Recently I have been involved with debugging a lot of OAB issues. One of the most interesting issues has been the PDN table change. With Exchange 5.5 coming to the end of it's life cycle, lots of companies have been migrating quickly from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2000 or Exchange 2003. One major component that is affected by mixed mode site migrations/consolidation is the OAB. So with that being said I wanted to take a few minutes to share my knowledge with everyone around troubleshooting OAB PDN changes.
The Recipient Update Service and the legacyExchangeDN attribute?The Recipient Update Service has three system polices that are default polices. They are: Mail-Enabled Recipient, Mailbox-Enabled User, and Hidden DL Membership.
For mail-enabled objects, there are a minimum set of attributes that are required to make all Exchange components work properly. For example, a mail-enabled entry (user, contact, group, public-folder, etc) needs to have at least these attributes: mailNickname, legacyExchangeDN, and displayName. Without the mailNickname attribute, an object is not considered mail-enabled. After you have a mailNickname attribute, the other two attributes must be set.
When a mail-enabled object is created, the Recipient Update Service (RUS) will stamp these system polices on that object. When the Recipient Update Service identifies that a new entry was added or modified that does have the mailNickname attribute, but not have the legacyExchangeDN or displayName attributes, it tries to create those attributes.
The displayName attribute is copied from the mailNickname attribute as is, and the legacyExchangeDN attribute goes through an algorithm that identifies the organization and administration group for this entry, and then creates a value in the following format:
The legacyExchangeDN attribute is a unique legacy distinguished name which identifies your mailbox.
This attribute is mainly used for backward compatibility purposes for the Mail Application Programming Interface (MAPI) clients, for example, /o=org/ou=site/cn=recipients/cn=dgoldman. If this attribute is not specified, a random distinguished name is generated. This value contains the location of the physical object in the Exchange Server 5.5 directory service; therefore, if you specify a value for the object in Active Directory, the Active Directory Connector (ADC) may change the value, depending on where the physical object is created.
What is a PDN table?A PDN table is a string table that is maintained by OABGen, and consists of PDN’s (Parent Distinguished Names). When the OAB Generation process is generating an address list and reading in all of the objects, it will split the legacyExchangeDN and x500 proxy addresses that belong to an object in to two separate parts (A PDN and a RDN).
PDN = Parent Distinguished Name - /o=organization/ou=site/cn=container/ RDN = Relative Distinguished Name - /cn=dgoldman
This PDN table is used as a reference for the client when it builds MAPI entry ids of mail recipients. Since most recipients in the OAB share the same small set of PDNs, a table was used to save space instead of storing them separately for each recipient. Prior to Exchange 2003 SP2, the OAB Generation process had problems dealing with the addition and removal of PDN’s. Once a PDN table change is detected, it will cause the OAB generation process to skip one day’s differential build..OAB Version 2 and OAB Version 3a clients are affected by this and the ramifications are a full download for the client. With the addition of Exchange 2003 SP2, this is no longer a problem for OAB Version 4 clients.
Event ID’s that are displayed in the application log when we detect a PDN table change:
1. When generating an address list you might get a combination of the following Events ID’s: 9340's, 9341’s, 9342’s and (9360’s - discussed later on in this document).
Event ID: 9340Category: OAL GeneratorSource: MSExchangeSAType: Warning Generated: 11/2/2005 10:06:25 AMMachine: OABGEN-SRVDescription:A new parent Legacy Exchange DN container value '/o=organization/ou=site/cn=container/cn=container' was found during generation of the differential update file for offline address list '\Global Address List'. This will force clients using this offline address list to do a full download of the offline address list. - Default Offline Address List
Event ID: 9341Category: OAL GeneratorSource: MSExchangeSAType: Warning Generated: 11/2/2005 10:06:25 AMMachine: OABGEN-SRVDescription: The parent Legacy Exchange DN container value '/o=organization/ou=site/cn=container/cn=container' was not found during generation of the differential update file for offline address list '\Global Address List'. This will force clients using this offline address list to do a full download of the offline address list. - Default Offline Address List
Event ID: 9342Category: OAL GeneratorSource: MSExchangeSAType: Warning (No Previous Diff found)Generated: 11/2/2005 10:06:25 AMMachine: OABGEN-SRVDescription:No previous version of an offline address list for '\Global Address List' can be found. No differential update file will be produced. This is expected if this is the first time this offline address list has been generated. - Default Offline Address List
Event ID: 9360Category: OAL GeneratorSource: MSExchangeSAType: ErrorGenerated: 11/2/2005 10:06:25 AMMachine: OABGEN-SRVDescription:OALGen encountered an error while generating the changes.oab file for version 2 and 3 differential downloads of address list '\Global Address List'. The offline address list has not been updated so clients will not be able to download the current set of changes. Check other logged events to find the cause of this error.
