2 (better UEFI support and enhanced boot image download performance for example). In this migration case I’ll be using physical servers so the migration will be physical-to-physical. The servers are old but they have enough power for the job 🙂

Old server (Fig 1):

  • Fujitsu Siemens Primergy RX300 S2
  • 2 x Intel Xeon 3.20GHz CPUs
  • 4GB RAM
  • 6 x 146GB SCSI HDDs in HW RAID-5

fusi_primergy

Fig 1. Fujitsu Siemens Primergy RX300 S2 (currently running Windows Server 2008 R2).

For the replacement/migration I originally had an identical server which ran Windows Server 2008 R2. It got upgraded to Windows Server 2012 some time ago however. I now tried upgrading it to Windows Server 2012 R2, but it just failed to start properly after the setup process was completed (error message and endless reboots). This was (probably) due to the same problem as before, as there are no drivers for the LSI MegaRAID 320-2E card. It was possible to trick the Windows Server 2008 R2 installation to use the Windows Server 2003 drivers (newest ones available), but this wasn’t the case with a clean install of Windows Server 2012 (R2). However, an upgrade from 2008 to 2012 was/is possible. As a server 2012 to server 2012 R2 upgrade wasn’t possible due to errors, I thought I’d try with the old method. That said, I clean-installed Server 2008 R2, and tried a Server 2012 R2 upgrade instead of the Server 2012 upgrade. This upgrade path wasn’t “allowed” by MS however, so I HAD to do a clean install. Well, I ran into the exact same problems as with the Server 2012 to Server 2012 R2 upgrade. The server won’t start properly, due to a very old and unsupported LSI MegaRAID card. Anyways, it was time to move on as I won’t waste any more time on these old bastards (Fujitsus).

This was not the end of the world though, I just used an old workstation instead of a server. It doesn’t have to be a hard-core server anyhow, because we usually don’t have many simultaneous deployments. It’s basically enough having a normal workstation with decent capacity hard drives in a raid configuration for safety (raid-1 or 5). Normally this sort of thing would be a good candidate for a virtual machine also, but our hosts are a bit full at the moment so it would’ve been even slower 🙂 With that said, here’s the “new server” (Fig 2):

  • Osborne (in an Antec Sonata III case) with Asus PQ5-EM motherboard
  • Intel Core 2 Duo 3.16GHz CPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 2 x 250GB HDDs in HW RAID-1

sonataIII

Fig 2. “Osborne”

I installed the new “server” from scratch and copied over the needed content from the old server as the progress continued. Steps:

  • Installed Windows Server 2012 R2 from DVD
  • Ran Windows Update to get it fully patched
  • Installed Classic Shell (yes, I still don’t like Metro)
  • Installed Notepad++ for easier editing of configuration files
  • Installed Intel Rapid Storage Technology from Intel.com to monitor raid health (Fig 3). Also configured email alerts.

          intel_RST 

           Fig 3. Intel RST

  • Partitioned/Resized the hard drive: 60GB for the system drive and the rest for data (Deployment Share)
  • Downloaded and installed ADK 8.1 for Windows 8.1 Update
  • Downloaded and installed MDT 2013
  • Enabled WDS Server Role
  • Set a static IP
  • Joined the production domain
  • Copied the whole Deployment Share directory (about 60GB) from the old server to this new one, (D:\DeploymentShare)
  • Shared the new Deployment Share directory via file sharing
  • Started MDT 2013 and chose to Open Deployment Share. Pointed it to the newly copied directory, D:\DeploymentShare (Fig 4)

          open_deployment_share

          Fig 4. Open Deployment Share

  • Successful import! (Fig 5)

          open_deployment_share_success

          Fig 5. Open Deployment Share – success.

