This deployment is not for everyone and everyone should not be deploying it. The document for the walkthrough deployment from Microsoft is excellent. Sure, there could have been more detail but the document is not meant to provide every step along the way. Microsoft has to assume and expect there will be some level of expertise and knowledge induced into the installation by the installer, Microsoft can't and should not put it into one single document. I wish I had noted the minor errors I found in the doc so I could send them to Microsoft for document correction. Again, without enough or the right amount of knowledge, those little errors could be devastating. For the smokey room conspirator theory folks who may be reading this post, who think Microsoft is evil, here's something to think about; perhaps Microsoft put those little errors in the document by design, ...hmmm... , purposefully weed out companies from the hosted game ... a selective or survival of the fittest process.
Microsoft did a great job with the HMC 4.5 document. Using it I was able to deploy a hosted Exchange 2007 server environment. I absolutely do not claim to be an expert in the multi-tenant Exchange environment but I surely have more than a foot in the door of learning and experiencing much more about it.
I just recently finished testing Outlook Anywhere functionality with the 4.5 HMC Exchange environment using a fictitious organization but a real domain using real DNS servers. The functionality works pretty darn good. Once again, Microsoft did an excellent job with the document and deployment guide walkthrough. The clients find the autodiscover redirect site then get sent to the autodiscover site within the hosted solution. Once there, they get their configuration data, logon, and up come the mailbox. It's fantastic the way Microsoft has put this together.
If during the testing phase of the deployment you have issued certificates to the autodiscover web site and internally to your Exchange servers using a root CA authority you built and is not a public root CA. A tip I could give to people who might be at this part of their deployment walkthrough and testing their Outlook Anywhere capabilities is to be sure to import the root CA certificate into the trusted root store for the user at the remote computer looking to connect with Outlook Anywhere. The symptoms are that Outlook finds the autodiscover web site, the user logs on, all seems well but the mailbox for the user does not load. A message similar to the following. "the profile is not configured" or " be sure you can connect to your exchange mailbox" .
The deployment guide actually states that Outlook Anywhere will not work without certs installed and applied to the web sites involved, and this I proved but a temp work around that will only be good for testing is to import the root certificate of the certificate authority server into the users root certificate store. It does not have to be the computer certificate store. This will allow the mail box to load into Outlook for the remote test user but until the real certificate is used (a public SAN UC SSL certificate), the user will be constantly prompted for a password. So Microsoft is right, without certificates the solution will not work for a real deployment of Hosted Exchange HMC 4.5.
Link to this site and/or post please if you've found it at all useful. Use the following URLs, thank you.