SmartPhones and the Global Address List

Microsoft has released a small piece of software that allows mobile devices to access the Global Address List within your Exchange environment. While ActiveSync is the agent most think of when SmartPhones are mentioned, this particular add-on actually leverages the Public Virtual Directory in IIS and not the ActiveSync agent. In this article, I will show you the program’s features and what you need to do to get it working in your environment. There are a few assumptions here; you are using ActiveSync to keep Pocket Outlook up to date with your Exchange Server 2003 mailbox and you have network connectivity to a Front End server or your Mailbox Server/Front End Server. Also, for this tool to work, the server you connect to must have the /Public virtual directory loaded in IIS. (It is there by default)

If you have read my blog, then you already know that I had a boating mishap during Spring Break. My MPX220, Garmin GPSV and my pride got dunked in salt water and damaged. The next week was spent discovering all the new features of Windows Mobile 5 on my brand new Cingular 8125 (HTC Wizard). Two irritating things I found right away was that my new $500 phone did not have the new AKU 2.0 up-to-date features and Windows Mobile 5 still has no access into the Global Address List. After days of searching, I found that Cingular may one day post an update for AKU 2.0 and Microsoft has an excellent add-on for mobile devices called Microsoft Global Contact Access.

Microsoft Global Contact Access

There are two flavors of this application. One is roughly 400K and is designed for the smaller SmartPhone screens and the other is 700K and is better suited for Pocket PCs. The Samsung i700, the Palm Treo 700W and Cingular 8125 devices are technically both, but you would be encouraged to use Pocket PC applications for the most part since those are formatted for the larger screens and usually comes with a few more features. The download locations for each are located on the downloads page of the Windows Mobile add-on site:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/downloads/global/default.mspxnewtools

Installation is easy as you need only to run the setup on your machine and let ActiveSync install the application. For you propeller heads, you can still just copy the CAB file to the device and launch it to install the application.

Once installed, you should notice three additional applications in the Start Men
u; Find Contact Online, New Email and New Meeting. If you are running the SmartPhone version you will not get the New Emailapplication.

New Meeting

Since the names are all self-explanatory, let’s just go over the basics first.

newmeetingNew Meeting fires up a meeting request pane. If you know the SMTP address of the attendees you wish to invite then you need only to key their addresses into the Attendees box. Remember to separate the names with a semi-colon.

If you want to choose these users from the GAL, then use the Find Contacts Online option from the Options selection at the bottom of the screen.

The Find Contact application is then launched. findcontactKey in the name of the person you wish to find and click Find to begin the launch. After the lookup is complete, you should see the results. Scroll down to choose the correct contact and click Done when you found the right one.

Note: If you have not configured the logon credentials for these new tools, you should then get prompted to enter your password and potentially the domain name, user name, server name, etc. These settings should match what you have already entered for the ActiveSync components.

freebusyNow things start to get really interesting. Now that you have selected all the attendees, the meeting time, subject line, notes, etc you can check the group’s free-busy data. (Yeah, you heard me right)

 

 

 

How Find Contact Works

As I mentioned before, these tools to not currently leverage ActiveSync. In my larger SmartPhone deployments, I have created new Virtual Servers in IIS (on the Front Ends) to support Active-Sync and NAT’ed these IPs and Virtual servers from the outside using only port 443. Of course Network Load Balancing is much better, but in some situations I can’t use it.

SmartPhonelockdownWhat you have with this design is the minimum footprint required to support ActiveSync synchronization over the wire. Unfortunately, this configuration is so locked-down; it will not allow the Find Contact features to work! Here is why:

ActiveSync uses GETS, POSTS and OPENS to synchronize against the /Microsoft-Server-ActiveSync application that is loaded on the Exchange 2003 Servers:

POST, /Microsoft-Server-ActiveSync, User=STEVEBRYANT&DeviceId=200687CAB5517E14783A6C62D31D4DC1&DeviceType=PocketPC&Cmd=GetItemEstimate&Log=V4TNASNC:0A0C0D0FS:0A0C0D0SP:1C7I5801S74670R0S0L0H0P

So my locked down configuration works just peachy. Unfortunately, the Find Contact function must access the /Public virtual directory since that is where Free/Busy information is kept:

GET, /public/, Cmd=freebusy&start=2006-04-18T00:00:00-04:00&end=2006-04-19T00:00:00-04:00&interval=30&u=SMTP:Jason%2eSherry%40theproexchange%2ecom&u=SMTP:Steve%2eA%2eBryant%40theproexchange%2ecom

To ensure these online GAL-lookup features work, you will need to make sure the /Public virtual directory is loaded.