The causes for PDN table changes
There are lots of causes for PDN table changes and I have listed some of the most common ones that affect organizations today.
1. If the PDN table changes in the OAB by either a new PDN or removal of a PDN then all Outlook cached mode clients using V2 of V3 OAB will also attempt a full download. The PDN table is the set of all PDNs (Parent Distinguished Names) found in the directory.
2. The admin can cause a change in the PDN table in these ways: Manually modifying a legacyExchangeDN in the AD to create a PDN that did not exist before. This most often is done by accident if someone is editing this value and mistypes the value, thus creating a new PDN.
3. With Exchange 5.5 and ADC in place, creating a new container in 5.5 and inserting an object into it, or deleting the last object in a 5.5 container.
4. With Exchange 5.5 and ADC in place, ADC set to replicate the container hierarchy to 5.5, and the administrator creates new mail-enabled objects in a new AD container. The ADC will create the new container in 5.5 and back-replicate the new 5.5 distinguished name as the legacyExchangeDN of the AD object creating a new PDN.
5. Add an administrative group. The first mailbox created on a server in this AG will cause a new PDN to show up in the directory.
6. Deleting the last object with a particular PDN in its legacyExchangeDN or proxyAddresses. Example: A few years after consolidating and deleting a site, the last mailbox formerly in that site is finally deleted. The x500 placeholder is gone and reduces the size of the PDN table.
7. Adding/removing/modifying an X500 proxy address with new PDN. This can be done using ADU&C. If the X500 address is in the local org, but the organizational unit and containers are new or mistyped, a PDN will be added.
New default behavior for Exchange 2003 SP2 OAB GenerationNow by default in Exchange 2003 SP2 we’ve changed what OAB Version 2 and OAB Version 3 does when it detects a PDN change (addition or removal).
The old behavior (prior to Exchange 2003 SP2) was that we would not generate a difference file, but we still create a full OAB post. Once Outlook clients try to download the OAB diff files, it will notice that there is no diff file and the clients will be forced to do a full download and this will get the OAB full post. This can and will generate a lot of heavy network traffic and cause other issues.
The reason why this is such a problem is because the pdndex.oab file can’t be re-indexed after it has been created on the client side. This can only happen on a full download. To stop Outlook clients from being affected by this PDN problem, both the client and server must be running SP2. If the client is on SP2 it should automatically update to the version 4 providing that the client is already using a Unicode profile and that they actually connected to the server where the OAB Version 4 is located.
The new behavior (with SP2) is to not generate a difference file or full OAB post. We also have the ability to now add a registry key called “OAL post full if diff fails”. The “OAL post full if diff fails” registry key forces the Exchange to post a full OAB message when a difference failure has occurred by reverting the generation behavior back to SP1 behavior.
Below I am providing a high level overview of what the generation process does based on the service pack versions.
Example - Pre Exchange 2003 SP2 (Exchange 2003 SP1 and RTM)1. OABGen rebuilds an address list by schedule or by an Administrator via the ESM.
2. OABGen will connect to the active directory via NSPI interface for the necessary data.
3. Once the data is downloaded to the system temp directory, OABGen will sort the downloaded data and the old OAB files.
4. After the sort OABGen will compare the data that was read from the active directory and the downloaded OAB files.
5. A PDN change was detected (an addition or removal of a PDN).
6. Difference generation FAILS, but OABGen process posts a full OAB message. (This contains the changes).
7. Clients will perform a full download, but the OAB data is current.
Example - Exchange 2003 SP2 - Exchange 2007 (with public folders and generating OAB Version 3 and 4) without the "OAL post full if diff fails" registry key in place. 1. OABGen rebuilds an address list by schedule or by an Administrator via the ESM..
