Microsoft has released Exchange Server 2016 for download. The RTM (first) build of Exchange Server 2016 was released in October 2015. With the cloud-first approach that Microsoft has these days there are few surprises in the release of Exchange Server 2016, as many of the features have been rolling out in Exchange Online already. In Microsoft’s own words:
Most of the new features in Exchange Server 2016 were birthed in the cloud and then refined in a feedback loop that includes millions of mailboxes deployed worldwide. The same is true of back-end improvements to Exchange architecture, high availability, and storage. We are now working to bring these elements to the diverse world of on-premises environments.As with any Exchange Server release there are some significant changes, as well as improvements, for customers and IT admins to get up to speed on.
Listen to MVP Andrew Higginbotham and I discussing the release of Exchange Server 2016 RTM on episode 3 of the Exchange Server Pro Podcast.
Getting Started with Exchange Server 2016Exchange Server 2016 has just two server roles:
- Mailbox server role – this role will consolidate the Mailbox and Client Access roles from Exchange Server 2013. Compared to Exchange Server 2010 this role consolidates all of the functions of the Client Access, Mailbox, Hub Transport, and Unified Messaging server roles. The Mailbox server role in Exchange Server 2016 is the only mandatory server role, and the consolidation reinforces the recommended practice since Exchange Server 2010 to deploy Exchange as a multi-role server instead of deploying individual roles to separate servers.
- Edge Transport server role – this role will be much the same as Edge Transport in previous versions of Exchange, designed to sit in perimeter networks and provide secure inbound and outbound mail flow for the organization. Edge Transport servers are not mandatory.
Planning and Installing Exchange Server 2016The current system requirements for Exchange Server 2016 include:
- Windows Server 2008 or higher domain controllers and global catalog servers
- Windows Server 2008 or higher domain and forest functional levels
- Windows Server 2012 R2 or higher operating system (Windows Server “10” support is expected but can’t be formalised until it ships as well)
- Co-existence with Exchange Server 2010 SP3 RU11 and Exchange Server 2013 CU10