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EDIT 11/4/2009: The information in this article is obsolete. Please read this post for new information on the subject.

Since we announced the release of Exchange Server 2007 SP2, we've received a few questions about running Exchange 2007 on Windows Server 2008 R2.  We wanted to provide some additional information on how we made the decision to support Exchange Server 2007 SP2 on Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2 but not Windows Server 2008 R2.   This decision is not one we took lightly and was informed by customer feedback.

Two primary technical points drove our decision to not support Windows Server 2008 R2.  First, Windows Server 2008 R2, while an incremental OS upgrade, creates significant testing requirements for Exchange 2007. Because the Exchange 2007 SP2 engineering preceded the Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM, Exchange 2007 SP2 would have had to be delayed significantly to align testing schedules.  Second, because upgrading the server OS underneath an existing Exchange server is not supported, the feedback we have received is that the primary need is to support Windows Server 2008 R2 domain controllers in an existing Exchange 2007 deployment, which we have done. 

In reviewing the specific work items to support Windows Server 2008 R2, we determined that while significant testing time would be required this work would only ensure the minimum level of compatibility, and it still might not allow Exchange to take advantage of new Windows 2008 R2 features.  Additionally, this work would be at the expense of delivering the capabilities customers have told us they want in Exchange 2010.  So, based on this reality we decided to focus on the compatibility between Exchange 2007 SP2 and Windows Server 2008 R2 domain controllers and the releasing of Exchange 2010 as close to Windows 2008 R2's release as possible.  We felt that thoroughly validating the combination of Exchange 2010 on Windows Server 2008 R2 allowed us to focus on delivering great solutions which would be fully tested and would support the features of Windows Server 2008 R2.

We recognize that there are some downstream impacts to this decision related to administration only installs.  The technical problem for us is that an administration install of Exchange is almost identical to a full Exchange server installation. 

This is a hard trade-off to make, but we believe it is the right one and a good balance between serving existing customers and driving innovation.

Hope that this sheds some light on the subject!

- Nino Bilic

60 Comments
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I understand the decision ... but the "impression" being left about is starting to get negative.

2008 is barley a year old yet the changes to R2 create waves of implications.   Other MS prodcuts arn't certified on it.  Applications _introduced_ in 2008 have alreayd been removed (servermanagercmd.exe in core for example).  New Forest exclusive modes to leverage potentially great features that in practice are clunky to the average admin (no GUI at all for the ad-recycle bin?  I dont know a single tech who likes the idea of doing powershell queries instead of the drag and drop they are used to).

2008 and R2 are huge leaps forward in secuirty and configurability but these areas of polish that have been neglected are sadly the first thing most daily admins will see ... and thats just going to leave a poor impression and alot of techs to simply sit on 2003 a little longer until all this is sorted out.
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Hello,

One question: Since you need to deploy Exchange 2007 SP2 to upgrade to Exchange 2010, how does this effect admins wishing to upgrade to 2010 eventually, but not able to install SP2?

Thanks,

Samara Lynn
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Justin, not sure what you mean by barely a year old...  it's 20 months between win2008 rtm and win2008r2 rtm by my count (feb 08 to oct 09).  Shorter than usual, sure, but can't blame MS for wanting to get away from the Vista/2008 codebase as quickly as possible.

I see no reason for the team to have spent resources getting ex2007 working on 2008r2 when ex2010's release is imminent, and may happen before R2 is officially release on oct 22 (cmon guys!) :)
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@ samara lynn - Exchange 2007 SP2 is required for coexistence of Exchange 2007 with Exchange 2010. So while you do not have to install Exchange 2007 SP2 now, you will need to do so when you will want to coexist with Exchange 2010.

Curious - is there a specific thing blocking you from installing Exchange 2007 SP2 on your existing Exchange 2007 servers when the time comes?
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Good thing we canceled SA and decided to settle on 2008 (no R2) for a few years including for our upcoming Exchange 2007 deployment.
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You made the right decision. Supporting the 2008 R2 DC's is what's important.
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Will a future update allow Exchange 2007 SP2 (even at least admin tools!) to be installed on Server 2008 R2?  Or will that never happen?
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Hi Exchange Team !

