Applies to: Exchange Server 2010 SP2

Topic Last Modified: 2011-03-15

Service plans and mailbox plans allow you to easily provision tenant organizations with Exchange features so that the settings are automatically configured for each new tenant organization. This reduces the overhead of individually setting up and customizing features for each tenant organization.

For more information about how to setup a tenant organization, see Checklist: Create a Tenant Organization.

Mailbox Plan

Specifies a set of Exchange features that needs to be enabled on a mailbox in the tenant organization. Tenant organizations can have multiple mailbox plans. Mailbox plans are assigned to the tenant organization by the Service Plan. The mailbox plan is an Active Directory object and is used by cmdlets that provision mailboxes, such as New-Mailbox and Enable-Mailbox.

Service Plan

A service plan is a list of Exchange features, resource limits, and RBAC permissions available for a tenant organization. In addition, service plans contains descriptions and property values of one or more mailbox plans.

Service Plan template

The service plan templates are XML files that contain organizational and mailbox features that you can offer you tenant organizations. You can use the templates to create custom service plans or custom mailbox plans.

Service Plans

Service plans allow you to enable or disable Exchange features, define permissions, and customize offerings to customers. It is also within service plans that you create your mailbox plans. These plans are to be used as a starting point for creating your own organizations.

The Service Plan contains two sections:

  • Organization   The Organization section allows you to modify settings that affect the entire tenant organization. You can set Global Elements, Permission Elements, and Quota Elements.

  • Mailbox Plans   You can create descriptions of multiple mailbox plans that the tenant organization has available and these plans affect individual mailbox or user settings, such as access to ActiveSync and EWS, and send and receive quotas. For more information about Mailbox Plans, see the Mailbox Plans section later in this topic.

Service Plan Templates

When you install Exchange 2010 SP1 with the /hosting switch, three service plan templates are made available for your use. We expect that you will customize these templates to meet your needs.

All CAS Servers must have exact copies of all of the Service plans that you create and modify. If you don't have exact copies of all service plan files, then mailboxes may be provisioned differently within the same organizations.

Service plan templates are in the following location: <Exchange Installation Path>\Exchange Server\V14\ClientAccess\ServicePlans.

  • HostingAllFeatures.serviceplan

    This template contains mostl Exchange features available to tenant organizations. Some features

  • HostingBusinessMapi.serviceplan

    This template can be used for provisioning business organizations that use MAPI and other protocols for client access.

  • HostingBusinessNonMapi.serviceplan

    This template can be used for creating a plan that allows for provisioning of business organizations that use OWA, POP, IMAP, or EAS for client access. These organizations do not use MAPI.

Service Plan Best Practices

The goal of service plans is to allow you to create just a few service plans to become the templates for all of your tenant organizations. Creating too many service plans can become very hard to manage.

Making sense of the ProgramID, OfferID and ServicePlan designations in the ServicePlanHostingRemap.csv file

When you create a service plan, you add the service plan to the Service plan remap file. This file maps the program ID, Offer ID and service plan name.

The ProgramID can be thought of as an offering level, such as Business. Then the OfferID can be used as a sub-offering level, such as Medium Org or Small Org.

When you create a new organization, you must provide the program ID and Offer ID in the New-Organization command. Those two IDs will allow the command to see which service plan to use for the organization.


For example,, which is an e-mail hosting provider has created 3 service plans to manage all of their tenant organizations:

ProgramId, OfferId ServicePlan Name Features

Business, SmallOrg


Gets basic business productivity offerings such as mailtips, offline address books and OutlookAnywhere and up to 250 mailboxes.

This service plan has 1 mailbox plan. To see an example, see SmallBusiness.servicplan sample.

Business, MedOrg


Gets basic business offerings and up to 1000 mailboxes.

This service plan has 1 mailbox plan. To see an example of this plan, see MediumBusiness.serviceplan.

Business, LargeOrg


Gets the basic business offerings plus advanced business offerings such as journaling, and moderated recipients and up to 5000 mailboxes.

This service plan has 3 mailbox plans. To see an example, see LargeBusiness.serviceplan.

After some time, Contoso decides to stop offering the SmallBusiness.serviceplan offering because the medium service plan and the small service plan are so similar it makes sense to handle both sized organizations under 1 service plan to reduce maintenance. So, the administrator edits the ServiceMapHostingRemap.csv file so that the Business, SmallOrg programid and offerid now point to MediumBusiness.serviceplan and new when new small organizations are created, they will be setup with the Medium business offerings even if they have the small business program and offer ids.

And in order for the new service plan to get implemented on the current small orgs, you will need to run the Update-ServicePlan command. For more information, see Update organizations to use a new service plan.

Mailbox Plans

A mailbox plan is a template that automatically populates multiple user properties and assigns default permissions to new or existing user accounts. The mailbox plan is an Active Directory object and is used by the cmdlets that provision mailboxes. You use mailbox plans to provision accounts for a particular user population with a common default configuration.

You can use the Get-MailboxPlan cmdlet to query existing mailbox plans and you can use the Set-MailboxPlan cmdlet to modify existing mailbox plans.

Within an organization, you can create mailboxes based on different mailbox plans included in the service plan.

For example, Alpine Ski House is a large organization and consists of a headquarters office and hundreds of stores, and although it uses the LargeBusiness.serviceplan, the organization only uses two of the service plans provided: Premium and Basic. The following table describes the differences in the two mailbox plans.

Premium Mailbox Plan Basic Mailbox Plan

Mailbox size

10 GB

1 GB

Archive size

1 GB

No Archive

Maximum receive size

100 MB

Maximum send quota


The Premium users in their organization include those who work at the headquarters and are heavy e-mail users. The Basic users are store managers who only use e-mail to receive information updates and memos from head quarters. Premium mailboxes get 1 GB mailboxes, 1 GB archives, are able to send mail to users outside of the organization, and are able to create and manage distribution groups. The Level 2 users get 300 MB mailboxes, no archive and can only send and receive e-mail from within the organization.

Updating Mailbox Plans

Updating Mailbox Plans and Performance

When you make a change to the mailbox plan and want that change to propagate to all users within that mailbox plan, you need to be aware of the effect that change will have on performance. The following table describes the category of the change, how the change gets applied, and the effect that the change will have on performance. The category can then be referenced in the Configurable Features for Service Plans and Mailbox Plans topic.

Category How it gets applied Performance effect


Feature values in this category affect process of generating or updating canned admin roles

Constant provisioning and migration time


Feature values in this category affect process of generating or updating canned admin role assignments to role groups

Constant provisioning and migration time


Feature values in this category control creation or updating tenant-wide configuration objects

Constant provisioning and migration time


Feature values in this category affect process of generating or updating canned end-user roles

Constant provisioning and migration time


Feature values in this category affect process of generating or updating canned end-user role assignments to Role Assignment Policies

Constant provisioning and migration time


Feature values in this category affect process of creation or updating per-mailboxplan configuration objects, such as policies

Constant provisioning and migration time


Feature values in this category control updating mailboxplan objects at provisioning time, and updating all mailboxes provisioned off affected mailbox plan at migration time

Constant provisioning time, migration time is proportional to number of tenant mailboxes