Applying Service Pack and Rollup Updates on Exchange Server 2010 (Part 1)

By Anderson Patricio,

In this article series we are going over the step-by-step process to upgrade your servers running Exchange Server 2010 to new Service Packs and Rollup Updates using either GUI (graphical user interface) or command line.

The Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 3 is a milestone in the product because that is the basic requirement to allow a transition from Exchange Server 2010 to Exchange Server 2013 CU1. Besides the transition capabilities we can also install it on Windows Server 2012 (new deployments only, it is not supported on OS upgrades) and support for Internet Explorer 10.

Our scenario is simple and provides for great flexibility to test all possible scenarios. You may find yourself in one of the tests that we perform throughout this article series. In our article scenario we have 2 (two) servers with the Client Access and Hub Transport role and 2 (two) servers running Mailbox role in a DAG while all servers are running Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1. You can check out the current servers by clicking on Server Configuration or running Get-ExchangeServer cmdlet.

That is just great. but Version and Build are all Greek to me, what should I do? No worries, if you are not sure which Service Pack and/or Rollup Update you have in your environment the Build Numbers can be scary at first glance, but using this page you can easily match the building number with the Service pack/Rollup Update.

Order to apply the Service Pack 3 and a few hints.

The first thing when you are planning is the order to apply Service Pack 3 on your servers. These are the key rules to apply a new Service Pack in your organization.

  1. Client Access Server (if you have multiple sites internet facing sites first)
  2. Hub Transport
  3. Mailbox
  4. Unified Messaging

Before going any further let's go over a couple of items that can speed up your upgrade process in your environment, as follows:

  • Backup, backup, backup!

Before playing with production environments, please make sure that you have valid backups of your servers, Active Directory and Databases.

In addition, a good file-level backup of any Exchange (especially OWA customization) may be useful.

  • Document your environment

Make sure that you have all your server names, and most important information recorded. My fellow MVP Steve Goodman wrote a script that gives you a list of all servers, their versions, databases, roles, Operating system and so forth. You can check his Exchange Environment Report.

  • Plan your outage

Make sure that you test the process on an environment similar to production and plan well your outage time and communicate that to the end-users.

If you are upgrading your environment from RTM to Service Pack 3, then you should add 30 minutes per database due a Database Schema upgrade that was done on Service Pack 1 of the product and since Service Pack 3 is slipstream then those upgrades will be performed when you move from RTM to SP3. There is no database schema upgrade from SP1 or SP2 to SP3.

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