This does not mean that you need any of the OWA tools installed though. Mobile ActiveSync and the GAL Lookup tools will work just fine using minimal components in IIS. Loading the Public virtual directory will provide support for the necessary Cmd=freebusy and Cmd=galfind commands as the Find Contact application does not use the web controls needed for OWA.

New locked down design

What we have learned is that these new features are very important to Windows Mobile users so your design should allow for access.

newSmartPhonelockdown

As I mentioned before, this design would be far more sophisticated with Network Load Balancing on the Front End Servers and some type of reverse-proxy server such as ISA 2004 or Firepass F5 between the Internet clients and the Front End servers. It is also important to note that the ONLY port that should be opened is 443.

 

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Out of Office = Come rob my house

One of the coolest things about Outlook 2000, was the ease at which we could create rules and manage Out of Office replies. This feature has become even easier still with support not only for Outlook, but for the Outlook Web Access product as well. In fact, most corporate mail platforms allow some level of automated replies for OOF we well as functions that request delivery and read receipts. So the real question is whether your company should allow, support and troubleshoot these functions. While the internal value of these features is clear, the implications of these messages being sent out to Internet hosts are not always understood. Let me give you an example:

“From: sbryant@theproexchange.com

Subject: Out of Office AutoReply: Need V1agra? Ch3ck 0ur l0w price$$

I will be out of the office until June 5 and will have limited access to email as I am away on vacation with my family. We are out of the country and not watching the house, but have left the back door open in case you need anything.

For those of you from work, please contact Kendall as she is in charge of everything except for really important things that should be sent to Haley (when she gets back from her trip to Japan.)

Talk to you when I get back!

-Steve

Office: 770-555-1212

Cell: 678-555-1212

Home: 404-555-1212”

OK, so what are we saying in this message? Our house is empty and likely our office is as well. I am out of the country with my family and I do not fully trust Kendall with the office functions. We have also disclosed the travel plans of a co-worker. Now I know my example is a little extreme, but you have to admit it is not too far from the truth. A quick Google search on a phone number will return your home address and with one more click you can get directions to almost anyone’s home or office. Pretty scary huh?

When I first began researching this problem, I found that security experts have been warning people for years about the risk if Internet Out of Office and other auto-replies. Here are a couple of references I found while doing a quick search on the subject:

  • Out of Office used to target home burglary:

“In December 2002, a British hi-tech group released a warning that thieves could use e-mail lists to send mass-mailings in order to retrieve vacation auto-replies. The auto-replies could be cross-referenced with publicly available personal information, and used to target the home of a vacationer. At the time of the warning, an FBI public affairs officer told ABC News that it “has some indication that there might be some of this activity.”

http://www.riskvue.com/subscribe/wt0407.htm

  • Corporate Risk to Out of Office replies

“According to Chris Poulos, Trend Micro Australia and New Zealand managing director, recent research has shown that criminal organizations use mass emails to search for auto-reply messages generated by key personnel such as senior management and financial staff.
He warns this can result in substantial financial loss, damaged credit ratings and is an invasion of personal privacy, as an auto-reply can open the door to hackers and spammers and provide opportunity for identity theft and telephone fraud.”

http://www.reseller.co.nz/Reseller/Reseller.nsf/0/FCB529C1ED25BDD0CC256F6900026FE4?OpenDocument

  • Out of Office replies increases SPAM

” If you use “vacation/out of office” replies on your e-mail account when you’re away, you automatically generate a reply to each incoming spam message that confirms that your address is valid, and that someone is reading it (see “What should not be done about ‘spam’?”, below). This makes it more likely that your address will be sold/swapped by spammers.”

http://www.upenn.edu/computing/security/advisories/spam.html

Out of Office replies are not the only automated chink in the armor. Within Exchange and Outlook, there are six types of automated responses that are available:

