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Public Folder DB not recognized Exchange 2010 - Preventing Migration

Posted on 2014-01-20
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Last Modified: 2014-06-10
Hello,

I'm in the process of finishing a migration from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010.  All that is left is to migrate the Public Folders to Exchange 2010.  There is a Public Folder Database store mounted on the Exchange 2010 server (labeled PFDB01) that shows in Exchange Management Console, and it shows as being mounted on the Exchange 2010 server (SR203E).  There is a connector between the two Exchange servers.  I believe that replication is set up for the Exchange 2003 Public Folders, but I'm not 100% sure.  When I look at the Replication tab for each Public Folder's properties in Exchange System Manager on the 2003 server, I see PFDB01 as one of the replication partners.  However, no storage group is listed (even though the Exchange Administrative Group (FYDIBOHF23SPDLT) appears in the administrative groups)).  In addition, PFDB01 is listed as the Server under that replication partner, when I think it should be showing as SR203E as mentioned earlier).  I've also tried looking at the public folders through the Public Folder Management Console, but it can't find the public folders (see attached "PFMC errors.jpg" file for screenshot).  I did not set up PFDB01 or the mailbox databases on the new server - this was done by an outside consultant.  My supervisor and I did set up several custom connections:  one set to have the default receive connector listen to Port 24 instead of Port 25 (so our spam filter could listen on Port 25 first), and one set for custom SMTP and Receive connectors for our FAXMaker software.

I've tried moving the public folders using both recommended methods (Exchange System Manager on the 2003 server and EMS on the 2010 server).  When I tried the first method, the "Manage Settings" option is greyed out, even after dragging the public folders to the Exchange Administrative Group from the First Administrative Group.  When I try to move the replicas using the EMS, the public folders on the new server can't be found (see attached "PUBLIC FOLDERS EMS2.rtf" file for details).  I'm thinking either there must still be a connection problem somewhere, or something happened when PFDB01 was created, or there's yet another problem somewhere else.  However, our mail flow is moving smoothly with the new server.  Am I missing something?  Is there anything else I can check?

Thanks in advance,
Michael
PFMC-errors.jpg
PUBLIC-FOLDERS-EMS2.rtf
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Question by:mbrayc
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by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 39794552
Admin Groups do not equal storage groups.
Therefore the fact that there is no storage group listed is fine.

You cannot see Exchange 2010 public folders with ESM, you cannot see Exchange 2003 public folders with EMC.

Run get-publicfolderstatistics

If you see content, then you have replication. If the mailboxes have been moved, then use the Move All Replicas command in Exchange 2003 ESM and select the Exchange 2010 server.

I don't see anything hugely wrong here, just confusion as to how things are changing between the way resources are arranged in the two versions of Exchange.

Simon.
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by:mbrayc
ID: 39794873
Thanks for the info.  I ran the command and I got an item count of 0.  I therefore suspect that the migration did not take place.  Looks like I'll have to try again.
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by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 39803162
If the item count is coming back as zero, then the hierarchy has come across, so replication has started, it just hasn't completed.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:mbrayc
ID: 39813175
Thanks for the input.  However, the content still doesn't seem to have come across.  The ItemCount from the Get-PublicFolderStatistics count still shows as zero.  Granted, the First Administrative Group (tied to the old Exchange Server) had 30 different public folders, but should it take that long for those replicas to migrate?
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Author Comment

by:mbrayc
ID: 39813222
Further update - after further checking around, I noticed that the four mailbox databases show up under "Mailbox" in both the "Organization Configuration" and the "Server Configuration."  However, the new public folder database PFDB01 shows up only under "Organization Configuration."  Diagnostic logging was set to Lowest for "Exchange Repl" so I've increased it to Medium to see about getting more insight.
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by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 39814376
Do be aware that public folders appear differently in Exchange 2010 to 2003 and therefore can confuse people when you look in ESM for example.

You need to look in message tracking to see if the replication traffic is going across. If it is, then you should see it and can track it is being delivered. The most common reasons for replicating failing are AV interference or a smart host on the SMTP virtual server.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:mbrayc
ID: 39816137
Hello Simon,

That could be the problem.  We do have an SMTP send connector set up to connect to a smart host.  In our case, we use GFI FAXmaker to interface with Exchange to allow a limited set of users to send faxes via Outlook.  In this instance the SMTP connector is set with the IP of our fax server as the smart host.  There is also a receive connector, but it listens on Port 24, not the standard Port 25 for SMTP (which is connected to our spam filtering software).  Is my only option to disable or remove the connector, at least while the migration takes place?  That option won't sit well with my FAXmaker users, so I'd have to wait until this weekend to do that and hope the migration can be finished in a weekend.  As for AV interference, since we use a cloud-based AV solution, my configuration options are limited (short of uninstalling the software during the migration - which I don't want to do if at all possible).  Thanks again for your help.
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by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 39817649
Exchange internally communicates on port 25. Therefore if you have changed the connectors to listen on other ports then you should change them back. If you are using antispam software that wants to take over port 25 then that should be either dropped (that is a poor way of doing things) or put on to its own server, rather than Exchange.

The smart host is fine as long as it is NOT on the SMTP virtual server and is only on an SMTP/Send Connector.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:mbrayc
ID: 40056644
My profuse apologies for not replying sooner, but unfortunately in the rush to get several dozen computer users switched from XP to Windows 7, and the fact that my supervisor wanted to try working on this problem himself, I haven't been able to revisit this issue until now.  I presented my findings thus far (including the concerns about the spam filter listening on Port 25 interfering with the transfer of public folders) to my supervisor but haven't been able to secure agreement on an alternative solution for the spam filter.  

