Saturday, November 6, 2010

Exchange 2010 SP1 on Win 2008 (not as easy as I thought)

Yesterday was my first time to get an install of Exchange 2010 SP1 up and running in a production environment with Windows 2008 as the OS. I ran into a few hiccups and would like to share.

In this particular project, the original OS install was done by someone else. This may have caused part of my confusion as I didn't closely checkout the installation before starting.

This is an Exchange 2003 environment where Exchange 2010 is being added and coexistence will continue for about a week. Exchange 2010 was installed from the Exchange 2010 SP1 download rather than any sort of upgrade.

During the installation, an option exists to install necessary prerequisites. I figured I'd try it out and see. Unfortunately, even on a fully patched Windows 2008 server, I was still forced to download 6 hotfixes and additional chunks of software. I don't recally downloading any of these for Windows 2008 R2. So, it may be OS specific.

The Web server role was added, but did not have the necessary service roles. So, I added everything that was requested by setup. I'm not sure whether the Web server role was added by setup or whether it was preexisting when I started and that is why the setup was off.

When the installation was done, I patched it with rollup 1 for Exchange 2010 SP1. Finally it's time to test.

The first big issue was OWA not working properly on Exchange 2010. It went to a blank page instead of providing the logon screen and no errors were generated. It turns out that the Web server role did not have redirection or static pages enabled. I enabled both and then it worked fine. I'm not sure that the static pages were required as it appeared to be a redirection issue, but since it's a normal option to me, I turned it on.

Again, I'm not sure whether the odd IIS configuration was due to the installation routine or the original setup performed by another tech. However, it is interesting that Exchange setup did not tell me that the redirection was required. And it definitely is for correct OWA logons with forms-based authentication.

When searching related to my OWA issue, I saw that there are a number of people that have various OWA problems after applying Rollup 1 for Exchange 2010 SP1. However, my issue was not related to that.

My second big issue was that no routing group connector was created between Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2010 as should have been. I created it manually (New-RoutingGroupConnector) and all was good. During my multiple install attempts after applying updates, I seleted the option to reuse the existing installation options. I think the requirement to create the routing group connector may have been lost because of that, but I'm not sure.