What’s New and Cool in Exchange 2016 – It’s out now!

10/12 Update: Link to Exchange 2016 Preferred Architecture added
10/2 Update: Known Issues section added near the end

Continuing my “What’s New and Cool” series that started with Exchange 2007, this article is on Exchange 2016 which was released today! For the latest timeframe information on the other Wave 16 releases see this roadmap page by Redmond Magazine.

Download here | EHLO Blog Post | Release Notes

Exchange 2016 builds upon Exchange 2013 and the extensive experience Microsoft has gained from running Exchange in the cloud publicly since the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) in November 2008 and Office 365. The experience Microsoft has gained from running Exchange 2016 in Office 365 for almost a year will benefit on-premises customers greatly. The same code using for Office 365 is converted into on-premises installable version, which a few features disabled that are only available in O365. Sadly Clutter and the new “Office 365” groups will be only available in O365. For info on these two technologies see these two articles by Tony Redmond: Q&A Clutter and Using Office 365 groups with Outlook 2016. You can read more about Office 2016 here What’s New and Improved in Office 2106 & Office 2016 Quick Start Guides.

While I still love Exchange and recommend it over any other on-premises email and calendaring solution, for small, medium, and even large organization, the value that Office 365 provides is huge! If you’re running Exchange on-premises today and are a small (<250 users) organization there are VERY few reasons to be running your own messaging systems anymore. Medium and larger orgs tend to have some special requirements and a migration to O365 does take proper planning and testing, so the move isn’t as quick or easy but it still a very viable option for most orgs. Check out this Microsoft site for information on this topic: http://www.whymicrosoft.com/see-why/customers-find-value-choosing-office-365/

2016 Announcements and Articles

Here are some of the best places to go for more details on Exchange 2016:

Also join the Exchange Information Sharing Facebook group here that I admin with Tony Redmond and a few other Exchange MVPs: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MSExchangeInfo/. This group is primarily focused on Exchange 2016.

Key Changes in Exchange 2016

  1. One Role to Rule Them All – Single role only, unless you count the Edge Transport server
  2. Reliability and performance improvement – This is major benefit of “Born in the cloud”, 2016 being designed for and tested in O365 for almost a year before going to public beta
  3. Faster and more intuitive search
    1. Server side search speed significantly improved
    2. Message index by the Transport layer – No delay on messages and attachments showing up in search results
    3. Outlook 2016 will utilize server side search improvements, even when in cached mode,
    4. Fuzzy logic based search and suggestions shown as you type; based on content in your mailbox, people you communicate with, and your query history
  4. 33% faster failovers than 2013
  5. Simplified document sharing with support for OneDrive and SharePoint 2016
  6. New Outlook web experience

General Changes

Reliability, Scalability & Performance

  1. Additional storage performance improvements – 22% less IOPS than 2013 or 95% less than 2003! – STOP using expensive SAN solutions and high speed disks for Exchange!!!
  2. Faster and more scalable eDiscovery – Big effort was spent on improving search performance in 2016
  3. Hybrid improvements – Improved UI & error handling
  4. Database divergence detection and repair
  5. Support for 1 million Public Folders, also supported in 2013 CU8
  6. Resilient File System (ReFS) recommended for DB & log volumes
  7. Refactoring of mailbox size statics to be more accurate, expect around a 10% growth in reported usages of mailbox
  8. Support for dynamically expanding VHDX files – Legacy expanding VHD and differencing disk are still unsupported

Server and Role Changes

  1. “Up-Down” proxy support for Exchange 2013 – 2013 and 2016 can proxy to other 2013 or 2016 servers
  2. Office Web Apps Server required for Office document viewing in OWA/OotW
  3. Non-IP/Administrative Access Point (AAP) DAG used by default

Enhanced Features, Extensibility & Usability

  1. Modern attachment support – With Outlook 2016 and OotW using file sharing services, like OneDrive, will be much easier
  2. DLP improvements – More templates, Mail Tips, and document fingerprinting
  3. MAPI over HTTP on by default – Added in Exchange 2013 SP1, but could only be enabled at org level; with 2016 it can be enabled at the user level
  4. Support for litigation hold of Public Folder content
  5. Supported in Azure, using premium storage only – But this should only be an option in very special cases, if you want hosted Exchange use Office 365
  6. Greater extensibility – Greatly improved Add-In module for Outlook and Outlook on the Web