  • Went to properties on the Deployment Share and changed UNC path to point to the new server (Fig 6)

          set_depl_share_unc_path

          Fig 6. Set Network (UNC) path

  • Edited D:\DeploymentShare\Control\Bootstrap.ini and changed DeployRoot to point to the new server (Fig 7)

          unc_path_inbootstrap_ini

          Fig 7. DeployRoot in Bootstrap.ini

  • Updated the Deployment Share. MDT-part now done.
  • Started WDS and configured it (kind of self-explanatory so won’t add any steps or screenshots)
  • Added the newly created boot image from MDT (D:\DeploymentShare\Boot\LiteTouchPE_x86.wim) to WDS Boot Images
  • Changed the TFTP Maximum Block size for better boot image download performance (Fig 8). This is a new feature in WDS on Windows Server 2012 (R2). More information: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/dn163597.aspx. Yeah, it’s actually noticeably faster.

          wds_tftp_max_block_size

          Fig 8. TFTP Maximum Block Size

  • Updated the DHCP configuration on our Linux DHPC server to point to the new server
  • Ran a test-deployment – Everything worked as before, except now I’m using a newer version of WDS with better UEFI support 🙂
  • Success yet again!

 

Source: http://lacietech.blogspot.fi/2010/10/migrating-mdt-2010-from-one-server-to.html

As usual, if you are interested in the whole deployment process/configuration, read my earlier post: Deploying Windows 7/8 with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2012 Update 1 and Windows Deployment Services (WDS)

Installing a new Windows 2012 R2 Remote Desktop Services (RDS) Server

Server installation

I’ve been thinking about renewing our old Terminal Server 2003 for a loooooong time (since the migration of VMware to Hyper-V). We had licensing problems with Windows Server 2008, so I thought I’d give it a new try with Windows Server 2012 R2. Nothing much to it really, here are the steps:

  • Installed our basic image of Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard
  • Applied local security policies (exported from Security Compilcane Manager 3.0) with LocalGPO tool (optional extra protection apart from our GPOs).
    • The tool wasn’t updated for Windows Server 2012 R2, only for Windows Server 2012. The script checks for OS version so it can’t continue if wrong OS is detected. Well, theoretically at least. I edited the script and commented out the line which checks for OS version (in LocalGPO.wsf).
    • I replaced “Call ChkOSVersion” with  “ ‘ Call ChkOSVersion” (that is, commented out the whole check).
    • Ran the script:
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\LocalGPO>cscript LocalGPO.wsf /path:c:\Users\xxx\Downloads\gpo\{3efc9336-94bb-4719-b14d-c34b8121f86f}
      Microsoft (R) Windows Script Host Version 5.8
      Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

      Modifying Local Policy… this process can take a few moments.

      Applied valid INF from c:\Users\xxx\Downloads\gpo\{3efc9336-94bb-4719-b14d-c34b8121f86f}

      Local Policy Modified!

      Please restart the computer to refresh the Local Policy

  • Worked!
  • Installed the RDS Server role (Fig 1) following a guide from http://www.techieshelp.com/windows-server-2012-install-and-configure-remote-desktop-services/ (my own knowledge was a bit rusty 🙂 )
  • I used Quick Start and Session-based Desktop Deployment (no need for “full” virtual machine-based deployment in our case)
  • Remote Desktop Services RemoteApp (RD Web Access) also got installed, but I won’t use that feature for now.

install_RDS

Fig 1. Installing the roles… yawn.

  • Next step is licensing. A RDS Server requires licenses either per device or per user (Remote Desktop CALs). Our University has some licenses so no problem. I won’t go into the licensing system here, I just say that we’ll be using per machine licenses and that the licenses will be issued from an existing license server in our domain. The procedure for adding the license server was a bit different from the one in the above guide though. In the guide it says “Click the RD licensing icon and either add the server as your license server or point it to your existing license server on the network by entering the server name or IP then click the forward arrow”. I couldn’t point to an existing license server in this step. Oh well, the steps are still quite similar, but I skipped to the next step in the guide. My steps in Fig 2.

rds_licensing

Fig 2. RDS licensing.

  1. TASKS, Edit Deployment Properties
  2. Per Device
  3. Enter license server
  4. Done!

If you are interested in the difference between per user and per device licenses, read http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc753650.aspx for example.

Checking that the licensing is working can be done from RD Licensing Diagnoser (I didn’t install RD Licensing Manager, it is already installed on another (license) server). Everything seemed ok! (Fig 3 has the details).

rds_licensing_checking

Fig 3. RD Licensing Diagnoser.

