Last week the Exchange team released SP2 for Exchange 2010 over on the Exchange team blog as described in the previous post which announced the upcoming release.

I wanted to use this blog entry to provide links to all the relevant content for SP2 and to raise awareness of some specific issues so that they will not negatively impact your deployments. 

You may have heard of the four main features that are included in SP2

While these are great additions in functionality over and above the other issues fixed with the service pack, please enjoy the service pack responsibly!

What do I mean by that?  Well, you need to ensure that you are fully informed about the caveats with the service pack and are aware of all of the changes that it will make within your environment.  Additionally you will need to test the service pack in your lab which is representative of your production environment.  Third party software vendors should also be consulted to ensure that they are in a position to support Exchange 2010 SP2 as you do not want to rush out and install SP2, run into an issue, and then discover that vendor X does not currently support their product when running with Exchange 2010 SP2.  That would be called a RGE (Resume Generating Event). 

To read up on the full details of what is contained within the service pack please carefully read the following. 

What's New in Exchange 2010 SP2

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh529924.aspx

Exchange 2010 Release Notes

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh529928.aspx 

Issues That Are Fixed in Exchange 2010 SP2

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh672189.aspx

Multi-Tenancy and Hosting Guidance for Exchange 2010 SP2

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=28192 

Exchange 2010 SP2 Build Of ExMon (Exchange User Monitor)

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=11461 

 

For the travelling consultants and mobile workers out there who like to read technical documentation on airplanes, the SP2 offline help file can be obtained from the download centre.

 

 

The TechNet documentation has numerous items that need to be considered to ensure a successful deployment which include:

  • Order to update Roles
  • Prerequisites that are required
  • Issues around updating CAS Array servers
  • Updating DAG members

Over and above this there are some specific issues that I wanted to call out. 

Installation Of Prerequisites

Note that you will have to ensure that the prerequisites are installed if you run the GUI installer for the service pack to update an existing Exchange 2010 SP1 server.  To achieve this on a Windows 2008 R2 server, open an elevated PowerShell prompt and run:

Import-Module servermanager 

Add-WindowsFeature Web-WMI

Alternatively you may run the command line installer, which will install the required OS components:

Setup.com /M:upgrade /InstallWindowsComponents

 

Of course the above is not a surprise as you did read the release notes?

Changes to MRS Proxy

Note that the method to control Mailbox Replication Service Proxy has changed in SP2.  Previously this was enabled/disabled by editing the web.config files for the web application on each individual CAS server.  This would typically involve:

  1. Open the following file with a text editor such as Notepad.
    <Exchange Installation Path>\V14\ClientAccess\ExchWeb\EWS\web.config
  2. Locate the following section in the web.config file:
    <!-- Mailbox Replication Proxy Service configuration -->
    <MRSProxyConfiguration
    IsEnabled="false"
    MaxMRSConnections="100"
    DataImportTimeout="00:01:00" />
  3. Change the value of IsEnabled to "true".
  4. Save, and then close the web.config file.

 

When upgrading to SP2 the MRS proxy will be set to a disabled state.  Until re-enabled cross-forest mailbox moves will not be processed.  This is  similar to the behaviour of a defined static TCP port for the Address Book Service when updating from Exchange 2010 RTM to SP1.  With Exchange 2010 SP1, you no longer use the “Microsoft.exchange.addressbook.service.exe.config” file to assign a static Exchange Address Book Service RPC port; this configuration is controlled using the registry. Previous custom settings are not preserved.  The same is true for MRS proxy and you will need to re-enable it if required. 

The great part of the change is that MRS proxy is now controlled by PowerShell in Exchange 2010 SP2, and thus is a great deal easier to manage.  MRS proxy is controlled via the Set-WebServicesVirtualDirectory cmdlet and an example of enabling MRSProxy and modifies the maximum number of simultaneous connections that an MRSProxy instance accepts to 50. The default is 100 connections:

Set-WebServicesVirtualDirectory -Identity "EWS (Default Web Site)" -MRSProxyEnabled $true -MRSMaxConnections 50

RBAC Warnings

Whilst in a transitional stage and all servers are not upgraded to Exchange 2010 SP2 you may receive some warnings relating to your management role definitions.  An example would be:

WARNING: The object MyMailboxDelegation has been corrupted, and it's in an inconsistent state. The following validation errors happened:
WARNING: The property value you specified, "15", isn't defined in the Enum type "ScopeType".

Note that this issue is not specific to Exchange 2010 SP2, and you may also see it with SP1 RU6 installed.  The aspects of this have been discussed on the Exchange team blog and there is also a Knowledgebase article on the topic as well. 

PowerShell Execution Policy

When Exchange 2010 is installed it will automatically set the PowerShell execution policy to be RemoteSigned.  This is required to allow Exchange setup to run the necessary scripts to install and manage the product.  Do not set the Execution policy to restricted, else installations will not complete successfully.

This has been documented previously. 

Required Active Directory Schema Changes

Please note that SP2 requires changes to be made to the Active Directory schema. This information was announced during the development cycle so that everyone would be proactively informed of the pending changes. Details of the schema changes are contained in the documentation. For many customers this will mean that change requests will have to be reviewed, approved and potentially implemented by different teams within the organization.  Be sure to account for this when planning for a successful implementation in your environment. 

What else can you do to assist with a smooth installation? Leverage the in-box Microsoft provided scripts to start/stop maintenance on DAG members and then re-balance the DAG after maintenance has been completed.

If you take the time and thoroughly prepare for the installation, Exchange 2010 will continue to provide solid messaging services to you organisation. 

Cheers,

Rhoderick