Exchange Updates – February 2019

Today, the Exchange Team released the overdue quarterly Cumulative Updates for Exchange Server 2013, Exchange 2016 and Exchange 2019, as well as a Rollup for Exchange Server 2010.

The KB articles that describe the fixes in each release and product downloads are available as follows:

Version Build KB Download UMLP Schema
Exchange 2019 CU1 15.2.330.5 KB4471391 VLSC N
Exchange 2016 CU12 15.1.1713.5 KB4471392 Download UMLP N
Exchange 2013 CU22 15.0.1473.3 KB4345836 Download UMLP N
Exchange 2010 SP3 RU26 14.3.442.0 KB4487052 Download N

This update contain the following important changes and notes:

  • Due to issue CVE-2018-8581, the EWS architecture was changed, in particular push notifications. Details on the change are described in KB4490060; while the change has been tested against EWS clients such as Outlook for Mac and Skype for Business, organizations may need to test any applications leveraging EWS to estimate potential impact of installing these Cumulative Updates or Rollup. In addition, organizations are advised to password reset Exchange computer accounts.
  • These Exchange builds introduces a change in the shared permissions model (this does not apply to Split Permissions Model). Result is that Exchange no longer requires fargoing permissions in Active Directory (e.g. WriteDACL on root of domain). To makes these changes become effective:
    • For Exchange 2013-2019 Cumulative Updates, run setup using /PrepareAD. In multi-forest environments, this needs to be done in every domain of the forest.
    • For Exchange 2010, go through the instructions mentioned in KB4490059.
  • Organizations considering moving to the Split Permissions because of CVE-2018-8581 should know Microsoft fully supports both models. Switching can have serious consequences and therefor should be fully evaluated.
  • This build of Exchange 2019 introduces cmdlets to block usage of legacy authentication protocols for users through policies, e.g. Basic Authentication.
  • Prior to deploying Exchange 2016 CU12 or Exchange 2013 CU22 on Edge Transport servers, install Visual C++ 2012 Runtime.
  • These Cumulative Updates will remove the DisableLoopbackCheck key when present; removing this key was a mitigation for CVE-2018-8581.

Exchange 2019 CU1 fixes:

  • 4487596 Emails are blocked in moderator mailbox Outbox folder when you send large volumes of emails in Exchange Server 2019
  • 4487591 The recipient scope setting doesn’t work for sibling domains when including OUs in the scope in Exchange Server 2019
  • 4487602 Outlook for Mac users can still expand a distribution group when hideDLMembership is set to true in Exchange Server 2019
  • 4488076 Outlook on the Web can’t be loaded when users use an invalid Windows language in operating system in Exchange Server 2019
  • 4488079 Exchange Server 2016 allows adding Exchange Server 2019 mailbox server into a same DAG and vice versa
  • 4488263 X-MS-Exchange-Organization-BCC header isn’t encoded correctly in Exchange Server 2019
  • 4488080 New-MigrationBatch doesn’t honor RBAC management scope in Exchange Server 2019
  • 4488262 Delivery Reports exception when tracking a meeting request that’s sent with a room resource in Exchange Server 2019
  • 4488268 Disable the irrelevant Query logs that’re created in Exchange Server 2019
  • 4488267 Test-OAuthConnectivity always fails when Exchange Server uses proxy to connect to Internet in Exchange Server 2019
  • 4488266 Client application doesn’t honor EwsAllowList in Exchange Server 2019
  • 4488265 “There are problems with the signature” error occurs for digital signature message if attachment filtering is enabled in Exchange Server 2019
  • 4488398 “The Microsoft Exchange Replication service may not be running on server” error when you add a mailbox database copy in Exchange Server 2019
  • 4488264 Mailbox that has a bad move request can’t be cleaned up from destination mailbox database in Exchange Server 2019
  • 4488261 Event ID 1002 when the store worker process crashes in Exchange Server 2019
  • 4488260 New-MailboxExportRequest and New-MailboxImportRequest don’t honor RBAC management scope in Exchange Server 2019
  • 4488259 MailTip shows wrong number of users for a distribution group if the users are in different domains in Exchange Server 2019
  • 4488258 OAuth authentication is removed when saving MAPI virtual directory settings in EAC in Exchange Server 2019
  • 4490060 Exchange Web Services Push Notifications can be used to gain unauthorized access
  • 4490059 Reducing permissions required to run Exchange Server using Shared Permissions Model