OWA Changes

  • Renamed to Outlook on the Web
  • GAL UI picker removed, replaced with search paradigm
  • UI being tweaked to look more like “Outlook Mobile”
  • Frequent contacts tracked and suggested when starting a new email
  • Undo action button, like accidental deletes & moves
  • Pinning of message to top of the Inbox
  • Sweep support for touch devices
  • Improved, “Modern Attachment” attachment support, including Most Recently Used (MRU) list of attachments

New APIs

Preferred Architecture for 2016

See The Exchange 2016 Preferred Architecture post on the EHLO blog for full details. Lots of great info in this Channel 9 – Microsoft Ignite session by Ross Smith also: Exchange Server Preferred Architecture, but in summary:


  • Multi-role (it’s your only option with 2016 now)
  • Commodity hardware
    • Dual-socket system, 20-24 cores max, and mid-range processors
    • Max of 96GB of RAM


  • Large capacity 7.2k SAS disks
  • Battery-backed cache controller (75/25)
  • Multiple databases per volume
  • Auto-Reseed with hot spare drives
  • Data volumes are formatted with ReFS and encrypted with BitLocker


  • Single namespace (FQDN) used for all sites
    • Except for Outlook Web Apps Server, should be on namespace per datacenter for OWAS
  • Layer 7 network load balancer with one VIP per datacenter, with per-service health checking.
    • No session affinity
      • Except for Outlook Web Apps Server, should be enabled for OWAS
    • Round-robin Geo-DNS
    • Symmetrical DAGs spanning datacenters
    • No administrative access point
    • Single network for replication and client traffic
    • Utilize a third datacenter or Azure for Witness server placement, if possible
    • Deploy four copies per database, two copies in each datacenter
      • One copy is a lagged for seven days

Known Issues

  1. 10/1: Can add an Exchange 2013 database to a 2016 DAG
  2. 10/1: Can’t connect to archive mailbox when using MAPI over HTTP
    • Only an issue if 1) MAPI over HTTP is enabled on the user’s mailbox AND 2) MAPI over HTTP is disabled at the organization level
    • Users will get the error: “The set of folders cannot be opened. The attempt to log on to Microsoft Exchange has failed”
    • Workaround: Disable MAPI over HTTP for the mailbox
      • Set-CasMailbox -MapiHttpEnabled $False

Features that didn’t make RTM but should appear in a future CU

  1. Auto-expanding archives – Providing nearly unlimited archive mailboxes, if enabled & desired
  2. 40% reduction in network usage – Indexing built using local DB copy instead of active copy only
  3. Loose Log Truncation aka Log Reply Manager enabled by default – Prevents an off-line database from causing excessive and space consuming log build up on other replicas

Discontinued from 2013

  1. Client Access and separate Mailbox roles, just Exchange Server now
  2. Exchange 2007 & Outlook 2007 support
  3. Windows Server 2008 R2 and earlier support for Exchange servers
    1. Must be at least one Windows 2008 R2 or higher writable DC\GC in each AD site with an Exchange 2016 server
    2. Windows 10/2016 Server may or may not be supported with Exchange 2016 RTM
  4. Pre-Windows Server 2008 forest or domain functionality level
  5. MAPI/CDO – REST APIs should be used
  6. Outlook 2008 EWS for Mac

What’s discontinued in Exchange 2016, include a list of features disconnected from 2010 also see: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj619283(v=exchg.160).aspx

De-emphasized, may not be in the next version

  1. Third-party replication APIs
  2. RPC over HTTP
  3. DAG support for cluster administrative points

What’s New and Cool Historical Posts

2013: http://blog.jasonsherry.net/2012/07/31/new_cool_exchange_2013/
2010: http://blog.jasonsherry.net/2009/04/15/whats-new-and-cool-in-exchange-2010-e14/
2007: http://blog.jasonsherry.net/2006/07/21/whats-new-exchange-2007/

Posted in Exchange, Technical | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Exchange 2013 CU10 and 2010 SP3 UR11 have been released

The latest updates to Exchange 2010 and 2013 were posted 9/15/2015.

Exchange Team EHLO Blog Post: Released: September 2015 Quarterly Exchange Updates.

