Wednesday, August 17, 2016

5 More Tips for Exchange Server 2013 Administrators

Are you thinking about deploying Exchange Server 2103 or have you already done it? Microsoft released the Exchange Server 2103 Preview  in July 2012 and the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) build for Exchange Server 2013 in October 2012. Exchange Server 2013 is now up to cumulative Update (CU) 13 released in June 2016 at the time of this blog post.  In this blog series, we share some helpful tips that will help you as an Exchange Server 2013 Administrator. Here is a link to the first post titled 5 Tips for Exchange 2013 Administrators. Now on to the next post in the series:"5 More Tips for Exchange Server 2013 Administrators"
5 More Tips for Exchange Server 2013 Administrators
  1. Learn how to search in the Exchange Admin Center
    Searching in the Exchange Admin Center is different than the Exchange Management Console in Exchange 2007. In older versions of Exchange using the Exchange Management Console (EMC) or the Exchange Control Panel (ECP), you were able to find mailboxes when searching by just entering the name or part of the name and you would get results. We published a post on how to search using the Exchange Admin Center so please check that out.

  2. Triple verify that your third party applications work with Exchange 2013.
    This includes Anti-virus exclusions, monitoring and auditing software. This is very important to know as you deploy Exchange 2013. If the vendor does not have a version that supports Exchange 2013 you run the risk of having the product impact your Exchange deployment and cause issues or if you opt not to use it until they do, then you lose the benefits that you purchased the product for in the first place. Either outcome is not what you want. We dealt with McAfee Anti-virus exclusion paths for Exchange directories impacting our Exchange 2013 deployment and until it was addressed we actually suspended migrations while we worked with McAfee, Microsoft and our security team. For more information on Anti-Virus Software in the Operating System on Exchange Servers

  3. Learn how the Exchange Administration Center works in Exchange Server 2103
    In an environment like ours which is a large enterprise, there are thousands of admins that manage user issues like creating mailboxes, distribution groups, Public Folders and adding user photos to name a few. We have created documentation to assist them using the Exchange Administration Center since the new interface is different to how users were managed in Exchange 2007 which is what we migrated from to Exchange 2013.

  4. Learn how Database Availability Groups(DAGs)work
    Database Availability Groups (DAGs) were first introduced in Exchange 2010 and are here to stay. DAGs are a base component of the high availability and site resilience framework built into Exchange 2013. A DAG is a group of up to 16 Mailbox servers that host a set of databases and provides automatic, database-level recovery from failures that affect individual databases, networks, or servers. Any server in a DAG can host a copy of a mailbox database from any other server in the DAG. When a server is added to a DAG, it works with the other servers in the DAG to provide automatic recovery from failures that affect mailbox databases, such as a disk failure or server failure. for more information, reference Database availability groups (DAGs)

  5. Use the tools provided by Microsoft: Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer and the Exchange Server Deployment Assistant
  6. When you are preparing to deploy Exchange, Microsoft has provided resources to help you. The Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer validates External connectivity to your servers and lets Exchange Admins run connectivity diagnostics to test issues with Exchange, Skype for Business/Lync and Office 365. There is also now a Client Testing option and Message Analyzer in the latest version of the tool. Here is a screenshot from

    The Exchange Server Deployment Assistant is a web-based tool that asks you a few questions about your current environment and then generates a custom step-by-step checklist that will help you deploy different versions of Exchange Server for different types of scenarios. Learn more at

BONUS TIP : Do not ignore the cloud.
The cloud has come a long way and should not be ignored in your Exchange 2013 deployment. A hybrid configuration where some user mailboxes are hosted in the cloud and are connected to the others deployed in your data centers is becoming a common scenario. A hybrid configuration provides a seamless look and feel for Exchange in your organization and Exchange Online in Microsoft Office 365. In addition, a hybrid deployment can serve as an intermediate step to moving completely to an Exchange Online organization. Reduced costs, benefits of not maintaining hardware and accessibility from anywhere are some of the factors that make Office 365 appealing to some companies and you may want to take a look at that.

We hope these tips have been helpful in your Exchange 2013 deployments. If you have any thoughts, opinions or comments feel free to share them below.