Exchange Unwashed Digest – December 2013

Statistics show that 118 new posts appeared on my Exchange Unwashed blog on during 2013. I was responsible for the good posts and am unsure as to the author of anything that was rubbish. Here’s what happened during December 2013 – you might have missed the last few posts given that the entire western world seems to shut down for extended periods every December. Happy reading!

Exchange 2013 CU3 causes headaches for OWA on Windows XP (Dec 3): In general, CU3 has proven to be a much better all-round release than its predecessors, but there are always some pieces of grit to spoil things. And so it proved for those still using Windows XP, an operating system that is dead in the eyes of Microsoft and is slowly moving toward obsolescence in the eyes of everyone else. The problem for Exchange is that IE8 simply cannot cope with the tricks that Outlook Web App (OWA) now performs to make it work across PCs, tablets, and smartphones. So it’s stopped. Dead. In CU3. Read all about it.

How nice: Microsoft is now monitoring my Office 365 email (Dec 5): I was charmed to discover that Microsoft has begun to monitor Outlook client connections to Exchange Online, part of their Office 365 service. Of course, it’s all done in the best possible taste and for the best possible reasons, which is definitely not to sell tacky ads. But you never know. Or maybe you do.

What question would you ask Microsoft’s Exchange development supremo? (Dec 6). I was due to talk to Perry Clarke, the Microsoft VP who runs the whole Exchange development operation, and wanted to take the pulse of the community and understand what were people really concerned about. So I asked and received lots of responses.

Office 365: a kind of dogfood environment for on-premises Exchange (Dec 10): By now everyone knows that the Exchange development group builds two separate products (on-premises and cloud) from a single code base. But can you spot the seams and where do the differences lie? Well, Office 365 is always going to be some weeks ahead of the latest available on-premises version, so if you want to know what’s coming in a future cumulative update, you might find some clues by poking around Exchange Online.

How Exchange 2013 measures and monitors server health (Dec 14): Managed Availability is one of those behind-the-scenes components that products rely upon, but although its introduction in Exchange 2013 is one of the more interesting technical achievements of the release, Managed Availability is still badly understood by most. I suspect that this will remain so for quite a while yet as people get their minds around how probes, monitors, and responders work together (or not, sometimes). This piece is an overview of how things work. Hopefully it helps.

Microsoft discontinues Forefront Unified Access Gateway (UAG) (Dec 17): A straightforward news piece to report the not-unexpected announcement that the much under-loved UAG on-premises product was to be discontinued. Read on to find out why this development was unexpected.

Talking Exchange Server with Microsoft’s Perry Clarke (Dec 17): After collecting lots of questions it was time to meet Perry and see what he had to say, but then the conversation took quite another track and we plunged into a discussion about the future of on-premises software, how Exchange Online came to be what it is, what Perry thinks about current product quality, why Apple “owe” Microsoft for creating the ActiveSync ecosystem to help the iPhone triumph over BlackBerry, and many other interesting thoughts. It’s a 4,500-word piece – much longer than any regular blog post – and I hope you find it interesting.

ADSIEdit solves yet another problem for Exchange 2013 mailbox servers (Dec 19): I really like ADSIEdit because it helps you reach parts of Windows and applications that you normally cannot access. In this instance, a small bug in the Exchange 2013 CU2 update code left servers running the enterprise edition still limited to mounting 50 databases. The fix is trivial because it’s simply a matter of updating the Exchange configuration data held in Active Directory. Unless of course you have to fix more than a few servers in which case some code helps. The article explains how to use ADSIEdit to fix one server and PowerShell to scan an organization to detect servers that need to be fixed.

Running Exchange 2013 on Amazon Web Services (Dec 24): While the rest of you were busy filling your Christmas stockings, I took a look at an Amazon Web Services “test-drive” for Exchange 2013. The good news is that it worked – well, mostly. The bad news is that this kind of thing is unapproved and unsupported by the Exchange product group. But the ability to run Exchange on your own cloud platform (as opposed to having someone else do it for you) is coming in the future, probably soon after Microsoft figures out how to develop an Azure-based deployment of Exchange.

Not always straightforward to calculate the costs of moving on-premises email to Office 365 (Dec 26): People still exist that believe the costs of moving to the cloud is simply a matter of paying the monthly per-user bill sent by the cloud provider. This is abject rubbish and anyone who tells you that this is the case should be sent immediately to the nearest institution for close monitoring and tender care. The theory needs to be challenged on a regular basis. Here’s another attempt by me to do so.

Ten predictions for the world of Exchange in 2014 (Dec 31): All pundits are obliged to come up with predictions at the end of the year, most of which are total rubbish. Now that I’ve set the expected standard, here are my predictions for Exchange during 2014. The last prediction is the best (and most accurate).

I regret to inform you that more of the same can be expected during 2014. That is, I plan to post more stuff on Exchange Unwashed. The question is whether anyone will read the posts…. Oh well, on with 2014…

Follow Tony @12Knocksinna


About Tony Redmond

Lead author for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook and writer about all aspects of the Office 365 ecosystem.
This entry was posted in Active Directory, Cloud, Email, Exchange, Exchange 2013, Office 365, Outlook 2013, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Exchange Unwashed Digest – December 2013

  1. Pingback: NeWay Technologies – Weekly Newsletter #76 – January 2nd, 2014 | NeWay

  2. Pingback: NeWay Technologies – Weekly Newsletter #76 – January 3rd, 2014 | NeWay

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