A Somewhat Detailed Look at Exchange 2010 Service Pack 2 Schema Changes

At Exchange Connections 2011 in Las Vegas, Greg Taylor of Microsoft made a comment about some schema changes coming in Exchange 2010 Service Pack 2, that were enabling potential future feature content. This led to interest on my part to investigate those changes further.

It's worthwhile to note that the Exchange Team at Microsoft allows schema updates to occur during service pack upgrades, but not during Update Rollups. This could potentially allow the Exchange Team to create schema changes that wouldn't have any support in the cmdlets released for the service pack, but cmdlets could be modified and improved in Update Rollups.

The Exchange Team has actually already released the schema changes that are coming in Exchange 2010 Service Pack 2. You can download a copy of these changes in the Exchange Server Active Directory Schema Changes Reference, October 2011.

The information contained in the document is very Active Directory oriented. So if you aren't very familiar with the AD Schema you may find the information confusing.

There are several very interesting items.

  1. The Mail-Recipient class has now gained the Company and Department attributes. 

    This means that Groups (both security groups and distribution groups) and Contacts (mail contacts) can now be assigned values to the Company and Department attributes.

    From a technical perspective, the Mail-Recipient class is a system auxiliary class, for both the Group and Contact classes, and all attributes present in Mail-Recipient are available in them.
  2. The ms-Exch-Custom-Attributes class has gained 35 new custom attributes, from ms-Exch-Extension-Attribute-16 to ms-Exch-Extension-Attribute-45, and ms-Exch-Extension-Custom-Attribute-1 through ms-Exch-Extension-Custom-Attribute-5. 

    This means that Contacts, Groups, Users, Public Folders, Dynamic Distribution Lists, and Recipient Policies all now have a huge number of new attributes that can be assigned arbitrary values by an organization. This is welcome news to organizations who are using many or most of the current custom attributes and are wary to extend the schema themselves. 

    From a technical perspective, the ms-Exch-Custom-Attributes class is an auxiliary class for all the named classes above.
  3. Many new attributes and classes were added to provide support for Address Book Policies and to enhance access to various address lists, global address lists, and offline address lists maintained by Exchange.

    The master class is ms-Exch-Address-Book-Mailbox-Policy.
  4. There are several new attributes and one new class (ms-Exch-Coexistence-Relationship) that are probably designed to support the Hybrid Coexistence Wizard and to overall simplify the process of configuring hybrid coexistence with Exchange Online.
  5. There is a new class (ms-Exch-ActiveSync-Device-Autoblock-Threshold) and a number of new attributes that are within that class that appear to be designed to support automatic throttling of ActiveSync devices. However, that new potential feature was not discussed in Microsoft's blog post on Announcing Exchange 2010 Service Pack 2.

Along with the above changes, various MAPI IDs were added to provide access to the above attributes and classes from within MAPI applications, and new OIDs were assigned to each of the new attributes and new classes.

While cmdlets may or may not appear in service pack 2 to manipulate all of these objects and attributes, they are welcome additions and will be available for organizations to utilize in custom programs.

Until next time...

If there are things you would like to see written about, please let me know.

Published Sunday, November 06, 2011 8:32 PM by michael


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