Microsoft Hybrid Agent – Preview

Modern Hybrid Connectivity Requirements

Overview

Hybrid deployment using the Hybrid Agent, aka "Modern Hybrid" has slightly different connectivity requirements, in that by lowering the bar, it does not mean that no outbound and inbound connectivity are required. This section aims to identify specific connectivity requirements for Modern Hybrid deployments.

Agent

The Hybrid Agent itself has limited inbound or outbound connection requirements. However, limited does not mean "none." Being built on Azure AD Application Proxy technology, the agent’s core requirements are no different. These are summed up in the "Open Your Ports" section in https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/manage-apps/application-proxy-enable.

Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW)

The Hybrid Configuration Wizard is, as its name indicates, a wizard which guides the process of hybrid configuration. It is capable of downloading and installing the hybrid agent and configuring and validating the endpoints but, to do so, it requires remote PowerShell connectivity to the Client Access Server selected for the agent endpoint.

Hybrid Configuration Wizard is a ClickOnce client. A browser with ClickOnce support such as Internet Explorer or Edge is required. If your browser supports ClickOnce activation via a plugin, the HCW will also work. Once activated, the first step of the ClickOnce application is either to download its core components (first install) or check for an upgrade (subsequent installs). After this, it will perform a number of tests, some of which will require Remote Procedure Call (RPC) access to the Domain Controller (credential validation).

Client Access Server

In a Modern Hybrid Deployment, the inbound request requirements of a Client Access Server are mitigated, however, the CAS makes outbound free/busy requests for Hybrid. As such, the CAS server must maintain outbound https and http connectivity.

Transport/Edge Transport

Whether you utilize edge transport servers or combined transport servers, transport servers require both inbound and outbound connections on port 25 (SMTP).

Considerations for Outbound Proxies

If an environment requires outbound proxy servers, additional configuration and requirements come into play. This list may not be exhaustive.

Agent

The agent does support using an outbound proxy, but doing so requires modifications to the configuration file after installation. Also, a proxy which prevents registration will result in the connector failing to install. It is recommended to install allowing the connectors to bypass the proxy until app config changes can be made.

Client Access Server (CAS)

The Client Access Server’s proxy settings (from Get-ExchangeServer | Format-List InternetWebProxy) must be set correctly or outbound free/busy may fail. In fact, the HCW may not be able to configure delegated auth if this setting is incorrect. Though the HCW issues the command to create the federation trust, like most PowerShell commands, it is actually executed in the context of the Client Access Server, and the request to domains.live.com to exchange metadata and establish a trust will fail if the proxy is not set correctly.

Agent Install Location & Requirements

Choosing the right location for installation of the Hybrid Agent is important. The agent install and subsequent run of configuring Hybrid via the Hybrid Configuration Wizard is supported on either a standalone computer designed as your "agent server", or an Exchange 2010, 2013, 2016 or 2019 server with the Client Access role.

Requirements

  • The computer hosting the Hybrid Agent install must be able to establish outbound HTTPS connections to the internet, and HTTPS and Remote PowerShell (RPS) connections to the CAS chosen for hybrid configuration.
  • The computer hosting the Hybrid Agent should be running Windows Server 2012 R2 or 2016, with .NET Framework 4.6.2 (or later, as supported by the Exchange version you are installing on) installed.
  • The computer where the Hybrid Agent is installed must have either Edge or Internet Explorer installed and must support ClickOnce.
  • The computer where the Hybrid Agent is installed must be able to communicate with a Domain Controller to authenticate your on-premises Exchange Org admin credentials. This means that the computer must be domain joined.
  • Installation must be done using a computer administrator account and will require tenant global administrator credentials for registering the connector.
  • TLS 1.2 must be enabled on the computer where the Hybrid Agent is installed.

Port and protocol requirements

Preview Constraints

  • MailTips, Message Tracking and Multi-mailbox search do not traverse the Hybrid Agent. These Hybrid features would require the classic connectivity model where EWS and Autodiscover are published on-premises and externally available to Office 365.

  • The public preview only supports a single Hybrid Agent install for the Exchange organization. We are working to support multiple agent installs for redundancy, but this is not available yet. If the server running the Hybrid Agent goes offline, free/busy look ups from your tenant to on-premises and mailbox migrations to/from your tenant will no longer work. If the server hosting the agent is permanently offline, was rebuilt, or the agent was uninstalled, re-running the Hybrid Configuration Wizard to reinstall the Hybrid Agent directly on the new server is the recovery method. Do not attempt to install multiple active Hybrid Agents in your environment with this preview build, this could cause unexpected issues.

  • The Hybrid Agent registers the internal FQDN of the Client Access Server (CAS) selected when running Hybrid Configuration Wizard in Azure Application Proxy. If the registered CAS is offline, free/busy look ups from your tenant to on-premises and mailbox migrations to/from your tenant will no longer work. If the selected CAS is permanently offline, a new CAS must be registered. This can be done by re-running the Hybrid Configuration Wizard.

  • The Hybrid Agent preview comes with some support limitations which are called out in the Terms document you must agree to before installing the feature.

    Note

    SMTP does not traverse the Hybrid Agent and will still require a public certificate for mail flow between Office 365 and on-premises. SMTP traffic is out of scope for the Hybrid Agent, both now and through General Availability.

Running Setup

The HCW is the application responsible for both installing and configuring the Hybrid Agent and setting the required configuration both on-premise and in the tenant to enable our traditional hybrid feature set (free/busy, migrations, mail routing, etc.).

