Sunday, July 13, 2008

Outlook Web Access – OWA in Exchange 2007:

In this article, we are going to discuss all the new features that are available in the exchange 2007 OWA and also related configuration. The OWA is handy for many users in accessing their email when compared to the outlook client when they are out of their organization, probably when they are travelling different places. They will be able to access their email with ease even though they don’t have the laptop.

Key new OWA features:

1.Web ready documents allow opening office docs.
2.Email headers view.
3.Customizable toolbars.
4.Out of Office configuration.
5.Deleted Item recovery.
6.Instant language options.
7.Cleaner Calendar reminders.
8.Multiple calendars and drag gable appointments.
9.Mobile device configuration options.
10.Change password interface.
11.Open other’s mailbox within OWA.

Light vs. Premium Client

Light Version:
1.For non-IE browsers.
2.For slow connections.
3.For older systems.
4.Most secure/best for kiosks
5.Contains basic access to all resource types.

Full Version:
1.More feature-rich.
2.Deeper interaction with mailbox content.
3.Drag and drop.
4.Access to file servers and SharePoint.



Sunday, July 6, 2008

Address List:

In this article, we are going to discuss about the functions of the address list in exchange server 2007 version. In simple words, address list contains the classified details of the contact address (user’s email address, mail contacts, public folder email address, distribution email address, etc). The address lists are built to make lookups more useable than the basic Global Address List. The Global Address list contains all the address in the exchange directory (in short contains all mail enabled objects), and by default this is available in all email clients. This pre-canned address book will suffice for small-midsized businesses. The custom address list can be created as per your company needs.

Global Address List:

1. A list from the AD with all mail-enabled containers in it.
2. By default, it is provided to every user within Outlook and OWA.
3. Additional GALs can be created for hosting environments that need isolation.

Offline Address Book:

1. Allow users to get AD info while offline.
2. It is available to both internal and external users.
3. Are distributed via web-site and via Public folder.

Dynamic Distribution Group:

1. Groups can be built based on AD properties like Department, State or Company.
2. Dynamic security group is not feasible; one dynamic distribution group is possible. For example, Suppose I need to create a group on the basis of company name and city location (custom attribute1). The above can be done by creating the dynamic distribution group. Any new addition which matches the above condition will be automatically added to the distribution group, that’s the reason why it s called as Dynamic.
3. Especially useful for location-specific communications.
4. Can’t be used as security groups.
5. Create them in the Group sub-node of the Recipient node.
6. Non-wizard filtering criteria can be used if you use the New-DynamicDistributionGroup cmdlet.
#New-DynamicDistributionGroup –Name “Groupname” –Alias “ABC_Company” –IncludedRecipeints “MailboxUsers,MailContacts” – OrganizationalUnit “” –ConditionalCompany “Domain”

Best Practice:

1.Address List:

a. Don’t create any unless you really need them, and then keep it simple.
b. Make list names clearly descriptive of contents.

2.Global Address List:

a. Stick with the default one if at all possible.
b. Create new ones only for client based isolation.

3.Dynamic Distribution List:

a. Make use of this group.
b. Don’t forget about the value of the non-wizard Dynamic lists.

Hope the above is informative.

Please feel free to contact me for any questions.

91-98414 99143.

Public folder in the exchange server 2007:

In Simple words, the Public folder is just like a general forum which is used for posting mails, documents and other common information. Actually, usage of public folder has been overcome by SharePoint portal services. Exchange server 2007 is de-emphasized i.e., there is no change or improvement in the public folder architecture in the 2007 version. Microsoft no more support public folders. This article explains the working of the public folders in the exchange 2007 server.

Public folder function:

  1. Public folder data is kept in the public folder database.
  2. Multiple replicas of a public folder can be maintained on separate servers.
  3. Any sort of folder data can be kept in a public folder.
  4. Public folders can be given their own email address.
  5. You can configure Send-as permission on a public folder.

Public folder Creation:

In the EMC, go to toolbox PFMC – Public folder management console.

