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Exchange Server 2010 : Installing and Configuring the Edge Transport Server Components

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3/21/2011 11:37:26 AM
The first thing that needs to be done is to determine how the Edge Transport server role will be implemented and configured in the Exchange Server environment. This involves planning and designing the placement of the Exchange Edge Transport server location, considering configuration options, and then actually installing the Edge Transport Services onto a server in the network. This section defines the configurable items for the components available on an Exchange 2010 server when the Edge Transport server role is selected during installation. Several items are identified in this section specific to the appropriate configuration options to properly achieve a secure, effective, and stable Edge Transport server environment.

Planning the Implementation of the Edge Transport Servers in Exchange Server

The first item to consider when installing and configuring the Edge Transport Services is the desired end result of the email message or connection being processed by the Edge Transport server. Determining what type of email should always be rejected, quarantined, or tagged for end-user review or which connections should be blocked and for how long will help reduce the amount of false positives and allow for a moderately aggressive spam filtering policy the first time Edge Transport servers begin monitoring email for an organization.

Planning for the Message Processing Order of Edge Services

To assist with the planning for your Edge Transport server deployment, take a moment to become familiar with the order in which filtering agents analyze messages. Understanding the order in which messages are processed will help you determine where you should place filters and assign settings for messages you do or don’t want to receive. The Edge Transport Antispam filtering order is as follows:

  1. An email message is received from the Internet.

  2. The IP Block and Allow Lists are checked for a match to the sending IP address.

  3. The IP Block List Providers and IP Allow List Providers are checked for a match to the sending IP address.

  4. The Sender Filtering Agent checks the Blocked Senders list for a match.

  5. The SenderID Agent performs a Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record lookup against the sending IP address.

  6. The Recipient Filtering Agent checks the Blocked Recipients list for a match. This is also where messages addressed to nonexistent recipients get identified.

  7. The Content Filtering Agent analyzes the content contained inside the message. Using Safelist Aggregation, the Content Filtering Agent also recognizes block and allow entries obtained from users’ Outlook clients.

  8. Attachments are analyzed by the Attachment Filter Agent. Edge transport rules run against the message.

  9. The message is either delivered to the Hub Transport server, rejected, deleted, sent to the spam quarantine mailbox, or placed in the user’s Junk E-Mail folder in the Outlook client.

Note

Messages can be identified for delivery or one of the blocking actions at any point in this process, depending on how the Edge Transport server agents have been configured.


Tip

Because the majority of unwanted email delivered today is spam, it is recommended to scan for spam messages before performing virus scanning. This reduces the load placed on the server when it performs virus scanning because virus scanning requires more processing power. This best practice assumes other antimalware mechanisms are in place throughout the network.


Tip

The Microsoft Exchange Server TechCenter, located at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/default.aspx, contains a wealth of information, tools, tips, and virtual labs for Exchange Server administrators.


Tip

The Microsoft Exchange Team Blog, located at www.msexchangeteam.com/, is a great place to stay current on Exchange Server news and communicate with other Exchange Server experts in the industry.


Installing Edge Transport Services on an Exchange Server

With a general concept of what the Edge Transport Services does, the next step is to install Edge Services on a system and begin configuring filters to test the results in your environment.

Unlike some server functions where you can test functionality in a lab environment, such as performance, features, and functions, testing Edge Services filtering is a little harder to do in an isolated setting. You need to have incoming messages, including spam and good messages, to filter to determine the effective results of the filters you create. The only way to truly measure the impact of Edge Services on an organization’s email is on a production environment’s mail flow.

Many organizations insert an Edge Services system into their network and set the filter settings low enough that no good messages are accidentally filtered. Then, the organization trends the effectiveness of the filters and tunes up the settings over time to be more and more restrictive, effectively increasing the filter catch rate. While the filtering is expanded, quarantine areas are monitored to look for false positive messages ensuring that good messages are not being blocked unintentionally or unnecessarily filtered. This process can take an organization several weeks to work through; however, it provides tight control and oversight on the processing of filtered messages.

Another option that is frequently adopted is where an organization sets up a test network with a live connection to the Internet and creates a “honeypot.” A honeypot is an Internet-connected system that purposely attracts messages, including spam and other content, but is not connected to the production network. The process involves establishing a domain on the Internet, setting up an email server to the domain, and then signing up to be on mailing lists with an email account from this test domain. This might include going to the websites of established businesses such as retail stores, mail-order houses, and so on and signing up to receive emails about their promotions and regular newsletters. To get less desirable content, you could sign up to receive notification of events on sites with questionable reputations, such as triple-X sites. Do note that it could take several weeks before your honeypot attracts enough messages to make the filtering effective.

