January is often a time for reflection. In my “Exchange Unwashed” blog over the past month I reflected on topics such as the need to carefully count Client Access Licenses, the impending deadline for support for some well-known and still-used products and why Managed Availability exists. Lots more happened too…
Some well-loved Exchange products expire in 2014 – or at least, their support expires – time to upgrade! (Jan 2): Windows XP might get a lot of attention as it exits “extended support” on April 8, 2014, but Outlook 2003 and Exchange 2003 are still in use around the world and their new unsupported status will concentrate the minds of some over the next few months. Is the cloud the right path forward or will a migration to Exchange 2010 (and thereafter, maybe to Exchange 2013) commence? What will happen on the desktop? Lots to think about.
The need for Managed Availability (Jan 7): I like Managed Availability because I like advances that automate common operations. It’s just boring keeping an eye on servers to make sure that they don’t fall over and software is usually pretty good at monitoring systems. However, some don’t trust Managed Availability, possibly because it can be intrusive. But overall I think it is a very good thing. See if you agree.
Server heal thyself – Managed Availability and Exchange 2013 (Jan 9): The previous post laid out the rationale behind the introduction of Managed Availability in Exchange 2013. This one discusses some details of its implementation in the product.
Counting Client Access Licenses (Jan 14): I hate paying too much for things like software licenses. They are expensive and yet you have to make sure that you have enough licenses to cover usage. It would be good if Microsoft provided good tools to count Exchange Client Access Licenses (CALs) accurately but they don’t. So I tell you how Exchange MVP Oliver Moazzezi has solved the problem.
Service packs and cumulative updates make my head dizzy (Jan 16): Exchange 2013 SP1 is on its way sometime soon and it’s just another update that will be applied in the same manner as any other cumulative update (CU). Even if SP1 is a CU, it’s still a major event in the lifetime of Exchange 2013 because so many people believe that installing the RTM version of Microsoft software can lead to an outbreak of rabies or even worse. SP1 contains some interesting advances like the return of the Edge transport role so hopefully the release will be high quality. That’s the most important thing right now. Would you agree?
Why I needed to use Outlook Web App’s in offline mode instead of Outlook (Jan 21): Sometimes Outlook is a real pig in network terms. The client needs so much high-quality bandwidth to synchronize all the (lots of) data it downloads from Exchange and other places (like the social networking stuff). And sometimes you don’t have that kind of bandwidth available, like when on the road. And that’s when Outlook Web App’s new offline mode comes in very handy.
Discovering what PowerShell cmdlets are run by Exchange Administration Center (Jan 23): Exchange 2013 dumps the MMC-based administration console (for very good reasons) and uses browser-based management instead. Not too much to argue about there as long as all the prior functionality is preserved. However, EAC delivers a mixture of extra functionality here and there and cuts elsewhere. I didn’t like the dropping of the “PowerShell learning tools” that exist in EMC and found a workaround that is a real kludge but somewhat valuable. Using administrator auditing isn’t the greatest approach in the world but it works…
Managed Availability needs a human-friendly interface (Jan 28): Returning to Managed Availability, I reflect that the value of the new framework would be much enhanced if Managed Availability didn’t require administrators to go through a crash course of probes, responders, and monitors and the associated PowerShell processing required to make sense of what Managed Availability is doing – or has done. Lots of people have agreed with me. Do you?
Google Chrome and corporate Windows IT environments (Jan 30): Some reports that Google has been less than good in making sure that their Chrome browser supports important aspects of corporate IT environments that are Windows-based caused a raised eyebrow. Which can be a painful condition if the eyebrow doesn’t go down soon. It would be nice if the folks in Mountain View did the right thing to please those who choose Windows as their preferred IT platform. Wouldn’t it make sense to do so if they want to dislodge IE?
I think I can say that February shows promise in terms of news that will emerge over the next few weeks. Stay tuned by checking in on the twice-weekly posts to Exchange Unwashed on WindowsITPro.com or follow me on Twitter to get updates on articles and other developments.
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