Checking that a client gets a (permanent) license can be done from the license server/RD Licensing Manager (Fig 4).

rds_licensing_checking_per_host

Fig 4. RD Licensing Manager. Five (per device) licenses are currently checked out

 

Client configuration

Now that the licensing part seems to be working just fine, it’s time to test out different clients. We are using Windows, Linux and Mac clients. We also have a small classroom with WySe Thin Clients. For once, there were no problems connecting from Linux clients 🙂 Mac on the other hand was playing hard, but the best (and easiest solution) is to use the newest Remote Desktop Client from Microsoft (available in the app store, https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/microsoft-remote-desktop/id715768417?mt=12). This works out of the box. If you are interested in the problems with the Remote Desktop Client bundled with MS Office 2011 for Mac, read:

http://blog.mikejmcguire.com/2013/10/15/r2-d2-you-know-better-than-to-trust-a-strange-computer-why-doesnt-the-mac-os-x-rdp-client-trust-windows-server-2012-r2-2/

I’ve noticed that there can be problems with Network Level Authentication and RDP however. Even though it’s probably not the best idea to disable it, I’ve done it. It saves you a LOT of headache. Older clients are able to connect without problems when this is disabled.

The WySe Thin Clients had an old firmware which didn’t support the RDP security of the new Windows Server 2012 R2. I’ve upgraded the firmware in them before, so I knew that this was probably the solution (and it was). The steps for upgrading the firmware (short version):

  • Download newest firmware (it’s not free, you have to have an agreement with a vendor)
  • Upload the firmware file (VL10_wnos in our case) to the /var/ftp/wyse/wnos –directory on the ftp server (or similar path on a Windows Server)
  • Change the wnos.ini file to upgrade its firmware on reboot, “Autoload=2” (# Selects firmware update mode: 0=disable,1=upgrade/downgrade, 2=upgrade only)
  • After upgrading the firmware, put the flag back to “0” (disable).
  • Done. Windows Server 2012 R2 compatible WySe Thin Clients 🙂

 

Server configuration

There’s nothing much to do really if the “underlying work” is done. With this I mean using existing group policies and so on. We already have a group policy that enables folder redirection so the users home directories won’t get stored locally (only cached locally). This way you can easily upgrade/reinstall the server without losing user data. I’m not going to write about different GPOs and folder redirections, because it’s outside the scope of this post.

The server was “empty” so I had to Install applications. You shouldn’t install applications “the regular way” on a RDS Server, instead you should use the special install mode called RD-Install. You can do the mode-switch either by command prompt or graphically. Details here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/ff432698.aspx.  Nothing much to tell about the process of installing applications, about as exciting as watching paint dry 🙂 Just install according to your users needs.

I also installed Classic Shell (yes, I’m a fan) as I don’t want the new users to get annoyed and confused about the new (crappy) metro interface. I was able to force the same settings for every user with policies. There are (group) policy definitions available in C:\Program Files\Classic Shell\PolicyDefinitions.zip (from version 4.0.4 onward). Unzip them to C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions (or put them on your domain controller) and play around until you find the settings for your own needs.

Settings that I changed for Classic Shell:

  • Show Metro Apps: enabled (no mark in the Show Metro Apps checkbox, which means that the Metro apps aren’t shown).
  • Disable active corners: enabled (Disable active corners: All)
  • Enable accessibility: enabled (no mark in Enable accessibility checkbox)
  • Enable settings: enabled (no mark in checkbox, which means users can’t change Classic Shell settings)
  • Menu items for the Windows 7 style: enabled (I modified the menu to my preference, and then copied the the registry settings from HKCU\Software\IvoSoft\ClassicStartMenu\Settings and copy/pasted the settings here.
  • Shift+Win opens: enabled (Shift+Win opens Windows Start menu, that is, metro)
  • Button look: enabled (Button look: Aero button)
  • Show Start screen shortcut: enabled (no mark in the checkbox)
  • Windows key opens: enabled (Windows key opens: Classic Start Menu)

If you want to skip the metro screen by default (I surely do), use group policy preferences: http://www.petri.co.il/bypass-start-screen-windows-8-1-server-2012-r2.htm. This setting is also available in Classic Shell, but it doesn’t work in a RDS environment without using group policy preferences.