5. OAB Difference File generation FAILS, NO OABGen post is made to the public folder store. (The data is discarded and the next time we generate we will compare the same active directory data against the OAB post in the store. This WILL result in the same errors.)6. Clients will not download anything
NOTE: OAB Version 4 builds differently so clients that are on OAB Version 4 will download their OAB just fine.
Example - Exchange 2003 SP2 - Exchange 2007 (with public folders and generating OAB Version 3 and 4) with the "OAL post full if diff fails" registry key in place.1. OABGen rebuilds an address list by schedule or by an Administrator via the ESM..
4. After the sort OABGen will compare the data that was read from the active directory and the downloaded OAB files.5. OAB Difference File generation fails, but OABGen is forced to post the data that we have. (This contains the changes).6. Clients will perform a full download, but the OAB data is current.
The “OAL post full if diff fails” registry key
As stated before now with Service Pack 2 you have the ability to add the “OAL post full if diff fails” registry key. This registry key will force an Exchange Server to post a full OAB message after a difference failure.
To enable this functionality, follow these steps:
1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
2. Locate and then click to select the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeSA\Parameters
3. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
4. Type OAL post full if diff fails, and then press ENTER.
5. Right-click OAL post full if diff fails, and then click Modify.
6. In the Value data box, type 0x1 (1).
7. Quit Registry Editor.
If this registry key is in added an event will be logged once a diff generation fails:
Event Type: WarningEvent Source: MSExchangeSAEvent Category: OAL GeneratorEventID: 9116Generated: 11/2/2005 10:06:25 AMMachine: OABGEN-SRVOALGen encountered an error while generating the changes.oab file for differential downloads of address list ‘\Global Address List’. Clients will not be able to incrementally update to the new version of the offline address list, they will perform a full download instead. This is normal if this is the first time this offline address list has been generated. Check other logged events to see if this is a serious error.
If the registry key does not exist or is set to zero, a new event is logged if a diff generation fails:
Event Type: ErrorEvent Source: MSExchangeSAEvent Category: OAL Generator Event ID: 9360Date: 8/15/2005 5:06:52 AMUser: N/AComputer: OABGEN-SRVDescription:OALGen encountered an error while generating the changes.oab file for version 2 and 3 differential downloads of address list '\Global Address List'. The offline address list has not been updated so clients will not be able to download the current set of changes. Check other logged events to find the cause of this error.
Example of a PDN Table change
I wanted to add an example here to give you a mental picture of what you are looking at when you are troubleshooting this type of issue. Basically the OAB generation process is performing a compare operation and we are finding a discrepancy in the PDN string tables.
Below I have listed an example of two PDN string tables (Active Directory and OAB download):
1. The PDN string data read in from the active directory (contains 3 PDN strings that are unique)
"/o=OABGEN/ou=Users2/cn=Recipients" ß New PDN found during the rebuild (9340 event id will be displayed)
2. The PDN string data from the downloaded OAB files.
In the example above you can see that the active directory data contains 1 additional PDN string that is not in the OAB. This was found in the active directory, and now you will get a 9340 in the application log. In addition to the application log event, your OAB difference generation has now failed. With this situation you can track down this object and remove the PDN string. By removing the PDN string you can realign the strings tables so that when we do the compare both tables will match.
You can also end up with the reverse situation where a string was removed and you will get a 9341 event id in the application log. In this case you will need to add this string back by adding the PDN to a contact object. When we do the next rebuild we will read in this new string and both tables will match.
I will cover 3 distinct situations in the How to fix the PDN table changes situation.
How to troubleshoot and Isolation PDN table changes:I have seen lots of administrators struggle with this and I feel compelled to help out.
1. Check for active directory related issues. If you have made changes and the OAB generation is diff is still failing, it is probably due to the fact that the OAB generation is reading from a domain controller that does not contain the object changes. You can do this by running the following tools:
Netdiag with the /v switch Dcdiag with the /v switch Netmon
Repadmin /showmetaExBPA - (Link provided at the bottom of this document) OABInteg - (Link provided at the bottom of this document)
NOTE: You can run OABInteg to get this information and or take a Netmon trace during OAB generation process to see where the NSPI calls are going. Then use ADSIEdit to check that domain controller first and compare the results to the other domain controllers in the site.