Server-Based

1) Non-Delivery Reports (NDRs)

2) Delivery Report (Delivery Receipt)

Client-Based

3) Out of Office Responses (Configurable through Outlook)

4) Auto forward Rules (Configurable through Outlook)

5) Auto-reply rules (Configurable through Outlook)

6) Read Receipts (Managed by the Outlook client)

I took an informal poll to other Exchange MVPs and large system operators and was told that most disable all automated replies, especially those that verify a successful delivery. This would include Delivery Reports, Out Of Office replies and any auto-reply rule from Outlook. What I found (by sending test messages to people in large Fortune 500 companies) is that most block nothing. This really surprised me considering the fact that most analysts including Gartner report that unsolicited mail (SPAM) accounts for over 60% of the total messages being delivered over the Internet. Can you imagine the message volume created by large companies just to reply to all the SPAM?  The biggest risk could actually be the phisher’s who are writing code to extract personal information from messages whose subject lines read “Out of Office” or “OOF” My signature includes my full name, company name and phone numbers. I probably don’t want identity thieves knowing all that information as it could help them to learn more about me.

Best Practices for Businesses

So now that we know the problem, what do we do? To begin, we should as a general rule disable any automatic replies that would indicate a success. Let’s start with the server level settings. Using the Exchange System Manager console, we can open and modify the behavior for the Default “*” domains. Within this setting, we can define the default settings.

figure1

Using the Exchange System Manager, we can add specific format rules for specific domains. This ability allows us to adjust the auto reply settings different for our business partners.

Is it from this settings screen that we are able to define all of the server reply settings for the organization. This is an important distinction as there is no granular way to apply settings like this for individuals or servers. Instead, we have one set of choices for the entire Exchange organization as a whole.

figure2

From a security standpoint, blocking automatic replies, Out of Office replies and Outlook auto forward from being sent out to the Internet is a good starting point.

Out of Office, Auto Replies and Auto Forwards

These three settings are actually controlled by the Outlook client. Exchange 2003 (and Outlook 2003) allows these rules to be fired from the server itself and no longer require the Outlook client to be running. The first thing we want to do is use the ESM to restrict OOF replies from being sent out to the Internet. This is the key point of this article for reasons I have already mentioned. What these settings also do is restrict any Outlook mailbox rules from sending any type of auto reply or auto forward. Auto forwards are dangerous to your organization because of the ease at which corporate intelligence could be sent out to unknown and uncontrolled accounts. Auto-replies likewise provide the same type of risks that Out of Office rules apply in that they can send out corporate intelligence as well as sensitive user information such as message signatures or custom reply text. Another reason for turning these off is mail volume. When you receive an unsolicited message, an auto reply message would be sent back to the sender. Most of the time, the return address is false to an NDR is returned to your sender. In short, one SPAM message becomes three your server has to process and two the client must read which wastes productivity.

Non-Delivery Reports

Another best practice is to allow non-delivery reports to be sent. While some who are more security-conscious that I (imagine that) may say that this helps SPAMers, I think of NDRs are a basic troubleshooting tool required by both system administrators and users. If a partner fat-fingered your email address, wouldn’t you want that person to know? If you have any question on this subject ask someone in your sales department and they will be able to present better arguments than I ever could. For most companies, the benefit to NDRs outweighs the risks and so NDRs are allows to be sent to Internet hosts.

Delivery Reports

Technically, delivery reports (delivery receipts) also disclose information that could potentially be used by SPAMers to confirm email addresses. I have yet to see this exploited and it too can be used as a valuable tool that vendors and partners can use to verify message delivery. Most companies (even financial institutions and government facilities) I work with have left this setting on and most experts agree that the ability to provide delivery reports is mostly benign.

Read Receipts

You may have noticed that there is no setting in the ESM to block responses to read receipts. This is another client-controlled setting and one that is difficult to block without buying third-party tools or creating a custom Event Sink in Exchange. What you can do, however is block (or allow) read receipts directly from the Outlook 2003 client itself. From the Tools, Options menu, you can click the E-Mail Options button to access the Tracking Options page. From here you can configure the client to process read receipt request automatically or even to ignore the requests altogether.

figure4

Outlook 2003 (and Outlook XP) comes with a tracking options page that allows you to control, how requests and processed including read receipt requests. Don’t be misled by the indication that the read receipt option “Only applies to Internet Mail accounts” as this setting applies for clients connected to an Exchange server as well.

