Exchange Unwashed digest: April 2013


April 2013 saw the appearance of Exchange 2013 CU1 to release the restrictions that had previously stopped anyone running a “legacy” version of Exchange from installing Exchange 2013 into an existing organization. More stuff happened during April too, and some was even discussed in my “Exchange Unwashed” blog, as explained below.

Exchange 2013 CU1: The software that RTM could have been (April 2): Yippee! Fireworks exploded when Microsoft released CU1 some six months after announcing the original release-to-manufacturing (RTM) version. Many bug were eradicated, some new ones introduced, and some functionality reappeared. On balance, a very good thing. But perhaps this is the software that should have been shipped as Exchange 2013 so that those who say that you should always wait for the first service pack (or cumulative update) before installing any Microsoft application weren’t proven right yet again.

Installing Exchange 2013 CU1 on DAG member servers – some care and maintenance mode required (April 4): Exchange 2013 includes a feature called Managed Availability that keeps engineers from having disturbed nights by automatically managing some problems that occur on servers. But it’s a strange beast and we have not fully learned how to cope with Managed Availability yet. One thing is for sure – you should put DAG member servers into maintenance mode before applying software updates (like CU1). It keeps Managed Availability happy. And happy software means happy administrators, or so the theory goes.

Managing groups with groups in Exchange 2013 CU1 (April 9): OK, not everyone will get excited by the reappearance of some functionality that was dropped in Exchange 2010. But I think it’s quite nice to be able to manage groups with groups. Feel free to disagree.

Microsoft announces MEC 2014 will be in Austin (April 9): Microsoft has been conducting a teaser campaign about the location for the next Exchange Conference. It turns out that they are returning to the location last used for MEC in September 1996, when Exchange 4.0 was all the rage and live was much simpler. Getting to Austin is a real pain for those who come from overseas and air fares are scandalously high, even now. I wonder whether the Microsoft people who made the choice of location consider travel costs and availability. Maybe not.

Individual fix for Exchange soft delete problem proves worth of support contracts (April 11): Exchange 2010 SP2 RU6 and Exchange 2010 SP3 both have problems with Outlook users working in online mode because some items won’t delete. A fix is available and it will come in an official release soon, but in the meantime those who have support contacts can get an individual fix, which proves the value of having such a contract. At least, it seems to…

Blocking OWA access for a user is a problem for Exchange 2013 CU1 (April 16): Another day, another bug. This time it’s Exchange 2013 CU1 and its inability to perform a trick that legacy versions all have down to a fine art. You can’t block a user from accessing Outlook Web App by running Set-CASMailbox. Oh dear!

Microsoft and Google War Over First Ajax Webmail (April 18): A hissy fit between Microsoft and Google is always interesting. In this case, Google claimed that Gmail was the first Ajax-powered browser email client. Not so, said Microsoft, who pointed out that Outlook Web Access (for that’s what it was called in those days) running with Exchange 2003 predated Gmail. Both sides think they are right. But does it matter now?

First tests of Exchange 2013 on Azure point to the future? (April 23): I liked the ingenuity involved in deploying some test Exchange 2013 servers on the Azure platform as I think that this kind of thing will become increasingly common as cloud platforms develop. It’s a logical progression to allow application servers to run in the cloud under your control instead of inside the Office 365 juggernaut. The only question is how long it will take for production-quality deployments to be possible.

MRMAPI, the Little Brother of MFCMAPI (April 25): I am very fond of MFCMAPI, as I think it reveals an awful lot about how Exchange works (and sometimes does not) internally. MRMAPI is less well known, but still interesting. Don’t take my word for it.

Why Exchange 2013 asks you to restart the Information Store after creating a new database (April 30): Exchange 2013 has a new memory model for the Information Store, a side-effect of the transition to the “Managed Store” away from the previous monolithic model. The current way of allocating cache to mounted databases is a tad inflexible. Hence the need to restart the Store. Fortunately, this should not be a daily occurrence. At least, not on most servers.

The blog rolls on in May 2013 and much more is discussed on WindowsITPro.com. See you there!

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

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

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