2. You can start the Offline Address List generation process by doing the following steps:
A. Open the Exchange System Manager (ESM)B. Expand the Recipients ContainerC. Click one time on the Offline Address List ContainerD. Right click the offline address list that you want to rebuild.E. Right click and select 'Rebuild'
Once these steps have been completed you can open the Windows Application Log and look for the following Event ID – 9117
Event Type: InformationEvent Source: MSExchangeSAEvent Category: OAL Generator Event ID: 9117Date: 10/26/2005 12:21:06 PMComputer: OABGEN-SRVDescription:OALGen successfully opened a connection to Active Directory ‘OABGenDC1’ which will supply the current Address Lists. - Default Offline Address List
3. DO NOT CHANGE OAB GENERATION SERVERS BACK AND FORTH!!! If you are changing generation servers because you are getting failures, you need to stop right now!!! You must understand the nature of the failure and how this process works. Please open the application logs and looking at the failures. You also need to understand the behavior between the service pack versions and what version are you running on the servers you are generating from. The different service pack version can add additional confusion to your troubleshooting efforts because we save the data differently with different service packs.
For more information on the OAB Generation process and how to troubleshoot it, please see this blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/dgoldman/archive/2005/07/16/439665.aspx
4. Active Directory replication latencies or lack of replication can contribute to this problem and usually do. This is common because when you generate the OAB it reads all the data in a linear fashion from the active directory. You will find the same data if you are connecting to a domain controller that has not yet received the new data. You also have to take in to account different service pack levels on servers. This can lead to different behavior when generating an offline address list.
5. Once the objects have been located try to confirm what changes have been made. This should help you identify what needs to be done to correct it. You will only find objects that contain invalid x500 addresses and invalid legacyExchangeDN’s.
6. If you make any corrections and or changes, you need to make sure that you replicate all of your active directory domain controllers. This will ensure that all domain controllers contain the up to date changes.
How to fix the PDN table changes (Exchange 2003 SP2 - Exchange 2007 with public folders)I have not listed all of the different situations here, but with the data that I just provided you should have a good idea on how to troubleshoot and fix this.
Situation #1: (Removed PDN Entry)When you received an event id 9341 during an OAB generation.
Event Type: InformationEvent Source: MSExchangeSAEvent Category: OAL Generator Event ID: 9341Date: 10/26/2005 12:21:06 PMComputer: OABGEN-SRVDescription:The parent Legacy Exchange DN container value '/o=organization/ou=Site/cn=Recipient' was not found during generation of the differential update file for offline address list '\Global Address List'. This will force clients using this offline address list to do a full download of the offline address list. - Default Offline Address List
For more information, click http://www.microsoft.com/contentredirect.asp.
1. Examine the Event ID 9341 and look at the legacyExchangeDN value '/o=organization/ou=Site/cn=Recipient' that is referenced.
This means that there is an object in the current offline address list being referenced that was not found in the active directory. The object may have been deleted, mail disabled or moved to another container in a mixed mode environment. This is also a possibility that there may still be an object in the active directory that still has a reference to that PDN, however it is not in the current offline address list and is no longer in the PDN table for this OAB. This object can be any mail enabled object (Public Folder, Distribution List, Contact, etc).
2. Create a placeholder object that would belong to the affected offline address list. This object will be in the form of a mail enabled contact. Once the contact is created, make sure the RUS (Recipient Update Service) stamps this user with the default proxy address and a legacyExchangeDN.
3. Add an x500 address to this contact with the PDN that has been referenced in the 9341 Event ID: '/o=organization/ou=Site/cn=Recipient'. Before you ok this address you will need to add a RDN to it /cn=ContactName.
Example x500 proxyAddress: '/o=organization/ou=Site/cn=ContactName’.
NOTE: This will add the new PDN or legacyExchange to the in memory table OABGen creates. The next time the OAB is built OABGen will compare the data found from the Active Directory and from last nights downloaded OAB files, the compare will sync up and correct this issue.
