Exchange 2013 Server Role Requirements Calculator 6.6

Ex2013 LogoNote: Shortly after publishing, a minor update was made in to fix circular referencing in the sheet.

Next to an updated Exchange 2010 Server Role Requirements calculator, the Exchange team published an update for the Exchange 2013 Server Role Requirements Calculator as well. The new version number is 6.5.

This new version includes a nice new feature, courtesey of Excel, which will plot mailbox usage using the provided input. You can find this chart on the Mailbox Space Modeling tab.

msm

Changes since version 6.5:

  • Fixed circular logic issue with initial mailbox size calculation

Changes since version 6.3:

  • New: The calculator now includes mailbox space modeling graphs that extrapolates (for each mailbox tier) the projected amount of time it will take to consume the mailbox quota.
  • Fixed “Number of Exchange Data Volumes per Server” to support more than 50 volumes.
  • Optimized memory sizing for FAST which reduces memory requirements for small mailbox server designs.
  • Added the ability to specify multiple AutoReseed volumes per DAG server to calculator and scripts.
  • Fixed 3 database/volume layout scenario involving 100 copies/server.
  • Fixed rounding error in calculating number of databases/volume in “2 Volumes / Backup Set”
  • Log isolation is now a calculated property to align with best practices guidance.
  • Changed “Disk” to “Vol” in left column of Distribution tab to align with scenarios that do not involve JBOD configurations.
  • Added additional processor core options.
  • Fixed JBOD storage design results table to accurately account for Restore Disk capacity being set to “–” and for differences between PDC and SDC Restore Disk capacity settings.
  • Fixed Backup Requirements worksheet to expose Weekly Full backups correctly.
  • Various comment changes/corrections.

You can download the calculator here. For more information, please consult the list of changes here or Read Me here.

Aaand we named it .. Microsoft Ignite!

Today Microsoft revealed the name of the event temporarily known as MUTEE, or Microsoft’s Unified Technology Event for Enterprises:

Microsoft Ignite 2015 Full

The Microsoft Ignite event, which replaces Microsoft Exchange Conference, LyncConf, Microsoft Management Summit, SharePoint Conference and TechEd North America, will be held from May 4-8, 2015 in Chicago at McCormick Place. On the Exchange Team blog, former  Microsoft Exchange Conference attendees are told this will be their ‘go to’ event for 2015 (apart from independent conferences, such as Exchange Connections 2015).

The Microsoft Ignite 2015 site is already up and you can even register, in case you are worried this event with a potential of 20k attendees will soon be sold out. Microsoft is asking potential attendees to provide input through a YamJam. For those unenlightened, a YamJam is a virtual event on Microsoft’s Enterprise Social platform called Yammer, meaning you have to register on the hosting Yammer network first.

The announcement on the Office blog has some additional information here, including information on Convergence and //Build 2015.

PS: It is likely that the adoption of this name has consequences for the events formerly known as Ignite, e.g. Office 365 Ignite. Those events were technical training to get IT Pros up to speed on new products. The faith of those training sessions has not been disclosed.

Exchange MVPs around the World – Oct, 2014

In april, I did a heat map of all the Exchange MVPs in the world. After several months, it’s time to update this map to reflect the latest changes in the Exchange MVP population.

Exchange MVPs October 2014Here is the list of countries with changes in number of Exchange MVPs compared to April: Argentina (0->1), Bermuda (1->0), Canada (6->5), China (12->13), France (3->5), Lithuania (0->1), Mexico (0->2), Russia (5->6), Singapore (1->0), Sweden (3->4), Taiwan (1->0), Thailand (1->0) and Turkey (1->2).

If there are any inaccuracies, please report them in the comments below.

The UC Architects Podcast Ep43

iTunes-Podcast-logo[1]Episode 43 of The UC Architects podcast is now available, which is hosted by Pat Richard. Pat is joined by Steve Goodman, Johan Veldhuis, Serkan Varoglu, and yours truly. Editing was done by Andrew Price.