Exchange 2016 CU12 fixes:

  • 4487596 Emails are blocked in moderator mailbox Outbox folder when you send large volumes of emails in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4456241 You receive a meeting request that has a “not supported calendar message.ics” attachment in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4456239 New-MailboxRepairRequest doesn’t honor RBAC RecipientWriteScope restrictions in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4487591 The recipient scope setting doesn’t work for sibling domains when including OUs in the scope in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4468363 MRM does not work for mailboxes that have an online archive mailbox in Exchange Server
  • 4487603 “The action cannot be completed” error when you select many recipients in the Address Book of Outlook in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4487602 Outlook for Mac users can still expand a distribution group when hideDLMembership is set to true in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4488076 Outlook on the Web can’t be loaded when users use an invalid Windows language in operating system in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4488079 Exchange Server 2016 allows adding Exchange Server 2019 mailbox server into a same DAG and vice versa
  • 4488077 Can’t configure voice mail options when user is in different domain in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4488263 X-MS-Exchange-Organization-BCC header isn’t encoded correctly in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4488080 New-MigrationBatch doesn’t honor RBAC management scope in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4488262 Delivery Reports exception when tracking a meeting request that’s sent with a room resource in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4488268 Disable the irrelevant Query logs that’re created in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4488267 Test-OAuthConnectivity always fails when Exchange Server uses proxy to connect to Internet in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4488266 Client application doesn’t honor EwsAllowList in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4488265 “There are problems with the signature” error occurs for digital signature message if attachment filtering is enabled in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4488264 Mailbox that has a bad move request can’t be cleaned up from destination mailbox database in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4488261 Event ID 1002 when the store worker process crashes in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4488260 New-MailboxExportRequest and New-MailboxImportRequest don’t honor RBAC management scope in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4488259 MailTip shows wrong number of users for a distribution group if the users are in different domains in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4488258 OAuth authentication is removed when saving MAPI virtual directory settings in EAC in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4490060 Exchange Web Services Push Notifications can be used to gain unauthorized access
  • 4490059 Reducing permissions required to run Exchange Server using Shared Permissions Model

Exchange 2013 CU22 fixes:

  • 4487603 “The action cannot be completed” error when you select many recipients in the Address Book of Outlook in Exchange Server 2013
  • 4490060 Exchange Web Services Push Notifications can be used to gain unauthorized access
  • 4490059 Reducing permissions required to run Exchange Server using Shared Permissions Model

Exchange 2010 SP3 RU26 fixes:

  • 4490060 Exchange Web Services Push Notifications can be used to gain unauthorized access

Notes:

  • These Cumulative Updates do not contain schema changes compared to their previous Cumulative Update. However, due to changes in the permissions architecture, you need to run setup /PrepareAD to implement these changes as well as apply any RBAC changes, before deploying or updating Exchange servers.
  • When upgrading from an n-2 or earlier version of Exchange, or an early version of the .NET Framework, consult Upgrade Paths for CU’s & .NET.
  • Don’t forget to put the Exchange server in maintenance mode prior to updating. Regardless, setup will put the server in server-wide offline mode post-analysis, before making actual changes.
  • When using Exchange hybrid deployments or Exchange Online Archiving (EOA), you are required to delay installing at most one version (n-1).
  • If you want to speed up the update process for systems without internet access, you can follow the procedure described here to disable publisher’s certificate revocation checking.
  • Cumulative Updates can be installed directly; no need to install RTM prior to installing Cumulative Updates.
  • Once installed, you can’t uninstall a Cumulative Update nor any of the installed Exchange server roles.
  • The order of installation shouldn’t matter with the “every server is an island” concept, yet recommended is to upgrade internet-facing, non-internet-facing servers first, followed by Edge Transports.

