The ins and outs of installing Mobile Information Server 2002

Because preparing to deploy Mobile Information Server is such a challenge, you may assume that installing MIS is equally complex. In this Daily Feature, Jim Boyce explains that installing MIS is not that difficult--if you know what to watch out for.

Mobile Information Server 2002 (MIS) is one of those programs that is difficult to prepare for and relatively easy to install. But there are still a few things you have to be on the lookout for. In this Daily Feature, I’ll show you what you’ll encounter when installing MIS, along with MIS components you may want to install on other servers in your network.

Finally! Installing MIS
If you’ve already done the necessary preparation work (see my previous article on MIS here), the actual installation process is relatively straightforward. You can deploy all MIS features on one server or install MIS on multiple servers to provide load balancing. For example, you might configure one MIS server to support browsing and another to support notifications and synchronization.

To install MIS, log on to the domain controller (DC) where you’re installing MIS, using an account that is a member of the Microsoft Mobility Admins group. By default, only the Message Processor account is a member of the group, so you might need to tweak account membership before installing MIS by adding a user ID to the Microsoft Mobility Admins group.

Then, pop in the MIS CD or run Setup from the evaluation folder. Much of the beginning of the installation wizard deals with the usual stuff like the license agreement, product key, and so on. The first time you run Setup, you specify certain data that you won’t provide in any subsequent installations. In particular, you specify the security model you want to use for MIS during the initial installation, and that selection carries over to subsequent installations.

When you get in to the meat of it, you’ll choose the security model and specify related information, such as the auxiliary domain name or auxiliary forest name. The component selection method is much like any other application. The available components are:
  • Mobile Information Server. This is the core of the product and supports browsing and notifications.
  • Microsoft Server ActiveSync. This component supports synchronization of Exchange 2000 Server data with Pocket PC 2002 devices. You can install this component without the Mobile Information Server component if the server supports only synchronization.
  • Outlook Mobile Access for Exchange 5.5. This component installs the Exchange Server 5.5 Data Provider and enables the MIS server to access Exchange 5.5 servers.
  • Exchange 2000 Notifications. This component doesn’t install on the MIS server but instead installs on the Exchange 2000 server to enable it to generate notifications to wireless users.
  • Administrative Tools. This includes a handful of administrative tools, including the System Manager you use to configure and manage MIS, the User Personalization Web content that enables users to customize their notification and browse settings, and a Wireless Mobility tool that adds the Wireless Mobility tab to the user’s property sheet in the Active Directory Users and Computers console. It also installs the Enterprise Device Setup tool that you use to configure devices.

After you select the components, the MIS Setup program works like any other Windows Setup program. After Setup finishes copying MIS files onto your MIS server, you should install the Personal Device Setup component on the MIS server. Personal Device Setup enables wireless users to connect to a URL on the server to configure their devices wireless. This tool isn’t available through MIS Setup. Instead, browse the MIS CD or evaluation folder and locate the \Support\Tools\MIS Personal Device Setup\<language>\Setup.exe file.

After installation, you’ll have a virtual directory named MMISSelfProv under Default Web Site on the server. Users connect to the virtual directory to add or change devices, which offloads the responsibility from your administrative staff and makes it easy for users to add new devices as they get them.

Installing MIS components on other computers
You can also install the MIS support tools on other computers later. For example, you might install them on the workstation you use for most administrative tasks so you don’t have to be physically present at the DC to configure MIS or wireless users. Just run MIS Setup on the workstation and choose only the Administrative Tools component.

You should install the User Personalization tool on each Exchange 2000 server that will be accessed by wireless users. You can run MIS Setup on the Exchange 2000 server and install only the User Personalization tool without the other administrative tools. Before you install the User Personalization Tool, make sure you’ve installed and configured IIS on the Exchange 2000 server.

You have a few final steps to complete your total MIS installation. If you’re integrating MIS with Exchange 2000, you may want to install the Exchange 2000 Event Source. The Exchange 2000 Event Source is the MIS component that enables Exchange 2000 Server to send notifications to wireless users. You don’t install Exchange 2000 Event Source on the MIS server, but on your Exchange 2000 server(s) instead. The server must be running Exchange 2000 Server Service Pack 1 or later and Windows 2000 Server Service Pack 1 or later.

Start running MIS’s installation on the Exchange 2000 server just as you did on the MIS server. This time, select only the Exchange 2000 Event Source from the component list. After the installation wizard finishes, you’ll need to add an SMTP connector for Exchange 2000 Server to use to transfer notifications to the MIS server. The connector points to the MIS server or to a load-balanced MIS cluster.

To add the connector, open the Exchange System Manager and display routing groups (right-click the organization in System Manager and choose Properties to locate that option). Open the routing group that contains the target server for the connector and create a new SMTP connector. You can configure the connector to use DNS to route the messages or specify a smart host. If you choose the former option, make sure you create MX records in your DNS server that point to the MIS server(s). If you use smart hosts, specify the FQDN of the MIS server or its IP address in square brackets. Specify the IP address of the network load balancing (NLB) cluster if you have multiple MIS servers in a load-balanced cluster, or enter the FQDNs of multiple nonbalanced MIS servers, separating the server names with semicolons.

Select the bridgehead server for the routing group from the General tab. Then, on the Address Space tab, click Add. Click SMTP in the Add Address Space dialog box and click OK. In the Internet Address Space Properties dialog box, enter *.MobileInformationServer in the E-mail Domain field and click OK.

If you need to support Exchange Server 5.5 users, your next step will be to install the Exchange Server 5.5 Data Provider on those Exchange 5.5 servers. Just run MIS Setup on each Exchange 5.5 server, installing only the Exchange Server 5.5 Data Provider. As part of the installation, you’ll need to enter the user credentials of the Exchange Server 5.5 service account that the MIS server will use to pull data from the Exchange server. Make sure you have that information on hand when you start installation.

Last but not least, review your installations to make sure all the pieces are in place. For example, check your firewalls to make sure you’ve opened the appropriate ports according to the components you’ve installed and the security methods that MIS will use.

What’s next?
At this point, you can install other MIS servers as needed. For example, maybe you set up the first MIS server just to support notifications and want to set up another to handle synchronization. After you get those other servers installed, you can turn your attention to configuring MIS, adding carriers and devices, configuring users, and so on.

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