Some of the topics discussed in this episode are:

  • Unable moving mailboxes to Exchange 2013 DB excluded from provisioning
  • Protecting against Rogue Administrators
  • Combine Office 365 tenants after a merger or acquisition
  • Hybrid,EAC,Ex2007 & In-Place Hold issues in Ex2013 CU6 & OWA bug
  • Certain pages or windows don’t appear in Outlook Web App or in the Exchange admin center when using Google Chrome
  • Using PowerShell Background Jobs can help you speed up Exchange Tasks
  • Script: Invoke-snomControl PowerShell GUI
  • Microsoft Removes September’s Lync Vulnerability Update Due to Problems
  • Lync Room System Cumulative Update (Sep2014)
  • Lync Phone Edition (LPE) Log Viewer
  • September 2014 update for Lync 2013 client
  • Script:PolycomVVX FTP Provisioning Server Creation Script
  • SecureOfficeWebApps Farm with “FarmOU” Setting
  • High CPU after Publishing Lync Topology
  • Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 14.4.4 update
  • Lync Mobile update–Gallery View on iPad and participant management on both iPad and iPhone
  • IT/Dev Connections (wrap-up)
  • TechEd Australia
  • Norwegian Lync Day
  • UC Birmingham User Group

More information on the podcast including references and a link to download the podcast here or you can subscribe to the podcasts using iTunes, Zune or use the RSS feed.

About
The UC Architects is a bi-weekly community podcast by people with a passion for Unified Communications; our main focus is on Exchange, Lync or related subjects.

IT/Dev Connections 2014 Wrap-Up

Connections 2014 JerseyNote: For those that attended Jaap and my session on Thursday, PowerShell Tips & Tricks for Exchange, and are looking for the scripts used in the demonstrations, they are available here.

Today I returned from one of the largest, independent conference on Microsoft technologies, as it is not sponsored by Microsoft. Sessions were spread over a 3 day period on popular topics as SharePoint, SQL, developer and Windows, as well as out beloved Exchange. In addition, the conference offered pre and post-conference workshops. The conference was held in the city of Las Vegas, a place which I hadn’t seen after I left it around 1996 when leaving something called Comdex.  The estimated total of attendees was 1,400, of which around 100-200 attended Exchange sessions since people were free to switch between tracks.

With this being my first Exchange Connections, I must confess the community feeling and depth of contents were well-above expectation. Exchange sessions were not only presented by independent Exchange MVP’s and MCSM’s, but there were also sessions hosted by Tim McMichael and Wes Blalock of Microsoft. Greg Taylor, Exchange PM CXP, was also present, but unfortunately didn’t host any session.

The Exchange track was kicked off by an plenary session for those interested in everything Exchange or related topics such as Office 365. I am still waiting for the formal feedback and ratings on the PowerShell Tips & Tricks for Exchange session with Jaap I did on Thursday, but unofficial feedback was overall good which I am happy with since this was my first presentation in front of an international audience and I am somewhat self-critical. The week was closed with a Exchange panel session, wrapping up the week and answering audience questions. It was also when the winners were announced of the trivia contest offered by sponsor ENow. Prizes included an Xbox One and $500 in cash.

When connecting with the community, you get a sense on the current opinion on the product and future plans. It was learned that the majority of the attendees are still running Exchange on-premises and a vast majority still runs Exchange 2007 or Exchange 2010. There were quite a few comments on product quality, mainly referring to the recent issues with Exchange 2013 Cumulative Updates resulting in Hybrid Configuration Wizard issues, issues with Exchange 2013/Exchange 2007 co-existence deployments, or more recently issues experienced when using Chrome with the Exchange Administrative Center.

