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Exchange 2010 Hosting Part 2 - The Easy Way

Paul Roman [MVP for Exchange, MCSE, MCSA, MCST, MCITP]

Paul Roman [MVP for Exchange, MCSE, MCSA, MCST, MCITP] Photo

Paul is a Microsoft Certified System Engineer since 1999. His experience covers a large number of Microsoft Exchange implementations starting from small infrastructures and going to large hosting infrastructures for thousands of users. Starting with April 1st, 2010, Paul is MVP for Exchange.

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Today we discuss the second alternative to implementing an Exchange 2010 hosting infrastructure, a setup that can give significant hardware consolidation advantages. This installation method was introduced in Exchange 2010 Service Pack 1.

In the previous article, Exchange 2010 Hosting Part 1 - The Hard Way, we discussed the implementation of an Exchange 2010 hosting infrastructure when you need to have all the interesting features included in the product. The installation and configuration method that I presented is somehow difficult and is not supported by Microsoft. If you were to have a problem with that configuration, you would have to find support from within the Exchange technical community and that is not all the time very handy.

If you want to create a hosting infrastructure and don't need features like:

  • Exchange Management Console
  • Public Folders
  • Unified Messaging Server role
  • Federation
  • Business-to-Business features such as cross-premises message tracking and calendar sharing
  • IRM
  • Outlook 2003 support (EnableLegacyOutlook)
  • Edge Transport Server role

...then, I strongly recommend you to follow this second article.

Even this article starts from the installation of a new Exchange organization. I will focus mainly on the details regarding the hosting configuration and will only briefly remind you the things that need to be done for any kind of Exchange 2010 installations.

Also this article does not cover advanced configuration for a hosting infrastructure, like coexistence with on-premises email infrastructure.

1. The Easy Way - Hosting Environment Preparation and Installation

1.1 Preparing Active Directory

To begin let's have a look at the AD preparation requirements:

  • You cannot deploy Exchange in hosting mode in the same AD forest where you already have an existing Exchange Enterprise installation. The AD forest should be clean before preparing it for the new hosting infrastructure.

  • The Forest level must be at Windows Server 2008 functional level. This means that all the DCs have to be Windows 2008.

  • To run the AD preparation command, you need to have Schema Admin rights because it will modify the schema.

To prepare AD, from the command prompt move to the directory where the Exchange 2010 SP1 files were decompressed and run: /dc:"FQDN of domain controller" /hosting /prepareAD /OrganizationName:"Name of the Exchange Organization"

Note: The domain controller that you specify in /dc:"FQDN of domain controller" option has to be the schema master. Otherwise you will get an error.

1.2 Installing Exchange Server(s)

Moving to the installation, we have another set of requirements:

  • When you install the first Exchange Server, your account should be member of the Enterprise Admins group. If it's not the first Exchange server, you have to be member of the Exchange 2010 Organization Management role group.

  • The installation for all Exchange 2010 servers in hosting mode must be done from the command prompt because you don't have any option within the graphical interface for hosting.

  • You cannot install the Client Access Role on a Domain Controller.

  • As we already mentioned, there are a number of features that are not available in hosting mode, so you cannot use the following switches when installing the Exchange servers:

  • You have to install the Exchange 2010 prerequisites as specified on the Technet website:

We will assume an installation with all Exchange server roles. To install the Exchange 2010 in hosting mode run the following from the command prompt:
setup /Mode:Install /Role:CA,HT,MB /hosting

On running this, most probably it will ask you to install three missing hotfixes. You will have to install them before moving forward.

1.3 Optionally Disable the Exchange Control Panel (ECP)

This step is optional and should be applied if you intend to install/create a custom configuration console.

Since the hosting installation will not provide the Exchange Management Console (EMC), my recommendation would be to create or buy your own management console designed for Exchange 2010 hosting. Another option is to use Powershell cmdlets (as we will do in this article) and to only use the Exchange Control Panel (ECP) for basic management tasks such as creating mailbox users, distribution groups, contacts or to edit existing user mailboxes, reset passwords etc.

To disable the ECP follow the next few steps on all installed CAS servers as explained in Disable the Exchange Control Panel:

  • Open Regedit

  • Navigate to the following registry subkey:

  • At the tree, right-click on V14, select New, and then click DWORD (32-bit) Value called:

  • Don't assign a value to the registry key.

  • Restart the Microsoft Exchange Information Service for the changes to take effect.


User Comments - Page 1 of 1

Alexander Zammit 17 Oct 2011 00:54
Please note that Microsoft is now phasing out /hosting.

So at this point I advise you to wait for Exchange 2010 SP2.

If you do deploy using /hosting you will be stuck with the limitations explained above, unless you perform a migration. But migrating won’t be fun because a separate forest is required!

See details here:
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