Like the previous CUs for 2013, this is a full install and upgrade. CUs are supported for three months after the next CU comes out, so CU9 support ends on 11/15/2015 now. See the EHLO post: Servicing Exchange 2013 for more details.

O365 Hybrid customers are required to be running the most current CU, so test CU10 in your labs and then upgrade ASAP. Exchange 2013 CUs cannot be uninstalled or rolled back, so test the latest CU in your lab with any Exchange integrated applications.

Exchange 2010 SP3 Update Rollup 11 includes an important fix for Information Store crashes for customers who are also upgrading from Lync to Skype for Business.

These updates will also be required for coexistence and upgrade support to Exchange 2016. Exchange 2007 will not be supported, for coexistences and migration to Exchange 2016. So if you are on Exchange 2007 still and want to goto 2016 you need to upgrade 1st to 2010 or 2013, or look into 3rd party tools. Bit more details on this topic on Tony Redmond’s post here: Updates lay the foundation for the launch of Exchange 2016

For more details see the EHLO blog post, 2010 KB3078674, and 2013 KB3078678.

Posted in Exchange | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Exchange 2016 Preview is out!

Quick post, plan on coming out with a What’s New & Cool post when I can find some time.

Just posted to the Exchange Team blog here: http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2015/07/22/announcing-exchange-server-2016-preview.aspx. Below is a summary of the content from this EHLO Blog post

You can download Exchange 2016 preview here and see the introduction to Exchange 2016 from Ignite here.

Here some key changes & new features in 2016

  1. Simplified architecture -> Only one role
    • In most environment it was recommended to deploy all-in-one servers starting with Exchange 2013 and now this is the only option. Check out this Exchange 2016 architecture overview by Ross Smith for more details
  2. Improved reliability
    • Failovers are now 33% faster than 2013, part of this is due changes in how the passive node works
    • Passive node will use the local DB copies to perform index updates, this reduces network overhead by 40% and decreases failover time
    • Replay Lag Manager is enabled by default, see this great blog post by Tony Redmond: The underappreciated Exchange Replay Lag Manager. This feature is in 2013, but disabled by default
  3. Faster and improved search
    • Multiple changes have been made to significantly improve server side search performance
    • Outlook 2016, even when in cached mode, will also utilized the server side search to improve Outlook search performance
    • The search UI in both OWA and Outlook 2016 has been made more intuitive and search results are influenced based on people you communicate with, your mailbox content, and search history
  4. OWA – Outlook Web App improvements
    • There is a big focus to make OWA work across the many different devices and form factors out there and it shows in 2016
    • New features include: Sweep, Pin, Undo, inline reply, ability to propose new time for meeting invites, a new single-line inbox view, improved HTML rendering, better formatting controls, ability to paste inline images, new themes, and emojis, to name a few
  5. Auto-expanding archives
    • For users who have VERY large archiving mailboxes, when they hit 100GB Exchange 2016 will automatically deploy auxiliary archive mailboxes 50GB at a time. These additional mailboxes will all be merged into one from a client perspective, similar to the way modern Public Folders work in Exchange 2013 and higher
  6. Enhanced Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
    • Building on the DLP support in Exchange 2013, 30 new sensitive information types have been added
    • DLP can now be configured in transport using a 3rd party classification system
  7. Faster and more scalable eDiscovery
    • Building on the overhaul of the search architecture to support asynchronous and distributing the work across multiple servers results will be returned much faster
    • Public Folder support added, including for retention hold
    • Unlimited mailboxes searches, via cmdlet, are also supported now
  8. Hybrid improvements
    • Support has been improved in multiple ways
  9. Greater extensibility
    •  Both Outlook desktop and OWA both support a better Add-In model
Posted in Exchange | Tagged | Leave a comment

I got married 5/15/2015 15:15 and life has been very busy for the last year…

This past year has been VERY busy, well the past three have, and I’ll blame this on the three children I’m now helping to raise. Well worth the time investment!

Two of those are Rose’s, my partner/companion/wife as of 5/15/2015. We have been together for 3.5 years and she has two children: Alex 8 and Elizabeth 12. In addition, my niece Autumn, 16, moved it with us two years ago. So the previous bachelor pad has mostly been turned into a family & kids zone :)

If you’re curious you can view pictures of our wedding here on Facebook or Flickr here (pro pics) or here for friends & personal pictures of the wedding, party, and preparation.