Caution:

As for any update, I recommend to thoroughly test updates in a test environment prior to implementing them in production. When you lack such facilities, hold out a few days and monitor the comments on the original publication or forums for any issues.

CVE-2018-8581: Exchange Vulnerability

Ex2013 LogoUpdate Feb6: Added MSRC security advisory ADV190007 .
Update Feb13: February updates comment.

A short notice on the zero-day vulnerability in the Exchange ecosystem as reported by researcher Mollema last week. Through a man-in-the-middle setup, one can exploit the permissions Exchange has with regards to Active Directory in conjunction with NTLM as well as Exchange Web Services (EWS). This 3-stage missile allows one to elevate their privileges in Active Directory, and thus to grant themselves administrative access.

The issue was already logged at 13 november in the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) as CVE-2018-8581, Microsoft Exchange Server Elevation of Privilege Vulnerability. An uptake on the public attention for the issue was generated after the Mollema article, and media like The Register started publishing about it. Meanwhile Exchange fellow Tony Redmond also wrote a short note on the issue as well.

At this moment, Microsoft is fully aware of the issue, and is actively working on resolving the issue as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the mitigation mentioned in CVE-2018-8581 can be considered, which is to remove the  DisableLoopbackCheck key from HKLM:\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa. The effect of removing this key is that it’s no longer possible to make NTLM connections on the loopback adapter (localhost), which should be OK for Kerberos authenticated sessions as they are name-based. Again, test this as for example platforms like SharePoint will break when setting this key, but nobody runs SharePoint on the same box, so for Exchange this is a valid mitigation.

Organizations are advised not to blindly implement mitigations mentioned in Mollema’s article or elsewhere in the field, as they might not be applicable to every deployment out there, or have unforseen side-effects. Then again, organizations might already have things deployed SMB signing, in which case the exploit does not apply.

Update (Feb6): Meanwhile, Microsoft Security Response Center published an advisory (ADV190007) containing guidance on how to deal with the issue at this moment. MSRC takes the EWS Throttling Policy route to block EWS Subscriptions at the original level, which of course breaks Outlook for Mac functionality (e.g. new mail notifications as the client can no longer subscribe to receive updates), or other applications which rely on this mechanism (e.g. meeting room systems). This can be mitigated by explicitly allowing EWS subscriptions for trusted users and applications.

Update (Feb13): Today the quarterly cumulative updates for Exchange 2019/2016/2013 were released, which will remove the DisableLoopbackCheck key (when present).

Security Updates Exchange 2013, 2016 & 2019

Ex2013 LogoUpdate 14jan: Added Exchange 2010 SP3 RU25

A quick heads-up as during my vacation Microsoft released security updates for supported releases of Exchange Server 2013, 2016 as well as Exchange Server 2019. In addition, a new Rollup was released for Exchange 2010 as well, containing one of the security updates.

The security updates patch issues as reported in the following Microsoft Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures:

  • CVE-2019-0586: Microsoft Exchange Memory Corruption Vulnerability
  • CVE-2019-0588: Microsoft Exchange Information Disclosure Vulnerability

You can download the security updates here:

Notes:

  • Exchange 2010 SP3 RU25 addresses CVE-2019-0588 only.
  • KB4471389 supersedes KB4468741 and KB4459266; KB4468742 supersedes KB4458321.

