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On a recent project I had to consider how to implement meeting rooms in Exchange 2007 SP1. I read all of the available TechNet articles and posts and then I realized that it was not necessarily easy to set up meeting rooms with correct policies on the first try. So, I made a synthesis on how to quickly create the meeting room of your dreams, in hopes that this can help you.
Resource mailboxes are specific types of mailboxes that can represent meeting rooms or shared equipment and can be included as resources in meeting requests. The Active Directory user that is associated with a resource mailbox is a disabled account. The different types of resource mailboxes in Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 are:
Example 1: How to create a resource mailbox
Create a Room mailbox:
New-Mailbox -database "Storage Group 1\Mailbox Database 1" -Name ConfRoom1 -OrganizationalUnit "Conference Rooms" -DisplayName "ConfRoom1" -UserPrincipalName ConfRoom1@contoso.com -Room
Create an Equipment mailbox:
New-Mailbox -database "First Storage Group\Mailbox Database" -Name VCR1 -OrganizationalUnit Equipment -DisplayName "VCR1" - UserPrincipalName VCR1@contoso.com -Equipment
Create a Shared mailbox:
New-Mailbox -database "Storage Group 1\Mailbox Database 1" -Name SharedMailbox01 -OrganizationalUnit "Resource Mailboxes" -DisplayName "SharedMailbox01" -UserPrincipalName SharedMailbox01@contoso.com -Shared
You can configure resource mailbox properties for resource mailboxes. For example, you can use the ResourceCapacity, Office, and ResourceCustom parameters with the Set-Mailbox cmdlet to configure some of these settings.
Custom resource properties can help users select the most appropriate room or equipment by providing additional information about the resource. For example, you can create a custom property for room mailboxes called AV. You can add this property to all rooms that have audio-visual equipment. This allows users to identify which conference rooms have audio-visual equipment available. A custom resource cannot contain a value; it's only a flag that can be added to a resource mailbox, flags are defined globally for the Exchange organization.
Before you can assign custom resource properties to a room or equipment mailbox, you must first create these properties by modifying the resource configuration of your Exchange organization. Custom resource can be added with the Set-ResourceConfig cmdlet.
Example 2: Create Custom Properties for Resource Mailbox
Set-ResourceConfig -ResourcePropertySchema ("Room/TV", "Room/VCR", "Equipment/Auto")
Example 3 : Configure Resource Mailbox Properties
Set-Mailbox -Identity "ResourceMailbox01" -ResourceCustom ("TV","VCR") -ResourceCapacity 50
Before explaining how to create the different types of room mailbox, we must focus on the settings that can be done with Set-MalboxCalendarSettings. With this cmdlet you can configure many parameters on the resource mailbox (maximum meeting duration allowed, default reminder time, etc...). A complete list with description is available at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa996340.aspx.
The main parameter that interests us is AutomateProcessing which allows enabling or disabling calendar management on the resource mailbox. The three possible values are:
The AutoAccept value enables the resource booking policies to manage who can book the room and under what conditions. For each room mailbox, each user can be member of different policies:
In the context of resource mailboxes, InPolicy and OutOfPolicy simply mean whether or not the meeting invitation matches any restrictions enabled on the resource mailbox. There are also policies to specify permissions for all users (AllBookInPolicy, AllRequestInPolicy, AllRequestOutOfPolicy).
For example MaximumDurationInMinutes value for the resource mailbox is 30 minutes, any meeting invitation longer than 30 minutes would be OutOfPolicy. Using the RequestOutOfPolicy field, you can manually add users that are allowed to request meetings that are not within the policy.
Figure 1 : Booking Policy - Who can schedule a resource for an Auto-Accept resource mailbox
Now that we know how to create a meeting room with ideas a little clearer on strategies, let's look at main scenarios of room mailbox that we can implement:
To set automatic booking , set AutomateProcessing to AutoAccept to enable resource booking policies. With the default configuration of room policies, all users will then be allowed to send in-policy meeting requests. These requests will be processed automatically by the room.
Example 4: How to enable automatic booking on a Resource Mailbox
Set-MailboxCalendarSettings -Identity "Conference Room" -AutomateProcessing AutoAccept
To set the room forwarding the incoming meeting requests to a delegate for approval, you must enable and configure policies, and define a delegate:
Example 5: How to set a Room to forward request to a delegate
Set-MailboxCalendarSettings -Identity "Training Room" -AutomateProcessing AutoAccept -ResourceDelegates "Isabelle Dupont" -AllBookInPolicy:$false -AllRequestInPolicy:$true
The delegate can now manage meeting requests forwarded by the room mailboxes from his own mailbox by accepting or rejecting them. He can also access to the calendar folder of the room mailbox (by the "Open other user's folder" feature of Outlook client). It should be noted that the responses received by the organizers will be from the delegate on behalf of the room mailbox.
Note: When the Set-MailboxCalendarSettings cmdlet is re-run to modify any settings the original delegate's permissions are removed. The delegate is still displayed when running the 'Get-MailboxCalendarSettings' cmdlet however if you look at the permissions on the resource calendar, the delegate's permissions have been removed. To re-grant permissions on the resource calendar you must run a "Set-MailboxCalendarSettings resource_alias -ResourceDelegates:$null" command. Afterwards you can re-grant permissions to the intended user. Until this problem is fixed, we would recommend running this command before making any changes to resource delegates.
It's the default of a newly created room with the AutomateProcessing parameter set to AutoUpdate.
The Calendar Attendant will process meeting requests which will sit in the calendar of the room in a "tentative state" waiting a delegate approval. The delegate needs permissions to connect to the resource mailbox and manage the meeting requests: "Full Mailbox Access" to access the resource mailbox and for example "Send-As" to respond to requests in a transparent manner.
Example 6: The delegate manage the request from the resource mailbox
Set-MailboxCalendarSettings -Identity "Conference Room" -AutomateProcessing AutoUpdate
Add-MailboxPermission -AccessRights FullAccess -Identity "Conference Room" -User "Isabelle Dupont"
Add-ADPermission -Identity "Conference Room" -User "Isabelle Dupont" -ExtendedRights Send-As
Note: "Send As" versus "Send on Behalf"
Based on the previously detailed main scenarios the minimum parameters to set are the following:
Resource Calendar Settings
All Book In Policy
All Request In Policy
Request forwarded to delegates
List of Delegates
Delegates approve from room mailbox
Whatever the scenario, a delegate can modify the resource booking parameter (except the delegate's part) by accessing the resource mailbox with Outlook Web Access (https://email@example.com). To do this, the delegate needs the "Full Mailbox Access" permission to the resource mailbox.
Figure 2 : Resource Mailbox Settings with Outlook Web Access
For further reading and the most up-to-date information:
-- Murat Gunyar