You must run the HCW from the computer where you want the agent installed. After the Agent is installed and configured, the HCW will locate a preferred server to connect to and run the standard hybrid configuration steps. You do not have to run the HCW from the Exchange server directly, but as stated above, the computer where the HCW is executed from must be able to HTTPS and RPS the selected CAS server.

Note

The Modern Hybrid option will only be presented if you have never run the Hybrid Configuration Wizard. If you have successfully established Hybrid in either Minimal or Full in our "classic config" for your tenant, this new option will not be presented to you.

Installation Prerequisites

  1. To allow installation of the Hybrid Agent and to be able to perform mailbox migrations to/from your tenant, please verify or enable MRS Proxy on the EWS virtual directory, e.g.:

    Set-WebServicesVirtualDirectory -Identity "EWS (Default Web Site)" -MRSProxyEnabled $true
    
  2. Go to Programs and Features and verify a previous version of the Microsoft Office 365 Hybrid Configuration Wizard is not already installed. If it is, uninstall it.

  3. .NET Framework version 4.6.2 (or later, as supported by the Exchange version you are installing on) is required on the computer where the HCW is being run. If this version is not already installed, HCW will prompt you to install/upgrade.

Installation steps

  1. The HCW will open and you can you proceed with setup.

  2. The first page will prompt you to select the Exchange server where the traditional hybrid setup will be executed against. Either select the default server provided by the HCW or specify a specific server in the second radio button. Select next.

  3. The following page will prompt you to enter your Exchange admin credentials and your tenant admin credentials. Select next.

  4. The next page will gather configuration and environment details. When it’s completed, select next.

  5. On the Hybrid Features page, select either Minimal or Full Hybrid Configuration. If you would like to also opt for the Organization Configuration Transfer, you can select it now, or later. Select next.

  6. On the Hybrid Topology page, select Use Exchange Modern Hybrid e.g:

    Hybrid Topology page

    Select next.

  7. This will begin the process to setup and install the Hybrid Agent. There are four basic phases:

    1. Downloading the agent install package
    2. Installation of the agent on the local computer (note: this will prompt for your MS Online Global Admin credentials again)
    3. Registration of the agent to Azure, including creation of the URL used to proxy requests
    4. Testing migration viability from your tenant to on-premises via the agent

    Note

    The Hybrid Agent installation process could take up to 10 minutes to complete all tasks.

HCW with Modern Hybrid will install an agent, built on the same technology as Azure Application Proxy, which will publish the Exchange on-premises environment to Exchange Online to support Free/busy and mailbox migrations. The Hybrid Agent will register a custom URL for only your tenant in the following format:

uniqueGUID.resource.mailboxmigration.his.msappproxy.net

After the Hybrid Agent installation and validation tasks complete, the remaining HCW pages and experience will be exactly as they are today. During the final configuration application phase of the HCW, we create a new migration endpoint with the custom URL and set the TargetSharingEPR value on the Organization Relationship and/or the Intra Organization Connector. Both the new migration endpoint value and the TargetSharingEPR value are set on the tenant or cloud side only as we use this new path (URL) to send requests from cloud to on-premises for free busy and migrations. On-premises free/busy requests for cloud users still reach outbound to the internet. You can view the specific values configured for each of these by running Get-MigrationEndpoint and Get-OrganizationRelationship from the tenant RPS session. E.g.:

From tenant RPS

PS C:\Users\Hybrid\> Get-MigrationEndpoint | fl Identity,RemoteServerIdentity : Hybrid Migration Endpoint - EWS (Default Web Site)

RemoteServer :
087f1c2e-8711-4176-ab4f-4b1c1777a350.resource.mailboxmigration.his.msappproxy.net

PS C:\Users\Hybrid\> Get-OrganizationRelationship | fl Name,TargetSharingEpr

Name : O365 to On-premises - c6d22e11-2340-4432-9122-19097bacf0c1

TargetSharingEpr :
https://087f1c2e-8711-4176-ab4f-4b1c1777a350.resource.mailboxmigration.his.msappproxy.net/EWS/Exchange.asmx

Additional Information

Installation details of the Hybrid Agent can be viewed in the following locations on the server where it is installed. E.g.:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft Hybrid Service:

Add/Remove programs:

Testing & validation of the Hybrid Agent

After successful installation of the Hybrid Agent and HCW configurations, the following are two simple tests to validate free/busy and mailbox migration flow via the Agent.

On the server where the Hybrid Agent is installed, open Perform Monitor. Add the object, Microsoft AD App Proxy Connector and the # requests counter to your view. E.g.:

Migration

Open an RPS session to your tenant and run the following test cmdlet:

Test-MigrationServerAvailability -ExchangeRemoteMove: $true -RemoteServer '<your customguid>.resource.mailboxmigration.his.msappproxy.net' -Credentials (Get-Credential)

Enter on-premises credential in the pop up. After the test returns the success result, switch back to your Performance Monitor view and you can see the number of requests will have incremented up.

Performing a test mailbox move from on-premises to the cloud is also an option.

Free/Busy

The same validation can be performed by logging into a cloud mailbox and requesting free/busy via a test meeting request for a mailbox located on-premises.

Uninstalling the Hybrid Agent

To uninstall the Hybrid Agent, re-run Hybrid Configuration Wizard from the same computer you performed the installation against and select Classic Connectivity. This will uninstall and unregister the Hybrid Agent from the computer and Azure and you can resume setup, and configure hybrid in the Classic mode.