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Exchange Server 2013 administration overview : Exchange Server 2013 editions

2/23/2014 8:27:53 PM
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Several editions of Exchange Server 2013 are available, including Exchange Server 2013 Standard and Exchange Server 2013 Enterprise. The various server editions support the same core features and administration tools. For reference, the specific feature differences between Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition are as follows:

  • Exchange Server 2013 Standard . Designed to provide essential messaging services for small to medium organizations and branch office locations. This server edition supports up to five databases.

  • Exchange Server 2013 Enterprise . Designed to provide essential messaging services for organizations with increased availability, reliability, and manageability needs. When you are running Cumulative Update 2 or later, this server edition supports up to 100 databases (including all active databases and copies of databases) on a particular server.

Real World

Microsoft provides a single binary for x64 systems, and the same binary file is used for both the Standard and Enterprise editions. The license key provided during installation is what determines which edition is established.

You can use a valid product key to upgrade from a trial edition to the Standard edition or the Enterprise edition of Exchange Server 2013 without having to reinstall. Using a valid product key, you can also upgrade from the Standard to the Enterprise edition. You can also relicense an Exchange server by entering a new product key for the installed edition, which is useful if you accidentally used the same product key on multiple servers and want to correct the mistake.

There are several caveats. When you change the product key on a Mailbox server, you must restart the Microsoft Exchange Information Store service to apply the change. Additionally, you cannot use product keys to downgrade editions. To downgrade editions, you must uninstall Exchange Server and then reinstall it.

You can install Exchange Server 2013 on servers running full-server installations of Windows Server 2008 R2 as well as on a full-server installation of Windows Server 2012 RTM or R2. You cannot install Exchange 2013 on servers running server core or minimal server interface. With Windows Server 2008 R2, you must reinstall the server using the full installation option. With Windows Server 2012 RTM or R2, you must convert the server core or minimal server interface installation to a full installation by running the following command from an elevated PowerShell prompt:

Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra, Server-Gui-Shell -Restart

The specific editions supported are as follows:

  • Windows Server 2012 RTM or R2 Standard or Datacenter

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard with Service Pack 1 (SP1)

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise with Service Pack 1 (SP1)

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter RTM or later

A client accessing an Exchange server requires a Client Access License (CAL). With either Exchange Server edition, the client can use a Standard CAL, an Enterprise CAL, or both. The Standard CAL allows for the use of email, shared calendaring, contacts, task management, Microsoft Outlook Web App, and Exchange ActiveSync. The Enterprise CAL allows for the use of unified messaging, advanced mobile management, data loss prevention, and custom retention policies. An Enterprise CAL is sold as an add-on to the Standard CAL. A client must have one Standard CAL and one Enterprise CAL add-on to make full use of all Exchange Server features.

Beyond the editions and CALs, Exchange Server 2013 has several variants. Microsoft offers on-premises and online implementations of Exchange Server. An on-premises Exchange Server is one that you install in your organization. An online Exchange Server is delivered as a subscription service from Microsoft. In Exchange Server 2013, you can manage both on-premises and online implementations of Exchange Server using the same management tools. These implementations can be separate from each other or you can configure a hybrid installation that allows single sign-on and easy movement of mailboxes and database between on-premises and online implementations.

As a prerequisite for installing any server running any on-premises version of Exchange Server 2013, Active Directory must be at Windows Server 2003 forest functionality mode or higher. Additionally, the schema master for the Active Directory forest along with at least one global catalog server in each Active Directory site and at least one domain controller in each Active Directory site must be running one of the following operating systems:

  • Windows Server 2012 RTM or R2 Standard or Datacenter

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard or Enterprise

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter RTM or later

  • Windows Server 2008 Standard or Enterprise (32-bit or 64-bit)

  • Windows Server 2008 Datacenter RTM or later

  • Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition with Service Pack 2 (SP2) or later (32-bit or 64-bit)

  • Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition with SP2 or later (32-bit or 64-bit)

Additionally, Exchange Server 2013 supports IPv6 only when IPv4 is also installed. When you deploy IPv6, Exchange servers can send data to and receive data from devices, clients, and servers that use IPv6 addresses. Although you can disable IPv4 so that only IPv6 is enabled, Exchange still requires that IPv4 be installed. Further, the domain should be configured to use multiple-label DNS names, such as or adatum.local, rather than single-label DNS names, such as cpandl or adatum. However, single label names can be used.

You install Exchange 2013 using Exchange Setup. Exchange 2013 requires Microsoft .NET Framework version 4.5 and Windows Management Framework 3.0, which are included with Windows Server 2012 RTM or R2 (but not included with Windows Server 2008 R2).

Other requirements depend on whether you are installing a Mailbox server or a Client Access server:

If you don’t install these additional components prior to running Exchange Setup, the Readiness Checks will fail and links to these resources will be provided. If this happens, you can use the links provided to obtain and install the components and then simply tap or click Retry to have Setup perform the readiness checks again. Once these checks pass, you’ll be able to continue with the installation.

Exchange 2013 has a new set of management tools, including Exchange Admin Center, Exchange Management Shell, and Exchange Toolbox. When you install a Mailbox server or a Client Access server, the management tools are installed automatically. You can use Exchange Setup to install the management tools on domain-joined computers running 64-bit editions of Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8 or later as well.

