Exchange 2010 Automated Installations

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Gunner999

My company is looking at deploying a large Exchange 2010 deployment from scratch (new installs) in a virutal environment. That means we are looking for several options to help us use templates to deploy the various Exchange roles (CAS, DAG, HUB) quickly and without manual installation every time we want to stand up a new server.

I have searched the web but have not been able to find any information on any of the following topics. I'm hoping someone can point me to the Microsoft documentation that may cover these topics or issues.

Below are the topics I have been looking for information on.

1) Install Exchange 2010 and deploy a virtual machine via a template using Sysprep.

I find mixed information on this at best, but no offical policy from Microsoft....can anyone point me to Microsoft KB or support statement that says sysprep of Exchange is or isn't supported? Also, I am looking for specifics on sysprep of CAS vs HUB vs Mailbox/DAG server. Maybe the CAS supports sysprep and the others don't, vice versa, etc?

2) Automating installations of Exchange 2010 to new server. Hopefully, this would be with no user interactions.

3) Best practices or automating Exchange 2010 installations.

Any other ideas and suggests are welcome, but i am looking for information on how the above topics specifically.
 
S

Sembee [MVP]

You can't sysprep a server with Exchange installed because of the integration of Exchange and the AD. Doesn't matter on the role.
Therefore the most you can do is install a machine with all of the pre-requisites, then sysprep that, then install Exchange once the machine has been added to the domain.

Installation automation is pretty easy with the command line, and once the installation is complete, use PowerShell commands to customise the installation. All of the commands are documented on Technet.

Simon.

Simon Butler, Exchange MVP
Blog | Exchange Resources
 
G

Gunner999

Sembee

Thanks for the reply, but i am still looking for links to offical Microsoft statements about sysprep and Exchange.

Also, do you have any links to online references from Microsoft or 3rd Party for automating installations? Its great you know its easy, but i don't. Clearly you have some experience, can you share more technical details, please?

Like can i save settings from a wizard to an answer file or have it create the install script? If so, explain how, or provide a reference.

Gotta yas, and common mistakes, etc. Some detail would be nice, i am starting from scratch here.

Do you have any examples of using powershell to customise the installation? Links to these would be nice. Examples of common post installation configuration tasks most administrators may do with powershell, would be nice. No since re-inventing the wheel...
 
G

Gunner999

Wow, not many replies on this. All-in-all i say the unattended installation is NOT EASY, given the clear lack of information available. I'm a little surprised that there is so little help on this topic beyond the command line switches given here http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa997281.aspx

Your pretty much left with going through one of the Technet installation template documents and converting that over to installation scripts. As these templates point out you need to automate more than just the installation, you most likely need to automate alot of configuration as well, otherwise whats the point....at least in my case.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff622322.aspx

If someone else has any more information on how to automate some of the configuration tasks i would appreciate additional information, but this is a real pain....don't be fooled by these MVP's claiming its easy.
 
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