Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Exchange 2007 on a single server. Not quite...

Over the last few nights (for kicks) I've been trying to put together a test machine to have a look at Exchange 2007. Found that a spare Pentium D I had can run Windows 2003 x64 and thought that I had already done all the hard work when I installed Windows, AD and Exchange. After all, there may be 5 roles in Exchange but you can have just one server manage to actually send and receive an email, right?

Well, nearly. Nearly being another way of saying no of course.

The problem is the Edge Transport server role. The ET role ("email home"? Sorry...) is the unpopular one of the group. No-one wants to be near him. He can't be on the same server as the other roles, not even on a domain machine. So, the minimum hardware for an Exchange system with all the elements installed is TWO 64 BIT SERVERS!? Am I the only one who thinks this is excessive? I only discovered this because emails could not be received as they were not authenticated - basically without the Edge Transport role your server's Hub Transport role does the donkey work, assuming you have one. Role that is, not donkey. And the Hub Transport role does not allow anonymous email by default and doesn't scan for spam unless you tell it to.. So, here are the inevitable couple of Powershell commands to make it work...

  • Set-ReceiveConnector -Identity "" -PermissionGroups AnonymousUsers
  • cd C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\Scripts
  • install-AntispamAgents.ps1
I suspect there might be more to do to "harden" the Hub Transport role so it doesn't get an anonymous remote kicking from some spammer on the internet though...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

VMware Converter

Why did no-one not tell me about this utility? Why is there not some pamphlet given to you on the first day in a new IT job saying "use VMware converter, its really good". Why does Microsoft not install it by default?

Okay, they don't install it because its reason #427 why VMware kicks Microsoft's ass on virtualisation.

Anyway, allow me to sum up VMware converter. Its a program which sucks physical desktop and server Windows machines into VMware, and for good measure it'll have Microsoft virtual machines too. Or older VMware machines. It'll pull them into Virtual Server or ESX if you're rich. It comes in two flavours - "Starter" and "Enterprise". Is it me or are these names a bit too extreme? The main difference appears to be that Starter works best when installed on the machine being "acquired" and really is or doing machines one at a time. Enterprise can have loads at the same time, for those who just need to turn their server room into one glowing machine NOW, dammit and have no patience for this one at a time stuff.

Now will someone please put a popup or one of those annoying flash adverts or something on the VMware site shouting about this? All that messing about using Drive Image and Livestate to create images to virtualise machines last year was so unnecesary...