Be advised that the Security Updates for Exchange 2013 and 2016 are Cumulative Update level specific. Unfortunately, the security update carries the same name for different CU’s, and you cannot apply the update for Exchange 2016 CU10 to Exchange 2016 CU11. I would suggest tagging the Cumulative Update in the file name when you archive it, e.g. Exchange2016-KB4471389-x64-en-CU10.msp.

As with any patch or update, I’d recommend to thoroughly test this in a test and acceptance environment first, prior to implementing it in production.

Security Updates for Exchange 2016, 2013 and 2010

Ex2013 LogoA quick heads-up as during my vacation Microsoft released security updates for supported releases of Exchange Server 2016 and 2013 as well as Exchange Server 2010.

The security updates patch issues as reported in the following Microsoft Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures:

  • CVE-2018-8302 Microsoft Exchange Memory Corruption Vulnerability
  • CVE-2018-8374 Microsoft Exchange Server Tampering Vulnerability (Exchange 2016 only)

You can download the security updates here:

Notes:

  • Be advised that Exchange 2010 SP3 Rollup 23, like recent Cumulative Updates of Exchange 2016 and 2013, requires Visual C++ Redistributable Packages for Visual Studio 2013 (download).
  • KB4340731 supersedes the previous security update KB4092041 for Exchange 2016 and Exchange 2013.

Be advised that for Exchange 2013 and 2016, Security Updates are Cumulative Update level specific. While the downloaded security updates may carry the same name, the files are different and you cannot apply the downloaded security update file for Exchange 2016 CU8 to Exchange 2016 CU9. I suggest adding some form of identification of the Cumulative Update to the file name when you archive it, e.g. Exchange2016-KB4340731-x64-en-CU10.msp.

As with any patch or update, I’d recommend to thoroughly test this in a test and acceptance environment first, prior to implementing it in production.

MVP’s around the World

mvpUpdated July 3rd:  Includes newly registered awardees and awardees who changed category. Added overview of Office Servers and Services numbers over last couple of years.

With the latest annual award cycle, one might be curious which impact it had on the MVP population. I performed a similar exercise last year to compare the impact of the start of the new award cycle. This year, all the MVP’s previously on the January and October cycles were also included in the reviews, making this year the first one where MVP leads and others had to perform the dauntless task of reviewing community contributions of over 3,500 people.

For comparison, I had a look at the public MVP statistics of July 1st against those of June 26th, to exclude significant noise from the monthly awardees. To start, let us first have a look at the total population of MVP’s. From the numbers, it is clear some type of correction took place, as the total number of MVP’s went down from 3,815 last month to 3,025 now (-21%).

As big changes might be a result of change of focus, the following table contains the changes per award category from June 2018 to July 2018. Note that the total number of MVP’s doesn’t equal the total number of awardees, as people can be awarded in more than one category; there are 50 MVP’s with multiple award categories.

Competence Jun2018 July2018 Change
Access 39 29 -26%
AI 28 58 107%
Business Solutions 221 184 -17%
Cloud and Datacenter Management 410 302 -26%
Data Platform 442 366 -17%
Enterprise Mobility 159 122 -23%
Excel 103 84 -18%
Microsoft Azure 370 368 -1%
Office Development 44 33 -25%
Office Servers and Services 490 383 -22%
OneNote 15 12 -20%
Outlook 14 11 -21%
PowerPoint 40 34 -15%
Visio 15 10 -33%
Visual Studio and Development
Technologies
1043 780 -25%
Windows and Devices for IT 136 87 -36%
Windows Development 273 186 -32%
Word 23 19 -17%
Total 3865 3066 -21%

Except for the AI MVP’s, all the numbers are down. Way down. Word is quite a number of long-standing MVP’s have not been re-awarded this cycle. One could only guess for the motivation (only Microsoft knows), but it could be due to the ongoing shift from on-premises technology to cloud-based technology.