I really hope you will at least come back to that problem after Exchange 2010 has been released and issue a hotfix that makes Exchange 2007 compatible with Windows Server 2008 R2. There will be quite a few reasons why this should be done, one of them is to allow people who purchased Exchange 2007 and do not want to upgrade to Exchange 2010 (or whose company policy wont allow it) to use the latest Server OS once a reinstall is necessary. You don´t need to support all the features of R2 with Exchange 2007, just make it work similar to R1 once Exchange 2010 is out. Having said that, I am looking forward to Exchange 2010 :)
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Yeah, I wonder too - Why someone may don't want to install a new SP2 to a product? Fears? Diffidence?
I always do, after some thorough testing in the lab of course.



Русский перевод статьи здесь (Russian version of this post is here): http://www.maximumexchange.ru/2009/09/22/exchange-2007-sp2-and-windows-server-2008-r2/
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I don't see the big problem in not supporting Exchange 2007 on Server 2008 R2. Why do you want to spendt time reinstalling or adding Exchange 2007 cluster servers and so on to the environment on Server 2008 R2 instead of just using Server 2008 SP2? If you are ready for the new server OS shouldn't you be ready for the new Exchange version as well?
I am looking forward to the release of Exchange 2010 so that we can take benifit of the new DAG features.
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honestly i dont see it as a big deal , sure its annoying but its not like there is any features in R2 that you cant live without.

Its not like 2008 have become impossible to install after R2 is out.

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blablahbla.. we need to push customers to our new Exchange2010, it's all... it's same situation as NTBackup.. good, well working program finished, because M$ need to push customers to new program DPM/ImageBackup with few features of NTBackup...
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So what do you recommend to use?
I have a Server08 R2 Enterprise which is the main DC, and i wanted to install my Exchange 07 on it.
Unfortunately it did not let me install it, therefore i have to possible ways left: install the RC1 Exchange on it or to have a VM with Server08 and Exchange 07 on the Server08R2 box.

Does anybody know the release date of the final Exchange 2010? Because the RC is limited to only 120 days...
Can I count to see Exchange 2010 in MSDNaa close to RTM?

regards,

tavoc
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@Goran

As Flemming writes, why is it so important to use Server 2008 R2 for your Exchange server what benifit is so important to get? The new 2008 R2 does have some nice features, but I have seen none that Exchange 2007 would abosolutely need. The new features in 2008 R2 makes more sense on other servers in the domain.

@tavoc, i wouldn't recommend Exchange on a DC unless you are running an SBS server.
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It's important to decide on OS levels as a consistant platform across a company.  This is why you generally don't see companies that deploy WinXP, Vista, and W7 in an enterprise -- they'll typically wait and migrate the entire company to a singular platform for supportability reasons.  It just makes sense.

In the same sense, those companies choosing to migrate to WS2008R2 are forced to use Ex2010 as their messaging solution.  Since this is not yet released, it cannot be completely evaluated, plus it has the added "stigma" (be it right or wrong) of being a SP0 level product, which still scares some companies.

To the point of the original article, it SHOULD be up to the respective companies whether or not they are "taking advantage of new Windows 2008 R2 features", in the sense of Exchange 2007 server.  I don't see how that is even relevent.

I was hoping to read this article and see specific technical reasons why it could not be supported.
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This topic is a little... Currently I have 7 Servers in my exchange environment.  3 Cluster mailbox servers (Windows 2003 R2 x64) Exchange 2007 with Rollup 8... 2 HUB Transport Servers and 2 Edge Servers with the same stats... I undertand that you CANNOT do a inplace upgrade from 2003 to 2008 on the clustered boxes, but what about doing an inplace on the Edge and Hubs?  I have breathing room to do a "fresh" start with the Mailbox Servers, but not with all seven.  
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I for one do not understand why some people are so angry about this. And what does it have to do with anti trust? Confused? Because Microsoft is forcing you to use what you already have? w00t!! I just don't see a ton of people going to Exchange 2007 now that Exchange 2010 is literally around the corner. I am sure it happens but it is surely a minority.