WARNING: If your Outlook 2003 client connects to a POP/IMAP/SMTP server then you could be exposing much more by issuing mailbox rules as the client’s IP address is put into the message header when the reply is generated. For some reason, Microsoft has even published a how-to article that shows you how to  “Determine a recipient’s IP address by using read receipts.” Here is the link in case you are interested.  http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/assistance/HA011195511033.aspx

Lastly, I mentioned earlier that there is no ESM option for blocking read receipts from Internet delivery. For most companies the inability to easily remove these types of notifications does not pose a serious problem. If your company has identified that read receipts should be blocked, then you are not out of luck as there are third-party tools available as well as some simple scripts you can write to block the request before it ever gets to the Outlook client.

Contrary to popular opinion, Microsoft and Exchange server does conform to the SMTP RFCs for message delivery and format. When a sender requests a read receipt, two header fields are added to the message: Read-Receipt-To and Disposition-Notification-To. Instead of programmatically blocking read receipts from leaving the system, we can write an Event Sink for the SMTP stack that strips these two header fields from incoming messages. The IIS 5 and 6 both support the use of “OnArrival transport events” which is what we would want to use for this. A really good example of such a script can be found at http://www.vamsoft.com/orf/howto-readreceipt.asp. Péter’s example provides the syntax for a VBScript that does just the trick with only a few lines of code:

Const cdoRunNextSink = 0

Sub ISMTPOnArrival_OnArrival(ByVal Msg, EventStatus)
‘ remove read receipt request fields
Set Flds = Msg.Fields
With Flds
.Delete(“urn:schemas:mailheader:Disposition-Notification-To”)
.Delete(“urn:schemas:mailheader:Read-Receipt-To”)
‘ update the mail header
.Update
End With

‘ save changes to the mail
Msg.Datasource.Save

‘ continue execution with the next sink
EventStatus = cdoRunNextSink
End Sub

Simply register the .VBS file you create with this code on all the servers that directly receive the mail from the Internet (any “gateway” server running Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 machine running SMTP and you are in business!

Summary

Auto-generated responses are an excellent way to trouble-shoot the delivery of mail. It is good practice, however to disable responses that can compromise your business intelligence or provide personal information to others on the Internet. Automatic notifications that have the ability to auto-forward information to outside resources is definitely a no-no. Moreover, Out of Office responses are helpful for internal notifications but can seriously compromise corporate and personal safety when sent to Internet addresses. Use common sense when establishing your acceptable-use policies and ultimately in configuring your Exchange environment.

Microsoft Identity Integration Server Setup and Configuration Guide Exchange 5.5 to Active Directory Document

Download the entire process in PDF format MIIS Deployment for Exchange 5.5

Introduction

There are situations where Exchange 5.5 will need to coexist with other directories for extended amounts of time. It is estimated that over 20 million Exchange 5.5 seats will remain in that environment for years to come. This is a troubling thought for Microsoft and indeed for those procrastinating companies since Exchange 5.5 support is over.
Having said that, the estimate remains and so does the problem of coexistence. In this example, we have an Exchange 5.5 organization that will need to stay synchronized with several other Active Directory environments running Exchange 2000 and Exchange 2003. To support this requirement, we need to ensure we have selected the fields and formats needed to allow message flow to work across different system types.

Objectives

The first thing we need to do is map out the directory requirements:

From the AD Domain to Exchange 5.5

a) Mail-enabled Contacts –> Exchange 5.5 custom recipients Name, Address, Company, title and Phone Number Fields SMTP, X.500 and X.400 addresses

b) Mailbox-enabled Users –> Exchange 5.5 custom recipients Name, Address, Company, title and Phone Number Fields SMTP, X.500 and X.400 addresses

c) Mail-enabled groups –> Exchange 5.5 custom recipients SMTP, X.500 and X.400 addresses

From Exchange 5.5 to the AD Domain

a) Exchange 5.5 custom recipients –> Mail-enabled Contacts Name, Address, Company, title and Phone Number Fields SMTP, X.500 and X.400 addresses

b) Exchange 5.5 custom recipients –> Mailbox-enabled Users Name, Address, Company, title and Phone Number Fields SMTP, X.500 and X.400 addresses

c) Exchange Distribution Lists –> Mail-enabled Contacts SMTP, X.500 and X.400 addresses Ownership and Support

While building the system, we found many more useful fields and attributes that should be added and we created intelligent discovery and join rules as well as highly detailed projection rules. This basic list you see above expanded to include hundreds of fields.

