Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update installation Best Practices – Part 1

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This article will demonstrate the step by step installation procedure for installing cumulative update for Exchange 2013 DAG

Microsoft support policy on CU:

Microsoft will support last two cumulative update updates, so currently they will support cumulative updates 22 & 23 . The cumulative updates will get released every 3 to 6 months once.

Below are the best practices which needs to be considers before the CU upgrade

  • Make sure to install & test the CU update in the DEV / Test environment before into the production
  • If you don’t have dev / test environment, consider to waiting for a week or two from the date of CU release before installing the update into production
  • Make sure to have a good exchange & AD full back up before the upgrade
  • Backup if any customized configuration exists in the environment (Like any customization done in owa theme)
  • Backup all virtual directory configurations
  • If the cumulative update requires active directory schema update, please make sure you have the required rights / permission for your account
  • As a best practice always run the schema update from the domain controller not from the exchange server
  • Make sure to deselect “Check for Publisher’s certificate” and “Check for server certificate revocation”, from Internet Explorer -> Internet Options, Advanced tab, Security options
  • Disable antivirus software & services
  • Disable backup services to make sure no backup running during the time of cumulative update
  • Always make sure to run the cumulative update from the elevated command prompt
  • Download the CU from Microsoft download center and extract the downloaded file
  • Put the DAG member into maintenance mode (if required)
  • Upgrade active directory schema (if required)
  • Install the CU update
  • Take out the DAG members from maintenance mode
  • Reboot the servers before and after cumulative upgrade for smoother upgrade
  • Make sure to do the required server health checks and end to end client post checks after the CU upgrade.
  • As part of prerequisite if the version Cumulative update requires .Net Framework version to get updated then make sure the required version of .Net frame work updated in exchange servers as well as the Domain controller from where you are updating the schema.

Here is the wiki link for Microsoft to verify the CU built number and link for download the CU`s

Exchange 2013

Cumulative Update

Configuration Backup

You can use the following command to take the configuration backup of your environment especially virtual directories, which will help you in case if any configuration mismatch occur post CU upgrade

  • Get-OwaVirtualDirectory -Server | fl > owavirdir.txt
  • Get-EcpVirtualDirectory -Server | fl > ecpvirdir.txt
  • Get-ActiveSyncVirtualDirectory -Server | fl > ASvirdir.txt
  • Get-WebServicesVirtualDirectory -Server | fl > Webservvirdir.txt
  • Get-OabVirtualDirectory -Server | fl > oabvirdir.txt
  • Get-MapiVirtualDirectory -Server | fl > mapivirdir.txt
  • Get-OutlookAnywhere -Server | fl > outlookanywhere.txt
  • Get-ClientAccessServer -Identity | fl > CAS_Server.txt
  • Get-mailboxServer -Identity | fl > MBX_Server.txt
  • Get-transportServer -Identity | fl > Transport_Server.txt

Active Directory Schema Update

As mentioned earlier some cumulative update versions does required to update the active directory schema before actual exchange CU update

For Exchange 2013 , you can refer the below link for Exchange 2013 objects in Active Directory that get updated each time you install a new version of Exchange 2013. You can compare the object versions you see with the values in the table below to verify that the version of Exchange 2013 you installed successfully updated Active Directory during installation

For Exchange 2013 CU update , below objects in Active Directory that get updated from the previous version

You can use the following commands to verify the object version and range Upper value in your environment before and after the schema update

  • Get-ADObject -Identity “CN=ms-Exch-Schema-Version-Pt,CN=schema,CN=configuration,DC=contoso,DC=net” -properties rangeUpper | select rangeUpper | format-List
  • Get-ADObject -Identity “CN=sternauto,CN=Microsoft Exchange,CN=Services,CN=Configuration,DC=contoso,DC=net” -properties objectVersion | select objectVersion | Format-List
  • Get-ADObject -Identity “CN=sternauto,CN=Microsoft Exchange,CN=Services,CN=Configuration,DC=contoso,DC=net” -properties msExchProductId | select msExchProductId | Format-List
  • $RootDSE= ([ADSI]””).distinguishedName

([ADSI]”LDAP://CN=Microsoft Exchange System Objects,$RootDSE”).objectVersion

Below is the sample object version and range update value of the environment which captured before CU 23 upgrade

Cumulative Update

You can find the remaining procedure for cumulative update in Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update installation Best Practices – Part 2

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