Exchange 2007 still works both on Windows 2003 and Windows 2008. You can still install new machines, it is all still working. It's not like the running on R2 wold give you more lifecycle out of the server anyway, as per MS lifecycle information, both W2008 and R2 seem to have the same end of life.

For all of us still on Exchange 2003, I am happy that Exchange team decided to spend more time on Exchange 2010 rather than deal with Exchange 2007 and R2, as that is what I am looking at.
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@Goran

I wanted to install Exchange 2007 on Windows 2008 R2 too, and have aldready written a design paper for a customer. Now it doesn't work, so it's going to be installed on Windows 2008. Explain to the customer, done. What else can you do at the moment?!

Microsoft is NOT holding a monopoly on mail server technology, so you are free to use any other mailserver. Please stop writing your suspicions and incriminiations, I'm tired of reading that nonsense.

I can't imagine why you want to blame this issue for losing (7 I read?) contracts like you did on one of your earlier posts. This can't be the true reason.

Regards,
Martin

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Are you kidding me????  we will be crucified. Our current mail platform is not supported on our current Server OS.

It's not April so this can't be an April fool's joke.

wait until the media gets a hold of this one.  we're gtoing to look like idiots.

P.
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Few comments deleted at poster's request.

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Why is everyone so upset? The writing has been on the wall for a decade. This isn't earth shattering news by any means.

Exchange 2000 ran on Windows 2000/2003
Exchange 2003 ran on Windows 2000/2003
Exchange 2007 runs on Windows 2003/2008
Exchange 2010 runs on Windows 2008/2008R2 / ???

@Martin,

The only thing I can suggest is to not write design papers for customers before an OS is released and before official application support stances were known. Unfortunately taking that approach drops the accountability upon nobody but the one writing the paper too early. :\
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Someday, Microsoft is going to really talk to the people that have to make all of this work at the Customer end of things and not the CEOs CIOs, etc...
The choices made by MS Development harms MS because of the lack of upgrade paths -- and I don't see that having to  buy a new server to put 2008 R2 on and then Exchange 2010 and then migrate from 2008/Exchange 2007 machine..what a chore....and MS wonders way Exchange 2007 wasn't a big hit!

Maybe someday Microsoft will talk to the people, like me, and understand how things have to be rather than the Microsoft view of the world!...Decisions like this one makes it really hard to convince customers the right way to go!
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Hello Folks, this may be a thing told already but I need a clear answer to move forward with fist Exchange 2007 deployment. Will E2007 SP2 on Win 2008 SP2 (DC's only being Win 2008 R2) provide inplace upgrade capability to E2010, once released, and no reinstall required. Hope you guys respond discretly. Thanks.
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Anis - there is no in-place upgrade from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010. There have been huge changes in both store as well as database that make the in-place upgrade a REALLY difficult proposition to engineer. And that's not all. So basically - no matter the OS, there is no in-place, you will have to join and move mailbox.
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The first post about compatibilty was on Sept. 9th on this site.  That is 2 weeks later than my installation of Excahnge 2007 on a new R2 server.  Why would I install a nearly two year old operating system as my base?  Why would I assume Microsoft would not support their flagship messaging product on thier flagship server product.

So I am now up the creek?  I have to do another server build and Exchange Migration?  Who is going to call me and help me straighten this issue out and pay for the extra time?

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Brian D - why did you do that? If you look at system requirements for Exchange 2007 it is clear that R2 is not on the list of supported OS?
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@ Ron,

Do you really mean that Exchange 2007 wasn't a big hit? Now I am from a small European country but here I have seen a lot of Exchange 2007 installations and we have been really happy about the product. Now we are looking even more forward to the release of 2010 since the HA in this product are looking REALLY nice!.
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So, now I can set MIC Exch 2007 on my iPhone?
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bday said:
Why is everyone so upset? The writing has been on the wall for a decade. This isn't earth shattering news by any means.



