Friday, March 27, 2015

Speeding up the Exchange Hybrid wizard in global deployments

If you ever ran the Exchange Hybrid wizard in an environment with servers all over the world, it is likely that it took a few hours to run. But why?
If we look at the wizard’s logs ($exinstall\Logging\Update-HybridConfiguration), we will see that most of the changes are fairly quick. However, it eventually goes on to run a Get-WebServicesVirtualDirectory to analyse the EWS virtual directories (VDs) across all Exchange servers in the environment to determine if any need to be configured. If this comes back true, then the wizard runs the same cmdlet again followed by a Set-WebServicesVirtualDirectory to enable the MRS Proxy for VDs that currently have it disabled. After all the necessary EWS VDs are configured, the wizard runs a Get-WebServicesVirtualDirectory for a third time to validate the configuration/changes made.
The problem here is running the *et-WebServicesVirtualDirectory cmdlet between servers in different countries or even continents. How long does it take for you? Usually it should be a few minutes for each server, but I have seen cases where it takes 30 minutes or more. Now multiply that by the total number of Exchange servers and it can quickly turn into hours and hours...
If, for example, your environment also has Exchange 2007 servers, although these do not use or have the MRS Proxy service, because the wizard simply runs the Get-WebServicesVirtualDirectory cmdlet, this returns 2007 servers (instead of filtering them out...), which contributes to delaying the process.
So, to speed things up a bit, you can manually login to all the servers, enable the MRS Proxy and only then run the Hybrid Wizard. Typically I was only enabling it on the Hybrid servers or servers that I was planning to use for mailbox migration, but the wizard enables it across estate anyway...
To recap, the Mailbox Replication Service Proxy (MRS Proxy) facilitates cross-forest mailbox moves and remote move migrations between an on-premises Exchange organization and Exchange Online. During cross-forest and remote move migrations (aka hybrid migrations), a Client Access server acts as a proxy for incoming move requests for the Mailbox server. The ability of a Client Access server to accept these requests is disabled by default. To allow the Client Access server to accept incoming move requests, we have to enable the MRS Proxy endpoint.

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