I also changed jobs in Sept 2014, when I joined Commvault Systems as a Solutions Specialist focusing on Microsoft Infrastructure (AD, Exchange, SharePoint, SQL, server) technologies. In this role I work with sales and customers to help them understand how Commvault works with Microsoft solutions and to how to best deploy both to meet their data management and regulatory & other organizational requirements for data retention, reporting, eDiscovery, and more.

So to my blog hasn’t been updated much this year, so I apologize for that.

Posted in Personal | Tagged | Leave a comment

Joke: New Drive Shipping Technology in Microsoft Exchange Server 2016

4/2: The post below was posted as an April fools joke :)

Repost from:
by Boris Lokhvitsky

In the modern messaging world, there is a clear and apparent trend for increasing volume of messaging data communicated, accumulated and stored in Microsoft Exchange mailboxes. Growing mailbox capacity expedites adoption for large 6TB and 8TB hard drives used in the storage solutions for Microsoft Exchange. This also creates significant challenges for database replication, which is a cornerstone technology providing data redundancy and high availability to Exchange mailboxes. Despite the high bandwidth networks becoming more and more common for most customers, even 10 Gbps networks have challenges processing bandwidth intensive Exchange database replication and indexing.

It is an easy though not obvious math exercise to realize that the process of offline data shipping using hard drives as a carrier is capable to achieve much higher data throughput than any currently available network technologies can provide. For example, shipping just 1,000 8TB hard drives across the United States using UPS service takes only 5 business days (and could be further expedited using rush delivery option), which translates into the bandwidth of ~150 Gbps – far exceeding the capability of the most advanced WAN links available today!

Inspired by this consideration, Microsoft Exchange team started working to implement drive shipping as the new data replication technology. As you know, we already work on implementing drive shipping in Office 365 as an efficient mechanism to import PST files, which is provided as part of Azure Import Export Service:

Today, we are happy to announce that in the upcoming Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 we will completely switch to the drive shipping technology. It will replace transaction log shipping currently used in Exchange DAGs for database replication. New replication process will be still controlled by Microsoft Exchange Replication service, which is completely reworked and now integrated with U.S. Postal Service (via postal.dll component) and with leading courier delivery services such as FedEx and UPS.

Only 3.5 inch SATA II/III hard drives are currently supported for use with the drive shipping service. Hard drives larger than 8TB are not supported. For import jobs, only the first data volume on the drive will be processed. The data volume must be formatted with NTFS.

Service agreement with existing Office 365 customers will include necessary supply of the drives required for drive shipping. For the on premises customers, Enterprise license for Exchange 2016 will include one-year service agreement with leading U.S. courier delivery services – FedEx and UPS.

Our product roadmap does not stop there. Microsoft is currently working to implement the new drive shipping transport protocols based on drone delivery. If successful, the drone delivery architecture might also replace the outdated and inefficient SMTP protocol currently still being used for e-mail transmission.

We hope that all customers realize the benefits and advantages of the new drive shipping technology and start enjoying new functionality coming in Exchange Server 2016!

by Boris Lokhvitsky
April 1, 2015

Posted in Exchange | Tagged | 2 Comments

KB3002657 v2 release for Windows 2003 – Fixes authentication issues on 2003 DCs

For details on this issue see my blog post here: Warning: KB3002657 can break authentication, with Exchange and other apps & devices

Microsoft added this note to the MS15-027 post

V2.0 (March 16, 2015): To address a connectivity issue with update 3002657 when installed on supported editions of Windows Server 2003, Microsoft released update 3002657-v2 for all supported editions of Windows Server 2003. Customers who have not already installed the 3002657 update should install update 3002657-v2 to be fully protected from this vulnerability. To avoid the possibility of future detection logic problems, Microsoft recommends that customers running Windows Server 2003 who have already successfully installed the 3002657 update also apply update 3002657-v2 even though they are already protected from this vulnerability. Customers running other Microsoft operating systems are not affected by this rerelease and do not need to take any action. See Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 3002657 for more information.

