On April 20, 2022 Microsoft released new Cumulative Updates: Exchange 2016 CU23 and Exchange 2019 CU12. The previous Cumulative Updates were released on September 28, 2021, more than 6 months ago.
The reason for this delay is that Microsoft is changing its update release cadence from quarterly to bi-annual, so that Cumulative Updates are not released in the first half and the second half of a (calendar) year. With quarterly updates it was difficult for larger organizations to keep up to date with Cumulative Updates, so this new bi-annual cadence will fit their planning better. This change only affects Cumulative Updates for Exchange; Security Updates will continue to be released when needed, so no changes there.
A little bit of sad news though for all customers still running Exchange 2016. This will be the last Cumulative Update that is released, since Exchange 2016 is already out of mainstream support. Security Updates will be released until the end of extended support, which is October 14, 2025 (and this is the same date as end of extended support for Exchange 2019).
Exchange 2019 CU12 will bring a couple of new and interesting features.
When you have Azure AD Connect in place and you have all Mailboxes in Exchange Online, there still is the need for an Exchange server on-premises for management purposes. Exchange 2019 CU12 introduces a new management tools role, just for this scenario. When using this, there’s no longer the need for an Exchange server on-premises. Be aware, this is all PowerShell based! More information regarding this in an upcoming blogpost.
Exchange 2019 CU12 will also support Windows 2022. Be aware that this is only true for Exchange 2019 CU12. Exchange 2016 CU23 is NOT SUPPORTED on Windows 2022 so you can run Exchange 2016 only on Windows 2016 (not even on Windows 2019). You can upgrade your Domain Controllers to Windows 2022 and update Domain and Forest Functional Level to Windows 2022, that is fully supported.
One of the interesting features of Windows 2022 is TLS 1.3. Unfortunately, TLS 1.3 is not supported yet, but will be supported in an upcoming Cumulative Update.
From a licensing perspective, the free hybrid license was only available for Exchange 2016 but this has now changed. If you have a hybrid server (without Mailboxes) in your organization, you can use a free Exchange 2019 license:
A couple of closing remarks regarding the new 2022H1 Cumulative Updates:
There are no Schema changes with these updates.
When running in hybrid mode, the only supported CU versions are the current version and the previous version, i.e. Exchange 2019 CU11/CU12 and Exchange 2016 CU22/CU23.
Don’t forget to put your DAG members in maintenance mode before installing the latest CU. As a friendly reminder, you can find the procedures for maintenance mode on my blog. These procedures have not changed over the years, so they are still valid.
As always, run in your test environment first before installing in your production environment.
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Jaap is a Microsoft MVP for Office Apps and Services. Jaap is an independent consultant, primarily focusing on Exchange server, Skype for Business and Office 365.