Furthermore I disabled write access to the root of the C:\ drive. Users shouldn’t be able to write stuff on the RDS Server, only in their own profiles. You can do this by going to the root of the C:\ drive and select Properties –> Security. Then under Security choose Advanced. Remove all the rights from “Users” except Read & Execute. See Fig. 5.

adv_sec_settings_c

Fig 5. Advanced Security Settings

You will receive many errors about setting file permissions (Fig 6 for example), which is normal. Anyways, in the end this approach does work, and users aren’t able to write to the root of the c:\ drive. Everything else also works as normal (tested before).

adv_sec_settings_error

Fig 6. Error. Just ignore.

As the old server didn’t have folder redirection, the users files were stored locally on the server 😦 Luckily people didn’t have that much important stuff stored on the server however, so I’ll just keep a backup of the files and copy them to any user that needs their old files. As I already said, the new server is using folder redirection so nothing gets stored locally (and I won’t have this problem again).

 

Gotchas

After the server was in production state I noticed a weird message in Server Manager –> Remote Desktop Services –> Overview. See Fig 7.

RDS_error_server_manager 

Fig 7. The following servers in this deployment are not part of the server pool:
          1. [server_name]
          The servers must be added to the server pool.

I knew what this was about, because I had changed the hostname of the server after testing it. Even though the server was working as it should, it seems that RDS doesn’t like if the hostname/machine name gets changed after the RDS server role is installed. I did a bit of research and the solution is here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2910155. Well almost anyway. Trying the Remove-RDServer command gave me “Remove-RDServer : The RD Session Host servers are part of a session collection”. Well, I didn’t know much about this so I thought I’d try removing the collection. “Get-RDSessionCollection” gave me:

PS C:\Windows\system32> Get-RDSessionCollection

CollectionName                 Size       ResourceType              CollectionDescription
———————                  —-        ————                       ———————
QuickSessionCollection         1       RemoteApp programs

I tried removing it with “Remove-RDSessionColletion”. Well, good idea, but it didn’t work. Actually nothing I tried worked until I saw that the server manager displayed the command “Connecting to RD-Connection Broker” and after that nothing happened. I figured the Connection Broker-part is broken. So I uninstalled the connection broker with the command “Remove-WindowsFeature –Name RDS-Connection-Broker” and rebooted. I then reinstalled the connection broker with “Add-WindowsFeature –Name RDS-Connection-Broker”.

Now the Overview window in server manager told me that I didn’t have any Deployments ready, and that I should add one from Server Manager Add roles and features. Well, I did the exact same steps as before (Server installation – Quick Start and so on), and now everything was back to normal. Phew! 🙂 Don’t mess with the computer name.

Gotcha sources:

http://www.virtualizationadmin.com/articles-tutorials/vdi-articles/general/using-powershell-control-rds-windows-server-2012.html
http://blogs.technet.com/b/manojnair/archive/2011/12/02/rds-powershell-tfm-part-iii-configuring-remote-desktop-connection-broker-using-powershell.aspx

 

A final screenshot when “everything is back to normal”:

RDS_Overview_working_as_normal

Fig 8. RDS Overview.

And another one from the Desktop:

RDS_Win2012R2_desktop_screenshot

Fig 9. RDS in action

To sum it up: My deployment is Session-based desktop deployment (quick start) with licensing per device. The licensing server is on another host. RDS Web Access it disabled (even though installed) because I won’t use it at the moment. I also use Classic Shell because I like it 🙂

Happy RDS:ing to you all! 🙂

Upgrading Windows Server 2012 to Windows Server 2012 R2 on Hyper-V hosts

Introduction

I recently did a VMware to Hyper-V migration on two of our virtualization hosts. Everything has been working great, but now that Windows Server 2012 R2 is out I decided to give it a try. There are also cool new features in the new Hyper-V version, so why not upgrade. Here’s a link for 10 great new features in Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V:

http://www.infoworld.com/slideshow/104337/10-great-new-features-in-windows-server-2012-r2-hyper-v-220067

For me, the most interesting features are VM Direct Connect and Copy / Paste between Host and VM via Shared Clipboard. Online VM exporting and cloning & Online VHDX resizing also seems like usable features.

