Top 35 Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Interview Questions You Must Prepare 07.Jul.2022

Exchange 2007 and 2010 were architect with certain technology constraint that existed at that time, where CPU performance was the Key constraint when Exchange 2007 was released and to alleviate the situation Server roles were introduced. However server roles in Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010 are tightly coupled

Nowadays, CPU horse power is less expensive and it is not a constrain factor, with that constraint lifted, primary goal for Exchange 2013 is simplicity of scale, hardware utilization and failure isolation. So Microsoft reduced the number of server roles to two as Client Access Server Role and Mailbox Server Role

Outlook clients no longer connect to a server FQDN as they have done in all previous versions of Exchange. Outlook uses Autodiscover to create a new connection point comprised of mailbox GUID, @ symbol, and the domain portion of the user’s primary SMTP address. This change results in a near elimination of the unwelcome message of “Your administrator has made a change to your mailbox. Please restart.” Only Outlook 2007 and higher versions are supported with Exchange 2013.

Exchange Admin Center is the new web based Exchange Management Console for Exchange Server 2013, it allows for ease of use and is optimized for management of On-Premises, Online and hybrid Exchange deployments. EAC replaces Exchange Management Console and Exchange Control Panel, but ECP is still the url for Exchange Admin Center.

New features in Exchange Admin Center:

  1. List View – More than 20,000 objects can be viewed in EAC, where legacy ECP allows only 500 objects
  2. Add/Remove columns for recipients
  3. Public folders can be managed from Exchange Admin Center
  4. Long running process will be notified in the notification bar
  5. Role Based Access Control user editor can be done from EAC
  6. Unified Messaging tools like call statistics, and user call logs can be accessed from EAC

Front end trport service does one of the following actions based on the number and type of the recipients

  • For the message with a single mailbox recipient, choose a mail box server in the target delivery group and based on the proximity of the AD site, give preference to the mail box server
  • For the message with multiple or several mailbox recipients, it uses the first 20 recipients to select a mailbox in a closest proximity or delivery group, based on the AD site proximity
  • If the message has no mailbox recipients, it choose a random mailbox server in the local AD site

Exchange 2003 and Earlier versions: Not Supported

Exchange 2007: Exchange 2007 SP3 with Update Rollup 10 on all Exchange 2007 servers and Exchange 2013 CU2 and later can coexist

Exchange 2010: Exchange 2010 SP3 on all Exchange 2010 Servers and Exchange 2013 CU2 or later can coexist

In MS exchange 2013, there are two roles Client Access Server and Mailbox Server.

Front End Trport Service in Client Access Server acts as a stateless proxy for all inbound and outbound external SMTP traffic for Exchange 2013 organization. It won’t inspect message content, only communicates with the Trport Service on a Mailbox Server, and doesn’t queue any messages locally.

Trport Service in Mailbox server is identical to Hub Trport server, it handles all SMTP mail flow for the organization, perform message categorization, and performs content inspection. It won’t communicate directly with Mailbox Database that task will be handled by Mailbox Trport Service. So the Trport Service routes messages between the mailbox trport service, the trport service and the front end trport service.

Mailbox Trport Service running on Mailbox server consists of two separate services: the Mailbox Trport Submission Service and Mailbox Trport Delivery Service.

Mailbox Trport Delivery Service receives emails from Trport Service on the local or different mailbox server and connects to the local mailbox databases using Exchange RPC to deliver the message

Mailbox Trport Submission Service connects to local mailbox database using RPC to retrieve messages and submits the messages over SMTP to the Trport Service on the local Mailbox server or other Mailbox Servers.

Special type mailbox called Public folder mailbox introduced in Exchange Server 2013, which will store both the hierarchy and public folder content. This provides an advantage of the existing high availability and storage technologies of the mailbox store. Legacy Public folder database concept not in exchange 2013 and Public Folder replication now user the continuous replication model as like Mailbox Database.

Exchange 2013 available in two editions: Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition

Standard Edition allows only 5 databases to mounted (including active and passive copy) and Enterprise Edition allows 50 databases on RTM version of Exchange and 100 databases on CU2 and later versions. Recovery Database will not be counted on this.

Two server role architects changed the outlook client connectivity behaviour; RPC is no longer a supported direct access protocol. This me that all the outlook connectivity must take place using RPC over HTTP knows as Outlook Anywhere. Because of this behaviour, there is no need to have RPC client access service on CAS which reduces two name spaces that required for site-resilient solution.

Integration with Lync and SharePoint: With site mailboxes and in-place eDiscovery, it offers a greater integration with Microsoft Sharepoint and Lync

Provide a resilient solution: It built upon the exchange server 2010 and redesigned for simplicity of scale, feature isolation and hardware utilization

Supports a multigenerational workforce: From multiple sources users can merge contacts as well as smart search allows to search people in the network

Provide an engaging experience: MS web app focused on a streamlined user interface that supports the use of touch, enhancing the use of mobile devices

Meet the latest demand: With improved search and indexing, you can search across Lynch 2013, Exchange 2013, SharePoint 2013, etc.

