Please DO NOT install Beta versions of Exchange 2007 SP1 into your production environment!!

Published Aug 29 2007 04:41 PM 836 Views

Seeing that I work closely with Exchange Support Services group, I have yesterday heard of a 2nd instance where a customer has installed Exchange 2007 SP1 Beta 2 in their production environment.

It seems it is time for a reminder:

If you have access to an Exchange 2007 SP1 build, DO NOT install it into your production environment. Also realize that Exchange 2007 SP1 will extend your Active Directory schema.

Just to give you a little bit more information: with our TAP customers, we go through a very specific process to make sure that there are no issues when Beta builds of Exchange are joined into production. Exchange 2007 SP1 is Beta code. As such, it has not been extensively tested in all possible configurations and results of installing it into the existing Organization can lead to unexpected results.

We want to strike a balance between releasing early builds so that our customers can see the product and give us feedback and ensuring that our customers have a good experience with the product. When our instructions about an early build being for testing only are ignored, customers can have a bad experience and it makes it harder for us to decide to release early builds because we don't want those situations to happen.

What you of course can do, is install Exchange 2007 SP1 in the lab and test it there... you can test coexistence too (meaning, having Exchange 2003 servers in the same Org) but this should be in your labs only. We also provided ability to test-drive Exchange 2007 in other ways.

Please be patient. We know that many are waiting for their favorite SP1 features, but it is not the time yet to roll this into production!

- Nino Bilic

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What is your view on using the Beta 2 code to ONLY update the production AD schema? Has the schema been locked down in the beta code?
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2007 SP1 updates the schema of a 2007 org?  Are there any details published about this?
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I would advise against it. Even though I have never heard of a problem created by E2007 Sp1 Schema extensions, it is still not a good idea as it is still beta.


We do not have a lot at this time (we will have this in the SP1 documentation though when time comes) - but Release Notes do mention this too:

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Thanks for the pointer to the release notes... I hadn't read them for the beta yet (and justifiably, because I hadn't installed it anywhere!)  Given that the install/upgrade updates the schema, thus requiring Schema Admin for the AD, it's even more shocking that it has been 'accidentally' installed in production!  Perhaps to protect more against this, there should be an extra screen in the setup that appears, when the product version = a beta, requiring one last extra acknowledgement that you're installing it in a lab or are a TAP customer.

Having read the release notes now, I noticed there's at least one new thing, the default disabling of streaming backup, that's also using a registry key.  I don't know if this suggestion could be taken into consideration at this point in the beta, but it would be nice (even though it could be considered trivial to add a given registry key) if this was also available in powershell (Enable-RemoteStreamingBackup?)  Perhaps that could just be a .ps1 script that adds the registry key... in any case this would keep with the theme of relatively self-documenting, scriptable, powershell commands that encompass everything that can be done or configured in Exchange server.
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If I just install the management-tools on a separate system, upgrade them to sp1Beta2, would that also upgrade the schema? This procedure would be helpful to use the import-mailbox-command...
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I think the reason people are trying to install SP1 Beta is because they hear about the additional new features (OWA Public Folders for example)  and probably have their users complaining about not being able to see something that was there previously (Exchange 2003) So it "Seems" like a step backwards.

Also, do you know if the Exchange Team is working on a conversion utility to convert Public Folder stores/folders to use them in Sharepoint? It would be very helpful as I'm sure there are alot of us who have Public Folder Trees that we would like to migrate over.

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Yes, even in that case Setup will prepare AD. We'll check the Organization prerequisites and see that we need to update to support SP1 features.
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Ok, are there any know issues under these circumstances (only a mgmg-console on sp1b2)? I mean, I don't want the world to do same, but I have such an installation in the moment...
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At this time - not aware of any issues. Not to say that there might not be some. :( That's really the whole point eh...
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Exchange, do you know if the Exchange Team is working on a conversion utility to convert Public Folder stores/folders to use them in Sharepoint? It would be very helpful as I'm sure there are alot of us who have Public Folder Trees that we would like to migrate over.
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I think that if the Exchange team could provide more information on when SP1 will be officially released, then less of us would be tempted to apply the beta.  I have been tempted, but after talking to some resources at Microsoft, am not going to go there.  But I need to let my users know when we can migrate those who need certain features in SP1 to move to Exchange 2007.  