When zooming in on the Office Servers and Services MVP’s category, the awards per country is shown in the following heath map and table. Be advised that MVP’s that are anonymous or have profiles without location (~23 for Office Servers and Services), are not taken into account since their location is unknown.

image

Country Number Country Number Country Number
Argentina 0 (-100%) Ireland 1 (0%) Saudi Arabia 1 (0%)
Australia 17 (-40%) Israel 0 (-100%) Serbia 1 (0%)
Austria 2 (0%) Italy 8 (-20%) Singapore 3 (-25%)
Belgium 8 (0%) Japan 11 (-45%) Slovakia 1 (0%)
Bosnia-Herzegovina 2 (0%) Jordan 1 (0%) Slovenia 1 (-50%)
Brazil 2 (-34%) Korea 6 (-15%) South Africa 4 (-20%)
Bulgaria 1 (0%) Latvia 1 (0%) Spain 5 (-17%)
Canada 29 (-24%) Macedonia F.Y.R.O 2 (0%) Sri Lanka 4 (-43%)
Chile 1 (0%) Malaysia 1 (-50%) Sweden 6 (-25%)
China 14 (-13%) Mexico 2 (-50%) Switzerland 5 (0%)
Colombia 2 (0%) Nepal 1 (0%) Thailand 1 (0%)
Croatia 5 (-17%) New Zealand 4 (-20%) The Netherlands 13 (-8%)
Czech Republic 3 (-25%) Norway 5 (-17%) Turkey 4 (-20%)
Denmark 2 (-50%) Pakistan 2 (0%) Ukraine 1 (-50%)
Egypt 1 (-50%) Peru 1 (-50%) United Arab Emirates 1 (-50%)
Finland 2 (0%) Poland 2 (0%) United Kingdom 23 (-15%)
France 15 (-12%) Portugal 3 (-25%) United States 90 (-19%)
Germany 16 (-20%) Romania 1 (-50%) Uruguay 1 (0%)
Greece 1 (0%) Russia 5 (-50%) Vietnam 0 (-100%)
Hungary 2 (-50%) TOTAL 383 (-22%)
India 12 (-8%)

As shown, some countries have lost their Office Servers and Service MVP’s completely. Looking at the total number of Office Servers and Services MVP’s over the year, the number went a little up again due to monthly awardees, but with the July cycle, the number of Office Servers and Services MVP’s went from 490 to 383 (-22%).

The number of Office Servers and Services and total number of MVP’s over the last years (since award restructuring).

Month oct2016 jan2017 jun2017 jul2017 jan2018 jun2018 jul2018
OSS 538 505 (-7%) 532 (+5%) 449 (-16%) 480 (+6%) 490 (+2%) 383 (-21%)
Total N/A N/A 4134 3490 (-16%) 3747 (+7%) 3815 (+2%) 3030  (-21%)

Unfortunately, I have no data on the other categories from before june 2017.

If you have questions or comments, please discuss in the comments.

2018-2019 Microsoft MVP Award

With great joy and honor I can announce that I have been awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award in the category Office Servers and Services (localized e-mail):

image

MVP awards are given to individuals by Microsoft in recognition of their contributions to the community, such as:

  • Writing blogs, articles, books.
  • Speaking engagements or podcasts.
  • Supporting others, e.g. forum or TechCommunity contributions.
  • Code contributions.
  • Product feedback.

This is my 5th consecutive year as an MVP. I used to be an “October MVP”, which meant my award was up in October every year. After the award cycle changed to a yearly one for everyone, this year was the first time all MVP’s who fell under the old quarterly cycles, were being up for renewal. It also meant, contributions of a longer period of time were being evaluated. So lots of kudos to the MVP leads and other folks that had to go through the monstrous task of reviewing thousands of contributions for this cycle.

Many thanks to the community, readers, followers, fellow MVP’s and friends, peers, product groups and other Microsoft employees for their encouragement, inspiration and support over all those years.

My MVP profile can be found here.

Exchange Updates – June 2018

Ex2013 LogoThe Exchange Team released the June updates for Exchange Server 2013 and 2016, and an additional Rollup 22 for Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 3.