Download KB3002657 v2 here: x86 | x64 | Itanium

Posted in Technical, Windows | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Exchange 2013 CU8, 2010 SP3 UR9, & 2007 SP3 UR16 Released

3/23 Update: AD Schema changes are not made if already running 2013 CU7
3/19 Update: Added info on Public Folder scalability improvements

Exchange 2013 CU8, 2010 SP3 CU9, and 2007 SP3 UR16 were released on 3/17/2015

2013 CU8 | Download | KB3030080 | EHLO Post
2010 SP3 UR9 | Download | KB3030085| EHLO Post
2007 SP3 UR16 | Download | KB3030086| EHLO Post
Some of the above KBs may not be available yet, but should be within 24 hours

Key changes in 2013 CU8

  1. Public Folders
    1. Scalability improvements
      1. Up to 1 million Public Folders on 2013, a 400% increase from CU7!
        • Still limited to 100 PF Mailboxes and 100,000 Folders per PF Mailbox
      2. Up to 500,000 legacy (2007 or 2010) Public Folders being migrated to 2013
    2. Support for accessing Calendar & Contacts folders in OWA
    3. Adding favorite folders in Outlook
    4. Improved throughput and migration experience to 2013
      • Throughput is increased via multiple moves being carried at once, one per target Public Folder mailbox
  2. ActiveSync redirection to Office 365, after mailboxes are moved from on-premises to O365
    • Both Exchange 2013 CU8 and 2010 SP3 UR9 include this support
  3. Updates to AD schema
    • Only if running 2013 CU6 or earlier, CU7 & CU8 have the same schema updates

Also see Tony Redmond’s post on this “boring” update: Exchange 2013 CU8 appears. Instant boredom ensues – but for the best possible reason which is a good thing :)

Exchange 2010 & 2103 ActiveSync with hybrid deployments improvements

With Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update 8 and Exchange 2010 SP3 RU9, improvements have been made to Exchange ActiveSync in a hybrid deployment with Office 365. Previously, when a mailbox was moved from an on-premises Exchange server to Office 365, the user’s mobile device would stop syncing with their mailbox. To resolve this issue, the user would need to reconfigure it, to point to m.outlook.com, or recreate the email account on their device.  With the release of Exchange 2013 CU8 and Exchange 2010 SP3 RU9, Exchange will now automatically redirect the mobile device, if it supports this, to Office 365 when the mailbox is moved. With only a few exceptions, the user no longer needs to manually set up their device for mail to keep working. In addition to Exchange 2013 CU8, automatic redirection is supported in the following scenarios:

  • Exchange 2007 on-premises organizations (not supported)
  • Exchange 2010 on-premises organizations where the following is true:
    • All Exchange 2010 Client Access servers are running at least Exchange 2010 SP3 UR9
    • A hybrid deployment was configured using the Exchange Hybrid Configuration wizard
  • Mix Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2013 on-premises organizations where the following is true:
    • A hybrid deployment was configured using the Exchange Hybrid Configuration wizard
    • All Client Access servers have been replaced with either Exchange 2013 CU8 Client Access servers (with at least one Exchange 2013 CU8 Mailbox server) or Exchange 2010 SP3 UR9 Client Access servers

If your organization meets the requirements listed above, mobile devices should automatically be redirected to Office 365 when a user’s mailbox is moved, without any additional configuration. For the best experience, make sure your users’ mobile devices are running the latest versions of their operating systems and e-mail clients. Some mobile devices, such as those running the Android operating system, might not correctly interpret the Exchange ActiveSync 451 redirection instructions sent by Exchange. For these devices, users will still need to manually reconfigure or recreate their email account on the device. If you have questions about whether a device supports Exchange ActiveSync 451 redirection, contact the device manufacturer.

Changes coming in CU9, that were initially on the list for CU8

OWA logoff behavior will change in CU9, see this EHLO article for more details: OWA Forms Based Auth Logoff Changes in Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update 9. This does affect clients using TMG, so read this article to be prepared for the changes coming in CU9.

Also coming in CU9, is the ability to have Sent Items from a shared mailbox to got the shared mailbox Sent Items folder vs. the sending user’s. See this EHLO article for more details: Want more control over Sent Items when using shared mailboxes?

Exchange 2007 SP3 UR16 only change is an update to time zones.

Known Issues

If major issues come up with these updates I will add a section on Known issues later. For Known Issues and updates in 2013 CU7 see: Exchange 2013 CU7, 2010 SP3 UR8, 2007 SP3 UR15 released & Known Issues

Posted in Exchange, Technical | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment