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Installing Exchange 2013 : Versions, cumulative updates, and service packs (part 2) - Object versions, Reporting licenses

11/15/2013 8:40:49 PM
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3. Object versions

Every object belonging to Exchange is also assigned a version number, which is used to determine the minimum version of the management tools that can manage the object. For example, if you use the Get-Mailbox cmdlet through the Exchange Management Shell to view the properties of a mailbox object, you should see the version reported as shown here:

Get-Mailbox –Identity "Redmond, Tony" | Select ExchangeVersion
0.20 (

You can see that version 15 is listed, so you know that this object should be managed using the Exchange 2013 management tools (EAC and EMS). You can also see that the minor version is 0, and you know that the major build number for the RTM release is higher (516), meaning any build of Exchange 2013 can manage mailbox objects. Mailboxes certainly exist in previous versions of Exchange, and the fact that the version number specifies that Exchange 2013 must be used indicates that mailbox objects have been upgraded for Exchange 2013. This is true because new attributes have been added to mailbox objects for features such as in-place holds. If you look at the version numbers for other objects that are introduced in Exchange 2013, such as data loss protection policies, you’ll see similar version numbers. By comparison, if you look at a send connector and do the same thing, you see a different version number:

Get-SendConnector | Select ExchangeVersion

In this context, version 8 indicates Exchange 2007. (This is despite the fact that Exchange 2007 was codenamed Exchange 12, just as Exchange 15 became Exchange 2013.) As it happens, build 535 for Exchange 2007 was the original RTM release, so this version indicates that any management tool issued with Exchange 2007 onward can manage the object. But in any case, the situation can be boiled down to a simple rule: when in doubt, use the same version of the Exchange management tools as indicated by the ExchangeVersion reported by the object.

4. Reporting licenses

When you install a server, it is in an unlicensed or trial state. In other words, you’ve installed Exchange to kick the tires and see what the server can do. Servers in trial status are not eligible to receive support from Microsoft and are limited to the functionality available in the Standard edition of Exchange 2013. The major consequence of this is that although you can create a DAG, you can mount only five databases on a server. To move a server to full functionality, you have to install a valid license.

You can view the current licensing situation for a server by opening the Servers section of EAC and reviewing the list of servers for the organization. Unlike Exchange Management Console (EMC), EAC does not use different icons to mark licensed and unlicensed servers. Instead, it indicates the current license status for a server in the action pane (Figure 2).

A screen shot of the Exchange Administration Center showing the properties of a server (ExServer1). The general properties are displayed, showing that the server is currently unlicensed. A valid 25-character product key is being entered.

Figure 2. Viewing license status for a server

Scrolling through a list of servers is a reasonable way to proceed when you have only a small number of servers to manage. It is much more efficient to identify any unlicensed servers in the organization using EMS by running the following command:

Get-ExchangeServer | Where {$_.IsExchangeTrialEdition –eq $True} | Format-Table Name, RemainingTrialPeriod – AutoSize
Name RemainingTrialPeriod
---- --------------------
EXSERVER2 177.10:40:53.0863341

In this instance, you can see that one unlicensed server exists in the organization and that it was installed just a few days ago (177 days remain of its 180-day trial period). To resolve this problem, select the unlicensed server in EAC and then select the Enter Product Key option in the action pane. This displays the general properties of the server and where you can enter a valid product key. Alternatively, you can input the product key through EMS by using a command like this:

Set-ExchangeServer –Identity 'ExServer6' –ProductKey '25-Char-Product-Key-Value'

You do not need to be connected to the Internet to enable Exchange to validate the entered key. If the key is acceptable, Exchange generates a product identifier for the server. You can discover the product identifier for a server by looking at its properties with EAC or by running this command:

Get-ExchangeServer –Identity ExServer1 | Select Productid

The change in licensing status will not be active until the next time the Information Store service is restarted. You can enter a new product key for a licensed server if you want to upgrade it from Exchange 2013 Standard edition to Exchange 2013 Enterprise edition. However, you cannot downgrade a server licensed to run the Enterprise edition to run the Standard edition.


Exchange does not terminate abruptly after the warning period elapses. Its functionality continues as before, and you can even upgrade a server that has exceeded its trial period to Exchange 2013. However, you might be guilty of running unlicensed software, and Exchange will continue to inform you of this until you enter the required license. This is not a great situation because it exposes your company to large fines in most jurisdictions, so it’s best not to go there unless the servers are used in labs or for other test purposes.

Apart from server licenses, you also need Client Access Licenses (CALs) for every client device that connects to Exchange. Two forms of CALs are available—standard and enterprise. The licenses are cumulative. The enterprise CAL adds to the functionality already licensed through the standard CAL. Table 1 lists the different areas of functionality that are licensed through the two types of CALs.

Table 1. Determining the requirements for enterprise CALs

Feature set

Standard CAL required

Enterprise CAL required

Standard email functionality with Outlook, Outlook Web App, or other clients, including calendar, journal, notes, and contacts and apps for Outlook Web App



Public folders



Advanced ActiveSync policies for mobile devices



Site mailboxes



Journaling on a database basis



Journaling on a selective basis (per-user or other criteria)



Unified Messaging



Retention policies (if configured with a personal tag)



Personal archive



Data Loss Prevention



In-place Hold



Information Protection, including journal and transport rule decryption, Outlook Protection Rules, and search of protected content



A free hybrid license with CU2 and later

With Exchange 2013 RTM CU2 and onward, a special free hybrid license is available from Microsoft to support situations where an Exchange 2013 server has to be deployed to support hybrid connectivity between an on-premises organization and Office 365. You have to request the hybrid key from Microsoft Support.

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