November 2013 was quite a month for me. I was all set to go to the annual Microsoft MVP Summit in Redmond when I had a sudden and so far unexplained collapse (kind of like a personal reboot) on November 15 that resulted in a fifteen-day stay in hospital. Although I didn’t get to Redmond, the wonders of Wi-Fi connectivity meant that I was able to continue working during my outage. Here’s what appeared in my Exchange Unwashed blog on WindowsITPro.com during November 2013.
Comparing Office 365 numbers to the total Exchange installed base (Nov 5): Numbers and statistics provide a great basis for debate, especially when you can undermine one of the urban myths of our time. In this case, it was the “everyone’s gone to the cloud” myth. Looking at the hard data that Microsoft has to provide to financial analysts rather than the often spurious untruths that emerge from salespeople, the current $1.5 billion/year run rate for Office 365 indicates that cloud Exchange users might be just over 5% of the overall installed base. That’s still lots of mailboxes, but somewhat less impressive than the cloud advocates might claim.
Using Get-HealthReport to monitor DAGs (Nov 7): Exchange 2013 includes some nice new cmdlets to help monitor the overall health of Database Availability Groups. Get-HealthReport is one that leverages the data accumulated by Exchange’s Managed Availability framework and it’s an interesting new way to grab a quick snapshot of what’s happening on a server.
Managed Folders deprecated in Exchange 2013 (Nov 12): Managed Folders appeared in a blaze of glory in Exchange 2007 and have now been extinguished in Exchange 2013. Or rather, they’ve been replaced by retention policies and tags. Why? Because successful use of managed folders requires humans to change their working patterns and we all know how easy it is to accomplish these kind of changes.
Summarizing what’s new and what’s gone in Exchange 2013 (Nov 14): Two topics were covered in this post. The first looked back at a slide presented at TechEd North America 2013 that summarizes changes made in Exchange 2013; the second considers a post by Exchange mailbox server VP (for that is what he is) Perry Clarke that sought to reassure the on-premises community that the future is bright. I thought Perry essentially made the same points as at MEC 2012. No much changed there. The service is the prime focus for development and on-premises will benefit from the work done there.
Deficient IBM and Hitachi 120,000 mailbox configurations (Nov 20): Microsoft runs the ESRP program to allow storage vendors to validate configurations. Some of the configurations work insofar as they fulfil the requirements of the program but are laughable when viewed through the lens of real-life operations. Two particular configurations from IBM and Hitachi, both purportedly valid to meet the needs of 120,000 mailboxes, attracted my attention. Read on to find on why.
Office 365 Message Encryption: Protect your email against the spooks (Nov 21): No one likes the thought of their email being read by faceless overseers. That’s why the introduction of message encryption in Office 365 is an important step forward for protection against unauthorized access. The feature won’t be available until the first quarter of 2014 but it is great to see it happen.
Kitkat causes ActiveSync headaches for Android users (Nov 25): Over the last twelve months Apple iOS has been the whipping post for ActiveSync problems as the iOS mail app has caused problems such as severe and unexpected transaction log growth for Exchange 2010 servers. Now we see that the new Kitkat Android release has its own woes where clients cannot connect and synchronize with Exchange (and Office 365). It’s probably a blip on the road, but it proves that new releases of mobile device operating systems need to be checked out before they are introduced into corporate IT environments, even if you operate a BYOD policy.
Seeking quality with Exchange 2013 CU3 (Nov 25): The third cumulative update for Exchange 2013 appeared at last, delayed a tad to allow Microsoft to make sure that the software measured up to the desired quality level. So far it seems that CU3 has succeeded on that point as the number of reported glitches is less than either CU1 or CU2. A good sign for the future?
Wave 15 Office 365 admin interface unifies applications but lacks some functionality (Nov 28): I’d been meaning to post this note for quite a while because my Office 365 tenant was upgraded to Wave 15 in April. However, lots of different things have happened since, all of which have demanded to be published first. But I found a slot to say that the Wave 15 admin tools are nicer all round because they present a far more unified face than their Wave 14 equivalents – but it would be nice (from an Exchange perspective) if EAC was more obvious.
And now we’re into December. I think I can promise that I have some interesting stuff lined up – that is, unless even more interesting topics come along!