This article explains how to deploy the Exchange 2010 Mailbox Server Role

The Mailbox Server Role is the last role you need to install to have a working Exchange 2010 environment. The two Server Roles that I haven’t talked about yet—namely, the Edge Server Role and the Unified Messaging Server Role—are specialized roles that either improve security or centralize communication in one inbox. Exchange 2010 will run well without them, so I won’t cover these topics in my Exchange 2010 deployment series.

The deployment of the Mailbox Server Role is straightforward. The Mailbox Server Role is quite resource intensive, so unless you have a very small amount of users and data you should deploy it on its own server. The mailbox server is also the place where all your data resides, so it needs plenty of hard disk space. A video is available at TechNet that supports you in deciding how to size the mailbox server. There is also a tool to calculate Exchange 2010 Mailbox Server Role Requirements.

If you want to install the Mailbox Server Role on a bare server, on which no other Exchange Server Roles reside, you have to install the prerequisites first. This is easily accomplished by executing the following commands in PowerShell:

Import-Module ServerManager

Add-WindowsFeature NET-Framework,RSAT-ADDS,Web-Server,
       Web-Basic-Auth,Web-Windows-Auth,Web-Metabase,
       Web-Net-Ext,Web-Lgcy-Mgmt-Console,WAS-Process-Model,
       RSAT-Web-Server –Restart

You are now ready to launch the installation wizard from the installation media. You should be familiar with the process by now: Choose which language pack to install, and then start the installation wizard. As this is the third time you will be using the wizards, I won’t bore you by explaining the details again.

If the installation has completed successfully, you are done with the installation part of the Exchange 2010 deployment for now. It is time to configure the different Server Roles. But if you want to add more security, high availability, or a unified inbox to your Exchange environment later, you will meet your old friend the installation wizard again. 😉

The newly created mailbox server already has a default database. I recommend changing the paths of the mailbox database file and the transaction log folder. If you want maximum performance, you should put each of them on a different drive. You can change the paths easily by launching the Exchange Management Console and navigating to Organization Configuration -> Mailbox. Before you do so, you have to dismount the database; you can find that option by right-clicking the database’s name. After dismounting it you can choose the “Move Database Path” option from the context menu. A small wizard will be launched where you can set the database name, database path, and location of the transaction logs.

If public folders are used in your environment, a default public folder database should be created during the installation. You should also change the path settings for this database. You may want to change some settings for Message Tracking and Records Management, too. This can’t be done with the Exchange Management Console, though. You need to use the Exchange Management Shell. To alter the Message Tracking settings you have to use this command:

Set-MailboxServer <MailboxServerName> -ManagedFolderAssistantSchedule
              <AssistantSchedule>

For the Records Management settings use this command:

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Set-MailboxServer <MailboxServerName> -MessageTrackingLogPath <LogPath>
              -MessageTrackingLogMaxAge <MaxAge>
              -MessageTrackingLogMaxDirectorySize <LogDirSize>
              -MessageTrackingLogMaxFileSize <LogFileSize>
              -MessageTrackingLogSubjectLoggingEnabled <SubjectLogEnabled>

In upcoming articles I will show you how to move your mailboxes to the Exchange 2010 mailbox server and how you can replicate the Public Folders.

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