Apart from fixes and time zone changes, these updates contain the following important changes and notes:

  • As announced earlier, Exchange 2013 CU21 and Exchange 2016 CU10 require .NET Framework 4.7.1.
  • All three updates require the VC++ 2013 runtime library, because it is needed by a 3rd component in WebReady Document Viewing in Exchange 2010/2013 and Data Loss Prevention in Exchange 2013/2016. Exchange 2010 SP3 RU22 will force installation of this VC++ runtime.
  • Updates include a critical security patch for Oracle Outside In libraries. More about the issue in MSRC advisory ADV180010.
  • Exchange 2013 CU21 and Exchange 2016 CU10 introduce support for directly creating and enabling remote shared mailboxes, e.g.
    New-RemoteMailbox [-Shared] [-Name remoteMailboxName]
    Enable-RemoteMailbox [-Identity user] [-Shared] [-RemoteRoutingAddress user@domain]
    Set-RemoteMailbox [-Name user] [-Type Shared]

    You need to run setup /PrepareAD to see these changes. More information in KB4133605.

  • This is the last planned Cumulative Update for Exchange 2013 as it enters Extended Support.
  • Exchange 2010 SP3 RU22 adds support for Windows Server 2016 Domain Controllers.

 

Version Build KB Article Download UMLP Schema Changes
Exchange 2016 CU10 15.1.1531.3 KB4099852 Download UMLP No
Exchange 2013 CU21 15.0.1395.4 KB4099855 Download UMLP No
Exchange 2010 SP3 RU22 14.3.411.0 KB4295699 Download

Exchange 2016 CU10 fixes:

  • 4056609 Event ID 4999 and mailbox transport delivery service won’t start with Exchange Server 2016 CU7 installed
  • 4133605 Cmdlets to create or modify a remote shared mailbox in an on-premises Exchange environment
  • 4133620 “HTTP 500 due to ADReferralException” error when a user tries to view detail properties of mailboxes in a child domain in Exchange Server
  • 4095974 “System.InvalidOperationException” occurs when the “Enable-MailPublicFolder” cmdlet is run against a public folder in Exchange Server
  • 4095973 Set-ServerComponentState cmdlet does not honor the write scope defined in the RBAC management scope in Exchange Server
  • 4095993 HTTP 500 error when an administrator tries to manage regional settings in ECP on Windows Server 2016
  • 4294209 Cannot clear the “Maximum message size” check box for Send messages or Receive messages in EAC in Exchange Server 2016
  • 4294208 “TooManyObjectsOpenedException” error when you run the “Get-PublicFolderMailboxDiagnostics” cmdlet in Exchange Server
  • 4294212 Cannot send VBScript-created messages in the Outlook 2016 client
  • 4294211 Cannot run “Set-CalendarProcessing” cmdlets after you apply CU8 or CU9 for Exchange Server 2016
  • 4294210 Cannot edit an email attachment in OWA in an Exchange Server 2016 environment
  • 4294204 Changing “IsOutOfService” to “False” in an earlier Exchange Server version does not immediately update in a later Exchange Server environment
  • 4092041 Description of the security update for Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 and 2016: May 8, 2018

Exchange 2013 CU20 fixes:

  • 4133605 Cmdlets to create or modify a remote shared mailbox in an on-premises Exchange environment
  • 4133604 User can’t log on to a POP/IMAP account by using NTLM authentication in Exchange Server 2013
  • 4133618 Unexpected error occurs when running the Get-DatabaseAvailabilityGroupNetwork cmdlet in Exchange Server 2013
  • 4133620 “HTTP 500 due to ADReferralException” when a user tries to view detail properties of mailboxes in a child domain in Exchange Server
  • 4058473 An Office 365 primary mailbox user cannot be assigned full access permissions for an on-premises mailbox in Exchange Server
  • 4094167 The MSExchangeRPC service crashes with a System.NullReferenceException exception in Exchange Server 2013
  • 4095974 “System.InvalidOperationException” occurs when the “Enable-MailPublicFolder” cmdlet is run against a public folder in Exchange Server
  • 4092041 Description of the security update for Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 and 2016: May 8, 2018
  • 4294205 POP3 services intermittently stop in an Exchange Server 2013 environment
  • 4294204 Changing “IsOutOfService” to “False” in an earlier Exchange Server version does not immediately update in a later Exchange Server environment

