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Importance of Testing Exchange 2007

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Importance of Testing Exchange 2007

    Importance of Testing Exchange 2007

    by Jason Sherry Published 9/19/2007 Importance of Testing Exchange 2007

    Table of Contents What Makes Exchange 2007 Different? ........................................................................... 1 What’s New, and What’s Changed ............................................................................... 1 Changes to Device Drivers ........................................................................................... 4 Deemphasized Functionality ........................................................................................ 5 Discontinued Features ................................................................................................. 8 Changes That Impact Other Areas ............................................................................... 9 Areas to Test and to Consider ........................................................................................ 10 Applications ............................................................................................................... 10 Message Routing ....................................................................................................... 10 Disaster Recovery ...................................................................................................... 11 Clustering and HA ...................................................................................................... 12 Scalability .................................................................................................................. 13 Server roles ............................................................................................................... 14 Hub Transport ....................................................................................................... 14 Client Access .......................................................................................................... 15 Mailbox ................................................................................................................. 15 Unified Messaging ................................................................................................. 16 Transport rules and agents ........................................................................................ 16 Calendaring ............................................................................................................... 16 Resource mailboxes ................................................................................................... 18 UM ............................................................................................................................ 18 Legal discovery and message forensics ...................................................................... 18 Mobile access ............................................................................................................ 19 Managed Folders ....................................................................................................... 19 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 19

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    Importance of Testing Exchange 2007

    by Jason Sherry Published 9/19/2007

    What Makes Exchange 2007 Different?

    Similar to the migration from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2000 the migration to Exchange 2007 is a paradigm shift in many ways. Exchange 2007 differs completely from previous version of Exchange on how messages are routed, clustering and high availability options, scalability, disaster recovery, server management, resource scheduling, and general server placement due to the new server roles in Exchange 2007. Besides the changes to existing functionality E2k7 includes many new features like unified messaging, Exchange Management Shell, calendar concierge service, transport rules, managed folders, and others. Microsoft has also improved upon OWA, mobile device access and management, database architecture, management tools, and more. Behind the scenes, Exchange 2007 is both a rewrite of some Exchange 2003 code and new code. Most of Exchange 2007 was written using .NET and then compiled for Windows x64 for the first time, both of which required significant code changes in some areas. In addition, some APIs and other features were dropped from Exchange 2007 and other APIs and features were “deemphasized.” Some of the dropped or missing features include support for

    other mail systems (Exchange 5.5 and GroupWise), protocols (x.400, NNTP, NetBIOS, Named pikes, SPX, etc), and development interfaces (ExIFS, CDOEXM, Exchange web forms, Exchange SDK workflow, WMI, etc). A key take away point from these changes is that any applications that currently interface with Exchange 2003 will need to be tested to ensure compatibility.

    So migrating to Exchange 2007 should not be taken lightly and should include extensive testing and planning. All existing documentation and processes for installing, troubleshooting, monitoring, and daily operational procedures will need to be rewritten. In addition, the messaging teams will need extensive hands-on time and education to get the basic skills needed to manage the environment during and after the migration.

    What’s New, and What’s Changed

    Back in August 2006 I wrote an article on “What’s New and Cool in Exchange 2007” and covered most

    of the new features and key changes in Exchange 2007. Also refer to TechNet for the latest’s “What’s

    New” information. So I won’t go into complete detail here but I wanted to cover the main things that make E2k7 so different from Exchange 2000 and 2003. These changes are as great as the changes from 5.5 to 2000.

    1) Infrastructure Changes

    a) x64 (64-bit) OS required

    b) Server roles

    c) Clustering

    d) Data replication

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    Importance of Testing Exchange 2007

    by Jason Sherry Published 9/19/2007 e) Database architecture

    f) Message routing

    g) Unified messaging (UM) support h) Transport rules

    i) Ability to eliminate public folders

    2) End-user Changes

    a) Calendaring

    b) Resource management

    c) Messaging records management d) Free/Busy replacement

    e) UM

    f) Outlook Web Access (OWA)

    g) Searching

    3) Management Changes

    a) Exchange Management Console (EMC) b) Exchange Management Shell (EMS) c) E-mail Life Cycle Management (ELC) d) Managed folders

    e) Policies

    f) Calendaring

    g) Disaster Recovery (DR) and High Availability (HA)

    h) OWA

    i) Monitoring

    j) Message Tracking

    k) Mailbox Recovery Center

    l) Mailbox Management Service m) Migration Wizard

    4) Development Changes (See MS TechNet for the latest info)