In a related issue, it has been found that the domain Administrator account (which was used to set up the Exchange 2010 server and for folder migration) was not part of the Exchange Management, Organzational Management, and several other roles in role based access control in EMC, and is unable to access this feature in EMC.  This same account was also absent from the Organization Management, Discovery Management, Public Folder Management, and Server Management groups in the Microsoft Exchange Security Group in Active Directory.  However, my supervisor's account, once added to the above roles, could create a new public folder and access the RBAC console, as could my own network account (which normally has lower permissions) once I was added.  In a strange twist, though, the contents of these folders could not been seen in Outlook from within the company, but could when using Outlook from outside the company.  

Somehow there seems to be a permission issue at work at least with the Administrator account, which I found a possible solution for online involving ESM and am in the process of implementing.  However I can't explain the second, or why none of the accounts can transfer the public folders.  When the other accounts attempt to force the replication, access to the folders is lost as the Exchange 2003 server gets dropped as a replication partner (once that server is re-added through ESM public folder access is restored).  In addition, the Exchange 2003 server was found to not be part of the Exchange Servers group under the MS Exchange Security group in Active Directory.  However, adding the server to this group still yielded no success in replicating public folders.  My apologies if I'm not making any sense or getting long-winded, but I'm trying to make sense of this and recount from memory as best I can.  I will submit a new comment as soon as I can retrieve the rest of my more-detailed notes from my office with additional information.
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Author Comment

by:mbrayc
ID: 40065005
Hello everyone,

Just as a further update, I had found an article in SearchExchange.com regarding restoring administrative permissions after email migration.

(http://searchexchange.techtarget.com/answer/Restoring-Exchange-2010-administrative-permissions-after-a-migration)

Following the suggested steps yielded no success in the migration.  However, I can now see one of the test folders in ESM (though I still can't see the contents in Outlook within the company network).

I'm going to look at the replication logs again to see if I can find anything.  I'm also going to see about turning off the server's automatic reboot to see if that's messing up the replication (since we have 30-some public folders totaling 960-some MB of data).  This was set up to happen every day at 3:00AM and was in response to a rash of virus alerts from email attachments that our spam filter caught (the reboot was required by our antivirus software to fully eliminate the viruses).

Does this information help?  

Thanks again in advance.
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Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 40065477
Daily reboots for AV? Is this 1999?

An Exchange server should not be rebooted daily, as it is designed to run 24/7. That may well cause problems with the databases because Exchange does work on the databases at that time (by default).
If you have an AV product that needs a reboot to clear the threat, time for a new AV product, or it wasn't configured correctly (for example you are using it to scan the Exchange directory structure rather than using an Exchange integrated product).

Sounds like the permissions on the public folder tree are knackered.
Run domain and forest prep from the Exchange 2003 media again, it is fine to do so during the day. Also ensure that permission inheritance is enabled on the various objects, such as the Exchange server.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:mbrayc
ID: 40071239
Thank you again for your help.  I agree on the AV issue, and there actually hasn't been one of these alerts in a while, so I disabled the scheduled reboot.  I've re-run the forest and domain prep as you suggested, and am getting ready to re-run the public folder replication, so that it has the full weekend to complete.  I will check on Monday (if not during the weekend).  Hopefully this time it will take.
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Author Comment

by:mbrayc
ID: 40075732
Simon,

Thanks again.  This case gets stranger by the minute.  I tried running the replication again, but once again it didn't succeed.  However, the test public folder that was created on the Exchange 2010 server is now visible, so at least there is some success.  I'm going to continue looking for other options to see what else I can do.
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Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 40078816
Public Folder replication on Exchange 2003 is very conservative.
Do you see anything in message tracking to show the replication is even trying? Public folder replication messages stick out - something like SERVERNAME-IS@domain.local

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:mbrayc
ID: 40080647
If the logs are any indication, it appears the replication isn't even trying, because I can't find anything even remotely resembling what you suggested I look for.  As an alternative method for moving the folder, I've found that it can also be done by creating new folders manually on the new server, copying the folder data on the old server to pst files (one per folder), then importing the data into the corresponding folders on the new server.  I'm considering this method now that the test folder on the new server is visible and accessible in Outlook.  What are your thoughts on this method?

Thanks again,
Michael
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Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 500 total points
ID: 40082825
I have had to use that method before in the past.

You don't have to drop the data in to a PST file though - you could create a test mailbox and use that as a storage point instead (PST files are fragile). Depends on how much data is involved.

Did you try to force the data to replicate? There is a replicate now option in ESM which can kick things along a bit - on its own Exchange 2003 public folder replication is very conservative.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:mbrayc
ID: 40084781
Thanks again for the advice.  You've been a great help.  I've never thought about the test mailbox approach, though.  I've tried the force replication only through the 2010 side.  My supervisor, however, has attempted several times from the 2003 side with no success.  I'll give it another try.

Michael
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Author Closing Comment

by:mbrayc
ID: 40125377
The pst transfer method finally worked, though it took a while due to the size of some of the folders.  So far public folder access has been smooth except for some Outlook 2007 users, which was due to Negotiate Authentication still being selected for login security and now changed to Password Authentication.
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