Installing Exchange Server 2016 | part 1

I would like to start this series of post explaining the tools that I will be using and why using that tools.
I’m going to install Exchange 2016 on Windows Server 2016 using VMWare Workstation, the reason for use VMware Workstation instead another tool like Hyper-V or VirtualBox is because I don’t have a lot of space on my SSD and with VMWare Workstation I can create a customized virtual machine and create “linked clones” of my “parent virtual machine” and save space on my disk because the clone is going to use the same virtual disk used by the parent VM.

I’m not going to cover how to install VMWare Workstation because is simple than download the software and follow the typical installation (next, next, finish, done).
I’m going to add at the end of this post the link to download the same version that I’m using right now (v14).
This is a trial version for 30 days, but is going to be time enough to cover this series, maybe on the future we can do the same using Hyper-V or VirtualBox (let me know if you are interested on that) or even find the way to migrate our VMs (I didn’t try before to be honest).
Let’s start creating or first VM, easier like open VMWare Work Station and click on New Virtual machine.

New virtual machine Wizard

The is the first step, we are going to select “Custom (Advance)” option and then click on “Next”.

On this section, we are going to go with the default parameters, click next to continue the wizard.

We are going to select the bottom option here, because we are going to install the OS later (Windows Server 2016), click next to continue.

Now is time of select the right OS version, in our case it is Windows Server 2016.

Here we are going to set a name for our virtual machine and also a location to save all the configuration files.

Here, just go ahead and click next, we don’t need make any change.

Depending on your resources you can add more resources or not, I have a 6 core, 12 threads CPU.

Again, here the minimum recommended is 2GB, but I’m going to assign 4 GB to have a better installation experience. You can modify these values later and set even new values for your clones.

We are going to select NAT for the virtual machine’s network adapter, selecting this option our virtual machine is going to use the host machine (your computer) connection to connect to Internet. Click Next, and on the next screen (U/O controller selection) go with the default values and click ne...

We are going to create a new virtual disk to use in our virtual machine, select the first option and then click on Next.

Select a good size for your virtual disk, remember, we are going to share this disk with all virtual machines, it is not the best practice, but we are going to save a lot of space, but if you have a lot of disk resources available, you can create a new virtual disk per virtual machine.

This is a very important configuration, we need to save our new virtual disk in an SSD, of course, if you don’t have one, you can save the files in your HDD, but trust me, the machine speed will be very slow if you use a normal disk, also, if you are running multiple machines on the same HDD be re...

Basically, this is the last part of the Wizard, this window contains an overview of all our settings, click on Finish and wait until the new virtual machine and disk is created.

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After finish with the Wizard, we are going to have our new virtual machine created, but without an OS installed.

Our new task will be install Windows Server 2016 in our virtual machine.

 VMWare Virtual Machines
VMWare Virtual Machines

In order to start installing Windows Server 2016, we are going to need assign an ISO image to the virtual CD/DVD of our virtual machine, to be able to do that, you will  need do click on the option “Edit virtual machine settings”.

Virtual Machine adding DVD image
Virtual Machine adding DVD image

Once you added the Windows ISO, you can start our virtual machine and complete the windows installation process.

Select your language and keyboard layout.

We can select Windows Server 2016 Standard or Data Center edition, you can choose any of these, but with the "Desktop experience" edition.

Select the "Custom" option and the click "Next"

The installation process is running.

Once Windows Starts the first time, you need add a password for our local administrator account.

Once on Windows, it is a good idea to install Windows VMWare tools.

Double click on the new drive with the VMWare tools mounted to start the installation process.

Once you have installed your VMWare tools, it is time to get all the Windows updates. You can go for a coffee and wait a couple of minutes (maybe hours).

Now it is time to do the magic, run the next command: "Sysprep"

Once you hit on enter, open the EXE called "sysprep". I'm going to explain a little bit at the end of the post.

Choose the options showed in this image. The virtual machine is going to turn off. DON'T TURN ON THE VIRTUAL MACHINE AFTER THIS.

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Ok, if you followed the last steps, your virtual machine is turned off, please don’t turn on the virtual machine.

Why? Because basically we created a “generalized” windows installation, without an SID associated, this is very useful if you multiple computers with the same hardware and you need deploy  “Windows” with the same configurations to all the computers.

When you are working with Active Directory every object have an unique ID (SID) assigned, so basically every computer have one and can’t exists two objects with the same ID.

When you use Sysprep with the option “Generalized” every time that you deploy the “custom” Windows installation to a new machine, you are going to get a new SID for each deployment.

It is very complicated to understand?
Well you can visit the next link with more information

That’s all for this time.
On the next post, we are going to create a new linked clone and deploy Active Directory.

Thank you for reading until the end.

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