Situation #2 (Temporary legacyExchangeDN’s) When may receive a 9340 or 9341 event id for an object that has a temporary legacyExchangeDN. The RUS (Recipient Update Service) is responsible for stamping proxy addresses and legacyExchangeDN attributes on objects. There are situations where the RUS might not run as expected and the OAB generation process ran.
Event Type: InformationEvent Source: MSExchangeSAEvent Category: OAL Generator Event ID: 9341Date: 10/26/2005 12:21:06 PMComputer: OABGEN-SRVDescription:The parent Legacy Exchange DN container value '/o=NT5/ou=EAEB4348E4B6DB41ADA82A87B993E4BD' was not found during generation of the differential update file for offline address list '\Global Address List'. This will force clients using this offline address list to do a full download of the offline address list. - Default Offline Address List
If there is an object in the active directory that does not have a legacyExchangeDN and the OAB generation process is running, the NT DS provider will add a temporary legacyExchangeDN that begins with /o=NT5/cn=<GUID of the forest>. This DN will not show up in the Active Directory using LDAP tools, but is only returned by the Active Directory through its MAPI interface.
OABInteg now has the ability to search for these values.
With Exchange 2003 SP build (6.5. 7569.0) we have the ability to add a registry key that will omit temp legacyExchangeDN’s.
To enable the functionality for the “OAL NT5 DN Rejection” registry key, follow these steps:
3. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value. 4. Type OAL NT5 DN Rejection, and then press ENTER. 5. Right-click OAL NT5 DN Rejection, and then click Modify. 6. In the Value data box, type 0x1 (1). 7. Quit Registry Editor.
NOTE: This will let us know if we have temp legacyExchangeDN’s for recipients and will not add them to the OAL. Situation #3: (New PDN Entry)When you receive an event id 9340 indicating that a new PDN has been added to the PDN table.
Event ID: 9340Category: OAL GeneratorSource: MSExchangeSAType: Warning (Added PDN)Generated: 11/2/2005 10:06:25 AMMachine: OABGEN-SRVDescription:A new parent Legacy Exchange DN container value '/o=organization/ou=site/cn=container/cn=container' was found during generation of the differential update file for offline address list '\Global Address List'. This will force clients using this offline address list to do a full download of the offline address list. - Default Offline Address List
NOTE: When you change a PDN you get a 9340 event a few things can happen based on the Exchange Service Pack version.
1. If a legacyExchangeDN was mistyped or imported incorrectly you will get the 9340 indicating that the legacyExchangeDN is wrong. You can scan the active directory gal objects using OABInteg to get the offending.
How to Fix This problem!!
1. Stop the OAB generation process from generating:
2. Run OABInteg /s:ExchSrvrName /t:proxytest /v:2 /l (this will create a c:\OABInteg.txt file).
3. Search the log using the legacyExchangeDN that was in the 9340 event in the application log: '/o=organization/ou=site/cn=container/cn=container/'
You will see output like this for the users dumped out by the test:
Processing Address Book Entry #0 of 50.Display Name = Dave GoldmanObject is a mailbox objectLegacyExchangeDN starts with '/o=' or '/O='. Value = /o=organization/ou=site/cn=container/cn=container/cn=dgoldmanPrimary Proxy Address found. Value = firstname.lastname@example.orgPrimary Proxy Address has a vaild unicode domain. Value = @organization.comSMTP Domain is valid and contains '@'.Proxy Address SMTP:Dave.Goldman@organization.com is 13 characters. (First 13 characters)Primary Proxy Address found. Value = SMTP:Dave.Goldman@organization.com.Primary Proxy Address and mail attribute match.Primary Proxy Address = Dave.Goldman@organization.com, mail attribute = email@example.com.Primary Proxy Address has a valid domain. Value = @organization.com
4. Open up adsiedit.msc and navigate through the domain naming context in the active directory until you find this user object.
5. Correct the legacyExchangeDN so it matches the rest of the objects in the container
6. Open up your Sites and Services MMC7. Expand the Sites node8. Expand your site9. Expand the Servers node10. Expand your server11. Expand NTDS Settings12. Right click on the Active Directory Connector in the right pane and select "Replicate Now".
NOTE: This is a push pull process and you will need to do this both ways for all of your domain controllers. Once this has been done wait 1 hr and then rebuild the OAB again.
WARNING!! If you type the legacyExchangeDN incorrectly you will be added a new PDN to the table and you will cause further problems until you fix it.
