Exchange 2013 Lessons Learned

Below are some random lessons I learned doing my first Exchange 2013 deployment. Hope they help!

Exchange 2013 Versions

As of the time of this writing the third Cumulative Update (CU) is out for Exchange 2013 RTM. Cumulative Updates are similar to Update Rollups in previous Exchange versions in that they don’t require schema changes, etc. however they are full releases of the product similar to Service Packs in Exchange 2007/2010. So you don’t need to install Exchange 2013 RTM and then CU3, you can just do the install straight from the CU3 source (which is also why the Cumulative Updates are so large). You can download Exchange 2013 CU3 from here…

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=41175

Server Preparation

As in Exchange 2007/2010, Microsoft has a really good install guide that walks you through installing/configuring all of the prerequisites needed for the various roles and OS combinations in Exchange 2013. They make it pretty simple. Basically you just copy and paste PowerShell commands and follow links to software downloads. Now, if only they would just build this into the setup routine for Exchange like they did with TMG Server. You can find the prerequisite guide here…

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb691354(v=exchg.150).aspx

AD Preparation

Active Directory prep commands have changed slightly from previous versions of Exchange. Assuming you are installing Exchange 2013 in an existing Organization you would run…

Setup /PrepareSchema /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

Setup /PrepareAD /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

Setup /PrepareAllDomains /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

Accessing the Exchange Admin Center

The Exchange Admin Center (EAC) replaces the Exchange Management Console as the GUI interface for Exchange 2013 management (the Exchange Management Shell is still alive and well and needed more so with Exchange 2013 than was needed for Exchange 2010). If the account you are using for installing Exchange does not have a mailbox one will be created during installation. That makes accessing the EAC simple. You just browse to https://CasServerName/ecp and you are in. If you already have a mailbox though on Exchange 2010 accessing the EAC is a bit more complicated. If you try to connect to https://CasServerName/ecp you will end up proxied to the Exchange 2010 ECP and be left scratching your head as to what to do next. To keep the proxy from happening use the following URL…

https://CasServerName/ecp?ExchClientVer=15

There’s a lot more new/different in Exchange 2013 but hopefully this will get you headed in the right direction.

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