Introducing Win2K to your environment

Exchange 2000 Server has rich new features and excellent performance. However, migrating Exchange Server 5.5 to Exchange 2000 requires that you first successfully deploy a solid Windows 2000 Active Directory (AD) architecture in your organization and that AD replication works. Until you're ready to upgrade to Exchange 2000, you can reap the benefits of running Exchange Server 5.5 on the new OS. Let's look at what you can do.

Win2K's Benefits
Win2K offers several benefits to your organization. First, Win2K offers significant enhancements over its predecessor, especially in terms of performance. Benchmarks demonstrate that the Exchange Server 5.5 and Win2K combination dramatically increases the maximum number of users supported on one server. For example, a February 2000 test of Exchange Server 5.5 and Win2K Advanced Server on an 8-way Compaq ProLiant 8500 with 4GB of RAM and the Exchange database on a RAID 0 fibre channel array supported the equivalent of 33,400 concurrent users with a response time of 200 milliseconds (ms). You can obtain more information about this test in the Microsoft article "Compaq Achieves 33,400 MMB on the ProLiant 8500 550/2m System—Highest MMB on an Eight-Processor System".

This performance level means that you can reduce the number of Exchange servers in your organization. However, good practice is not to exceed 3000 or 4000 users on one server. Tony Redmond and Pierre Bijaoui's Windows 2000 Magazine article "Exchange 2000 Performance Planning" (April 2000) explains how to configure Exchange servers for maximum performance.

Second, introducing Win2K in your environment is the first step in migrating to Exchange 2000. The Active Directory Connector (ADC) requires the Win2K Exchange Server 5.5 configuration to synchronize the Exchange 5.5 Directory with Win2K AD. Furthermore, running Win2K is a good way to demonstrate Win2K features (e.g., performance, administrative enhancements, scalability) to people who are dubious about the new OS.

Third, Win2K's new backup and restore tools let you back up Exchange Server databases to disk drives and to tape. Using network or local drives as backup devices radically decreases the time you need for backups and restores, unless you're using a LAN-free backup solution with Storage Area Networks (SANs).

System Requirements
Win2K supports Exchange Server 5.5, Standard Edition (Exchange 5.5/S) and Exchange Server 5.5, Enterprise Edition (Exchange 5.5/E) with Service Pack 3 (SP3) running on a domain controller or member server. In addition to this basic system requirement, you must take into account a series of important considerations such as administering the new OS from Windows NT consoles, rewriting installation and configuration procedures, debugging and troubleshooting the configuration, and planning a migrating strategy. Each consideration is extensive and deserves discussion beyond the scope of this article. Here, I discuss practical installation procedures and running Exchange Server 5.5 on Win2K in the existing architecture.

Two Exchange Server 5.5 configurations don't work with Win2K. Win2K doesn't support the Transport Protocol, class 4 (TP4); therefore, if you use X.400 over TP4, you must change the Message Transfer Agent (MTA) stack to TCP if the link between Exchange and the other system supports this protocol.

Second, if you run X.400 over the X.25 protocol, you must check the Windows Hardware Compatibility List to ensure that Win2K still supports the X.25 card you're using. Win2K supports all the recent Eicon X.25 cards, and Exchange Server 5.5 supports Eicon cards without a special driver.

Finally, be sure that the backup software you use in an NT 4.0 environment works with Win2K. However, many backup software products use agents for Exchange Server, based on Exchange Server 5.5 APIs, so they're usually compatible with Win2K.

System Configuration
You can use two possible configurations: You can run Exchange Server 5.5 on a Win2K member server of an NT 4.0 domain or on a Win2K AD domain controller. For introducing Win2K into an NT environment, I suggest that you use the first option, for several reasons. First, AD replication consumes a great deal of system resources (e.g., memory, CPU, disk I/O, network bandwidth); therefore, using Exchange on AD might degrade system performance. Second, you must establish trusts between the NT 4.0 and Win2K domains; therefore, you must modify the existing environment. This modification requires careful design—a subject that belongs to a discussion of Win2K migration strategy. Finally, you must change the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) port number of the Exchange Directory Service (DS) because AD uses TCP port 389 for LDAP and for the old DS. Therefore, you must change the LDAP default setting on the client.

I assume that you already have a TCP/IP network on which you want to configure Win2K and Exchange Server 5.5. I also assume that you'll install the server and the OS from scratch to avoid interference with the existing NT domain and to simplify the installation. If you don't install the server from scratch, you must upgrade the server to a domain controller and later use dcpromo.exe (i.e., the server promotion wizard) to demote it.

Standalone System Installation
To configure the system, you must install the Win2K member server, install Exchange Server 5.5, and install the required connectors. Here are the installation steps for a standalone system.

  1. Install Win2K Server from scratch. During the installation process, configure the TCP/IP parameters for your NIC and provide both DNS and WINS for the LAN. You must include WINS because Exchange uses remote procedure calls (RPCs) to create settings. From the LAN Connection dialog box, select Local Area Connection Properties, Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Properties, then click Advanced. In the Advanced TCP/IP Settings dialog box, set the parameters on the WINS tab and the DNS tab, as Figure 1 shows. Don't select the Register this connection's addresses in DNS check box unless you're using dynamic DNS (DDNS). The entry in DNS suffix for this connection must match the entry for your server in the DNS. Finally, review the resolution options for unqualified names according to your DNS infrastructure.