WARNING!! If you type the legacyExchangeDN incorrectly you will be added a new PDN to the table and you will cause further problems until you fix it.
If the Active Directory object is ligitimate and needs to be added to the Active Directory
If you have Service Pack 2 installed and do not have the “OAL post full if diff fails” registry key set to let the OAB generate a full post, the exchange server will still have the old PDN table before you changed the legacyExchangeDN initially. When you change the legacyExchangeDN back to its original state, you will not see the 9340 Event ID, this is because the new PDN was never saved in the OAB.
If the legacyExchangeDN is valid and needs to be added to the OAB, you will need to add the “OAL post full if diff fails” registry key to ensure that we save the changes and post a new OAB message.
One thing to remember here is that all Outlook clients that are on Service Pack 2 will be upgraded to OAB Version 4 and will no longer be affected by PDN table changes. You can really benefit by upgrading your Outlook clients.
If you are on a Service Pack 1 server the OAB difference file creation will fail, but we will post a full OAB message.
To enable the functionality for the “OAL post full if diff fails” registry key, follow these steps:
1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK. 2. Locate and then click to select the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeSA\Parameters
3. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value. 4. Type OAL post full if diff fails, and then press ENTER. 5. Right-click OAL post full if diff fails, and then click Modify. 6. In the Value data box, type 0x1 (1). 7. Quit Registry Editor.
NOTE: This will force the exchange server to save the new changes and post a full OAB message after the failure.
How to fix temp PDN table changes (Exchange 2000 - Exchange 2003 SP1, SP2 and Exchange 2007 with public folders)
If you are running Exchange 2000 - Exchange 2003 SP1 you will not have the ability to use the "OAL NT5 DN Rejection" registry key. So fixing this will be a little different.
When you receive a 9340 or 9341 Event ID for an object that has a temporary legacyExchangeDN, you will one of the corresponding events below:
Event Type: Information
Event Source: MSExchangeSA
Event Category: OAL Generator
Event ID: 9340
Date: 10/26/2005 12:21:06 PM
A new parent Legacy Exchange DN container value '/o=NT5/ou=EAEB4348E4B6DB41ADA82A87B993E4BD' was found during generation of the differential update file for offline address list '\Global Address List'. This will force clients using this offline address list to do a full download of the offline address list. - Default Offline Address List
Event ID: 9341
The parent Legacy Exchange DN container value '/o=NT5/ou=EAEB4348E4B6DB41ADA82A87B993E4BD' was not found during generation of the differential update file for offline address list '\Global Address List'. This will force clients using this offline address list to do a full download of the offline address list.
- Default Offline Address List
Processing Address Book Entry #1 of 50.
Display Name = TempLegDN
Object is a mailbox object
LegacyExchangeDN starts with '/o=' or '/O='. Value = /o=NT5/ou=EAEB4348E4B6DB41ADA82A87B993E4BD
ERROR - Temp LegacyExchangeDN found! Value = /o=NT5/ou=EAEB4348E4B6DB41ADA82A87B993E4BD
Total number of entries processed in the address book: 100
Total number of entries skipped: 0
Total number of contacts: 9
Total number of mailboxes: 43
Total number of distribution lists: 48
Total number of groups: 0
Total number of folders: 0
Total number of Address Book Container objects found: 0
Total number of temp legacyExchangeDN's found: 1 <---- LOOK FOR THIS!!!
Total number of objects that are missing some main attributes: 0
Total number of objects that mail and proxy attribute that don't match: 0
Total number of objects that do not have a domain value: 0
Total number of objects that do not have a valid unicode domain value: 0
Total numner of objects that do not have a valid SMTP Domain because first character is not greater than '/': 0
Total number of objects that do not start with /o= or /O=: 0
Total user objects that are missing the Primary Proxy address attribute: 0
Total user objects with proxy addresses equal to or over 64 characters: 0
3. Use ADSIEdit.msc and locate the obeject in the Domain Naming Context of the Active Directory.
4. Manually remove this value and let the RUS (Recipient Update Service) stampt the correct value or manually correct this.
5. When you are confident that all of the objects have been fixed and Active Directory replication has been verified renable the OAB Generation process.