    a) New development functionality

    i) Exchange Web Services

    ii) Transport Agents

    iii) .NET framework extensions

    iv) Management APIs

    v) Exchange Management Shell

    vi) Windows Workflow Services (WWS) b) Discontinued Features

    c) Deemphasize Functionality

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    Importance of Testing Exchange 2007

    by Jason Sherry Published 9/19/2007

    5) Discontinued Features (See MS TechNet for the latest info and mitigation suggestions) a) Interoperability

    i) Connectors for Novell GroupWise

    ii) Exchange 5.5 support

    iii) Discontinued protocols

    b) Management

    i) Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) extensions

    ii) Inter-Organization Replication tool

    iii) ExMerge support

    iv) Public Folders access via IMAP4 and NNTP

    v) Routing and Administrative Groups

    vi) Discontinued development interfaces c) Protocols

    i) NNTP

    ii) X.400 support

    iii) Named pipes, SPX, AppleTalk, VINES, UDP, and NetBIOS

    d) Development

    i) Exchange web forms

    ii) Exchange 2003 SDK workflow designer

    iii) Event Services and Event Sinks

    iv) Installable Files Systems (ExIFS)

    v) WMI classes

    vi) Collaboration Data Objects for Exchange Management (CDOEXM)

    e) Others, see MS TechNet for more

    6) De-emphasize Functionality

    a) Public Folders

    b) Development interfaces

    i) CDO 1.2

    ii) MAPI32

    iii) CDOEX (CDO 3.0)

    iv) WebDAV

    v) ExOLEDB

    vi) Store events

    vii) Streaming backup APIs

    c) Exchange 2003 Virus Scanning Application Programming Interface

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    Importance of Testing Exchange 2007

    by Jason Sherry Published 9/19/2007

    As you can see from above, the list of changes in Exchange 2007 is huge, and this is a somewhat abbreviated list, see “What’s New” in TechNet for details on new, discontinued, and deemphasized

    features. Microsoft has done an outstanding job with the on-line and off-line help\documentation with Exchange 2007. So take the time to look over TechNet and the help if you haven’t lately.

    A major part of any organizations plan for their transition to Exchange 2007 should include a significant amount of time for testing. Application testing will be critical when planning for Exchange 2007 since every interface into Exchange 2007 has been “touched” or modified with this version. First off Exchange 2007 requires Windows 2003 x64 or Windows 2008 (aka Longhorn) x64 edition. This means

    vast parts of the Exchange code had to be recompiled to take advantages of the x86-x64 architecture.

    This brings us to the first major impact of the x64 change, drivers.

    Changes to Device Drivers

    In Windows today, and in Windows 2008, most device drivers must interface with the kernel to be able to communicate with the hardware in the computer. (Note: Windows 2008 and Vista have replaced

    rdsome kernel level drive support with a mini-port driver model that doesn’t require 3 parties to develop

    kernel level drivers). This requires that they are using the same size instruction sets of 1’s and 0’s, or

    information bits. On x64 they are 64-bits long and on x86 they are 32-bits long. So this requires that devices drivers are now “64-bit”, which requires recompiling of them. Therefore, we are now talking

    about a recompiled OS, drivers, and applications (Exchange). As any developer knows when you recompile your code with a different compiler changes sometime have to be made. In addition to those changes, the OS, Exchange, and maybe even the drivers, have to have sections of code re-written to take advantage of the new 64-bit memory registers, which in turn allow them to access up to 8 tebibyte of memory (in theory). They also could have had sections of code re-written to utilize the other improvements in the x86-x64 architecture. Of course with any code changes, including those made during recompiling, comes the chance for errors or unexpected results.

    This has a two-fold impact on Exchange or Exchange related software that requires special hardware, like faxing boards, RAID controllers, chipset features, and more. First the vendor has to write new drivers to talk to their hardware on Windows x64, without the new driver the OS will not recognize the new hardware. Second the code in Exchange or related add-on software may need to be re-written to work with the new driver. So now you have a new version of Exchange interfacing with a new version of an application, which is communication with a new device driver, which is all running on a “new” OS (to most organizations and software vendors). A symptom of this scenario is currently being seen with Windows Vista and many games, mainly due to the driver changes required in Vista and vendors (including Microsoft) providing poorly written drivers. Have your game or Vista crash is one thing but have your Exchange server crash due to a bad driver is a completely different thing! So any Exchange

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    Importance of Testing Exchange 2007

    by Jason Sherry Published 9/19/2007

    related software that requires special hardware, like faxing, Unified Communications (UC), backup, and others will need new versions and updates. Some vendors, like the UC, calendaring, and faxing ones, may even choose to exit the market due to the new features in Exchange and the cost of redevelopment to work with Exchange 2007.