Product Choice

As you can imagine, there are many products available to perform this type of directory synchronization. HP offers a product called LDSU and less-expensive offerings such as SimpleSync are also available. We chose Microsoft’s Identity Integration Server 2003 because of its support for AD, Exchange and ability to synchronize with Lotus Notes, SQL and DBMS.

Test Lab Environment

The most important aspect of MIIS is your test environment. It is from this environment that you test new scripts, attribute flows, join rules, etc. For us, we have built an entire lab environment that includes MIIS, Exchange 5.5 and Exchange 2003 (on Windows 2000 Server) in virtual images that can be transported, copied and distributed to those who need a better understanding of the systems.

Servers and Configuration

There are three servers in this test environment. All are patched to the current date and homogenized with test data.

MIIS

The MIIS virtual machine has all the required components installed locally to fully manage and run the MIIS environment. SQL Server 2000 Enterprise, SP3 is installed and fully patched. Microsoft Identity Integration Server 2003, SP1 is also installedimage002. In order to manage and maintain MIIS, Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003 is installed as well.
Computer name MIIS

  • WorkGroup                       WorkGroup
  • IP                                         10.10.20.233/24
  • Administrator                 administrator
  • Password                           MSEvent.123

 

 

Active Directory

On this image, we have Exchange Server 2003 as well as the domain services for the Alpineskihouse.com domain. Windows Server 2000 in installed as is the Support Tools (ADSIEdit is handy for this type of work)image004

  • Computer Name       ALPINEMAIL
  • Domain                       alpineskihouse.com
  • IP                                   10.10.20.231/24
  • Administrator           administrator
  • Password                     MSEvent.123

 

Exchange 5.5

The MIIS virtual machine is running Windows 2000 Server and Exchange 5.5. It is a domain controller as well as the global catalog server for EX5.com

  • Computer name    EXCHANGE55
  • Domain                    EX5.COMimage006
  • IP                               10.10.20.232/24
  • Administrator      administrator
  • Password               MSEvent.123

 

 

Setting up the MIIS Environment

Permissions

To help reduce the risk of applying changes back to the source systems, it is very important that each environment establish a working account for the MIIS system to use. In our examples, we have created an account in both domains called MIIS. These accounts should not be in the administrators or domain administrators group.

  • MIIS Account name      MIIS
  • Password                          MSEvent.123

Active Directory

It is important that this account not be given too much access to the Active Directory.

  • In the root of the Active Directory domain, give the MIIS account the following permissions:
    • Read
    • Replicating Directory Changes
    • Replication Synchronization
  • In the container or OU you wish to use to import metaverse data, give the MIIS account the following permissions:
    • Full Control ƒ
      • These rights could probably be tuned down finer in order to restrict group policy and some Exchange attributes, but this setting is the bare minimum for this container

Exchange Server 2003 (or 2000)

Some mail attributes require read permissions from the Exchange 2003 organization. It is a good idea to assign the same MIIS account the following permissions to the Exchange organization:

  • Exchange View Only Administrator

Exchange 5.5

In order for MIIS to write to the Exchange directory, we repeat a similar process. As before, an account needs to be created. In our lab, we created a domain account named MIIS and made sure the account was not added to any administrative group. Then from the Exchange Admin application, give the account the following rights:

  • Search Permissions to the Organization
  • View Only Admin to the Site you will connect to for directory writes
  • Admin to the container the MIIS server will use for directory writes

Note: In some cases, Search permissions will not work against the organizational such as when the DS Site Configuration for the site is incorrect or when the Anonymous account has been disabled or deleted. In these instances, it you may need to give the MIIS account greater access to the organization (this does not automatically give the account permissions to user objects as rights in the org-level are not inherited down to the site and container levels). The Admin role is sufficient in all cases to perform searches against the global address list. Verify that the account does not have permissions to the recipient’s container.