#New-Publicfolder –name TESTPUBLICFOLDER –path ‘\’ –server ‘servername’

Assigning PF Permission and PF Email address:

1.Setting Permission can be done from Outlook or the EMS.

2.There are two ways to give admin permission via EMS:

a.Add-PublicFolderadministratorPermission - Per-PF.
b.Add-ExchangeAdministrator - General Admin rights, including to PF root.

3.The easiest way is to use Add-PublicFolderClientPermission to assign ownership

#Add-PublicFolderClientPermission –Identity \TESTPUBLICFOLDER –User USERALIASNAME –AccessRights FolderOwner

4.Check permission of the PF using the Outlook or in EMS with

Set perms with Add/Remove/Set-PublicFolderClientPermission

#Get-PublicFolderClientPermission \TESTPUBLICFOLDER list

5.You can use either the EMC or the EMS to mail-enable a public folder.
#Enable-MailPublicFolder \TESTPUBLICFOLDER

6.Check whether a PF is mail-enabled

#Get-PublicFolder list mailenabled

7.Send-As Permission can be done in the console.

Hope the above is informative.

Please feel free to contact me for any questions.



91-98414 99143.

Best Practices for FSMO role placement:

In an Active Directory environment, some of your domain controllers (DCs) must be assigned certain special roles for your network to function properly. These special roles are called flexible single master operations (FSMO) roles, and DCs that hold such roles are called FSMO role holders. If you don't assign these roles properly, bad things can happen, so the focus of this article is on rules for proper placement of FSMO roles on AD-based networks. But before we proceed, please refer my blog session on FSMO roles.

Symptoms of FSMO Problems:

If one or more of your FSMO role holders has problems, bad things can happen. To help you troubleshoot such situations, the table below describes some of the symptoms that can occur when FSMO role holders go missing or don't work properly.


  1. PDC Emulator
    1. Users can't log on - If system clocks become unsynchronized, Kerberos may fail.
    2. Can't change passwords - Password changes need this role holder.
    3. Account lockout not working - Account lockout enforcement needs this role holder.
    4. Can't raise the functional level for a domain - This role holder must be available when the raising the domain functional level.
  2. RID Master
    1. Can't create new users or groups - RID pool has been depleted.
  3. Infrastructure Master
    1. Problems with universal group memberships - Cross-domain object references need this role holder.
  4. Domain Naming Master
    1. Can't add or remove a domain - Changes to the namespace need this role holder.
    2. Can't promote or demote a DC - Changes to the namespace need this role holder.
  5. Schema Master
    1. Can't modify the schema - Changes to the schema need this role holder.
    2. Can't raise the functional level for the forest - This role holder must be available when the raising the forest functional level.

Rules for FSMO Role Placement

Since FSMO roles are crucial for the proper functioning of an AD-based network, it's a good idea to get them right from the planning stage of your deployment. By default, when you install the first DC of your forest root domain, this first DC holds all five FSMO roles. When you install the first DC of any other domain in your forest, that DC will hold all three domain FSMO roles (PDC Emulator, RID Master, and Infrastructure Master). Depending on the complexity of your network, this FSMO role must be placed.

Rule 1: The PDC Emulator and RID Master roles should be on the same machine because the PDC Emulator is a large consumer of RIDs.

Tip: Since the PDC Emulator is the role that does the most work by far of any FSMO role, if the machine holding the PDC Emulator role is heavily utilized then move this role and the RID Master role to a different DC, preferable not a global catalog server (GC) since those are often heavily used also.

Rule 2: The Infrastructure Master should not be placed on a GC.

Tip: Make sure the Infrastructure Master has a GC in the same site as a direct replication partner.

Exception 1: It's OK to put the Infrastructure Master on a GC if your forest has only one domain.

Exception 2: It's OK to put the Infrastructure Master on a GC if every DC in your forest has the GC.

Rule 3: For simpler management, the Schema Master and Domain Naming Master can be on the same machine, which should also be a GC.

Exception: If you've raised your forest functional level to Windows Server 2003, the Domain Naming Master doesn't need to be on a GC, but it should at least be a direct replication partner with a GC in the same site.