Although there are no prerequisites for Windows 8 or later, there are several prerequisites for Windows 7. Windows 7 computers must have Microsoft .NET Framework version 4.5 and Windows Management Framework 3.0 installed. You also must enable IIS 6 management compatibility by adding the IIS 6 Management Console, which is a feature that can be enabled using Control Panel. In Control Panel, select Program and then select Turn Windows Features On Or Off. In the Windows Features dialog box, under Internet Information Services, Web Management Tools, IIS 6 Management Compatibility, select IIS 6 Management Console, and then tap or click OK.

Exchange Server 2013 uses the Windows Installer (the Installer) and has a fully integrated installation process. This means you can configure Exchange Server 2013 much like you can any other application you install on the operating system. The installation can be performed from a command prompt as well.

You install Exchange 2013 only on domain-joined computers. Whether you use the Standard or Enterprise edition, you have similar options. You can install an internal messaging server by selecting the individual server roles to install and combining the Mailbox role and Client Access role as required for your environment. Generally, you will not want an internal Exchange server to also be configured as a domain controller with a global catalog.

When you start an installation, Setup checks the system configuration to determine the local time zone, the operating system, the logged-on user, and the status of the registry keys related to Exchange Server 2013. Installation will fail if you are trying to run Setup on an operating system that isn’t supported or if a required service pack is missing. You’ll also run into problems if you start Setup without using elevated administrator privileges.

After checking the system configuration, Setup allows you to check for updates to the installation process, provided the server has a connection to the Internet. Setup then checks available space on the %SystemDrive% to ensure a temporary folder under %SystemDrive%\Windows\Temp\ExchangeSetup can be used during the installation process. About 1.3 GB of space is needed for the working files.

When done copying its work files to the temporary folder, Setup tries to connect to a domain controller and validate the state of Active Directory. If Setup cannot find a domain controller or encounters other errors when validating Active Directory, the installation process will fail and you’ll see related errors during the readiness checks.


By default, Setup chooses a domain controller in the local domain and site. In order to determine the domain information and contact a domain controller, the computer on which you are installing Exchange 2013 must be domain joined and have properly configured TCP/IP settings, and DNS name resolution must be properly configured in your organization. Because Active Directory site configuration also is important for installing Exchange 2013 and setting up an Exchange organization, ensure Active Directory sites and subnets are properly configured prior to installing Exchange 2013.

Once connected to a domain controller, Setup selects a global catalog server to work with and then looks for an Exchange Configuration container within Active Directory. Setup next determines the organization-level operations that need to be performed, which can include initializing Active Directory, updating Active Directory schema, establishing or updating the Exchange organization configuration, and updating the domain configuration.

As you continue through Setup, you’ll be able to select the server roles to install, the install location, and more. With the exception of the working files, which are copied to the temporary folder, no changes are made until the server passes the readiness checks. Normally, even when problems are encountered, Setup will continue all the way to the readiness checks. As part of the readiness checks, Setup checks for required components, such as those listed previously.

Other required components include Windows Features that Setup will install automatically if they aren’t already installed. These features include Desktop Experience, many components of IIS, Windows Identity Foundation, and the administrative tools for clustering. Although you can manually install these features, it’s a long list, and Setup will do the work for you if you let it.

Exchange 2013 includes the following anti-spam capabilities:

  • Sender filtering . Allows administrators to maintain a list of senders who are blocked from sending messages to the organization. Administrators can block individual senders by email address. Administrators also can block all senders from domains and subdomains.

  • Recipient filtering . Allows administrators to block message delivery to nonexistent recipients, distribution lists for internal users only, and mailboxes for internal use only. Exchange performs recipient lookups on incoming messages and block messages, which prevents certain types of attacks and malicious attempts at information discovery.

  • Sender ID verification . Verifies that incoming email messages are from the Internet domain from which they claim to come. Exchange verifies the sender ID by examining the sender’s IP address and comparing it to the related security record on the sender’s public DNS server.

  • Content filtering . Uses intelligent message filtering to scan message content and identify spam. Spam can be automatically deleted, quarantined, or filed as junk email.


    Using the Exchange Server management tools, administrators can manage messages sent to the quarantine mailbox and take appropriate actions, such as deleting messages, flagging them as false positives, or allowing them to be delivered as junk email. Messages delivered as junk email are converted to plain text to strip out any potential viruses they might contain.

  • Sender reputation scoring . Helps to determine the relative trustworthiness of unknown senders through sender ID verification and by examining message content and sender behavior history. A sender can then be added temporarily to the Blocked Senders list.

The way you use these features will depend on the configuration of your Exchange organization. If you’ve deployed legacy Edge Transport servers, you enable and configure these features on your Edge Transport servers. Otherwise, you enable and configure these features on your Mailbox servers.

Exchange 2013 also has anti-malware capabilities, which are enabled by default. Malware scanning is performed on all messages at the server level, as messages are sent or received. When users open and read messages in their mailboxes, the messages they see have already been scanned. Exchange Server checks for updates to malware definitions every hour. Exchange downloads the malware engines and definitions using a TCP connection over port 80 from the Internet.


Normally, you’ll manually perform the first download of the anti-malware engine and definition updates prior to placing a server into production so you can verify that the initial process was successful and then configure default anti-malware policy prior to users having access to a server.

Although these anti-spam and anti-malware features are extensive, they are not comprehensive. For comprehensive protection, you can pair these features with a cloud-based service, such as Microsoft Exchange Online Protection. By combining the built-in anti-spam and anti-malware features with a cloud-based protection service you can set up substantial, layered protection. Additionally, if you use a third-party anti-malware solution for Exchange 2013, you can disable the built-in anti-malware filtering.

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