 

 

Upgrade

Enough with the features, it’s time to upgrade! As usual I started out in a virtual test environment. The process was actually very easy and pain-free. Here are my steps:

 

· Inserted/mounted Server 2012 R2 media

· Chose upgrade

· Windows ran its own Windows Compatibility Report

· Told me to reboot

· I also received the following notification:

“Setup has detected one or more virtual machines which are part of a replication relationship. To avoid replication failures, upgrade the Replica server before upgrading the primary server. Once the Replica server is upgraded, any uncommitted failover operations will be committed, test failover virtual machines will be deleted, and the recovery history of the Replica virtual machines will be deleted. Setup has detected that one or more virtual drives are directly attached to physical devices. You might need to reconnect the virtual drives to these devices after the upgrade is complete”.

 

· I did a planned failover on one of the virtual machines on the replica server and then resumed the setup. Now every virtual machine had the same primary server.

· Upgraded the replica server. Upgrade went fine, no problems with virtual drives directly attached to physical devices. (Nothing to worry about, apparently it has to do with connected/mounted .iso to vm’s:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsserver/en-US/2d669709-f7d0-4bdc-974b-e0f5ab5552df/warning-compatibility-issue-during-upgrade-von-2008-r2-to-2012)

· One of the virtual machines had problems with replication (Fig 1) after the upgrade: 

 

clip_image002

 

Fig 1. Replication health

 

 

From event viewer:

 

Could not replicate changes for virtual machine ‘server 2012 r2’ as the Replica server ‘hyper1’ on port ‘443’ is not reachable. The operation timed out (0x00002EE2). (Virtual Machine ID 54519BBA-5127-4D5E-B9C3-D988BB6591F7)

 

Nothing critical, the server was just not able to replicate when the other server was down due to the upgrade. I reset the statistics and resumed replication. Everything went back to normal.

 

Now it was time to upgrade the other server, which basically follows the same concept. Just to test, I didn’t even shut down the virtual machines before the upgrade. The Server setup was smart enough to tell me to shut down the virtual machines before attempting an upgrade however. I was also told to restart the server before upgrading. I did both and resumed setup. As this server was the primary server and not the replica server, I could ignore the message about first upgrading the replica server (already done).

 

That’s it. It was really that simple 🙂

 

 

Production environment

The upgrade procedure in the production environment was obviously about the same as in the virtual test environment. Here are my steps:

 

· Shut down the virtual machines on the Hyper-V host

· Paused replication on both Hyper-V hosts. This way I didn’t have to worry about which server was primary and which was replica. (I didn’t find any information about this online so I just tested this theory. Worked great 🙂 )

· Ran the upgrade

· A bit of waiting (about 30 min in total, Fig 2)

 

clip_image004

 

Fig 2. Upgrading…

 

· Everything went fine on the first Hyper-V host

· …and also on the second 🙂

· Upgraded Hyper-V Integration Services in the virtual machines

· Resumed replication and did a reset on the replication statistics. Have some patience, replication will start automatically within a couple of minutes after this.

· Success, everything is back to normal except now I’m running Windows Server 2012 R2 instead of Windows Server 2012 (Fig 3) 🙂

 

clip_image006

 

Fig 3. Windows Server 2012 R2

 

 

Post installation tweaks

As this was an upgrade installation, Windows left its old installation in “Windows.old”. I’m only running the Hyper-V server role on these servers so I don’t need any of the old files as the servers are working just fine. To remove Windows.old, follow these steps:

 

· Enable Disk Cleanup Utility in Windows Server 2012 R2

· Run Disk Cleanup Utility and remove “Previous Windows Installations & Windows Upgrade log files”

· Done

 

Sources:

http://thenrml.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/remove-windows-old-after-using-in-place-upgrade-method-on-windows-server-2012-r2-preview/

http://blogs.technet.com/b/chad/archive/2012/10/08/tip-51-cleanup-on-isle-3-get-back-disk-cleanup-wizard-on-windows-server-2008-amp-2012.aspx

 

 

I also re-enabled ping (Echo request – ICMPv4) in the firewall as it was disabled by the upgrade.