Monday, May 6, 2013

Exchange 2010 - migration from 2007 - Offline Address Book

The Offline Address Book - from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010

The Offline Address Book (OAB) contains address lists that Outlook users can access when they are "offline" (not able to access the Exchange mail server). The OAB usually contains an offline copy of the Global Address List (GAL) or various custom address lists organized by city, region or some other criteria.
If we intend to remove the Exchange 2007 server(s) after a transition to Exchange 2010, we will have to move the OAB generation process to the new Exchange 2010 server.

Note: the OAB generation and distribution process includes the creation of the OAB on the Mailbox server and then its distribution to clients via the Client Access Server by either Public Folder distribution, web-based distribution or both. Since Exchange 2007, web-based distribution is the preferred method. Outlook versions 2007 and above use the web-based method. It is only necessary to retain the Public Folder method if there are (still) Office 2003 clients in the organization.

1. Change the OAB generation server.

I'll perform this as the first step of the move although it could be performed later. It is necessary if we plan to remove the Exchange 2007 server.

1.a Note the existing location:

Get-OfflineAddressBook | fl *server*
Server : ex1

[output edited]

1.b Execute the following command to change the OAB generation server:

Move-OfflineAddressBook "Default Offline Address Book" -Server EX10C
Note: EX10C is the name of the Exchange 2010 server.

1.c We can update the Offline Address Book as well:

Update-OfflineAddressBook "Default Offline Address Book"

Now there's one more step: although the Exchange 2010 server is now the "OAB generation server". We still need to configure it as a "distribution point" for the OAB.

2. Designate the Exchange 2010 server as a distribution point for the OAB.

Set-OfflineAddressBook "\Default Offline Address Book" -VirtualDirectories "EX10C\OAB (Default Web Site)"

Note: this command, as entered above, will remove the Exchange 2007 server as a OAB distribution point. If we want to maintain this server as a distribution point we can add the following at the end of the command (where "ex1" is the name of the Exchange 2007 server):

,"ex1\OAB (Default Web Site)"

Please note the comma separating the two entries.

One last remark: remember to designate an Offline Address Book for the mailbox database on the Exchange 2010 server if none already is.

I noticed that one of my test users could not download the OAB in Outlook 2010.

If this happens, first verify that the mailbox database holding the mailbox of the user is associated with an Offline Address Book. In the EMS, we can execute the following command:

Get-mailboxdatabase MBDB1 | fl *off*

OfflineAddressBook :

There is no OAB listed!

Note, in comparison, that the Exchange 2007 mailbox database (named MBXDB1 - note the "X" - that's simply how I named them...) has an OAB associated with it:

Get-mailboxdatabase MBXDB1 | fl *off*

OfflineAddressBook : \Default Offline Address Book

If you prefer the EMC, the parameter can be configured in the mailbox database properties, under the "Client Settings" tab.

Otherwise, the problem can be corrected in the EMS with the following command:

Set-mailboxdatabase MBDB1 -OfflineAddressBook "Default Offline Address Book"

Here is the result:

Get-mailboxdatabase MBDB1 | fl *off*

OfflineAddressBook : \Default Offline Address Book

Note: even after correcting the configuration, the OAB could not be downloaded the very same day. However, it could be downloaded the following day. This is most likely because the OAB distribution and publishing process had not yet completed at the mail server. The complete process can require approximately 24 hours.



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