Configuring Exchange 2016 and 2019 (Part 2)

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Activate your Exchange Server and create your new databases as well as your database availability groups (DAG).

In my previous article, we looked at Installing Exchange 2016 and Exchange 2019 into a new domain.

We are now going to go through a few steps to configure Exchange, these include the following:

  • Entering your Product Key (Activation)
  • Creating new Databases
  • Creating the Database Availability Groups (DAG)
  • Assigning Members to the Database Availability Group (DAG)

Product Keys

Microsoft gives you some grace by allowing you to use Exchange while it is in a Trial, but you will need to eventually activate it, especially if you want to make use of more than 5 mailboxes databases in Exchange. You get given two options when it comes to entering your product key:

  1. Standard Key, allows you to activate and use up to 5 databases.
  2. Enterprise Key, allows you to activate and use up to 100 databases (active or passive)

You can set your product using the Exchange Admin Center (EAC) or using the Exchange Management Shell (EMS) which is much easier with a single command as shown below:

  • Set-ExchangeServer <Name> -ProductKey xxxx-xxxxx-xxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx

Once you have run the command, you need to restart the Information Store or reboot the server.

Or you can enter the key in the boxes as shown above which takes longer, the same applies as with the PowerShell Script, you need to restart the Information Store or the server, whichever your preference is.

The above screenshot is for Exchange 2016 but applies to Exchange 2019 as well.

Creating Databases

The next step is to create your new Exchange Databases where your users will be located.

You need to label them correctly, for example, DAG1-Store1 and follow the sequence. DAG1 might be for your Exchange 2016 set of Servers and DAG2 might be for your Exchange 2019 Servers so you can differentiate between them.

You can use the Exchange Admin Center or the Exchange Management Shell to create your databases. If you will only be creating one or two stores then you can use the EAC but if you are going to be creating multiple databases with copies then the Exchange Management Shell will be more useful.

If you click Servers > Databases and then click the + sign you will be presented with the New Database window as shown below:

Enter in the name you want and then select the browse button to choose the server where the database will be housed and finally enter in the paths to the .EDB file and the log directories. Remember to put the stores on a mount point or on a disk that has adequate space, once done click the Save button and let Exchange do its thing by creating the store.

If you are the guru that likes using PowerShell to create the store, then here is the command for that:

  • New-MailboxDatabase -Server MBX1 -Name "DAG1-STORE1" -EdbFilePath C:\MBXDATA\Store1\DAG1-STORE1\DAG1-STORE1.edb -LogFolderPath C:\MBXDATA\Store1\Logs

As you can see, it is simply easier to create it with PowerShell than filling in Textboxes in the EAC.

If you get an error on mounting, give it a few minutes and try mounting the store again, it should succeed.

Creating the DAG's

Creating a database availability group means that you can add multiple exchange servers to it and thus have redundancy on the mailbox database in an event of a failure of a server.

In the Exchange 2019 EAC (Applies to Exchange 2016 as well), click Servers -> database availability groups and then click the + button to create a new one.

A new window will open as shown below:

In the above window, you need to enter the following information:

  • DAG Name
  • Witness Server
  • Witness Directory and either choose IP Less DAG or enter in an IP.

In this example, we chose a domain controller but on a normal server like a file server or another Exchange Server, you would need to ensure that the Exchange Trusted Subsystem has local Admin rights on the server.

Once you are happy with the information entered, you can then click Save.

Assigning Members to the DAG

Now that the above has been completed, you should see your DAG created as shown below:

Now click the icon highlighted above to manage the DAG membership. This will bring up a new window and allow you to select 1 or multiple servers you want part of this DAG.

The next process after you click the Save button is that the server/s you selected will now have Windows Failover Clustering installed and the member server/s will be joined to the DAG. Once this is done you can then proceed onto creating your database copies.

In the next article we will look at the following:

  • Configuring Virtual Directories.
  • Creating a CSR to submit to a Certificate Authority like Godaddy etc.
  • Importing the new Certificate.
  • Assigning Services to the Certificate.
  • Creating a Send Connector for Mail flow.

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