    Deemphasized Functionality

    So what does “Deemphasized” means? Well on the surface this means that Exchange 2007 has

    support for these features but there may not be support for them in the next version of Exchange, code named E14. But at a deeper level this could also mean that less testing and re-coding emphasis was done in these areas when Exchange 2007 was being tested and developed. I then read into this that there may be a higher chance of bugs or “undocumented features” in these areas.

    One big issue with Exchange to date has been the various ways developers could develop a solution for Exchange. Basically, there were four or five ways to get at some data in Exchange or to do some tasks. Therefore, developers had to choose the best, quickest, or most reliable way to interface with Exchange. The problem is that based on what the solution was doing one interface might have been more reliable, but slower, or well documented but less reliable, etc. So Microsoft decided to draw a line in the sand, a somewhat broken line, with Exchange 2007 and say some methods should not be used moving forward, since they may not be in future version of Exchange. Others were completely dropped in E2k7, most of those were deemphasized in E2k0 or E2k7.

    For application developers who are using any of the methods below, the writing should be on the wall that they MUST start looking at some of the new interfaces in E2k7, like Web Services. While their application might work on E2k7 today, chances are very good it will not work with E14. In addition, they may run into issues today due to changes caused by the transition to x64 and others. So some developers may have to make the hard decision to fix their exiting code to make it work with E2k7 or provide a new version that only works with E2k7. This type of decision is likely to cause some companies to stop development certain products for Exchange all together or not to support E2k7 for awhile while they fix issues that make their application incompatible with E2k7. List of Deemphasized features:

    ; Public folders

     Management

    ; E2k7 RTM had no UI for public folder management or OWA access.

    ; SP1 will provide some support, but some features that were in Exchange 2003 may never

    make it to the Exchange 2007 UI.

     Organization Forms

    ; SharePoint and\or InfoPath is the suggested replacement.

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    Importance of Testing Exchange 2007

    by Jason Sherry Published 9/19/2007

     Free/busy

    ; Free/busy like support is provided by the Availability service

    ; E2k7 will still update system public folders for legacy Outlook 2003 and earlier clients.

    ; Outlook 2007 can use pubic folders data or the Availability service, which utilizes web

    services

    ; Proxy or e-mail address generation

     The Recipient Update Service (RUS) stamped addresses and other attributes on Exchange

    enabled objects in Exchange 2003\2007.

     The RUS does not exist in Exchange 2007, it has been replaced by Exchange Management Shell

    (EMS) PowerShell cmdlets or “command lets”.

    ; The Exchange Management Console (EMS) is actually built on top of EMS cmdlets.

    ; When an object is created in the EMS or EMC all required attributes are now set at creation

    time, unlike the RUS which queried for objects on a scheduled bases and then finishing

    provisioning the object.

     Applications\code that only sets the minimal attributes for Exchange objects when it creates

    them will need to be re-written since the RUS will no longer set them. This can include, but is

    not limited, those use LDAP and CDO.

    ; CDO 1.2.1

     COM-based API used to primarily access mailbox objects

     Provides a programmatic interface to objects in Exchange. This interface, or API, was

    commonly used by VB and VBScripts

     Unlike previous version of Exchange CDO support it is NOT installed by default on Exchange

    2007 servers

    ; So if you have a server based application that uses CDO it will need to be installed on the

    E2k7 server. It can be downloaded here.

     Exchange Web Services is the preferred interface in the place of CDO 1.2

    ; MAPI32

     MAPI is primarily a client protocol used by applications to interface with Exchange in a COM-like

    fashion

     For more information see “Outlook, CDO, MAPI, and Providers Work Together

     Like CDO MAPI32 API support is not installed by default on E2k7 servers

    ; It is included in a single CDO-MAPI package, which can be downloaded here.

     Exchange Web Services is the preferred interface in the place of MAPI32

    ; CDOEX (CDO 3.0)

     Yet another COM based API that provide access to Exchange Data

     Exchange Web Services is the preferred interface in the place of CDOEX

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    Importance of Testing Exchange 2007

    by Jason Sherry Published 9/19/2007

    ; ExOLEDB

     Used to access the Exchange store using OLE DB and ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) by using a

    Structure Query Language (SQL) syntax

     Exchange Web Services is the preferred interface in the place of ExOLEDB ; Exchange WebDAV extensions

     Provides remote, HTTP, access to the Exchange store

     Exchange Web Services is the preferred interface in the place of WebDAV ; Store events

     Used to provide procedures that respond to events that occur in the Exchange store

    ; i.e. Sending of a message, saving of an item, etc

     Exchange Web Services Event Notification service replaces store events

    ; Streaming backup APIs

     The suggested solution is to use a Volume Shadow copy Services (VSS) based backup program

    ; NTBackup does not support VSS based backups of Exchange but Data Protection Manager

    2007 will.

