How to create multiple instances of OWA

By Brian Posey,

Creating multiple Outlook Web Access instances is a great way to assign users different sets of OWA features and/or give file share access to users who need it -- without giving everyone in your organization the same access. This tip explains a method that can be used in any version of Windows, although some steps are platform-specific.

Here are five initial configuration steps that you can use to create different OWA instances on any Windows version.

  1. Assign an additional IP address to your client access server

You don't have to install additional network interface controllers (NICs) onto the server, but you can. Windows allows you to bind multiple IP addresses to a single NIC.

  1. Create a new website

OWA is a Web application that depends on Internet Information Services (IIS). When you install the Client Access Server role, Exchange creates multiple IIS virtual directories within the server's default website.

You can manually add more virtual directories to the default website, but limitations within Exchange Server prevent you from creating additional Exchange-related virtual directories. Therefore, you'll need to create a dedicated website for each additional OWA instance that you plan to create.

As a part of the site-creation process, you must bind an IP address to the site; each site should have a unique IP address. After you assign an IP address to the server, create a DNS record that allows users to access the new website using a new domain name.

When you create a website through IIS, its virtual directory maps to a physical folder on the server's hard drive. Note which folder is being used as the site's home directory.

  1. Create a new virtual directory

Now that you've created a site to host a new OWA instance, you're going to need to create the necessary Exchange virtual directories within that site. At the very least, you need to create the OWA virtual directory. You may also want to create other directories depending on which Exchange Server versions your organization uses.

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