  2. Select the Windows components to install. When you select the Windows components to install, remove all additional services (e.g., Microsoft IIS, Indexing Service, all network services, Script Debugger) because Exchange doesn't require them. If your server must run IIS (e.g., if you're running Outlook Web Access—OWA—on the same box) and you plan to use the Internet Mail Service (IMS), you must remove the Win2K native SMTP service from the IIS service because two SMTP services can't coexist.

    To remove the SMTP service, select Details in the Windows Components dialog box, then select Details for Internet Information Services (IIS) and remove the SMTP Service, as Figure 2 shows. The same problem applies to the Network News Transport Protocol (NNTP). If you want to use the NNTP connector from Exchange Server, you must remove the Win2K NNTP Service.

  3. When you first log on, don't run the Windows 2000 Configure Your Server wizard. Instead, configure the new network adapter that Windows has found. If the server has a modem and you plan to use the IMS with a dial-up connection, configure the modem and dial-up connection now. To configure the connection, double-click the Control Panel Network and Dial-Up Connections applet to begin creating a new connection. When you finish creating the connection, review your settings and edit the connection properties. If you're using an X.25 adapter, configure that adapter, too, by providing an X.121 remote address.

  4. Make your server a member server of the NT 4.0 domain in which the Exchange site runs (e.g., ResDom). To make your server a member of the NT 4.0 domain, select My Computer, Properties, then go to the Network Identification tab and click Properties. Enter the computer name, and select Domain in the Member of field, as Figure 3 shows. To join the ResDom domain, you must provide the administrative logon (i.e., account name and password), then reboot the server. When your computer is a member of the NT domain, the Local Administrators group contains the ResDom Domain Administrator group. If the Exchange service account on the ResDom domain isn't a part of this group, you must add this account to the machine's Administrator group.

  5. Log on to the ResDom domain from the server, and run Exchange Server 5.5 Setup from the Exchange Server CD-ROM. You can ignore the warning that says the application won't work properly because SP3 isn't on the system. Finally, select Join existing site to join the Exchange Server 5.5 site. When the installation has completed, install SP3.

    I strongly recommend that you also install the last post-SP3 fixes for the Information Store (IS), especially if you're using the antivirus software that uses the Exchange Server 5.5 SP3 virus APIs. The Microsoft article "XADM: Exchange Server 5.5 Post-SP3 Information Store Fixes Available" explains all the post-SP3 fixes for the IS, and you can download the patches.

    If you have problems with the MTA, check the Microsoft article "XADM: Exchange Server 5.5 Post-SP3 Message Transfer Agent Fixes Available" (http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q251/1/37.asp) to see whether a patch is available to fix the problem.

  6. Install any connectors that you need on the system. You install the Microsoft Mail (MS Mail), Lotus Notes, and Lotus cc:Mail connectors on a Win2K server just as you install them on an NT server. SNADS and PROFS connectors require a link to the host, so follow the installation instructions to configure these connectors. For the IMS using a dial-up connection, you might have a problem if Exchange isn't running SP3. The Microsoft article "XIMS: Cannot Open IMS Dial-Up Connections Tab on Windows 2000 Server Computer" (http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q236/9/10.asp) describes the problem and the solution.

    As I pointed out earlier, Win2K doesn't support the X.400 connector over TP4. Other connectors (e.g., fax, Short Message Service, Wireless Application Protocol—WAP) require software manufacturer certification, but generally they work.

  7. Install backup and antivirus tools.

Cluster Installation
Installing a cluster in a Win2K environment is similar to installing a cluster in an NT 4.0 environment. Refer to Dennis Lundtoft Thomsen, "Tips for Clustering Exchange Successfully," April 2000, for a detailed description. Here are the main differences from the standalone installation procedure.

For a 4-way cluster, install Win2K AS or Win2K Datacenter Server. On both nodes, complete all the steps for a standalone server through Step 4. Now, install Microsoft Cluster Services (MSCS) on the first node by double-clicking the Control Panel Add/Remove Windows Component applet and selecting Cluster Service. After the first node is running MSCS, install the Cluster Node on the second node. For more information about installing a cluster, consult the Win2K Help on the Win2K Server CD-ROM.

When the Win2K cluster is running, install the Exchange cluster as you do in NT 4.0. For more information, see cluster.doc on the Exchange Server 5.5 CD-ROM. (Note that Microsoft doesn't support OWA in this environment.) Next, install SP3 on the primary node and then on the secondary node.

Install the IMS connector. MSCS doesn't support other connectors. For other software, follow the products' installation guide.

A Winning System
Today, you don't need to run Exchange Server 5.5 in the NT environment, especially when you're building a new system. Take advantage of running 32-bit applications on Win2K. If you move to Win2K now, you'll prepare your environment for more extensive use of Win2K and for Exchange 2000.