Site Consolidations and PDN table changes:If you are in a mixed mode environment and you are cross-site migrating users manually, you can run in to PDN table change problems. In order to stop this from happening and causing yourself full OAB downloads, you will want to create a mail enabled object in the active directory. Once this object has been created you will then want to add X500 addresses to this placeholder object for all the sites that you plan to migrate out of. The x500 addresses are the legacyExchangeDN's of the sites that you are going to be removing. You will also need to add the RDN portion of the object that you created so you have a full qualified legacyExchangeDN. During the rebuild process we strip off the RDN and just use the legacyExchangeDN. By adding this placeholder object with the X500 addresses, you are keeping the PDN table adjusted and aligned when you rebuild your OAB. This has to be done so when the last object is moved/deleted/disabled, etc so we do not cause a PDN change by removing that string (legacyExchangeDN) from the active directory. Below are some common causes to how you can end up with PDN changes.
NOTE 1: Forgetting to add this x500 proxy address to the objects can cause your diff files to failing during the generation process. Otherwise, the diff generation will fail and all OAB Version 2 and OAB Version 3a clients will be making a trip to the server to get the full OAB. This traffic will flood your network and this is not a good thing.
NOTE 2: If you have Exchange 2003 SP1 you can use the new mixed-mode cross-site move mailbox functionality. Mail enabled objects that have been moved cross-site are associated with the distinguished name of the object that existed before the move. This association will be maintained because Exchange 2003 SP1 applies an X.500 proxy address on the mailbox or distribution list that references the original mailbox or distribution list object in the source site.
NOTE 3: When running in Exchange 2000 native mode, legacyExchangeDN’s don’t change when users are moved between admin groups.
NOTE 4: PDN changes are not based on the container being removed; it is based on the last mail-enabled object being removed from the container. During the OAB generation process we read in x500 addresses from the all the objects that belong to the same org (/O=<organization name>).
Effects that a PDN table change can have on a network:Given that there are several cases listed above that can cause a large number of full OAB downloads you should understand the affect on bandwidth a large OAB download will have on the network.
Overall Duration of the OAB Download:If many Outlook clients are attempting to download the Full OAB at the same time, this can take considerable time for all the downloads to complete (Example: If an organization has a 10 MB OAB, with 50 Outlook clients at a remote site, this equates to 500 MB of data to download. Just using the full bandwidth of a 256kbps link (without latency), it would take about 4 ½ hours transfer the download 500 MB). In addition the OAB is downloaded through MAPI and RPC. MAPI and PRC will add small percentage of additional data to the total download, and the latency between Outlook and the Exchange server will limit how much of the overall bandwidth can be used for all the data to be transferred.
Overall each client may not take the entire time but between all clients the network will be used for the overall duration of the OAB Download (NOTE: 4 ½ hours was calculated by: 500 MB /32 KBps (32 KBps = 256Kbps) this did not take into account latency, extra traffic due to RPC, or other applications using the link = 4.34 hours).
In order to determine duration of OAB downloads, first determine the size of your Full OAB. You can use ESM from Exchange 2003 to determine the size or the OAB. Drill down to the Public Folders node, then right-click, and choose "View System Folders". Once here, you can find the OAB Version 3a folder, and in the tabs on the right-hand side, choose "Content". You will be able to see the last 30 days worth of changes. The larger object with multiple attachments is the Full OAB and the size can be determined by adding up the sized of the attachments.
Network Saturation:The Exchange server can easily handle many download requests for the OAB; as a result multiple attempts to download a Full OAB over a slow link can saturate a network. A saturated network is when all the available bandwidth is being utilized. When this happens, there are two significant side affects.
First: Applications that need to use the WAN will perform slowly because as they wait for their network request to traverse the saturated WAN link. Second: The actual traffic needed on the WAN will increase because individual network requests may time-out resulting in additional requests being made.
When the network becomes saturated the latency increases, not only the time that each client takes to download the OAB but can increase the overall duration. When the network is saturated the latency will increase, normally this just means that the data rate for each client is reduced, however if the latency increases too much, RPC packets will time out, causing additional RPC requests for the same data to be retrieved. Worse, if someone is using Outlook and the download is canceled or fails, Outlook will delete what has downloaded and re-attempt the entire download. As a result more data will be requested and increase the overall duration of a large set of OAB downloads.