Exchange 2010 Rollup 22 fixes:

  • 4295751 EWS impersonation not working when accessing resource mailboxes in a different site in Exchange Server 2010 SP3

Notes:

  • Exchange 2016 CU8 and Exchange 2013 CU18 do not contain schema changes compared to their previous Cumulative Update. However, they introduce RBAC changes in your environment. Use setup /PrepareAD to apply RBAC changes, before deploying or updating Exchange servers.
  • When upgrading from an n-2 or earlier version of Exchange, or an early version of the .NET Framework, consult Upgrade Paths for CU’s & .NET.
  • When upgrading your Exchange 2013 or 2016 installation, don’t forget to put the server in maintenance mode when required. Regardless, setup will put the server in server-wide offline mode post-analysis, before making actual changes.
  • When using Exchange hybrid deployments or Exchange Online Archiving (EOA), you are required to stay at most one version behind (n-1).
  • If you want to speed up the update process for systems without internet access, you can follow the procedure described here to disable publisher’s certificate revocation checking.
  • Cumulative Updates can be installed directly, i.e. no need to install RTM prior to installing Cumulative Updates.
  • Once installed, you can’t uninstall a Cumulative Update nor any of the installed Exchange server roles.
  • The order in which you upgrade servers with Cumulative Updates is irrelevant.

Caution:

As for any update, I recommend to thoroughly test updates in a test environment prior to implementing them in production. When you lack such facilities, hold out a few days and monitor the comments on the original publication or forums for any issues.

Automation, DevOps and the Evolution of the IT Pro

iTunes-Podcast-logo[1]Recently, Simon Waight and I were invited by fellow MVP Chris Goosen from Cloud Architects to come chat a little on Automation, DevOps and the evolution of the IT Professional.

With the bridge narrowing between development and infrastructure on a daily basis, and infrastructure becoming code, the DevOps culture is becoming more and more important to be knowledgeable about for IT Professionals with a background in infrastructure.

You can listen to the podcast recording here, or you can subscribe to the Cloud Architects podcast.

 

MVP’s around the world

image.pngMid-2017, I  had a look at the publicly available statistics on MVP’s around the world after Microsoft changed their MVP award renewal regime. This was to check if there was any impact noticeable. With the regime change, also came a change that MVP’s can be awarded on a monthly basis. This means people can be awarded every month; maybe not in every category, but overall yes.

For the start of 2018, let’s first have a look at the total population of MVP’s. The total number of MVP’s went down from 3410 in July last year, to 3695 now (-15%). The table below contains the number of awards per category, and the change from July 2017 to January 2018:

Competence Jul2017 Jan2018 Change
Access 37 39 +5%
AI 1 20 +1900%
Business Solutions 193 214 +11%
Cloud and Datacenter Management 392 412 +5%
Data Platform 399 422 +6%
Enterprise Mobility 148 157 +6%
Excel 94 104 +11%
Microsoft Azure 311 350 +13%
Office Development 38 42 +11%
Office Servers and Services 449 480 +7%
OneNote 15 15 0%
Outlook 14 14 0%
PowerPoint 36 37 +3%
Visio 14 14 0%
Visual Studio and Development Technologies 901 1002 +11%
Windows and Devices for IT 148 136 -8%
Windows Development 277 266 -4%
Word 23 23 0%
Total 3490 3747 +7%

Note: The total number of MVP’s doesn’t equal the total number of competences, as people can be awarded in more than one category.