Connections 2014 VegasI had a blast at Connections, despite a minor inconvenience as my luggage was delayed. There were lots of opportunities to meet up at the conference, receptions, many dinners and the excellent Scheduled Maintenance party. Outside of these formal events, people were also actively looking each other up to exchange musings over a pint. Having experienced my inaugural Exchange Connections this year, I must say I am really looking forward to next year’s event to stay in contact with the community, and catch up with my MVP and MCSM friends. The MVP Summit is next up on the agenda, so I won’t have to miss most of my MVP friends for long.

I was also very pleased with my Huawei E5372, a so-called MiFi device which functions as a mobile WiFi access point, routing traffic to a mobile data provider at a fraction of the roaming mobile data costs. In the end, the amount of mobile data used after this week was rather low, which mainly can be attributed to the excellent WiFi facilities in Aria, the conference hotel.

One final shout out to ENow for the personalized NFL jersey. People attempted pronouncing my last name, and most came up with “The Rouge” which is close enough for me.

Finally, here are some of the other Exchange Connections wrap-ups:

Austrian MVPs Martina Grom (Office 365) and Toni Pohl (Client Development) analysed Twitter data related to IT/Dev Connections 2014, and came up with some nice statistics where they present here. It seems I was a Top 10 Tweeter.

Ex2013 CU6 & Ex2007 coexistence issue for EAS

Ex2013 LogoA short notice on an issue when you have deployed Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update 6 in coexistence in an Exchange 2007 environment. Exchange fellow Tony Redmond did a write-up on the issue here.

The issue prevents ActiveSync users whose mailbox reside on Exchange 2007 to authenticate properly when their requests are being proxied from Exchange 2013 CU6 to Exchange 2007. It has been identified in KB2997847. Alternatively, you direct Exchange 2007 EAS traffic directly to Exchange 2007 CAS servers when they are internet-facing and published.

Be advised that a previous known issue in this deployment scenario with delegates and dismounting stores has been identified in KB2997209.

Both articles provide links to request these hotfixes.

Another Exchange fellow, Jason Sherry, is keeping track of resolved and open Exchange 2013 CU6 issues here.

Exchange2013-KB2997355-FixIt-v2

Ex2013 LogoAs mentioned earlier, when you have deployed Exchange Server 2013 Cumulative Update 6 in a Hybrid deployment, several Office 365-related mailbox functions will not show up in the Exchange Admin Center (EAC). The issue was identified by Microsoft in KB2997355 and a fix was published.

However, the script to fix the issue looks for the XAML file in the default Program Files folder, using the default Exchange installation folder. Better is to check the actual Exchange installation folder, which can easily be accomplished in Exchange Management Shell using the $exinstall environment variable, or by reading the folder from the registry.

To help those installing Exchange in a non-default installation folder, and I know there are quite a few of you out there, who are hesitant to correcting the installation path in the provided FixIt script, I have create an alternative version of the Exchange2013-KB2997355-FixIt script. This version will read the installation path from the registry. Not disturbing but changed as well is correcting the XAML file in one go, unlike the official script which performs 3 consecutive read/modify/write actions on the same file.

You can download the Exchange2013-KB2997355-FixIt-v2.ps1 script here.

 

Exchange-Processor Query Tool: PowerShell Edition

powershellAnyone sizing for Exchange Server 2013 or even still Exchange Server 2010, using the Server Role Requirements Calculator, has to determine processor requirements at some point. This is accomplished by looking up the SPECint_rate2006 score of the planned processor configuration and matching that against the calculated number of required megacycles by the calculator. To account for fail-over situations, additional overhead needs to be added to the number of megacycles. The process as part of the overall sizing has been explained in detail by Jeff Mealiffe here.

The Exchange consultants’ Swiss army knife when determining SPECint rates is the Exchange Processor Query Tool, an Excel sheet designed by Scott Alexander from Microsoft, which allows you to easily look up and determine the SPECint_rate2006 value by inputting a processor model. While still useful, the tool has been out there since 2011. Also, it would be nice sometimes to see which systems are eligible for a certain sizing specification, rather than validating if the planned processor configuration meets the sizing requirements.

