Role-based Access Control

security officer RBACIt has been over 5 years (wait, what?) since I wrote an article on Role-based Access Control, or RBAC, in Exchange 2010. At that time, RBAC was a big architectural change in Exchange 2010 over Exchange 2007.

Present day, RBAC is still a much neglected topic in many Exchange organizations. It must be said that most organization can happily live with the default RBAC configuration. They have no need to dive in this versatile model to set up granular permissions in their organization. In bigger organizations, this configuration can also easily become quite complex.

For TechTarget I started writing few articles on the topic of RBAC, starting with the base components. There you can find Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Blocking Outlook App for iOS & Android

imageYesterday, Microsoft announced the immediate availability the Outlook for iOS and Outlook for Android preview. These apps are the former app named Acompli, which was acquired by Microsoft in December, last year. It is unlikely that Microsoft will develop and support two similar apps, so one can assume the new Outlook app will replace the current OWA for iOS and OWA for Android (or just OWA for Devices) apps.

The app isn’t without a little controversy:

  • The app stores credentials in a cloud environment from Amazon Web Services for e-mail accounts that don’t support OAuth authorization.
  • The app makes use of a service sitting between the app and your mailbox. This service acts as a sort of proxy (hence it requires those credentials), fetching, (pre)processing and sending e-mail. In some way this is smart, as it makes the app less dependent on back-end peculiarities, using a uniform protocol to communicate with the proxy service.
  • The app does not distinguish between devices (device identities are assigned to your account, which makes sense since the app uses a service to retrieve and process your e-mail).
  • The app does not honor ActiveSync policies, like PIN requirements. While true, this app is not an ordinary Exchange ActiveSync client.

You can read more about this here and here.

In all fairness, when the app was still named Accompli, nobody cried foul. But the app is now rebranded Outlook and property of Microsoft, so it seems this made the app fair game. I hope Microsoft is working behind the scenes to make the new Outlook app enterprise-ready, and I’m sure it won’t be long before we see the app’s services move from AWS to Azure. The whole outrage in the media also seems a bit misplaced, as Connected Accounts in Exchange Online, which will retrieve e-mail from a POP or IMAP mailbox, will also store credentials ‘in the cloud’.

It is recommended to treat the app as a consumer app for now, and you may want to block the app in your organization. I have written on how to accomplish blocking or quarantining faulty iOS updates before. However, in those articles I used the reported OS version to block or quarantine devices. The Outlook app proxy service reports itself as “Outlook for iOS and Android” as device model when querying your mailbox, allowing us to use the DeviceModel parameter for matching.

The cmdlet to block or quarantine the new Outlook app in Exchange 2010, Exchange 2013 or Office 365,  is:

New-ActiveSyncDeviceAccessRule –QueryString 'Outlook for iOS and Android' –Characteristic DeviceModel –AccessLevel Block

or, to quarantine:

New-ActiveSyncDeviceAccessRule –QueryString 'Outlook for iOS and Android' –Characteristic DeviceModel –AccessLevel Quarantine

For examples of alternative blocking methods using TMG or F5, check this article. If you need to specify the user agent string, use “Outlook-iOS-Android/1.0″ (or partial matching on “Outlook-iOS-Android” to block future updates of the app as well).

As goes for all mobile devices in enterprise environments, as an organization it may be better to test and aprove devices and OS versions rather than to be confronted with mobile apps with possible faulty behavior after an update or which may violate corporate security policies.

(Re)configuring IM Integration

powershellAnyone who has configured Exchange 2013 IM integration with Lync Server at some point has to modify the web.config file on the Mailbox servers to configure OWA with the proper certificate for enabling IM. Another thing (read: nuisance) is that when you have configured IM integration and you apply a Cumulative Update to Exchange 2013, the web.config will be overwritten, in which case you need to reapply those changes to the web.config file.

This is where the script Configure-IMIntegration.ps1 might come in handy.

Requirements
Using the script requires Exchange 2013 and Lync Server. You need to provide the Lync pool and the Mailbox server you want to configure needs to have a valid certificate assigned to UM services. The script will modify the web.config remotely using the system share (e.g. C$), using the location of the Exchange installation, and uses WMI to recycle the OWA Application Pool in IIS. It will create a backup of the web.config before modifying it.