Management Agents

In the initial setup, there are two management agents. One MA connects to the Legacy Exchange 5.5 organization while the other connects to the product CRM Active Directory. As business break out of the Exchange 5.5 organization, they will need their own Management Agent added to initialize the connection and maintain directory Sync. These management agents control attribute flow, connection settings and are called (by name) from the custom provisioning code that has been written for this example. A third management agent has been added for country-code lookups, but it is not fully integrated and optional.

image002
Management Window

The Identity Manager is where most of the work is done for MIIS. It is from this program that we configure the connections, attribute flow, replication schedule and monitor the system for errors and problems. It can be launched from the Start Menu and has several selections at the top of the screen. We will focus on the Management Agents screen for now.

 

Metaverse Object

Before we get into the management agents, we need to get a better understanding of what we are doing with MIIS and how we plan to do it! We will be importing Mailbox, DL and contact information from Exchange 5.5 and placing that information in a SQL database. This Metaverse will contain a global directory of names imported from Exchange 5.5 as well as names imported from other Active Directory domains. We have defined how these objects will look in the Metaverse by creating a generic MV object called a Metaverse_Contact.

This object type was created from scratch and contains specific fields needed for our immediate needs and some fields we think will be needed later for additional functionality.

Here are the attributes you need to add as well as the characteristics of the attribute:

Assistant                                               String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

c                                                              String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

cn                                                            String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

co                                                            String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

company                                                String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

department                                            String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

displayName                                         String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

division                                                  String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

employeeID                                           String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

EmployeeStatus                                   String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

employeeType                                      String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

facsimileTelephoneNumber                String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

givenName                                            String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

groupType                                            Number                                  Not Multi-valued

hideDLMembership                             Boolean                                 Not Multi-valued

homeMTA                                            Reference (DN)                     Not Multi-valued

homePhone                                           String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

info                                                         String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

initials                                                    String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

l                                                               String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

legacyExchangeDN                             String     (indexable)             Multi-valued                         Indexed

locality                                                   String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued                 Indexed

mail                                                         String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued                 Indexed

mailNickname                                        String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

manager                                                 Reference (DN)                     Not Multi-valued

MapiRecipient                                      Boolean                                 Not Multi-valued

mobile                                                    String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

msExchAssistantName                       String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

msExchExpansionServerName           String     (non-indexable)    Not Multi-valued

msExchHideFromAddressLists         Boolean                                 Not Multi-valued

msExchHomeServerName                   String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

msExchMasterAccountSid                 Binary    (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

msExchOriginatingForest                   String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

nTGroupMembers                               Binary    (indexable)             Multi-valued                         Indexed

o                                                              String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

otherHomePhone                                 String     (indexable)             Multi-valued                         Indexed

otherTelephone                                    String     (indexable)             Multi-valued                         Indexed

pager                                                      String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

physicalDeliveryOfficeName             String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

postalCode                                            String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

proxyAddresses                                   String     (indexable)             Multi-valued                         Indexed

Rfc822Mailbox                                      String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

sn                                                            String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

st                                                             String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

streetaddress                                        String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

targetAddress                                      String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued                 Indexed

telephoneAssistant                             String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

telephoneNumber                                                String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

textEncodedORAddress                     String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

title                                                         String     (indexable)             Not Multi-valued

uid                                                          String     (non-indexable)    Not Multi-valued

It is possible to clean up these entries in order to further trim down unnecessary attributes. In some instances, you may want to create additional attributes for specific tasks for example. You could create an attribute to denote whether an item should be written to the target directory and perform a filter against that field. In addition, you could create “work” fields to hold any type of data you wish to key upon in code.

Exchange 55 GAL MA

OK, so now that we know the Metaverse (MV) object we are going to target, we can take a deeper look at the agents that collect and distribute the data. Each MA contains connection information to a specific directory. As a result, each MA is also known as a Collector Space (CS). To view the settings on the Exchange 55 GAL MA, we need only to double click the agent from the mimage002 (1)ain agent screen.

This page shows us the base Management Agent (Exchange Server 5.5) and the name we have provided to identify the Agent. This name is used within the source code to identify the Connector Space.

