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Monday, March 15, 2010

Dot in the Netbios name???

Currently i am working on a project to migrate Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010. As in every project, there are always those things that catch your attention. Those things you know you will have to look into, otherwise they will tend to haunt you like a ghost through the remainings of the project.

Here in this project it is a ".", yes a simple dot which caught our attention. Now to be more specific, the customer netbios name is something like "". Do not get me wrong, it is not the DNS domain name I am talking about. But the pre Windows 2000 domain name which you specify in the initial creation of the domain.

Although not recommended, it is a fully supported setup by Microsoft. Right after it came to my attention I searched the internet to see if any issues where reported. And yes, I found a post on a forum in which someone bumped upon an issue which was allegedly caused by the dot in the netbios name.

I spend some time looking for more smoking guns, or an official document from Microsoft, but all queries came up empty. So we waited to report the possible issue until it was time to install our first Exchange 2010 server role.

And yes after installing the first Exchange 2010, we also had the same issue as reported in the post. We are unable to open the Exchange Management Console, and are only able to manage the newly installed servers by the Exchange management Shell.

We opened a call with Microsoft 4 weeks ago, in which Microsoft confirmed that this issue is known and exists in Exchange 2010. Microsoft is working on a solution and will provide a patch or work around as soon as possible.
The issue will get a fix in rollup pack 4.

Microsoft has released a patch which is available on requested. This patch needs to be installed on all Exchange 2010 servers where you wish to use the Exchange Management Console. The patch is tagged with KB article number KB981033.

The installation of the patch does not require a reboot but does stops and starts the Exchange Services. Although a reboot is not required, i surely recommend a reboot. We saw several problems with IIS (.net frameworks and Powershell virtual directory) after installing the patch, these errors where solved after the system was rebooted.

We installed the patch on all our Exchange 2010 servers, to discover that Outlook Web Access will stop functioning after that the patch has been applied. When the patch is applied on the CAS array, Outlook Web Access will display a blank page. The Application and IIS logs however show that Outlook Web Access launched successfully.

After removing the patch Outlook Web Access regains functionality. We tried to reapply the patch to see if Outlook would loose its functionality again, and it did.

Well about a week later i opened the management console on one of the CAS servers and to my surprise, the management console still works... I find this most preauricular because when we installed the patch it was unclear where to install the patch. We installed in on one server tested the console which worked, logged in to another to see that the console did not function at that particular server. This made us believe that the patch needed to be installed on each and every exchange server. Well it seems that after installing the patch (because of the issues with OWA), the console still works.

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