"But Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine month."

"Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them had you? I mean like actually telling anybody or anything."

"But the plans were on display ..."

"On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them."

"That's the display department."

"With a torch."

"Ah, well the lights had probably gone."

"So had the stairs."

"But look, you found the notice didn't you?"

"Yes," said Arthur, "yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying Beware of the Leopard."
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Personally I think it would be good if MS focused on delivering a more self-contained Exchange that did not so heavily depend on the specific OS version.  The installation experience from deploying Exchange is still one of semi-frustration.  Why does the

installation just report on the necessary prerequisites instead of automatically installing them ? - especially when automating this is done in a few lines of Powershell.  Similarly the installation will fail disgracefully if it doesn't connect to

https://crl.microsoft.com/... - even if this connection is not really essential to the installation.



Little details perhaps, but wishing for an installation-experience that will have the smoothness and simplicity of a game installation should not be too much to request.  I'm sure the MS developers could have this as a "stretch-goal".

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It is wrong decision.
From 1.September till today is Windows 2008 server R2 is on market. Exchange 2007 is on market. Exchange 2010 is NOT!
What customer want to buy today? Actual version!
In addition - Exchange 2003 was supported also for Windows 2003 R2 server, then why Exchange 2007 would by not to supported for Windows 2008 R2. It is nonsens for me and customers!
Change this nonsens for God's sake!
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Ok, so I read a few blogs and i'm confused so I need to ask a dumb question, sorry everyone: We have Exchange 2007 SP1 running on Windows 2003 R2 x 64 in a Windows 2003 Domain/Forrest. I'd like to install SP2 on the current system and Also upgrade all my Domain Controllers to 08 R2...Can my Windows 03/Exch07 SP2 box run in an 08 R2 Domain? are there any reported issues? or is just the incompatibility just installing Exchange07 SP2 on a Window08 R2 box?
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This is idiotic.  But, I suppose Microsoft does have a reputation to uphold.  Decisions like this is how that they got that reputation in the first place.
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Thanx for the comparison. I was planning to buy server 2008. Please provide more information over it. Provide links to related topics if possible.
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I'm aghast at this.  Have just been building a new Ex2007 machine and find (luckily before it goes into production) that either it wont work properly or at least wont be upgradable with the latest service pack??

I can understand different OSs having compatibility issues with old software but

a) Exchange 2007 is the current release. 2010 isnt here yet.
b) Win2008R2 sounds like an incremental upgrade to 2008.  Its not called 2009.

Also, why did it not occur to someone to put a warning to anyone trying to install Ex2007Sp1 on Win2008R2?  You have to make a couple of minor fudges to get it working, but we'll all done that plenty of times in the past and sort of expect it with new releases.  Nowhere does it say that furture releases of Ex2007 will not work.

Very poor decision in my mind, especially as I now have to rip up the past few days work and restart.
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I had a question earlier that never got answered... I'm OK with Exchange 2007 CAS, HUB and Mailbox roles not being available for installation on 2008R2.  But, I would really like to see us be able to install the Management Tools at least, since our administrative workstations will be running 2008R2 shortly.  Are there any plans to support the management tools for Exchange 2007 SP2 on a Windows 2008 R2 box?  Thanks!
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Patrick,

As the blog post mentioned - because of Exchange 2007 setup experience and underlying plumbing - the MGMT tools install alone requires us to take on the work for most of the whole product to support it on W2008 R2. So at this time - the answer is no.
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Can some help me with Exchange 2007 mail box creation ?

Hi, I am trying to create a Exchange 2007 mail box , I am doing thing using JNDI (Java Naming and Directory Interface), I set following attributes on AD)

mDBUseDefaults
homeMDB
legacyExchangeDN
homeMTA
mail
mailNickName
proxyAddress
userPrincipalName

This method works fine with E2k3 , but fails for E2k7 , can someone help me with this? I understand this is not exactly right place to post this message .. but did not have much options as ..I simply never found a place where I could create a post under E2k7 Development.