     See “Database Backup and Restore” in TechNet for more information

    ; Exchange 2003 Virus Scanning Application Programming Interface (VSAPI)

     The recommendation is for Anti-Virus vendors to build Transport based agents for E2k7

     For more information see “Planning Antivirus Deployment” in TechNet

    For more details on migrating from CDOEX, ExOLEDB, MAPI, Public Folders, Store Events, WebDAV, and Web Forms see this TechNet reference.

    rdAs you can see from above, 3 party and internal developers have their work cut out for them to migrate their code based on the above methods to the new interfaces in E2k7 and later. Even for those applications, that do use the above methods, they must be tested since bugs might have appeared in the porting and re-compiling of the Exchange 2003 code to 2007. So I feel that all of these applications are suspect until validated against Exchange 2007.

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    Importance of Testing Exchange 2007

    by Jason Sherry Published 9/19/2007

    Discontinued Features

    Since these features are discontinued there really isn’t much to test against since any application based

    on them should just not work. So any application that uses these methods much be replaced with a new version from the developer or vendor or replaced with a different solution. Here are a few areas to think about when trying to discover or come up with those applications. ; WMI classes

    o Multiple system management and monitoring solutions have used\use WMI to get data out of

    Exchange.

    o Exchange Web Services is the preferred replacement for what used to be provided by WMI. ; Support for multiple top-level public folder hierarchies

    o Check in Exchange 2003 System Manager and see if there are multiple trees under <Admin

    Group>\Folders. If there are you will need to find what applications use those other than the

    default “Public Folders” tree.

    o SharePoint is the preferred replacement for public folder based data.

    ; Transport event hook or Event Sinks

    o There were used to intercept messages before they were sent to Exchange for further

    processing.

    rdo Some 3 party spam filtering software utilized transport “sinks”, for example.

    o E2k7 Transport Agents are the preferred replacement.

    ; Exchange Installable Files System (ExIFS)

    o This commonly used by web based solutions to access data in Exchange.

    o Sometimes called the M: drive, which appeared only in Exchange 2000.

    o Exchange Web Services or MAPI are the preferred replacements.

    ; ExMerge

    o While ExMerge is actually an application some companies have development solutions, mainly

    for DR purposes.

    o EMS cmdlet Move-Mailbox supports and export option to PST in the RTM version, SP1 will add

    support for importing PST data to a mailbox also.

    ; Exchange 5.5

    o You cannot install Exchange 2007 into a mixed (5.5\2003) mode Exchange environment so you

    have to get rid of Exchange 5.5 before you can migrate to 2007.

    ; NNTP

    o Some applications maybe accessing public folders via NNTP.

Again see this TechNet reference for more information.

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    Importance of Testing Exchange 2007

    by Jason Sherry Published 9/19/2007

    Changes That Impact Other Areas

    Besides those that have been deemphasized or discontinued you need to be worried about some of the areas below when it comes to applications.

    ; OWA

    o OWA was completely rewritten for E2k7 so any code or customization build for OWA will need

    to be redone.

    ; Backup software

    o Although streaming API support has been deemphasized it is the most common backup method

    for Exchange today.

    o There are multiple changes in the Exchange database that might affect your backup software.

    In addition to those changes E2k7 now supports LCR, CCR, SCR (in SP1), 50 storage groups or

    database.

    ; Disaster recovery

    o With the addition of LCR, CCR, and SCR support DR plans should be revisited and revised.

    o ExMerge is not longer support which can also impact DR plans, ExMerge has been replaced by

    Export-Mailbox and Import-Mailbox cmdlets in E2k7 SP1. See this EHLO Blog reference for

    more information.

    ; Recipient Management

    o ADUC can\should no longer be used to manage Exchange related attributes\settings in the AD.

    The EMC or EMS must now be used.

    ; Message delivery troubleshooting

    o Routing is now based on AD sites and the tools used in E2k3 have been replaced by new tools in

    E2k7

    ; Bulk management procedures

    o Those that used to be done with VBScripts or custom code may need to be replaces with EMC

    cmdlets.

    ; Transport rules

    o These are like Outlook Inbox Rules but process EVERY messages sent or received by an E2k7

    server running the Hub Transport (HT) role.

    ; Anti-spam and Anti-virus solutions

    rdo E2k7 includes multiple improvements in the anti-spam area that might make 3 party solution

    less of a requirement for some organizations.

    o Customers using Enterprise CALs also get Microsoft Forefront for Exchange for free. Forefront

    rdprovides scanning using multiple 3 party signatures for spam, virus, and phishing protection. ; The MANY new and improved features in Exchange 2007

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