How can all of the outlook downloads saturate a WAN? When Outlook downloads the OAB from the Exchange server, it will download the OAB through a series of RPC packets. Each packet is received, acknowledged, and then the next one is sent. Based on the latency between Outlook and Exchange a single Outlook client is limited on how fast it can receive, and acknowledge each packet. Because of this delay a single Outlook client may not be able to saturate a network link, however as more outlook clients begin to download the OAB the combined download rate of all clients could saturate the link. The link will remain saturated until the Full OABs have been downloaded.
The relationship is linear, in that the larger the latency between the Outlook client and the Exchange server, the fewer packets can be received, and the more clients can download an OAB before a slow line is saturated. The reverse is also true, if latency is low, then fewer clients are needed to saturate a slow link. The number of Outlook clients that can download the OAB simultaneously without saturating the WAN will increase as either network latency increases or network bandwidth increases.
Minimizing the side effects of Full OAB Downloads caused by PDN table changes:If your organization needs to minimize the effects of the full OAB downloads across a WAN here are the recommended options available in Exchange 2003 SP1.
Limit Large Sets of Full OAB downloadThe first option is to limit large sets of full OAB downloads as much as possible. Above is a list of conditions that will cause Outlook to pull down a full OAB, either through mailbox moves, large changes in the directory, or changes to the PDN table. Review these conditions and consider if there are practices in your organization that can be put into place to limit the cases that cause a Full OAB Download.
Several Examples include: 1. Consider how and when groups of users are moved between servers.2. Consider when large changes are being made to the active directory (such as applying a new area code, etc.)3. When in a mixed 5.5 / 2000 or 2003 environment, consider where new mailboxes are created and can the growth of the PDN table be limited.
As much as the items that trigger a full download can be limited in an organization, then the need for a full OAB download can also be limited.
Limit Impact of a full OAB downloadThere are several ways that you can also limit the Impact that a large set of full OAB download will have on the WAY an organization:
Limit the Size of the OAB:You can limit the OAB in Exchange 2003 by:
1. Upgrade to Exchange 2003 Sp2: There have been several fixes to the Exchange Offline Address Book service to filter out un-need attributes, including extra certificates that are not used by Outlook.2. Consider Certificates: Certificates are the largest single attribute stored in the OAB, expired certificates or un-used certificates can be removed from the directory.
Consider using the No Details OAB for Remote Desktop clients:The No-Details OAB is an option for remote Outlook clients to just have a minimal OAB. This OAB version is extremely small and only contains the display name, email addresses, and office location. Benefits: The advantage of the No-Details OAB is that it is small, so the cost of the download is limited. Limitations: Any time Outlook tries to pull up details information on an address, then Outlook will perform an on-line request directly to the AD for the details. Offline access has very limited information so for Laptop users that are primarily offline this is not an option. Consider a Remote OAB Only Server for Remote Outlook clients: An Exchange PF ONLY server can be installed at a remote site with an OAB. All remote clients at this remote site would download the OAB from the local Exchange PF server.Benefits: Downloads of the Full OAB do not impact the WAN, a full mailbox server is not required so mailbox servers can still be consolidated to a central location.Limitations: An extra server is required at the remote sits 3. Limit number of users that access Exchange across a remote link:
Consider a Remote OAB Only Server for Remote Outlook clients: An Exchange PF ONLY server can be installed at a remote site with an OAB. All remote clients at this remote site would download the OAB from the local Exchange PF server.Benefits: Downloads of the Full OAB do not impact the WAN, a full mailbox server is not required so mailbox servers can still be consolidated to a central location.
Links to tools:1. OABInteg – KB Article ID: Q907792 - Description of the Offline Address Book Integrity (OABInteg) tool - http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;907792 2. ExBPA (Microsoft Exchange Server Analyzer Tools - http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/downloads/2003/analyzers/default.mspx
Thanks to Neil Shipp for his review of this blog!!
This document covers two important tests from the Offline Address Book Integrity (OABINTEG) tool: 1.
New PDN's are really bad and will they will break the OAB Generation process. For most of the fixes you
New PDN's are really bad and will they will break the OAB Generation process. For most of the fixes