Along with the major features of Service Pack 1 for Exchange 2013, there are a host of smaller features that have been added as well. This article concentrates on these smaller additions to Exchange Server 2013:
- EAC Command Logging
- OS and AD Support changes
- OWA Enhancements
- SSL Offloading
- Under the hood
EAC Command Logging
What is this and why is it important in Exchange 2013? For those of you who have used Exchange 2007 or Exchange 2013, the command logging feature was a way to learn what was happening in the background when Exchange was being configured from the GUI.
Once you enable this, all commands used in the background will be logged. This logging is session specific so if you log out of the EAC, the logging results are lost. The logging shows up in a window like this:
Here is an example of what is captured when I add a new user:
To copy these commands out, highlight the actions in the top frame which will reveal the complete PowerShell commands below. Then highlight all the commands in the bottom frame and hit Ctrl-C.
Here is apasted copy of the above commands:
Get-OrganizationalUnit -IncludeContainers $true -ResultSize 500
Get-UserPrincipalNamesSuffix -OrganizationalUnit “TAPEX.local/Users”
New-Mailbox -Name “New User” -DisplayName “New User” -FirstName “New” -LastName “User” -UserPrincipalName “newuser01@TAPEX.local” -Password [System.Security.SecureString] -Alias “NewUser02” -OrganizationalUnit cbd1b4a7-bb52-422b-a203-c7dd40f5af1d -ResetPasswordOnNextLogon $false -Database “Mailbox Database 0157319760”
Get-Recipient -Identity TAPEX.local/Users/New User -ReadFromDomainController $true
Get-Mailbox -Identity 44446132-2102-40ea-9497-fc9fffc3a0cd -ReadFromDomainController $true
Get-User -Identity TAPEX.local/Users/New User -ReadFromDomainController $true
For those who are not comfortable with PowerShell, the logging option will enable you to get a grasp of what is running in the background and possible help in the creation of PowerShell scripts or commands that would be useful to you. This certainly is a boon to experienced admins who like dig deeper into PowerShell for administrating their messaging environment.
OS and AD Support changes
Whenever Microsoft releases a new OS/AD one of the first questions I hear is, when will it support Exchange 2xxx? There usually is some lag time between release and support for the current version of Exchange. In this case it was about 4-5 months. With the release of Service Pack 1, Exchange 2013 now supports installation on Windows Server 2012 R2 as well as an Active Directory Forest/Domain functional level of Windows 2012 R2.
For a complete support list, go to this Microsoft support link for more information.
S/MIME in OWA
Even though this feature should have been present in RTM or at the very least CU1, many Exchange Admins glad that this is back as it has been present in Exchange OWA since at least Exchange 2003. The whole point of S/MIME is either to prove you are who you are (Digital Signature) or to secure the entire message (Message Encryption). These are both very easy to set with Service Pack 1 in OWA.
Let’s being by taking a normal email message in OWA:
Click on the dot symbol at the top of the message
From the pop-up menu, select ‘Show message options’:
When the options come up, select whichever S/MIME option you want, either choosing ‘Encrypt this message (S/MIME)’ or ‘Digitally sign this message (S/MIME)’. Then click OK.<BR
Then, if you haven’t already, you will get a warming about needing to install the ActiveX control to allow you to encrypt or sign your message.
If you click on ‘click here’ you will get a prompt to either save or run the control.
After you’ve run the install the finishing dialog box tells you that you need to log out and back into OWA.
If you open up a new message now, you will see the padlock/key for the S/MIME message.
Other OWA Enhancements
Rich Text Editor
Changes have been made to update the new message editor to bring it up to more modern times. The current editor is modeled after SharePoint’s own web editor.
Exchange 2013 CU3
Exchange 2013 SP1
Firefox – Offline Mode
Event though Microsoft has made quite a few strides in browser compatibility, there will always be some features that don’t work in other browsers. In this case Offline Mode was introduced with Exchange 2013 RTM and IE 10+ supported this. For more information on this feature see this Microsoft article.
Why is this important? Why would we need to enable SSL Offloading in an Exchange environment? Simply put, to reduce the CPU load on your Exchange servers and transfer it to the Hardware Load Balancer(s). By doing so you can improve the performance of your Exchange connections (OWA, EAS, Outlook, etc). Also, by offloading SSL you can choose Layer 7 cookie based persistence versus IP address based persistence. This helps scaling for larger environments with a larger number of connections.
More information about how to configure SSL Offloading is provided here.
These change be found here with all the other changes for RTM, CU1, CU2 and CU3 updates for Exchange Server 2013.
Under the hood
While looking for more information about Exchange Server 2013 SP1, I ran across some new settings or updates to settings compared to Exchange Server 2013 CU3.
Get-OrganizationConfig reveals some new settings and some default setting changes. After Service Pack 1 is installed, these three settings are added to the Exchange Org Configuration:
Also of not the Exchange version has seemingly caught to modern times as it goes from 6.5 to 126.96.36.199. Interesting numerical choices here.
Exchange Server 2013 SP1
IsAddressListPagingEnabled : True
ExchangeVersion : 2.0 (188.8.131.52)
Exchange Server 2013 CU3
IsAddressListPagingEnabled : False
ExchangeVersion : 0.0 (6.5.6500.0)
As I discover more under the hood changes, look for either updates here or future articles as we are just scratching the surface of these changes.