Tip

Prior to deploying any email filtering controls, organizations should first clearly define all domains, subdomains, and email addresses it wants to ensure isn’t inadvertently blocked because it could have a direct impact on business. The domains, subdomains, and email addresses identified should first be placed in the Safe Sender’s list on the Edge Transport server, with other filters put in place after.

Realize that if you sign up on sites for the purpose of attracting spam, the incoming content might be inappropriate for professional organizations, and you risk exposing the external IP address and incoming ports to questionable systems or sources.


Preparing an Exchange Server 2010 System

The minimum prerequisite required to install Exchange Server 2010 is Windows Server 2008 with at least Service Pack 2, Standard or Enterprise 64-bit Editions. Because this server will be connected to the Internet, hardening the server for security is extremely important; therefore, it is even more important that the server system is properly configured, and has the latest service pack and security updates installed. For more details on installing Windows Server 2008.

Installing the Exchange Server 2010 Application on the Server

After the system has Windows Server 2008 installed and is properly configured and updated, you can begin the installation of Exchange Server 2010. To install Exchange Server using the interactive installation process of Exchange Server, use the following steps:

1.
Insert the Exchange Server 2010 CD or DVD (Standard or Enterprise).

2.
AutoRun should launch a splash screen with options for installing the prerequisites and application. (If AutoRun does not execute, select Start, Run. Then type [Drive]:\setup.exe and click OK.)

3.
Ensure all prerequisites for an Edge Transport Server have been met before attempting to install Exchange Server 2010:

Windows 2008 Standard or Enterprise 64-Bit Edition with Service Pack 2

Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5

Windows Remote Management 2.0

Windows PowerShell V2

Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS)

4.
On the splash screen, click Step 4: Choose Exchange Language Option and select to install all languages from the language bundle or only those on the DVD.

5.
Click Step 5: Install Microsoft Exchange.

Tip

To quickly and easily install Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS), simply enter ServerManagerCmd -i ADLDS in the PowerShell command prompt.

Note

Before Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 can be installed, the Setup Installation Wizard will verify if the necessary prerequisites have been fulfilled. If the prerequisites have not been met, configure the prerequisites as recommended by the Configuration Wizard and run setup again. Prerequisites differ depending on the Exchange 2010 server role you are installing.

6.
Setup.exe copies the setup files locally to the server on which Exchange Server 2010 is being installed.

7.
In the Microsoft Exchange Server Installation Wizard dialog box, on the Introduction page, click Next.

8.
At the License Agreement page, click I Accept the Terms in the License Agreement, and click Next.

9.
At the Error Reporting page, select whether to participate in the Exchange Error Reporting program by sending feedback automatically to Microsoft, and then click Next.

10.
At the Installation Type page, select the Custom Exchange Server Installation option and click Next.

11.
On the Server Role selection page, select Edge Transport Server Role and click Next (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Adding the Exchange Transport Server role.

Note

If there is a need to change the installation folder, click Browse before proceeding and specify a path for the Exchange Server installation.

12.
On the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) page, select one of the following two options: 1) Join the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) or 2) I Don’t Wish to Join the Program at This Time. Click Next.

13.
On the Readiness Checks page, the Installation Wizard is verifying that the appropriate Exchange Server prerequisites have been installed. View the status to determine if the organization and server role prerequisite checks completed successfully, and then click Install.

Note

If there are any errors returned or prerequisites not met on the Readiness Checks page, it is necessary to address these issues and retry the setup.

14.
To complete the Exchange Server 2010 installation, on the Completion page, click Finish. The Exchange Management Console launches displaying the Exchange 2010 Post-Installation tasks.

Note

The Verify Deployment and Secure the Edge Transport Server by Using the Security Configuration Wizard tasks should be completed after you have finished configuring the Edge Transport server filters and services. The Security Configuration Wizard can be found under Start, All Programs, Administrative Tools.


Note

The Exchange Best Practices Analyzer should be run after you finish configuring the Edge Transport server filters and services. This tool scans the Exchange Server configuration and provides recommendations based on the configuration of the server. The Exchange Best Practices Analyzer can be found in the Toolbox located in the Exchange Management Console.


