It’s been a busy week.
First, I ran into an Exchange 2013 bug (shock, horror, cover the eyes of any watching children) when MRS stubbornly refused to export the contents of a mailbox to a PST using the New-MailboxExportRequest cmdlet. The job would get to the 10% stage where the output PST was created and MRS would start to copy items and then fail.
Some earnest dialog with some dedicated Exchange developers ensued and the upshot was that the bug was located through some testing and crash dumps. The mailbox in question was subject to a number of in-place holds, a new feature of Exchange 2013, and MRS was failing when it read a null value from some search criteria when copying data from the source mailbox. The same bug also meant that the mailbox could not be moved to another database. In any case, the bug will be fixed in due course and will appear in an update for Exchange 2013. During the debugging, I learned more about the NTSD utility than I ever wanted.
Second, it seems like a certain consensus is emerging that Exchange 2013 has some problems. MVP Michael B. Smith published his list of Exchange 2013 Gotchas to help people understand the degree of change that has occurred in the new version. Newly qualified aviator Paul Robichaux weighed in with his opinions and disagreed with Michael that Exchange 2013 is “not ready for prime time”. Of course, I have found some issues with the Exchange Administration Center that I’m not too happy with. And to wrap things up, even the normally laid-back Brian K. Winstead was moved to post that “Exchange 2013 has an image problem”.
I guess I fall between the two stools. Exchange 2013 is certainly usable and it has many good features, but feel that it is unsuitable for deployment in anything other than a brand-new green-field implementation at this point, if only because we are still waiting for Exchange 2010 SP3 and whatever version of Exchange 2007 SP3 that will be required for co-existence. Things will become much clearer when the updates for legacy versions are available and Microsoft has had a chance to address some of the fit-and-finish issues that afflict Exchange 2013 today, but I think that most will wait for Exchange 2013 SP1 before they deploy Exchange 2013 in anything more than a test implementation.
Another interesting blog post came from MVP Steve Goodman, who wrote about ActiveSync’s quarantine function and how it could be applied within companies. ActiveSync was a core part of the recent Microsoft vs. Google patent case that I was involved with in the High Court in London and during the preparations for the trial I had the chance to discuss ActiveSync with Yan Esteve, who has done an awful lot to progress ActiveSync over the last few versions of Exchange. Yan wanted me to write about how to make ActiveSync manage devices in much the same way that BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) allows administrators to control exactly what can connect to BES. It seems like Steve has covered the topic very well, including some script code to help populate permitted ActiveSync devices for mailboxes before controls are imposed. Recommended reading!
Elsewhere in the week it’s been a matter of pushing ahead with Exchange 2013 Inside Out. Microsoft Press dropped a bit of a bomb on Paul and myself this week by telling us that we’d need to include “alt+text” captions for each figure in the book. This information is intended to be used by readers who have limited accessibility. In essence, it’s a readable caption that informs people who can’t look over a figure about what the figure (often a screen shot) means. It’s a great idea, but it’s a lot of additional work to go back through all the chapters, locate figures, and then compose some meaningful text about each figure – in general, authors always complain when publishers ask for more work. Oh well, what must be done, must be done.
On to next week.
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