Note that the script does not perform the following steps:

  • It does not perform the Lync Server parts to configure IM integration, e.g. configure Exchange as a trusted application.
  • It does not configure Lync Server as an partner application for Exchange (Configure-EnterprisePartnerApplication.ps1).

Usage
The script Configure-IMIntegration.ps1 uses the following syntax:

.\Configure-IMIntegration.ps1 [-Server <String>] -PoolFQDN <String> [-AllCAS] [-AllMailbox]

A quick walk-through on the parameters and switches:

  • Server specifies the server to configure. When omitted, it will configure the local server. This parameter is mutually exclusive with AllMailbox.
  • AllMailbox switch specifies to configure all Mailbox servers. This switch is mutually exclusive with Server.
  • AllCAS switch specifies to enable IM integration on all Client Access servers.
  • PoolFQDN specifies the FQDN of the Lync Pool to use. This parameter is required.

So, suppose you want to quickly reconfigure IM integration on a Mailbox server after applying a Cumulative Update, you can use:

.\Configure-IMIntegration.ps1 -PoolFQDN lync.contoso.com –Server exchange01.contoso.com

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Or, you can quickly configure Mailbox servers and CAS servers for IM integration after performing the required steps to configure the trusted application settings and installing and assigning the certificate for UM:

.\ Configure-IMIntegration.ps1 -PoolFQDN lync.contoso.com -AllMailbox –AllCAS

image

Note that the script will skip Mailbox servers for which it cannot find a valid UM certificate assignment. Also, in the example above, the CAS servers had already been enabled for IM.

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

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.

Book: Pro Exchange 2013 SP1 PowerShell Administration

As some of you may have noticed, it has been a bit more quiet here than it used to be. Well, the reason for that, after several months of collaborative hard work, blood, sweat and tears, is finally here (and in stores just in time for the Holidays): A book titled Pro Exchange 2013 Service Pack 1 PowerShell Administration!

2013pa

Together with fellow Exchange MVP Jaap Wesselius, we will talk you through topics such as:

  • Deployment and co-existence scenarios.
  • The Client Access Server role and topics such as namespaces, certificates, load balancing, and publishing.
  • The Mailbox Server role and topics such as managing mailboxes, distribution lists and recipients, message transport
  • High availability topics like Database Availability Groups and Client Access and Transport availability.
  • Message Hygiene using the Edge Transport server role and anti-spam features.
  • Backup, Restore and Disaster Recovery, including the backup-less’ Native Data Protection scenario.
  • Unified Messaging features and integration with IP telephony solutions such as Microsoft Lync Server.
  • Compliance features like In-Place Archiving and MRM, In-Place Discovery, In-Place Hold, Data Loss Prevention including fingerprinting, and auditing.
  • Role-Based Access Control model and Split Permissions model for organizations that require this.
  • Office 365 and Exchange Online (EXO) scenarios, federating organizations, directory synchronization, ADFS and Multi-Factor Authentication, as well as basic tasks like onboarding and offboarding mailboxes.

Our 600+ page book will take a PowerShell-first approach when talking about Exchange Server 2013. You can order the book from Amazon here.

I have also added it to the book page here, which also contains other useful books when you want to learn about Exchange or related technologies like PowerShell, Active Directory or Lync Server.

Outlook 2010 gets MAPI/http support

Office-2010-Outlook-Icon[1]Update (December 13th, 2014): Hotfix pulled until further notice due to possible issues.

A quick heads-up today as the recently released KB2899591 hotfix adds MAPI/http support for Outlook 2010 clients. This will benefit organizations using Exchange 2013 SP1 or later considering switching from RPC/http to MAPI/http. The KB article includes details on the additional fixes that are included in hotfix KB2899591 as well.

You can request the hotfix for x86 and x64 versions of Outlook 2010 here.

Links to background information on MAPI/http, its impact on client performance, and impact on network traffic in an earlier blog post here.

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.

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.