Saturday, November 1, 2014

Whats New on Microsoft Exchange Server 2013?; New Features and Changes

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Microsoft's new version of Email and collaboration application, Exchange Server 2013 is loaded with a bunch of new technology, features and services of Exchange Server product versions. This post is a quick look into the new features and changes on Exchange Server 2013 comparing to old Exchange versions.

Changes in the Deployment Method 

New Exchange 2013 has only Two rolesBasically there is a very lightweight front-end role that combines part of the CA & HT role into one, but mainly only provides proxying services. What we used to call the CAS is now being called the CAFÉ (Client Access Front-End) by some. No rendering or other function that used to be carried out by the CAS are done on this server anymore. It also does part of what the HT role used to do, now being called FET (Front-End Transport) for short. The FET services handle basic filtering but mainly route messages to the backend server, or now simply called the Mailbox Server. So that now there are only two roles in Exchange 2013: Client Access Server and Mailbox Server. There were many changes made to support this re-design but the end result is greatly simplified deployments by using CAS and MBX building blocks as needed to scale and to provide redundancy. There are also changes made to simplify setting up and managing DAGs, including support for seeding database from multiple sources, if they exist, which greatly reduced the seeding time. 

Changes in the Exchange Administration 

On the management side of things the major change in Exchange 2013 is the dropping of the MMC console! EMC has been replaced by a 100% web based console called the Exchange Administration Center (EAC). The major advantage here is that Exchange admins can now do most of their work from anywhere, although many things can still only be done in EMS.  

Public Folders in the DAG 

Microsoft also finally decided that Public Folders should NOT be going away and rewrote the way they work in 2013. Now Public Folder data will be stored in special Public Folder Mailboxes, basically every public folder will be mapped to one or more PF mailboxes. These PF mailboxes use the same architecture as user, resource, and site\team mailboxes so they will be just another mailbox on a database in a DAG. The positive of this is that replicate of data and HA is handled by the DAG. The negative is that Public Folders are now single master, while multiple replicas can exist only one will be read and writable by users or applications. 

Other Features 

Data Lost Prevention support was added in 2013 that provides the ability to identify, monitor and protect sensitive data (i.e. Credit Card or Social Security numbers) via specialized transport and search\discovery rules. At RTM 2013 will include a set of DLP policies which can be modified as needed or 3rd parties can add their own set of rules. End-user notification will be supported in Outlook 2013 (only at RTM) via Mail Tips so users can be optionally notified before they hit Send that their e-mail may violate policies. 

Search\discovery has also been improved and now supports in-place retention holds based on queries. Transport rules also got an upgrade to better support regular expressions (RegEx). 

SharePoint and Exchange are finally getting some REAL integration! You can now create a “Site Mailbox” that is linked to a SharePoint 2013 team site. When documents are e-mailed or dragged and dropped (required Outlook 2013) into a team mailbox they will be stored in SharePoint and messages will be left in Exchange. From SharePoint or Outlook 2013 users will be able to get a similar view of all data, both files and messages. In addition, some policies can be configured at the site level and will apply to SharePoint and Exchange data. Searching will also be supported across Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync. 

Also in the management area is the reduction of complexities by only having two roles that need to be deployed, which can still be configured on a single server, and the dropping of RPC support for clients. Therefore, when deploying, mainly only HTTPS and STMP traffic needs to be taken into consideration, from a networking perspective. 

Key Points 

  1. Exchange 2013 will NOT support migrating from Exchange 2003 or earlier! So if you are on 2003 then NOW is the time to migrate to Exchange 2010 SP3! 
  1. Deployment and management will be much easier 
  1. SharePoint and Exchange finally get some real integration 
  • But really required Outlook, SharePoint, and Exchange 2013 for full support 

Other Important Changes

  1. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) 
  1. Provides the ability to identify, monitor, and protect sensitive data (ie Credit Card or Social Security #s) through deep content analysis 
  1. Includes a set of DLP policies out of the box 
  1. Extensible for 3rd parties to add their own set of rules 
  1. Notification, via MailTips, in Outlook 2013 
  1. In-place holds support for on-going retention hold based on query, not just a snapshot anymore 
  1. Storage changes 
  1. Reduced IOPS from Exchange 2010 by 50% 
  1. Extensible Storage Engine (ESE) still used 
  1. Mailbox schema, ESE pre-read optimizations, and improved caching support 
  1. More random IOs eliminated 
  1. Additional logical contiguity support added 
  1. Views and indexes are normally only updated when accessed by users 
  1. Improved message quota checking 
  1. Additional changes to better support JBOD configurations 
  1. Store process rewritten (again), this time in managed code 
  1. Each DB runs under its own process, so if a store.exe process crashes or hangs only that one DB is affected 
  1. Additional IO reductions 
  1. Designed with 100GB mailboxes and 8TB SATA drives in mind 
  1. FAST search replaces the traditional Exchange team designed search engine (MS Search) 
  1. Database reseeding improvements 
  1. Auto-reseed support 
  1. Supports multiple sources for greatly increased reseed performance 
  • According to Microsoft, it’s now possible to complete a reseed operation for a 2TB database in approximately 10 hours rather than the 23 hours previously required if three healthy database copies are available.

  1. Site Mailboxes 
  1. Can be linked to a SharePoint 2013 team site to store messages in Exchange and documents in SharePoint 
  1. Similar view of data in Outlook 2013 as when view a SharePoint 2013 team site 
  1. Permissions and some policies will span Exchange and SharePoint 
  1. Site Mailboxes can automatically be added to Outlook 2013 or OWA clients for easy access 
  1. Archiving, Retention, and Discovery 
  1. Lync archives to Exchange mailboxes 
  1. Federated discovery across Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync 

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