Exchange Unwashed Digest for December 2012


I’m a tad remiss in posting the December 2012 digest for my “Exchange Unwashed” blog that appears on WindowsITPro.com. My only excuse is that I’ve been busy working on chapters for Exchange 2013 Inside Out (Volume 1 – Volume 2 is being written by Paul Robichaux) and should take this chance to acknowledge the help I’ve received from Jürgen Hasslauer and Sanjay Ramaswamy in sorting out some thoughts on new features that are built into Exchange 2013.

In any case, here’s the digest for December 2012:

How to Fix an Unbalanced DAG (December 27): Computer components have a habit of becoming untidy over time, or at least humans think the components are untidy whereas the components have simply behaved as they have been programmed to react to changing conditions. A Database Availability Group (DAG) is no different and databases can end by being active on non-optimum member servers. And then you run a script to rebalance matters and set your mind at ease, opening up the opportunity for yet another mince pie, or so the theory goes…

New cmdlets allow server-side control over delegate-sent messages (December 24): Proving that I was working hard on Christmas Eve, I reported on the new *-MailboxSentItemsConfiguration cmdlets that allow administrators to determine how Exchange stores messages sent by delegates. The cmdlets show up in Exchange 2010 SP2 RU4 but aren’t yet in Exchange 2013. I hope that they’ll appear there in due course.

RIM Prepares for Exchange 2013, But How Long Will BES Last? (December 20): BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) is everyone’s best example of a well-functioning add-on for Exchange. Or maybe not. In any case, the nice people at RIM are busily preparing to support Exchange 2013, which is nice, but the question has to be asked about how long BES can continue to last in a world where ActiveSync has become the de facto mechanism for mobile devices (and applications such as Windows 8 Mail) to access Exchange.

Exchange 2010 SP2 RU5 V2, WSUS, and WMF 3.0: quite a potential for confusion really (December 18): Microsoft has not had a tremendous record of issuing updates for Exchange in the recent past. Exchange 2010 SP2 RU5 V2 seems to be doing a reasonable job since its release, but some of the goodness was taken away by the furore around Microsoft pushing out WMF 3.0 (including PowerShell 3.0) via WSUS. PowerShell 3.0 isn’t designed to work with Exchange 2010 so that’s an unhappy combination. One wonders at times whether everyone in Redmond works with each other. Or even uses email to acquaint other parts of the company about what’s going on… But maybe they have too much email to read and process. That’s it. Kill email and the problems go away.

Outlook and Office 365: Where do SendAs items go? (December 13): This piece had been waiting to be published for a little time, but still provided some value in that it explains how messages sent by delegates are stored and how you can influence matters so that the interaction between Outlook and Exchange progresses in a satisfactory manner. The new *-MailboxSentItemsConfiguration cmdlets referred to above help even more, but only if you have Exchange 2010 SP2 RU4+ and not Exchange 2013, Exchange 2007, or even Exchange Online (yet).

Will Exchange fix ActiveSync to make sure that iOS mail can’t screw up calendars (December 11): Apple’s inability to write code using the ActiveSync (EAS) protocol to process calendar requests properly in their iOS email application has been reviewed at length in many articles. My conclusion is that Exchange should exert more control over EAS clients and stop them messing with data where they should not. Microsoft might be coming to the same conclusion, but only after several large meetings at their Redmond HQ have been screwed up because of iOS. We’ll see what happens in due course.

4 Points to Ponder About Outlook Web App 2013 Offline Access (December 6): The new version of Outlook Web App (OWA) is feature incomplete in the RTM version of Exchange 2013 because it doesn’t include functionality such as a moveable reading pane. But it does have offline access, at least it does when you have a browser that supports the feature such as the latest version of Chrome or IE10. Before you get all excited, there are some small but important details that you should consider before plunging into OWA 2013, which I attempt to explain in this article. I think I got it right. See what you think!

Exchange 2013 reaches general availability (December 4): The start of the month saw yet another announcement from Microsoft that Exchange 2013 had reached some point in its lifecycle. Following on the post-MEC announcement that the product had reached RTM, then another to say that some customers could download it, then that anyone could download a trial version from TechNet, and now general availability. Gee… but no one can deploy the blessed software because we’re still waiting for the bits that co-exist with the code that’s in product. But I guess that all the PR people are made happy by frequent good news announcements. For those that care, General Availability means that you can buy Exchange 2013 from multiple channels, including local distributors. But then ask those folk how to deploy alongside Exchange 2010 and enjoy seeing the salesperson squirm.

January is already nearly half-way through and lots more stuff has been published on Exchange Unwashed. Stay in touch!

Follow Tony @12Knocksinna

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About Tony Redmond ("Thoughts of an Idle Mind")

Exchange MVP, author, and rugby referee
This entry was posted in Email, Exchange, Exchange 2010, Exchange 2013, Office 365, Outlook and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Exchange Unwashed Digest for December 2012

  1. Tony, I had a read of your post on RIM at the other blog but I couldn’t be bothered registering for a username. Maybe this comes off as zealotry (yes, I’m a BES 5 admin) but when I think about BES I think very little about messaging transport to be honest, which was a big part of your article – I think about the stuff that carries over to BES10 BDS: device settings management, provisioning, application management and so on with the addition of the new stuff like Balance and the Corporate App Store. With Blackberry joining the direct to Exchange messaging model with or without BES10 BDS we’re going to have to be much more watchful of Exchange CAS than we are at present with our mix of Outlook, a handful of iOS clients and keeping the version of CDO/MAPI on BES correct.

    In our particular setup we’ve chosen not to expose Exchange for now (not bothered with Outlook Anywhere etc) so clients come in via the SRP/NOC outward connection (BB7) or Anyconnect VPN (iOS). BB BDS implements the SRP connection whereas going without means more VPN tunnels or finding ways to make Exchange a bit more open to the world.

    Sure there are ways to close at least some of the gap in control and consistency that BES brings but not without buying “a heap of additional licenses” from somebody like Airwatch (and not everyone buys Enterprise Exchange CALs either) plus the variation in the degree of implementation of EAS features and controls by the third-party device OS. There might be differences in OS5/6/7 policy support in BES but they tend to be on the margins with the core mail/calendar/tasks/password lock/etc/etc universally applicable.

    As an aside – it’s pretty shocking to see MS direct people via links to the Wikipedia “Comparison of ActiveSync clients” article which is a dogs breakfast, if for no other reason that it doesn’t show ActiveSync in its proper light with errors in there on top of clients who are not being sold anymore (WebOS for example) rather than ones that are (for now!) such as PlaybookOS2.1/BB10.

    It was an informative article in many ways, but us poor mangy BESAdmins still bark if we get a kick 🙂

    • Hi Mark,

      I was a BES administrator once and I valued the breakthrough that BES represented in terms of mobility for email. However, I think that its best time has past. BES suffers from some of its legacy (like the way that it accesses Exchange), relatively poor performance, and cost. Its strengths of administrative control over devices have been eroded by the groundswell of the BYOD movement, something that people probably regret at times when they look at the problems that malfunctioning iOS devices can cause. Its cost is magnified by ActiveSync’s inclusion in Exchange. And the functionality of BES is less of an advantage when ActiveSync can do most of what a company needs at that compelling price point – plus ActiveSync gives you relative freedom to select devices.

      BES was great in its day. RIM had its chance to dominate and took it for a while. But they started to lose the plot around 2005 and have gone downhill since. A pity, but the technology market never rewards people who don’t seize their opportunity.

      TR

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