It's very frustrating to be so "in the dark" here.   The ambiguity in our published roadmap to Exchange 2007 causes conflict with senior management, who would like to see a clear timeline which we're confident in.  On one hand I want to say, we'll be migrated by X date, but with the history of delayed releases, such as with Server 2008 today, I hesitate to put my neck on the line again.  Since Server 2008 was pushed back, will SP1 as well.  The 2 release dates seemed tied together in some news I've seen.
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Well we installed SP1 on a VM for testing purposes but that VM was joined to the domain and guess what, it must've updated the active directory schema because all of our Exchange 2007 services on the production machines are now disabled!  Is there any way to back out of this?
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Exchange on a VM,

I have never heard of what you described here... are you sure the services on other servers are actually disabled? I can't imagine how this would have anything to do with you installing E2007 Sp1 in a VM, even if it was the same forest!

Did something else happen on that other server? Was a rollup update being installed? What if you enable the services and start them?
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Roly Rodriguez:

At this time I don't think we are ready to talk about any migration tools yet, if any. You are aware though that we have annouced that PFs will be supported all the way with E2007, which means for next 10 years?

Chris Borne:

E2007 SP1 RTM date is still set for last quarter of calendar year 2007. I am sure that you undestand the other side of the coin too though: if we did announce the exact date early and then did not make it - that would be bad for plans too, right? Which is worse?
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re: Sharepoint migration tools, yes, most of us have noted that Public Folders will be supported at least until 2016, but there's a base of people out here who think that, since Microsoft is "de-emphasizing" the use of Public Folders in favour of SharePoint, that you're deliberately making it difficult to work with Public Folders as a way of prodding us into that migration. I know that SP1 will bring Public Folder support into the GUI, but you have to admit that it is quite remarkable that Exchange 2007 was RTM'ed without this feature built-in. It has left a lot of us out in the cold. If Microsoft is going to de-emphasize a feature that is heavily used, there needs to be more of a "hand off" process here. Either Public Folder support should have been enabled in the GUI when Exchange 2007 was released, or there should have been tools readily available at launch time to migrate Public Folders to SharePoint.
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As to the "which is worse" question. I personally would rather have a known date. If features won't be complete by then, cut them and put them into SP2. More regular releases are what many customers want to see. I think they (the customers) would be more receptive of this kind of release schedule instead of pushing back again and again to cram the last feature in, a'la Vista. :) Make a data for release, set a data for code freeze, whatever isn't ready by the code freeze date, cut it.
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If I'm running SP1 B1 can I just installed B2 on top to upgrade the B2?

Also, when SP1 RTM is released can I install it over my Beta build and will it upgrade smoothly?

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Thanks - I understand. As you can imagine, we have gotten strong feedback from both ends of the spectrum :)


Yes, you can go from B1 to B2 with an in-place upgrade. At this time I can't tell you for sure if in-place from B2 to RTM will be OK as we are not there just yet. However, seeing that this is all in a lab, it is less of a critical question, right? :)
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Exchange -

The no Public Folders in OWA gave my client no option but to install SP1 onto a production Server. He was on a SBS Server and hit the AD Cal Limit, only has the money to migrate both systems once and needed some of the features offered in Exchange 2007.

It was a very unique set of requirements that lead us to this point, no one was excited about it.  

I will say however that we've not had a single issue out of SP1 B1. Smooth sailing so far.

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I'm sure you have! :) I owe your team a beer or twenty when I'm in Redmond for the Jan/Feb 2008 Exchange fellowship program after all of my questions. Feel free to all get in line and abuse me appropriately!
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Does there any new Transfering rules ? Or are we able to build our own ? E.g.
- Denies from the certain number of mailboxes the Out Of Office message
- Generate automatic reply for certain number of mailboxes when globally the auto forwarding is denied.
- Updates Out of Office message to senders once per week

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I too am in a bind due to no public folders in OWA.  We are a K-12 school with the calendar integrated to a web site.. well, at least we were until I upgraded to 2007.. had I known going in, I wouldnt have, but now I have no calendar.. and the taxpayers are grumbling.  Being as they write my paycheck, I jump how high?
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Exchange on a VM

That's a problem I've encountered with Rolled up patches. I ended with all Exchange and IIS services deactivated...

We've got a US W2K3 server ('cos DELL said there where no W2K3 Enterprise 64 bits in french) with a  french Ex2K3, when we go to Windows update, it offers Exchange rollup in English wich fails to install.
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We too are wondering about this off/on again ploicy with Public Folder support and the lack of Public Folder access (among other things) has held us back (namely the SAN certificate issue with ISA) from upgrading to Exchange 2007.

We had contemplated moving our Public Folders to Sharepoint and even played with a few Sharepoint PF scenarios, but as it turns out, Sharepoint does not have have all of the features required for this. It is one thing to tell people Public Folders is being "deprecated" and use Sharepoint instead, but if Sharepoint doesn't give us the same functionality, then it is a useless option.
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