So, I wrote a PowerShell script which can query the SPECint rates for you. Because the rating scores are returned as objects, you can perform additional tasks using PowerShell functionality, such as:

  • Use additional criteria, such as vendor, min/max number of cores, etc.
  • Calculate the average SPECint2006 Rate Value for a certain CPU/cores configuration.
  • You can use the SPECint value calculated by the Server Role Requirements Calculator  to find hardware configurations which meet the required total megacycles requirements, optionally including a required overhead percentage.
  • You can select if you are sizing for Exchange Server 2010 or Exchange Server 2013.

Requirements
The script requires PowerShell and internet access to query the SPECint database.

Usage
The script is called Exchange-PQT.ps1, in honor of the Processor Query Tool (PQT).  The syntax is as follows:

Exchange-PQT.ps1 [-CPU <String>] [-Vendor <String>] [-System <String>] [-Overhead <Int32>] [-MinMegaCycles <Int32>] [-Type <String>] [-MinCores <Int32>] [-MaxCores <Int32>] [-MinChips <Int32>] [-MaxChips <Int32>] [<CommonParameters>]

The information returned and which you can use for post-processing is: Vendor, System, CPU (processor description), Cores, Chips (number of CPU’s), CoresPerChip (number of Cores per CPU), Speed, Result, Baseline, MCyclesPerCore (megacycles per core), MCyclesTotal (total megacycles), OS and Published. Note that megacycles calculations are based on the selected Exchange version, by default this is Exchange Server 2013.

A quick walk-through on the parameters:

  • CPU, Vendor or System can be used for partial matching on the respective attribute.
  • Type specifies what calculation to perform. Possible values are 2010 for Exchange Server 2010 and 2013 for Exchange Server 2013. Default value is 2013.
  • MinCores/MaxCores can be used to only return information for systems with this minimum or maximum number of cores. Note that you can not use MinCores and MaxCores at the same time.
  • MinChips/MaxChips can be used to only return information for systems with this minimum or maximum number of CPU’s. Note that you can not use MinChips and MaxChpis at the same time.
  • MinMegaCycles can be used to specify a treshold for the total megacycles value for returned items, using the specified Type for calculations.
  • Overhead can optionally be used to take into account a certain percentage for megacycles overhead. Default is 0 (0%).

Few notes:

  • MinCores/MaxCores and MinChips/MaxChips are mutually exclusive, because we can not specify both in the query against the SPECint database. However, you can use additional filtering on objects returned in the pipeline to distill information, e.g.
    Exchange-PQT.ps1 –MaxCores 32 –MaxChips 8 | Where { $_.Cores –ge 4 –and $_.Chips –ge 2}. 

    Do note that usage of these parameters is recommended when possibe, as it will minimize the result set from SPECint.

  • Make sure you set Type to 2010 when sizing for Exchange 2010.

Examples

Lookup the specifications of the server used by Jeff in his sizing example (Hewlett-Packard DL380p Gen8 server with Intel Xeon E5-2630 processors @2.30GHz). You will notice 25,481 is slightly off from Jeff’s 25,479, which is due to Jeff rounding numbers:

.\Exchange-PQT.ps1 -System 'DL380p Gen8'  -CPU 2630 | select System,MCycle*

Search all specs for systems from Dell containing x5470 processors and return megacycle information for Exchange 2010 calculations:

.\Exchange-PQT.ps1 -CPU x5470 -Vendor 'Dell Inc.' -Type 2010 | Select System,*cycle*

image

Calculate average SPECint 2006 rate values for  hex-core x5450 systems:

.\Exchange-PQT.ps1 -CPU x5470 | Where { $_.Cores -eq 8 } | Measure -Average Result

Search all specs for Dell systems using x5670 CPUs, with a minimum total of 16,000 megacycles and 20% megacycle overhead:

.\Exchange-PQT.ps1 –Vendor Dell -CPU x5670  -MinMegaCycles 16000 -Overhead 20 

image

Download
You can download the script from the TechNet Gallery page.

