In the earlier posts of this series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4) I discussed using the Server 202 R2 Essentials Experience Role as a way to approximate (emulate) the functionality that many came to know and love in SBS.  I discussed how to install the Role and configure it then I discussed installing Exchange 2016 on a second server as part of the process of “recreating” the SBS experience.

This post will focus on integrating Exchange with the rest of the Essentials Experience.

But, before I go too far, I need to reiterate a very important point that I made way back in the first post of this series.  In order for all of this to work, to have both the Remote Web Access (RWA) as provided by the Essentials Experience Role and have the Outlook Web Access (and other https-based functions) from Exchange you will need two, repeat two (2) external static WAN IP’s that you can bind https (port 443) to at your firewall.  This is one point where SBS and our “emulated” SBS very much differ.

The reason for this is quite simple; in SBS Microsoft did a lot of work behind the scenes to integrate the Exchange web pieces with those of the SBS RWA.  The RWA provided by the Essentials Experience Role does not provide any sort of integration with Exchange so you have to plan to publish two completely separate https websites out through your firewall.  This also means that using a firewall that cannot handle multiple static IP’s and/or virtual IP’s is out of the question.

Just as the RWA requires a fully qualified domain name and a proper third-party SSL cert, Exchange also requires an FQDN and a cert.  However, Exchange requires something more than the basic cert used by the RWA.  And this is where things can get “messy”!  You can go nuts and obtain what is referred to a as a “SAN” cert (SAN refers to Subject Alternative Name) which can get hideously expensive or you can settle for something more reasonable like a wildcard cert.  My preference, and one which I’ve had good luck with is to use a “modified wildcard” cert from a supplier like Certificates for Exchange (use the Deluxe SSL option).  If you want to ensure everything works including mobile device connectivity I strongly suggest going down this route.  I’ll return to all of this in a bit.

OK, with all of that out of the way let’s continue on with configuring Exchange and Essentials.

First off, you need to apply your license key to Exchange.  To do so you open the Exchange Admin Center in a browser and login.  This will be at https://YourServerIP/ecp or https://YourServerFQDN/ecp .

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Once logged in select servers from the menu on the left, you’ll then see a link for Product Key.

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Click on the link then enter your key at the following screen:

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If all is good you should get something like the following:

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Restart your Information Store Service and you’ll be away to the races.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE!

This next section does NOT pertain to systems where you have installed Exchange 2016.  The Integration being discussed currently is only supported with Exchange 2010 or Exchange 2013.  As of May 12, 2016 Exchange 2016 integration is still unavailable.

On the Server Essentials server (the DC), from the Dashboard, go to this screen:

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Click on Integrate your Exchange Server, it will highlight in orange then click on the blue Setup Exchange Server Integration on the right.

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As described on the above screens, this wizard will “integrate” Exchange with the user management wizards on the Essentials server so that you can manage users and their Exchange attributes from the Essentials Dashboard.  If you don’t install this piece you have to do the Exchange user management 100% from the Exchange tools.  NOTE: This integration does not connect the Exchange web-pages to the RWA!

When the wizard completes you’ll see the Integration listed as “Enabled” on the Dashboard page:

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Now when you add a user to the system you will also be prompted for information about their mailbox attributes.

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When the wizard completes the user and the user’s mailbox will be configured.

If you have installed Exchange 2016 you must configure mailboxes for the user from the Exchange ECP webpage as follows:

On the webpage go to recipients:

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Click on the indicated plus sign then select user mailbox, the following will be displayed:

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We are adding a mailbox for an existing user so click on Browse.  The users that are then displayed are users that do NOT have a mailbox already assigned.

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That’s it for the basics of getting a user set up with a mailbox.  In the final post in this series we’ll look at the process of obtaining and applying an appropriate cert for Exchange as well as publishing out the externally accessible webpages from Exchange.

Non-profit? On SBS? Can’t go to O365? Here’s what to do! (Part 5 – Exchange)
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