Any pointers to this will be greatly appreciated, I can't use powershell .. It has to be either perljava base , some thing that runs on UNIX systems
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I just had a case where I installed win2k8 R2 at a customer site
and I was getting ready to install Exchange 2007 ....
" Not aware of this incompatibility "  
I wonder if you can roll back a server to the non R2 win2k8..
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I tend to agree, why isn't Microsoft supporting its flagship Messaging app on its flagship OS i.e. Exchange 2007 SP2 on Windows 2008 R2?

I'm looking to introduce a completely new Windows 2008 infrastructure on the latest version R2 but will now have to create 2 builds; one for the R2 services and a separate set for the Exchange servers based on 2008 - not what I was expecting to do.
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You know what would be a cool feature in Exchange 2007? A GUI.

And search indexes which actually WORK.

And for it not to be such a steaming pile of horse-dung.

Will Exchange 2010 address these issues? I doubt it.
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What about having the domain functional level rised to server 2008 r2 but exchange 2007 running on server 2003?
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@Julian: It does work. But after replication concluded, the exchange services loses contect with AD untill they are restarted (or the server is restarted). So be aware that in some point, your exchange 2007 would be unavailable.
After that, exchange 2007 SP2 works perfect with all the DCs in 2008r2 with the functional level at 2008r2.
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Don't need to contribute more to this flame war than: I agree with most of the criticism. This is a bad move by MS.

But let me add something to the confusion. I am in the proces of setting up an infrastructure with two DC's, two files servers, two app servers and ... two dedicated Exchange servers. All virtualized using two VMware hosts. All running R2. After installing the DCs and file servers, I installed the first Exchange virtual box without much problems. It was when I installed the second, when the shit hit the fan. But only when installing the mailbox role (data area too small, or something).

But .... CAS and Admin tools seem to work.

After several tries (among others a step by step installation) I gave up and installed the <sarcastic>old</sarcastic> 2008. Now everything seems to work. So one Exchange running on R2, the other on the vintage 2008.

I even tried upgrading the latter to R2, but the installation couldn't continue unless I uninstall Exchange. Which I then didn't.

Do I dare to go into production with this setup? I think not. I'm afraid I will have to reinstall my R2 Exchange server.

I wonder what the solution will be for small businesses. What I read about 2010 is that this may only be useful for enterprises so they'll be stuck with this situation. Or am I misinformed here?
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I did not know about the compatibility issues with windows 2008 r2 and exchange 2007 sp1. I install windows 2008 r2 member server and installed exchange 2007 sp1 on it. We have Windows 2003 SP2 domain controllers and AD and Forest in 2003 mode. Everything is working fine so far from last 2 weeks. I was about to remove exchange 2003 from old box and came to know about this compatibility issue. I am in a fix now and don't know what should I do next. What issues were are talking about in the future if I keep it like this?

Romeo
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Romeo J - the problem is that there is no way of knowing what exactly will be broken. While this sucks - my advice would be to back out and start over, or join another server to the org, move the data over (if current server functionality even allows it) and then decomission the server that is in an unsupported/untested situation.

Nino.
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Thanks Nino.

I still have exchange 2003 in the organization. Can I move mailboxes and pub folders back to that server and then uninstall current 2007 Exchange Server. Once the Exchange 2007 is uninstalled I can reload Windows 2008 SP2 and install exchange 2007 and move mailboxes and pub folder. I know there will be complete downtime during the transition. Or do I need to get another box running windows 2008 sp2 64 bit and install exchange 2007 64 bit. If it has to be seperate box can I install exchange 2007 32 bit as I will be using that just for 1 day..

Thanks
Nishant
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Sure, you should be able to move the data back to E2003 and then remove E2007 and re-add it once you are on a different OS. If you have another server - that is your best option probably.
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Thanks. I don't have another 64 bit box. Can i use exchange 2007 32 bit for transition on a 32 bit box?
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Hello all,

I have a small question for you:

Can I install 2008 R2 domain controllers into my single forest/single domain and raise the forest and domain functional levels to R2 once I have patched a single Exchange 2007 Server (installed on w2k8) to SP2?