Exchange Server 2016

Exchange Server 2016 is just released. What are the changes, and what can we expect of the new build?

What’s new

  • Changes of Architecture
  • New OWA interface
  • Modern attachments

What’s Discontinued or De-emphasized

  • Client Access Role
  • MAPI/ CDO library
  • Support of Exchange 2007
  • Third-party replication API’s
  • RPC / http
  • Database Availability Group for failover cluster Administrative Access points

First let’s check the version number.


The version number of Exchange is 15.1. So it looks like an upgrade from Exchange 2013 which has built 15.0. Because Exchange 2013 SP1 was still numbered as 15.0, it looks like this is actually Exchange server 2013 SP2.

Why is it Called 2016 then? There are some changes in the architecture.

Change of architecture

The minimal level of Domain controllers must meet Windows Server 2008 or higher.

  • Forest Functional level: Windows Server 2008 or higher
  • Domain Function level:  Windows Server 2008 or higher

No support for Windows Server 2003!

Co-existence with other versions of Exchange

  • Exchange Server 2013 CU10 or higer
  • Exchange Server 2010 SP3 RU11 or higher

No support for Exchange Server 2007!

Server OS

  • Windows Server 2012 or Windows 2012 R2

Windows 10 not yet supported

Best practices tell us to combine all different roles together onto the same box, Microsoft decided to change this and removed the separate Client Access Server (CAS) role. There are only 2 roles left, Mailbox role and the Edge Role.

Of course CAS is still available for handling Clients, but now integrated into the Mailbox Role.

Exchange 2016 now allows you to proxy traffic from Exchange 2013 to Exchange 2016 in addition to Exchange 2016 to Exchange 2013. This means it is easier to migrate to Exchange 2016.

Change of Default Protocol

The standard protocol is now MAPI/http. This protocol supports better switching between a cabled connection and switching to Wireless or between wireless access points. This was introduced with Exchange 2013, but until now not the default.

Older clients can still connect with “Outlook Anywhere”.

When reading the Technical articles Microsoft states that Exchange Server 2016 can handle a failover 33% faster than Exchange server 2013.

Storage improvements

Exchange Server 2016 recommends Resilient File System: see ReFS url for more info.

Exchange Sever 2016 needs less IOPS then Exchange Server 2013.

Database Availability Group (DAG) is NOT compatible with Exchange Server 2013. This means you may not add databases from an Exchange Server 2016 server to an Exchange Server 2013 DAG.

Also you may not Add Databases from an Exchange 2013 Server to a 2016 DAG.


Goodbye Outlook Web App (OWA), hello “Outlook on the web”

Looking at the new “Outlook on the web” it is clear this version looks very similar to the Office 365 version with a 3 months’ delay.

2015-09-29-E2k16 owa-2


If you are familiar with the interface of Office 365, you will see some similarity.


The Difference is off course all the App provided with Office 365. Only Mailbox related tiles are there for usage.

Modern attachments

Exchange Server 2016 will enable “Outlook on the web” users to link to and share documents stored in OneDrive for Business in an on-premises SharePoint server instead of attaching a file to the message. Users will be able to collaborate on files in an on-premises deployment as they can do today in Office 365.



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