We completed the first Exchange 2010 Maestro seminar in Boston today. Three days of intense training seems to have passed in the blink of an eye. Paul and I are completely shattered by the event and Brian has already left for Anaheim where we start another seminar on Monday. My calculation is that we have delivered some 16 hours of lecture over the three days together with a two-hour workshop and some six hours of labs. The pace has been draining for both tutors and attendees.
Today’s schedule went like this:
08:00 Exchange 2010 Migration – this was an optional session for folks who wanted some information about the steps and pitfalls in migrating from Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2007. We made it an optional session because of the time pressure on the schedule, but we knew that the information was useful and it came as no surprise when almost everyone of the seminar attendees turned up, despite the cold and blustery weather that affected Boston traffic today.
09:00 The formal start of the day with a review of all the topics that we covered yesterday
09:15 Planning for Exchange 2010 – lots of stuff about hardware options and choices delivered by Paul
11:10 Design workshop
14:00 Exchange 2010 Unified Messaging (Paul really enjoyed this session – he is a great speaker on the topic)
16:00 Final Q&A and Labs
The design workshop was a fun activity. The intention was to allow attendees to work through a realistic design exercise to take an older Exchange 2003 environment to Exchange 2010 using the knowledge acquired during the seminar. I acted as the CIO of a mythical 12,000 user company who wanted his IT staff to come up with a design that took account of technology refresh, consolidation, virtualization, potential cost savings, compliance, security, and alignment with business needs. Six groups worked on the task for an hour and each generated a high-level design in the form of a couple of slides or Visio diagrams. Fellow MVP Lee Benjamin and two consultants from HP Services pitched in to help keep the groups on course and focused.
We had the groups email their plan after the deadline and Paul selected three groups to present to the seminar. I had some fun pulling the plans apart gently and everyone learned a lot from the work. Best of all, we were able to provide the attendees with six potential approaches to a problem that they took away and can use when they return to their companies when they start the work to prepare an Exchange 2010 deployment for real. Apart from anything else, the exercise was fun.
One or the more startling incident today was the appearance of a cockroach in Paul’s lunch sandwich. I wasn’t around at the time as I was on the phone to Ireland, but I understand that the roach’s debut caused mild panic. The insect was captured and dispatched, but it put a damper on appetites. This kind of thing happens in even the best hotels and thinking about it, there’s a certain symmetry in the cockroach coming to an event where we had made frequent comments such as “public folders are the cockroaches of Exchange”. In any case, some harsh words were directed towards the hotel management by Melissa, our event co-ordinator, and the necessary actions were taken to institute a roach-free zone in our general vicinity.
We actually discussed the best way to remove public folders from an Exchange organization during the planning session earlier in the day. The general approach that we determined was:
- Identify every public folder server and database in the organization. Identify any applications that depend on public folders, including those that might only be accessed by a small number of users that only they know about… It’s a good idea to use tools like PFDAVAdmin to scan the public folder hierarchy to see if you can identify public folders that might still be in active use by checking the date when the folder was last accessed or items added.
- Select each database in turn and remove the folder replicas from it
- Decommission the database once replication has completed. An optional step is to clear the pointer that mailbox databases may have to the public folder database. The command to run is
Set-Mailbox -Identity <database> -PublicFolderDatabase $Null
- Eventually you come to the last database. Make sure that all essential functions have been transferred from public folders (OAB and free/busy are the two big issues) and that no client still exists in the organization that depends on public folders (Outlook 2003, for instance). Delete non-system folders from the database after you are absolutely sure that they are not required (and wait for the squeals of pain if you make a mistake). Eventually, after all folders are removed, you should have an empty database that can be deleted. However, just to be sure, dismount the database and leave it in that state for a few days to see if anything breaks. If not, blow the last public folder database away.
I’m sure that someone will probably come up with a more comprehensive list, but this was a good enough answer for the folks in the seminar.
The seminar concluded with a Q&A session where we discussed many interesting issues – something that convinced me that people had been listening intently during the week, which was great to know.
I’m off to LAX tomorrow on Virgin America. This will be the first time that I have flown VA (I have flown Virgin Atlantic many times) and I am interested to see whether they are as good as reports would indicate. Sunday is a down day and we restart our seminar with a brand new group of people on Monday.
The disappointing news for the week was that the publication of my Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Inside Out book has been delayed. The new date as predicted by Amazon.com is December 1. I guess this was inevitable because of the length of time the editing process has taken. On the good side, the Microsoft Press people have done an excellent job of allowing me to patch the book to add new information about Exchange 2010 SP1 as it becomes available so the content is absolutely as up to date as I can make it.
Update: Delighted to see the feedback for the seminar from http://chrisblog.betterithosting.com/ – Thanks Chris!