 

Connection to Organization

In this page, we identify the Exchange 5.5image004 server we will connect to as well as the credentials we will use. You can see that we have specified the MIIS user account in order to restrict our permissions to the Exchange environment. Moreover, you should notice that we are not using the standard port of 389 for our LDAP connections. This server is also a Windows 2000 Server running Domain Controller services so we had to change the Exchange 5.5 port for LDAP to port 390.

 

 

Configure Sites

It is from this screen that we identify the sites that contain the objects we want to image006synchronize (copy to) with the AD. From this screen, we can identify any other servers we want to target (not required for this installation) as well as the containers we want to choose.

Note: It is important that you select both the source containers and target containers from the Containers window. Deselected containers will not be used for either reading or writing with MIIS.

 

 Select Object Typesimage008

We need to expose several different types of information from the Exchange 5.5 environment. You will probably need to use the Show All checkbox to select each of these object types.

 

 

 

 

Select Attributes

In our case, we are selecting a few more attributes than required per our list of requirements, but the additional fields we have identified will allow us to better connect the directories now and for later projects.

You will certainly need to select the Show All checkbox to get to all of these attributes:

  • C
  • Cnimage002 (2)
  • Co
  • Company
  • Department
  • Description
  • Extension-Attribute-1
  • facsimileTelephoneNumber
  • giveName
  • Hide-From-Address-Book
  • Initials
  • L
  • Mail
  • MAPI-Recipient
  • Mobile
  • otherMailbox
  • pager
  • physicalDeliveryOfficeName
  • postalAddress
  • postalCode
  • Proxy-Addresses
  • Rdn
  • Report-To-Originator
  • Report-To-Owner
  • Rfc822Mailbox
  • Sn
  • St
  • Street
  • Target-Address
  • telephoneNumber
  • textEncodedORaddress
  • title
  • uid

Configure Connector Filter

The connector filter is used to specify things we do not want to replicate. In our environment, we have chosen not to replicate anything that does not have an Internet Address. We could also choose not to replicate hidden objects or objects with certain key words in the Custom Attribute field or similar. The object types you see listed in this window are specific to Exchange 5.5.image004 (1)

groupOfNames –distribution list

organizationalPerson -mailbox

Remote-Address –custom recipient

These are the only objects you really need to focus on when building filters in this Exchange management agent.

Configure Join and Projection Rules

This is where things can get a little confusing with MIIS. It is important that each person in your organization only exist in the directories once. This sounds pretty basic, but if there are more than one of you, then mail flow could break. The problem is that in many cases, a company has a contact or custom recipient in one system that “points” to a mailbox in another system.  Because of that, you may be in two directories at once. Now, if we should try to combine those directories, we need to make sure there is some logic that does not allow duplicate entries to be created.

Join Rules

The purpose of a join rules is to try to match objects before creating them. For example, let us assume that someone in one directory has created n custom contact or recipient for someone in another directory. By default, both would be copied to the metaverse.

image006

This part in of itself does not create a problem. It is when that objects are written back that we have issues as duplicate items will be written which will certainly cause a disruption in mail flow within that system.

image008

To prevent this from happening, we use join rules to “connect” duplicates in the metaverse.

image010

You can create very specific join rules to follow your business logic For example, you may have items in an HR system that should take precedent over other source systems in which case you could join based on a specific field type or format.

In this example, we are joining objects if the mail attribute is matched. In other words, if an object using the mail attribute: mkirves@businessa.com is in the metaverse, another object using the same mail attribute will “join” the existing one. This prevents the mail address from being used more than once in the environment. In fact, we are using two rules for each object type:

  • Join if mail attribute is matched
    • If a contact, group or user is imported into the metaverse with a specific mail attribute, no other other object may overwrite it. This means that user objects may “join” existing contact objects if the custom recipient already exists for that user. The drawback to this example would be that the entry could have incomplete directory information and that the real mailbox would not be authorative for the object.
  • Project is mail attribute is not matched
    • If the RFC822mailbox field is populated and the there is no match for the mail attribute, then the object will be automatically projected into the Metaverse

Configuring the basic join rules I have described is a fairly easy task and should take no longer than a few short minutes to apply. Open the Configure Join and Projection Rules selection from the Exchange 55 GAL MA agent.