The Finalize Deployment Tasks, End-to-End Scenario tasks, and Post-Installation Tasks sections in the Exchange Management Console outline the recommended tasks for end-to-end email routing scenarios along with other help topics. For example, the Configure the Spam Confidence Level (SCL) Junk E-Mail Folder Threshold link provides steps for setting the SCL thresholds for delivery to the end user’s Junk E-Mail folder in Outlook.

Understanding the Edge Transport Components in the Exchange Management Console

After the Exchange Server software has been installed on the server system that will become the Edge Transport server, launch the Exchange Management Console to begin the process of configuring filters and parameters. The Exchange Management Console can be launched by doing the following:

1.
Click Start, All Programs, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010.

2.
Choose the Exchange Management Console program.

If the Edge Transport server role was selected during the Exchange Server 2010 setup process, the Edge Transport object and Toolbox are the only items that will be available in the console tree of the Exchange Management Console. Selecting the Edge Transport object in the console tree of the Exchange Management Console populates the work pane similar to what is shown in Figure 2 with the configurable options for the Edge Transport server.

Figure 2. View of the Exchange Management Console configuration options for the Edge Transport server.

Note

All filters, lists, and connector settings are enabled by default. As changes are made and applied, they will be in effect on the Edge Transport server. Careful attention to changes is necessary, especially in a live environment. It is recommended to design and configure the first Edge Transport server offline with the minimal configuration needed for email routing and moderate antispam filtering. In the future, the aggressiveness of the antispam filters can be increased and additional filters can be added or modified. This makes troubleshooting easier and helps ensure delivery of legitimate email, while retaining the benefit of blocking known spam or messages carrying a malicious payload.


Several tabs are displayed within the action pane, including the following:

  • Anti-Spam

  • Receive Connectors

  • Send Connectors

  • Transport Rules

  • Accepted Domains

Note

New to an Exchange 2010 Edge Transport Server is the Accepted Domains tab that enables Administrators to specify domains that they use for sending and receiving e-mail. Accepted Domains can be authoritative, internal, or external mail relays.


The Anti-Spam tab is selected by default and includes all the configurable filters, lists, and agents for effective spam filtering. Listed alphabetically, the following nine items are available under the Anti-Spam tab in the work pane:

  • Content Filtering

  • IP Allow List

  • IP Allow List Providers

  • IP Block List

  • IP Block List Providers

  • Recipient Filtering

  • Sender Filtering

  • Sender ID

  • Sender Reputation

To the right of the Anti-Spam tab is the Receive Connectors tab. The Receive Connectors tab is used to configure email routing for messages received into the organization. From here, you can either create a new Receive Connector or modify the default Receive Connector labeled “Default internal receive connector <SERVERNAME>.” This connector is enabled by default.

The tab to the right of the Receive Connectors tab is the Send Connectors tab. The Send Connectors tab is used to configure email routing for outgoing messages. From here, you can either create a new Send Connector or modify the default Send Connector labeled “Default internal send connector <SERVERNAME>.”

Note

The Send Connector does not need to be configured if the Edge Transport server is subscribed to the Exchange Server 2010 organization and is receiving data from Active Directory through EdgeSync.


The second to last tab in the action pane of the Exchange Management Console for Edge Transport servers is the Transport Rules tab. The Transport Rules tab allows for the creation of rules that should be applied to email messages passing through the Edge Transport server. Different conditions to check in email messages can be set for a rule.

The last tab in the action pane of the Exchange Management Console for Edge Transport servers is the Accepted Domains tab. The Accepted Domains tab enables for the creation of rules that specify which domains will be sending email to the Edge Transport server. For example, an organization would add any of their domains that are used for sending and receiving e-mail in the Accepted Domains tab.

Take a few minutes to navigate through the different items in the Exchange Management Console to become familiar with the location and options for each Edge Transport server component and service.

Other -----------------
- Installing Exchange Server 2010
- Preparing Your Environment for Exchange Server 2010
- Windows Server 2008 R2 : DirectAccess Scenario (part 6) - Monitoring the DirectAccess Server
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- Windows Server 2008 R2 : DirectAccess Scenario (part 4) - Configuring DirectAccess Feature
- Windows Server 2008 R2 : DirectAccess Scenario (part 3) - Certificate Autoenrollment & IP-HTTP Certificate
- Windows Server 2008 R2 : DirectAccess Scenario (part 2) - Using a GPO to Configure Firewall Rules & Custom Certificate Template for IP-HTTPS
- Windows Server 2008 R2 : DirectAccess Scenario (part 1) - Configuring the Infrastructure
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