Overall, the numbers are up in most categories. However, as stated before, a big sanitation round is expected for Q3’2018, as this year the former October and January awardees will be up for the new yearly renewal cycle, which takes place mid-2018. The new category introduced last year, Artificial Intelligence, saw a significant number of folks being added.

When zooming in on the Office Servers and Services MVP’s category, the awards per country is shown in the following heath map and table. Note that anonymous MVP’s are not taken into account:

image

Country Number Country Number Country Number
Argentina 2 (0%) India 12 (0%) Russia 9 (12%)
Australia 23 (-18%) Ireland 1 (-50%) Saudi Arabia 1 (100%)
Austria 2 (100%) Israel 1 (0%) Serbia 1 (0%)
Belarus 1 (100%) Italy 10 (-10%) Singapore 4 (0%)
Belgium 7 (0%) Japan 18 (-6%) Slovakia 1 (0%)
Bosnia-Herzegovina 2 (-34%) Jordan 1 (100%) Slovenia 2 (0%)
Brazil 4 (-56%) Korea 7 (-37%) South Africa 5 (0%)
Brunei Darussalam 1 (0%) Kuwait 1 (0%) Spain 6 (0%)
Bulgaria 1 (-50%) Latvia 1 (0%) Sri Lanka 5 (-38%)
Canada 38 (-14%) Macedonia F.Y.R.O 1 (-50%) Sweden 8 (-12%)
Chile 1 (-50%) Malaysia 2 (-34%) Switzerland 5 (-29%)
China 15 (-22%) Mexico 4 (0%) Thailand 1 (0%)
Colombia 2 (-34%) Nepal 1 (100%) The Netherlands 15 (25%)
Croatia 6 (20%) New Caledonia 1 (100%) Turkey 5 (25%)
Czech Republic 4 (100%) New Zealand 5 (0%) Ukraine 2 (0%)
Denmark 4 (0%) Norway 6 (20%) United Arab Emirates 3 (-40%)
Egypt 2 (0%) Pakistan 2 (0%) United Kingdom 25 (0%)
Finland 2 (0%) Palestine 1 (0%) United States 111 (5%)
France 16 (0%) Peru 2 (100%) Uruguay 1 (0%)
Germany 19 (26%) Poland 3 (0%) Vietnam 2 (-50%)
Greece 1 (0%) Portugal 4 (-20%) TOTAL 480 (-5%)
Hungary 4 (33%) Romania 2 (0%)
When looking at the changes over the last year (January 2017 – January 2018), the total number went down from 505 to 480 (-5%). As the Office Servers and Services category contains quite a few long-standing, former October or January MVP awardees, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this year’s renewal cycle.


Security Updates for Exchange 2013 & 2016

Despite the quarterly wave of Cumulative Updates being imminent, CVE-2017-11932 and ADV170023 warranted a quick release of Security Update KB4045655 for current versions of Exchange 2013 and Exchange 2016.

This security update fixes a vulnerability in OWA, which could allow elevation of privilege or spoofing if an attacker sends an email that has a specially crafted attachment to a vulnerable Exchange server.

You can download the security updates here:

Be advised the update may leave your Exchange services in a disabled state, despite installing correctly. In those cases, reconfigure those services to Automatic and start them manually.

Also note that this security update overrides an earlier update, KB4036108, which might cause Calendar Sharing issues when split DNS is used.

Security updates are Cumulative Update level specific. Be advised that updates may carry the same name, e.g. the update for CU7 and the one for CU6 are both Exchange2016-KB4045655-x64-en.msp. I suggest adding some form of Cumulative Update identification to the file name when archiving it, e.g. Exchange2016-KB4045655-x64-en-CU7.msp.

As with any patch or update, I’d recommend to thoroughly test this in a test and acceptance environment first, prior to implementing it in production.