You will need to add two rules to each of the object types you wish to synchronize. For this example, we will add the following:

groupOfNames

  • Declared Projection Rule based on the Metaverse_Contact object type.
  • Direct Join rule based on the mail field between the “mail” data source attribute and the “mail” attribute on “Metaverse_Contact.

organizationalPerson

  • Declared Projection Rule based on the Metaverse_Contact object type.
  • Direct Join rule based on the mail field between the “mail” data source attribute and the “mail” attribute on “Metaverse_Contact.

Remote-Address

  • Declared Projection Rule based on the Metaverse_Contact object type.
  • Direct Join rule based on the mail field between the “mail” data source attribute and the “mail” attribute on “Metaverse_Contact.

You should notice that the projection rules follow the join rules. You can create multiple join rules for each object type and you can specify custom rules to handle joins. For our purposes, the standard mail mapping fields will suffice.

Configure Attribute Flow

This step will likely take the most time and you should pay close attention to the detail. As we map fields from Exchange to the metaverse and visa-versa we have to pay close attention to the flow direction as well as any advanced rules we need to apply. As you will find out, standard mapping rules will allow us to meet our objectives. From the Configure Attribute Flow screen, you can see that we are configuring flow for all three object types we wish to synchronize.

image002 (3)

To make things simple for this installation, we are importing each of the Exchange settings into a single object type called Metaverse_contact. Moreover, we are only exporting objects into the Exchange environment as Remote-Address (custom recipients) and only into a specific, pre-determined container. When specifying attribute flow, you choose the source, the target and the fields you wish to map. In addition, you can specify any advanced mapping type you wish to use. When using the advanced features, we can select more than one object type as a source and the source code we wish to use to handle the business logic. Let’s go over an example. You should notice that the mail field highlighted in the picture shows an Advanced mapping rule is in place. If we click Edit, we can see which rule is being identified.

From the advanced flow options window, we can see that a specific flow rule named “mail” is identified. This tells MIIS that when performing an import on this object, it should reference the extension DLL identified in this MA (we will get to that later in the document) and that the logic in that code should be applied to this flow.

Inside our extension DLL, we have a sub called:

  Public Sub MapAttributesForImport(ByVal FlowRuleName As String, ByVal csentry AsMicrosoft.MetadirectoryServices.CSEntry, ByVal mventry AsMicrosoft.MetadirectoryServices.MVEntry) ImplementsMicrosoft.MetadirectoryServices.IMASynchronization.MapAttributesForImport

Within this sub, there are several import rules defined. This is the one named mail:

Case "mail"

                If csentry(FlowRuleName).IsPresent Then

                    Dim work As String = csentry(FlowRuleName).Value

                    work = Replace(work, "/", "")

                    work = Replace(work, "\", "")

                    mventry(FlowRuleName).Value = work

                End If

The purpose of this code is to cleanout illegal characters such as the “/” and “\” from the mail address (SMTP Address). An illegal address of Atlanta/sales@companya.comwould be changed to atlantasales@companya.com. While the illegal characters would remain in the Exchange system, they would be clean in the metaverse and then legal to push to AD.

Export Attribute Flow (Send to Exchange from Metaverse)

Here are the current flow settings for the Exchange MA. You can see from this table, that we did not require specialized code to manipulate the data. Instead, we elected to clean the information during the import process so that data in the metaverse is “normalized”.

table1

Import Attribute Flow (Send to Metaverse from Exchange)

Importing Exchange information into the metaverse required much more work in that we needed to reformat, clean and construct new fields based on information collected from other fields. In order to correctly populate the proxyaddresses attribute, we had to contruct the field based on three Exchange 5.5 fields; otherMailbox, rfc822Mailbox and textEncodedORaddress. Custom code was created to combine these strings into a collection in order to populate the multi-value field in the MV. To see the source code for the specific rules extensions, refer to the code section at the end of this document.

table2

Exchange store size is a matter of comfort

Margie Semilof wrote a great article on Exchange store sizes and I was fortunate to be able to contribute my thoughts on the subject.

“While there’s no drop-dead limit for an Exchange Server database store, there are some guidelines to help put messaging administrators in a comfort zone.”

To read the entire article, click here.