DAG system: A new evolution of exchange 2010 DAG

Below are the features that are available in previous versions but not available on Exchange Server 2013 Outlook Web APP:

  • Shared Mail folders access is not available
  • Distribution list moderation cannot be done from OWA
  • S/MIME support
  • Reading pane at the bottom of the window
  • Ability to reply to email messages sent as attachments
  • Search folders in not available

Having two server roles with Mailbox Server includes all the traditional components fount in Exchange 2010: the client access protocols, trport service, mailbox databases and unified messaging and the Client Access Server role to provide authentication, limited redirection and proxy services.

New architecture provides the below benefits:

  1. The Client Access Server and Mailbox Server become “Loosely Coupled”. All process and activity for a specific mailbox occurs on the mailbox server that holds the active database copy, eliminating concerns of version compatibility between CAS and Mailbox Server
  2. Version Upgrade flexibility – Client Access server can be upgraded independently and in any order.
  3. Session affinity to client access server role is not required – In Exchange 2013, Client access and mailbox components available on the same mailbox server, because the client access server simply proxies all connections to a specific mailbox server, no session affinity is required
  4. Only two namespace is required for Exchange 2013

Below are the enhancements on Exchange 2013 Batch Mailbox Moves:

  • Multiple mailboxes move in large batches.
  • Email notification during move with reporting.
  • Automatic retry and automatic prioritization of moves.
  • Primary and personal archive mailboxes can be moved together or separately.
  • Option for manual move request finalization, which allows you to review a move before you complete it.

DAG is supported on Windows Server 2012 Standard or Datacenter Editions or Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Enterprise Edition. Windows Server 2008 R2 Sp1 standard edition won’t support DAG

Below are few features discontinued in Exchange 2013 that are available in Exchange Server 2007

  • Storage Groups and Public Folder Databases
  • Exchange WebDAV API and ESE streaming backup API
  • High Availability concepts CCR, LCR, SCR & SCC are not available
  • Export-Mailbox / Import-Mailbox Cmdlets and Move-Mailbox cmdlets set
  • Managed folders

Below are few features that are discontinued in Exchange 2013:

  • Hub Trport Server Role and Unified Messaging Server
  • Exchange Management Console and Exchange Control Panel
  • Outlook 2003 support and RPC over TCP method of Mailbox access is removed
  • S/MIME, Search folders and Spell check in OWA removed
  • Linked Connectors are removed
  • Anti-spam agents can be management only from Exchange Management Shell
  • Connection filtering agent removed
  • Managed Folder are removed
  • Tools like Exchange Best Practice Analyzer, Mail flow troubleshooter, performance monitor, performance troubleshooter and routing log viewer are removed

In exchange 2013, after the message reaches the target mailbox server in the destination AD site, the trport service avails SMTP to carry the message to the mailbox.  After that, using RPC, Trport Service delivers the message to the local mailbox.

Below prerequisites are required to install Exchange Server 2013:

Operating System:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 or later
  • Windows Server 2012

Additional Prerequisites:

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 (pre install in Windows Server 2012)
  • Windows Management Framework 3.0
  • Microsoft Unified Communications Managed API 4.0, Core Runtime 64-bit
  • Microsoft Office 2010 Filter Pack 64 bit
  • Microsoft Office 2010 Filter Pack SP1 64 bit
  • ADDS and few windows features

Domain Controller:

  • Forest functional level has to Windows Server 2003
  • Schema Master run on Windows Server 2003 SP2 or later

DAG or Data Availability Group is a framework build is MS Exchange 20@ It is a group of upto 16 mailbox server that hosts a set of databases and provides automatic database level recovery due to failure of servers of databases.

It is suggested that you use Cached Exchange Mode when you are using an exchange account for your work, as it eliminates all the reason to work offline. With Cache Exchange Mode, you can keep continuing working even if you are disconnected with the network.  Cache Exchange Mode uses a folder file (.ost) and manages a synchronized copy of the items in all folder in the mailbox, when you are offline.  As soon as you are connected to the network, it syncs your data automatically to the server without losing any data.

Mailbox servers help in:

  • e-mail storage
  • Host public folder databases
  • Host mailbox databases
  • Calculate e-mail address policies
  • Performs multi-mailbox searches
  • Provide high availability and site resiliency
  • Provide messaging records management and retention policies
  • Handle connectivity as clients don’t connect directly to the mailbox services
  • For given mailbox, it provides all core exchange functionality
  • When a database fails over, it also fails access to the mailbox

The Client Access Server gives connectivity to various services like:

  • Microsoft Office Outlook
  • Outlook Web App
  • Mobile devices
  • POP & SMTP
  • Accepts mail from delivers mail to other mail hosts on the internet
  • Gives unified namespace, network security and authentication
  • Handles all client requests for Exchange
  • Routes requests to the correct mailbox server
  • Allows the use of layer 4 (TCP affinity) routing

Managed store is the name of the newly rewritten information store process, Microsoft.Exchange.Store.Service.exe and Microsoft.Exchange.Store.worker.exe, it is integrated with Microsoft Exchange replication server to provide higher availability through improve resiliency. Also the Managed store has been architected to enable more granular management of resource consumption and faster root cause analysis though improved diagnostics.

