Tips for Exchange Server 2019 management on Windows Server Core
As many of you already know, few weeks ago the Exchange Server 2019 was released. Along with the release, Microsoft published the requirements and best practices for the product. One of the good practices is the use of Windows Server Core. That’s right, Microsoft now encourages Exchange Server 2019 to be installed on Windows Server 2019 Server Core. Although this not a requirement, the product team says that they developed the product code to have the best possible experience on the Server Core platform. So, I’ve been doing some tests, in fact I like the performance.
Well, for Exchange administrators who have never seen a situation like this before, there are many doubts in our minds. I will try to list below some of the most common which I have listened:
- How do I access the Event Viewer?
Answer: I recommend to do this by opening a remote MMC.
- Can programs such as .NET Framework and Jetstress be installed?
Answer: Yes, they can be installed.
- How do I open IIS?
Answer: IIS can also be used remotely, from another server that IIS is installed, opening a remote connection.
- How do I view the server logs?
- Can we convert from the Server Core version to the GUI version after it has already been installed?
Answer: As Windows Server 2016 this was no longer possible, and I believe that with 2019 will be the same.
- Can I open the Hybrid Configuration Wizard?
Answer: No. As far as I concerned Microsoft has no intention to give support for HCW on Windows Server Core. The workaround is to run the HCW on Windows 10 domain-joined machine.
Useful Commands for Exchange Server 2019 on Windows Server Core:
- Open Exchange Management Shell:
> Powershell > Add-PSSnapin Microsoft.Exchange.Management.PowerShell.SnapIn;
- Configure Hostname, IP, Remote Access, Domain, Date and Time, and Windows Activation:
- Perform disk configuration:
> Get-Disk > Initialize-Disk -Number 1 -PartitionStyle GPT > New-Partition -DiskNumber 1 -UseMaximumSize -AssignDriveLetter D > Format-Volume -DriveLetter D -FileSystem ReFS -NewFileSystemLabel "Exchange Volume"
Note: With the Get-Disk result, obtain the number of the disk on which will be prepared, and use this number for the Initialize-Disk and New-Partition commands.
- Disable Windows Firewall:
> Set-NetFirewallProfile -Profile Domain,Public,Private -Enabled False
- Mount an ISO file:
> Mount-DiskImage C:\ISO\FILE.ISO
The last tip is to use the Windows Admin Center in order to manage the Windows Server Core. For those how don’t know, Windows Admin Center is a locally-deployed, browser-based management tool set that lets you manage your Windows Server and gives you full control over all aspects of you server infrastructure.