Paul Robichaux, Brian Desmond, and I commenced our first Exchange 2010 Maestro seminar in Boston today. 41 attendees came along. This was a nice turnout that was helped by some “scholarships” funded by Microsoft and HP (Thanks to both companies!). About 55% of the attendees run Exchange 2003, 35% run Exchange 2007, and 10% run Exchange 2010, figures that are broadly in line with our own view of the Exchange installed base. We’re looking forward to next week’s seminar in Anaheim - bookings will still be taken up to a day in advance.
Our original intention was that the day would go as follows:
09:00 Logistics and introduction
09:10 Exchange 2010 Overview and Architecture (Tony)
10:45 Exchange 2010 Management tools: EMC, EMS, and ECP (Paul)
11:30 Exchange 2010 Store and High Availability (Tony)
13:50 Dummy’s Guide to Labs (Brian)
14:00 Client Access Server (Paul)
15:15 Client options for Exchange 2010 (Paul)
18:00 End of day (we were kicked out of the room to allow it to be used for a banquet!)
Alas, after a good start (first session on time), we failed to keep to schedule and were 40 minutes off by the time Paul got on his feet to talk about the CAS and the situation didn’t get any better by the time he finished the client options session at 16:42. I was totally responsible as I spent far too long talking about the Store and DAGs… there’s just so much new stuff to talk about in this area.
We need to do better for the seminar in Anaheim next week so some discussions will happen over the weekend to refine and improve session flow. I wasn’t surprised that the schedule was flaky because this was the first time we presented the material and there’s nothing like a live audience, complete with all the questions that they ask, to set an accurate timing for a session.
The labs were distributed on an USB SATA drive and contained six virtual machines (five servers, one Windows 7 client). Most of the attendees came along with the laptops that we asked for (8GB memory, 64-bit O/S) but hadn’t installed VMware, so there was a slight hiatus as we distributed VMware Workstation 7.1 kits to all and sundry to be installed. Of course, starting VMs on an external hard drive created a huge I/O challenge for the laptop (putting the VMs on an SSD would have been much faster but also much more expensive), but everything worked OK in the end.
Of course, Paul insisted on using his Mac for slides and demonstrations, so the attendees enjoyed the somewhat unusual sight of ECP running with Safari for Mac, a point that demonstrated just how the rich browser support in Exchange 2010 is much more accommodating of non-Microsoft platform. At least he didn’t try to run the demos using his much-beloved iPad!
Amongst the discussion points that came up today were:
Enterprise CALs (ECALs) are still confusing to administrators. In short, people don’t understand what features provoke the need for an ECAL and the situation isn’t helped by the erroneous data reported by EMC in the “Organization Health” option. Even in SP1, Organization Health seems determined to report every single ActiveSync user as requiring an ECAL, even if they don’t use the advanced ActiveSync policies linked to the ECAL.
The need to deploy of Outlook 2010 in order to access many Exchange 2010 features (such as archive mailboxes and MailTips) could be a big issue for some companies. Some clarity is needed from Microsoft as to when they will release the oft-promised code to allow Outlook 2007 clients to access archive mailboxes.
The usefulness (or not) of deploying a lagged database copy within a DAG. This topic deserves further discussion and I shall share some thoughts on it in the near future.
One piece of late breaking news is that newly deployed SP1 Client Access Servers (CAS) turn the requirement for encrypted RPCs off by default. Microsoft made this change very late on in the SP1 development cycle and while it fixes a problem whereby Outlook 2003 clients cannot connect to Exchange without enabling encryption, it creates another problem.
Consider the situation where you have a number of CAS servers that were originally deployed in RTM that are configured to require encryption. These servers retain their configuration when they are upgraded to SP1. You now deploy some new servers with SP1 and these servers have encryption turned off, creating a mixture of encryption requirements across the CAS servers, some of which could be collected into a CAS array. This sounds like a recipe for utter confusion when clients can connect to one server in a CAS array but not to another. Talk about one problem leading to another… The advice to keep encryption turned on stands for CAS servers… why would you want to weaken security just to facilitate Outlook 2003 clients?
Events like this are so interesting in terms of the discussions that evolve and questions that are thrashed out. They are also exhausting… on to day 2!
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