Feedback
Feedback is welcomed through the comments. If you got scripting suggestions or questions, do not hesitate using the contact form.

Revision History
See TechNet Gallery page.

Hybrid EAC, Ex2007 & In-Place Hold issues in Ex2013 CU6

Ex2013 LogoLast update September 2nd, 2014: Microsoft has released a ‘fix’ to correct the EAC issue. It is available through KB2997355. Be advised that the fix uses the default Program Files folder. If you have installed Exchange in a different location, I suggest using Exchange2013-KB2997355-FixIt-v2. Also added information on a serious In-Place Hold issue to this post.

Just a few days after the release of Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update 6, some issues have been identified which could pose issues for organizations utilizing Exchange 2013 Hybrid deployments, or organizations using Exchange 2013 in co-existence with Exchange 2007.

First, Exchange MVP fellow Jeff Guillet discovered that, when you have deployed Exchange 2013 CU6 on-premises in a Hybrid scenario, several Office 365-related mailbox functions will not show up in the Exchange Admin Center (EAC), e.g.

  • Create mailboxes in Exchange Online.
  • Move mailboxes to Exchange Online.
  • Create In-Place Archive mailboxes.

Of course, this functionality remains available when using Exchange Management Shell (EMS), or alternatively use the Office 365 Portal where possible. The severity of this issue therefor depends on how your operations procedures make use of these functions in EAC. This issue has been confirmed in KB2997355, which contains a fix but I suggest using my adjusted version available here, which will use the actual Exchange installation folder instead of assuming Exchange is installed using the default installation path.

The second issue was reported by another Exchange MVP, Ratish Nair. When using Exchange 2013 in co-existence with Exchange 2007, access to delegated mailboxes may cause Exchange 2013 databases to fail-over (or dismounts when you have single copies of databases) due to Microsoft.Exchange.Worker.Store crashing. This only happens when the user’s mailbox is on hosted on Exchange 2007 and the delegate mailbox is on Exchange 2013 CU6. This issue has been confirmed in KB2997209 which contains a link to request the related hotfix.

On a more serious note, Exchange MVP Tony Redmond reported that a serious flaw has been discovered in OWA, which allows delegates to bypass In-Place Hold and remove entire folders from a mailbox without a trace. This applies to Exchange Server 2013 as well as Office 365. Meanwhile, Microsoft has acknowledged the issue in KB2996477. Suggested workarounds are to put delegate mailboxes on In-Place Hold as well or to disable OWA access for those delegates.

The UC Architects Podcast Ep42

iTunes-Podcast-logo[1]Episode 42 of The UC Architects podcast is now available, which is hosted by Pat Richard, who is joined by John A. Cook, Tom Arbuthnot and yours truly. Editing was done by Andrew Price.

Some of the topics discussed in this episode are:

  • Tool: PelNet v2.0
  • Managed Availability Probes
  • Skype for Desktop Settings – Set-SkypeClientPreferences withPowerShell
  • New firmware for LPE devices
  • Desktop sharing update
  • New Tool: Lync Common Area Phone Management (GUI)
  • Lync SDN For Dummies
  • Lync Anonymous Response Group Limitations and Field Notes
  • Practical use of Call Quality Methodology
  • New Tool: Event Zero Broadcast IM tool
  • Lync Server 2013 Cumulative Update (flex fabric update)
  • Static route for Edge server internal interfaces
  • UC Architects @ Connections speakers and Scheduled Maintenance party
  • Norwegian Lync Day
  • TechEd Europe 2014
  • Northern UC User Group

More information on the podcast including references and a link to download the podcast here or you can subscribe to the podcasts using iTunes, Zune or use the RSS feed.

About
The UC Architects is a bi-weekly community podcast by people with a passion for Unified Communications; our main focus is on Exchange, Lync or related subjects.