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Exchange 2016: AD and OS Requirements Update

Microsoft did 1stĀ public announcement about Exchange 2016 in April 2015. Then discussed more in the Ignite Global event in Chicago.

I would like to give some minor useful updates here.

 

Active Directory:

 

During the Ignite, we heard the following active directory requirement.

  • Forest and Domain functional level should be windows 2008 R2 or later. Which means all domain controllers should be higher than windows 2008 R2.
  • No windows 2003 or 2008 domain controllers can exist. You need to upgrade them or demote them.
  • Every AD site should have at least one windows 2008 R2 domain Controller.

Meanwhile somewhere in June 2015 I asked the following questions:

My FAQ is the following:

1. Do we need to buy separate license for windows 2008 R2 if we have windows 2008 DCs

2. Is there any specific attribute or class which exchange 2016 can’t find in windows 2008 schema.

3. What can be the issue if we have 1 2008 and 1 2008 R2 DC in every AD site?

For the 1st question I got the answer that yes we need new licenses. I got the answers of those concerns but my motive was to ask why windows 2008 R2 and not non R2 because it can be hard for companies to add more cost of the licenses for windows servers for domain controllers which they are planning for Exchange 2016 upgrade.

I could sense this as a road blog for many companies which are not on windows 2008 R2.

I have seen Enterprise customer will have separate AD and Exchange Team. Migrating them to Exchange 2016 was almost impossible because of this road block.

As stated in all my blogs that anything mentioned in them can be changed until Microsoft release the Exchange 2016. So during this time Microsoft gave a thought on the consequences and accepted the change from 2008 R2 to 2008.

So now at the time of Exchange 2016 Preview release the active directory requirement changed to the following but remember it is still under preview and requirement can change before the RTM release. Only Tap Customers can install it in production.

  • Forest and Domain functional level should be windows 2008 or later. Which means all domain controllers should be higher than windows 2008.
  • No windows 2003 domain controllers can exist. You need to upgrade them or demote them.
  • Every AD site should have at least one windows 2008 domain Controller.

Here is the TechNet link: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa996719(v=exchg.160).aspx


We are thankful to Microsoft to accept our suggestion and situations.

 

Operating System Updates:

 

During the Ignite, we saw the operating system requirement is the following:


  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 10

Now the minimum OS requirement is any of the following but it is still subject to change unless RTM releases:

  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 10

Here is the TechNet link: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa996719(v=exchg.160).aspx


However I have confirmed this with Microsoft and updating here to note that default DAG configuration will configure IPless DAG and it will fail on Windows server 2012 so you should go for windows 2012 R2 to use IPless DAG.

If you can’t go for Windows 2012 R2 for some reason then configure your DAG with IP.

 

Join us and be part of Los Angeles Exchange User Groups. Launch of the Group: http://www.meetup.com/LAExUG/events/224726725/

 

Prabhat Nigam

Microsoft MVP | Exchange Server

Team@MSExchangeGuru


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