It was a big month for Exchange updates. Not only did we get Cumulative Update 16 for Exchange 2013, but we also got Cumulative Update 5 for Exchange 2016.
As always, test these updates in a lab first! I recommend checking out this 7-part guide on configuring Exchange in your lab. It doesn’t take much to get one going.
The updates are as follows:
A quick word on Exchange 2007
It’s time to update. Exchange 2007 will go end of life on April 11th, 2017. At the time of writing that is 20 days. On April 12th you will receive no more patches and no more telephone support. In fact, Update Rollup 23 will be the final patch for Exchange 2007. No more daylight savings updates will be provided from here on out.
If the lack of security updates from Microsoft isn’t convincing enough, check this article for a list of cool things Exchange 2013 can do. (P.S. Like the fact Exchange 2013 uses fewer IOPS per mailbox than 2007…say what?)
So what’s new in these Cumulative Updates?
In the last quarterly update, Exchange 2013 and 2016 added support .NET 4.6.2. With the March updates .NET 4.6.2 is now a mandatory prerequisite. If you are currently on a much older CU for either Exchange 2013 or Exchange 2016 (before .NET 4.6.2 was supported) you should upgrade to the previous CU first, then install .NET 4.6.2, and then upgrade to the latest CUs. There were some issues with the older CUs and .NET 4.6 which included the accidental quarantine of a mailbox or dismounting of databases. If in doubt on which .NET release works with which CU, check the Exchange 2016 system requirements article.
These updates also contain bug fixes, feature tweaks and, daylight savings changes. Check the appropriate KB article above for a list of issues each update remediates.
Any insights into future updates?
The Exchange Team identified a couple of late reported issues that did not make it into the CU5 release cycle. These issues will be resolved in CU6 which will release in June.
- When you enable the birthday calendar option in Outlook for the Web, an error pops up and the calendar is not enabled
- When failing over a database that contains a public folder mailbox, the public folder hierarchy replication may stop working
The Exchange Team has announced that support for TLS 1.2 will be added in the June updates. These changes will be applied in Exchange 2016 CU6 and Exchange 2013 CU17.
Schema Updates Needed
Exchange 2016 Cumulative Update 5 does not include schema updates. If upgrading from Cumulative Update 3-4 then there are no schema changes. If migrating from CU2 or earlier you will need to perform a schema update.
Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update 16 does not include schema updates. If upgrading from Cumulative Update 7-15 then there are no schema changes. However, if migrating from CU6 or earlier update you will need to perform a schema update.
You can apply these beforehand by running SETUP /PrepareSchema from the command line. The graphical setup will also perform this step if it detects the schema has not been extended.
Running this command beforehand is critical in environments where the Exchange admin does not have rights to extend Active Directory. To extend the schema you must be both a Schema Admin and an Enterprise Admin.
You will also want to run SETUP /PrepareAD to get the latest RBAC definitions for both Exchange 2013 and 2016.
For more information on how to extend and verify the schema check our guide here.
For a quick reference on schema and build versions check here.
Required for hybrid
Microsoft requires that anyone in a hybrid environment be on the latest or prior cumulative update.
There was a recent announcement from Microsoft that an Office 365 group would be created on April 13th, 2017 for any manager that had between two and twenty direct reports in Active Directory. For large organizations, this could easily result in thousands of new Office 365 groups.
The good news is that it is possible to opt-out of this change. For more information on this announcement, how to opt-out, and how to clean up the aftermath, I would recommend both Tony Redmond’s article Microsoft’s Flawed Plan to Auto-Generate Office 365 Groups for Managers and Paul Cunningham’s article Making Sense of Automatic Group Creation in Office 365.
This change received a lot of negative feedback. Microsoft has listened and issued this statement.
Other notable news is that the Exchange Team has now added the ability for modern public folders to be migrated to Exchange online using batch migration. The announcement states that documentation for both Exchange 2013 and Exchange 2016 has been updated to reflect this new option. This process requires a minimum of Exchange 2013 CU15 and Exchange 2016 CU4.
In addition, Microsoft has added multi-factor authentication to the Hybrid Configuration Wizard and Remote PowerShell.
So what do you think is coming next? What would you like to see? Drop a comment below or join the conversation on Twitter @SuperTekBoy.