Earlier this week, I was able to upgrade my firm’s research Exchange 2010 environment to SP1. Ironically, Microsoft released their SP1 FAQ and Known Issues MS Exchange Team Blog post mere minutes after I completed but, fortunately, I did not encounter any of the issues listed in their post. The upgrade process was very smooth with only a few minor issues.
One very frustrating revelation that I discovered while reading the comments of Microsoft’s original announcement of SP1 was that Online Archive support in Outlook 2007 is not yet available. Microsoft had previously indicated that this support would come at the same time as SP1 but has now provided guidance that they are planning to announce this support as part of an Outlook 2007 update to be released in the first half of 2011. This is particularly frustrating because I have many clients that were extremely interested in seeing if Exchange 2010’s native archiving features could work for them and prevent them from having to invest in a third party solution. These firms will not be moving to Outlook 2010 in the near term and, as a result, the delay of Outlook 2007 Online Archive support is disappointing.
If you are planning to upgrade to SP1 in the near term, I strongly recommend that you thoroughly review the SP1 FAQ post and also consider the following comments.
- There is an Active Directory schema update required to support a number of new features, including mailbox auditing. Be sure to plan accordingly and, if necessary, you can perform these updates in advance of your SP1 upgrades by running setup /prepareSchema and setup /prepareAD.
- Be careful when upgrading a DAG to minimize any downtime to end users. I recommend proactively moving all active databases off each node before it is to be upgraded and then disabling automatic activation of any passive copies on that node (via Get-MailboxDatabaseCopyStatus -Server SERVERNAME | Suspend-MailboxDatabaseCopy -ActivationOnly -Confirm:$False -SuspendComment “Exchange 2010 SP1”). When you’ve finished the upgrade successfully, you can enable automatic activation again (via Get-MailboxDatabaseCopyStatus -Server SERVERNAME | Resume-MailboxDatabaseCopy) and repeat the process on remaining DAG nodes.
- It is important to keep all DAG members at the same service pack level, so plan to upgrade all DAG members during the same maintenance window. Exchange 2010 RTM can failover databases to Exchange 2010 SP1 but the converse is not possible.
- The one issue I ran into was on one of my DAG nodes, where the Mailbox Role portion of the upgrade failed with an error message of “Couldn’t resolve the user or group “domain.local/Microsoft Exchange Security Groups/Discovery Management.” If the user or group is a foreign forest principal, you must have either a two-way trust or an outgoing trust.” This group existed in that path and I’ve never had any issues testing discovery features before. To resolve, I simply had to delete my Discovery Search Mailbox, re-run the SP1 upgrade, and then create a new Discovery Search Mailbox (via New-Mailbox “Discovery Search Mailbox” -Discovery -UserPrincipalName DiscoverySearchMailbox@domain.local).
- I was happy to see that all of my passive mailbox database copies automatically switched to Continuous Replication Block mode (see here for more information) after the SP1 upgrade due to having completely up-to-date replication. You can view the status of Continuous Replication Block Mode by running the cmdlet Get-Counter -ComputerName SERVERNAME -Counter “MSExchange Replication(*)Continuous replication – block mode Active”. A value of 1 for a passive mailbox database copy indicates it is operating in Continuous Replication Block Mode, where as a value of 0 indicates the copy is operating in Continuous Replication File Mode. Please note that you need to pay attention to whether the mailbox database copy is active or passive. An active mailbox database copy will list a value of 0 because it is not receiving replication.
All in all, it was a pretty straightforward upgrade and one that should provide a host of compelling new features for firms of all sizes.
Update: Microsoft has announced the hotfix for Outlook 2007 SP2 that will provide Exchange 2010 archive support! This hotfix is included in the Office 2007 Cumulative Update for December 2010 but can also be found in the specific underlying Outlook 2007 SP2 hotfix (KB2458611). Support for the archive is limited to access and content moving. The ability to manipulate archive policies or perform unified searching across primary and archive mailboxes is not available at this time (Outlook 2010 and OWA 2010 can do this). More information can be found here as well.