Rule 4: Proactively check from time to time to confirm that all FSMO roles are available or write a script to do this automatically.

Tip: If any FSMO role holders at a remote site are unavailable, check first to see if your WAN link is down.

Hope the above is informative.

Please feel free to contact me for any questions.



91-98414 99143.

Exchange 2007 Database

This article explains the architecture of the exchange 2007 database and also about its new feature when compared to the previous versions. As we aware exchange 2003 database uses the .edb (rich text file) and .stm files(streaming file). For more details please refer my blog session. In simple words, the rich text file holds the actual messages, the rich text information and the Message Application programming (MAPI) information. The streaming file holds non-MAPI information like MIME contents. There is no more .stm file, all stored in .edb file.

How Exchange stores data:

Database built on a heavily extended version of JET. The JET Database is an old and simple database type which is used for all mail storage in the exchange 2007. Why Microsoft relying on the JET still?, it’s a bit interesting stuff. Microsoft doesn’t want to change the database from JET to SQL database because already in exchange 2007 has enough changes like 64 bit architecture and many other new improved features. Single Instance Storage (SIS) provides large disk space saving. SIS is nothing but, when you send 1 MB attachment mail for 10 users, actually only one copy (1 MB of file) is stored in the DB. Databases use transaction logs (and memory) to initially store data. The mail flow exist as below

All incoming mails à transaction log à Database

Transaction log is like heart beat of the database. All the message routing is logged in a file before getting into the database (edb file) is called the transaction log. The analogy behind this transaction log is used for the restoring the recent data of the database in times of disaster. After successful backup, the committed logs are removed in order to avoid the disk space accumulation. So the last full backup copy plus the uncommitted transaction log will reproduce the recent copy of the database.

Storage Capacity:

In exchange, the maximum storage limit for a database is restricted to certain level, whereas in exchange 2007, it is unlimited theoretically. Please find the difference b/w the standard and enterprise edition in terms of the storage capacity.

In Standard edition:Storage group – up to 5,Database per SG – up to 5,Database limit – 16 TB.
Enterprise edition: Storage group – up to 50,Database per SG – up to 50,Database limit – 16 TB.

The above are the storage limits of the databases, but there are some size caps. The size caps are nothing but artificial size limit set at the registry level. For example for standard edition, there is artificial 50 GB cap on database sizes (for SP1 = 150 GB). This can be increased as per your wish and need, by just creating some entry in the registry as below.


In the above location just add a new DWORD value “Database Size Limit in GB” and set the decimal value as 200 (in this case increasing the size limit to 200 GB). In addition, the default mailbox size limit is 2 GB (can be changed).

Difference b/w exchange 2007 database and the previous version:

The following the differences between the exchange 2007 database and the exchange database of older version.

  1. The name of the store has been changed to Database.
  2. There is no more .stm file anymore. All data is in the .edb file.
  3. Transaction logs have shrunk from 5 MB to 1 MB.
  4. Transaction log numbering limits have been expanded from a million to 4 billion.
  5. Lost Log Resilience keeps last several log files in memory.

Relationship b/w Storage groups and Database:

  1. Storage groups are virtual containers for databases.
  2. They can hold up to five databases each.
  3. Transaction logs are handled at the storage group level.
  4. LCR – Local Continuous Replication - is a new feature of exchange 2007 will enables us to have a copy of the database in some other location. LCR can be used only if you use single database per storage group.

Guidelines for Best practices:

  1. Try 1:1 model for storage groups and databases.
  2. Isolate DB and transaction logs on separate disk for redundancy purpose.
  3. Leave Circular logging disabled.
  4. Perform regular Full backups.
  5. Check the available disk space for the transaction logs because it increases in faster rate and occupies plenty spaces.
  6. If you have multiple DB’s, set maintenance schedules so they don’t conflict each other.
  7. If it is 1:1 model, make use of LCR-Local Continuous Replication option.
  8. Don’t forget about the artificial size cap.

Hope the above is informative.

Please feel free to contact me for any questions.



91-98414 99143.