Managed Store works with replication service to manage mailbox databases, which continues to ESE as DB engine, Exchange 2013 includes change the mailbox database schema that provides many optimization over previous versions of Exchange and Replication Services is responsible for all availability related to Mailbox Servers. This change provides faster database failover and better disk failure handling.

In MS Exchange 2013, there are five types of delivery groups

  • Routing DAG
  • Mailbox delivery groups
  • Connector source service
  • AD site
  • Server List

Exchange 2013 functionality will not loss when trial period expires, so you can maintain lab without having to reinstall the trial version.

To track message flow in MS Exchange 2013, Delivery Reports are used.  It is applicable for Outlook and Outlook web only.  However, Message Tracking Logs are also helpful to know the flow of the mail.

Mailbox Trport Submission service does one of the following actions based on the number and type of recipients.

For the message having only one mailbox recipient, it chooses a mailbox server in the target delivery group and give priority to the mailbox server based on the AD site proximity

With multiple mailbox recipients, it uses first 20 recipients to choose a Mailbox server in the closest delivery group, based on the AD site proximity

If there is no mailbox recipient, select a mailbox server in the local delivery group

Managed Availability – Internal Monitoring and recovery are integrated to prevent failures, proactively restore services, and initiate failovers automatically or alert admin to take action.

Managed Store – Integrated with Microsoft Exchange Replication Service to provide higher availability

Multiple Databases per disk – Exchange 2013 supports multiple databases both active and passive on same disk.

Automatic Reseed – If a disk fails, database copy stored on that disk is copied from the active database copy to a spare disk on the same server.

Automatic recovery from storage failures

Lagged copies can now care themselves to a certain using automatic log play down

Single copy alert task is removed and included in the managed availability component

DAG networks can be automatically configuration by the system bases on the configuration settings, DAG now can distinguish between MAPI and Replication networks and configure DAG network automatically.

Trport pipeline is made up of three different services:

Front end trport service: It does basic message filtering based on domains, connectors, senders and recipients. It only connects with the trport service on a mailbox server and does not backlog any messages locally

Trport service: It runs on all mailbox servers, and it handles SMTP mail flow. It helps in message categorization and content inspection. The trport services routes messages between the Mailbox Trport service, the Trport Service and Front End Trport service.  This service does not queue messages locally

Mailbox Trport: This system includes receiving and sending SMTP to the trport service from mailbox using RPC (Remote Procedure Call).

Site Mailbox is a new type of mailbox in Exchange 2013, where it improves collaboration and user productivity by allowing access to both documents in a SharePoint site and email messages in outlook 2013 using the same client interface.

Legacy versions of Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010 released with 5 server roles, ie, Mailbox, Client Access, Hub Trport, Unified Messaging and Edge Trport server. Server role architecture has been changed in Exchange 2013 which released with only two server roles.

Mailbox Server role: It holds the same function of Mailbox, the client access protocols, Hub Trport and Unified Messaging server role in Exchange 2010

Client Access Server role: work as the client access server role in Exchange 2010, Exchange 2010 work as  only stateless server, where it doesn’t do any data rendering,  and nothing will  be stored or queued in Client Access Server role. CAS offers all usual client access protocols: HTTP, POP and IMAP, and SMTP

  • Exchange 2013 mailbox can be access by the following clients
  • Outlook 2013
  • Outlook 2010 SP1 with Outlook 2010 November 2012 update
  • Outlook 2007 SP3 with Outlook 2007 November 2010 update
  • Entourage 2008 for Mac, Web Services Edition
  • Outlook for Mac 2011

Categorizer performs following functions

Recipient Resolution: The e-mail address of the recipient is resolved to decide whether the recipient has got a mailbox in the Exchange Organization or an external e-mail address

Routing Resolution: Once the information regarding the recipient is resolved, the ultimate destination for the mail is routed, and the next hop are determined

Content Conversion: Once the mail has reached its determined address, the SMTP is converted into readable format like HTML, rich text format or plain text

Due the architectural change, Mail flow in Exchange 2013 occurs via Trport Pipeline, it is collection of Trport services, connections, components and queues that work together to route the messages to the categorizer in the trport service on a mailbox server inside the organization.

Messages from outside organization enter the trport pipeline through a receive connector in the Front End Trport service on a client access server and then routed to the Trport Service on a Mailbox Server and the Mailbox Trport Delivery Service deliver the email to local mailbox database

Message from inside organization enter the Trport Service on a Mailbox Server in following ways, receive connector, Pick Up or Replay Directory, Mailbox Trport Service or Agent Submission. Those emails can be relayed to Front End trport service on Client Access Server using the Trport Service on Mailbox Server and sent outside