February might be the shortest month but that’s no reason not to have lots to discuss on my “Exchange Unwashed” blog on WindowsITPro.com. Here’s what happened during the month – a lot about the new Outlooks apps and Delve, but some other stuff too, including a new estimate for the total number of mailboxes running inside Exchange Online.
Why PowerShell is often not the best tool for reporting Exchange data (Feb 26): Of course, PowerShell is wonderful. It’s a great tool to interrogate Exchange and it has enabled a tremendous amount of automation, including lots inside Office 365, since its introduction with Exchange 2007 nearly nine years ago. But PowerShell isn’t great at generating reports so that all the data you uncover is formatted nicely for the powers-that-be. A reporting product might help, or you can continue to roll your own and be happy…
How Office 365 Groups could be so much better – and probably will be in the future (Feb 24): Even if you use Office 365, you might not be even aware of the new groups that can be created using Exchange and SharePoint (and a bit of OneNote and OneDrive). And if you’re an on-premises customer, you definitely don’t know about them. But Office 365 groups are in use and they are getting better – and I have some ideas about how they could be even better.
Compliance and hybrid problems loom as Microsoft plans to keep every deleted item in Exchange Online (Feb 19): On February 20, Microsoft announced that Exchange Online would no longer remove items from the Deleted Items folder in user mailboxes. As they do with most changes in Office 365, Microsoft gave some up-front warning by including the change in the Office 365 Roadmap, but I guess most people didn’t notice it – but I did. Perhaps it’s because I have an interest in compliance or that my Deleted Items folder is a real mess (most of the time), but I’m not a great fan of the change. Some will love it, others won’t, but at least it’s an easy change to reverse.
First update for Outlook apps improves security but lots remains to be done (Feb 18): After releasing the corporate-branded version of the acquired Acompli apps as the new and improved Outlook for iOS and Android, Microsoft received a few critical comments (to put it mildly). The first response came soon afterwards with some changes to PIN protection and other updates. It’s a start, but there’s more to do.
Delve ups and downs illustrate complexity of Office 365 engineering (Feb 17). Office Delve has been in “first release” since last September and many Office 365 tenants have still not seen the new application that makes it easier to find work of interest to you from the silos of information that exist in many large companies. Delve is still a work in progress and this article notes some of the issues that I’ve seen in the last five months.
What Microsoft needs to do to upgrade the Outlook apps (Feb 12): Those ex-Acompli apps again, but this time a list of places where I think the apps need improvement before they can really be a player in the big-time enterprise market. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use Outlook for iOS and Outlook for Android today. These are very nice email clients and are extremely usable, but maybe should be treated as betas for what you might see in the future.
Delve exposes Exchange email attachments but some fine-tuning is needed (Feb 10): As part of the work to develop Delve so that it can escape from first release status, the engineers added the ability to find attachments circulated with Exchange email (but only for Exchange Online). I like this because an awful lot of valuable information is sent around organizations as email attachments, but I had some comments about the implementation that I hope will be fixed before Delve hits prime time.
80 million Exchange Online users as Office 365 progress continues (Feb 5): Microsoft is extremely cagey during any discussion of how many cloud mailboxes run inside Office 365. It’s confidential competitive data after all and they don’t want to get into a “mine is bigger than yours” competition with Google. All we have to go on is the financial data that Microsoft has to report to the market, and all we can say is that things are on the up. Some noble guesswork indicates that at least 80 million cloud mailboxes exist inside Office 365. Maybe it’s more.
Shock! Outlook 2010 users on Windows XP experience problems with Exchange 2013 CU7 (Feb 3): Some of the fine readers of this blog complained that they had run into problems after upgrading their servers to Exchange 2013 CU7. It looks very much like some changes made to how public folders are accessed don’t play nice with Windows XP clients running Outlook 2010. Any sympathy for these users is negated by the creaking age and unsupported status of their chosen platform. Which is sad.
Worried about security and privacy in Outlook for iOS and Android? Here’s your chance to debate the issues (Feb 2): After receiving so much negative feedback about the ex-Acompli apps, Microsoft held a public “Yamjam” (think online forum) for people to ask questions and voice concerns. That’s long in the past now. But what’s interesting is the communication from the developers about how they came to be in the current situation and how they plan to move on from here. Worth a read.
Now we’re back into a longer month and I can already see a batch of new topics to be discussed. Stay tuned and stay connected with Exchange Unwashed – and a new podcast episode of Exchange Exposed that will be coming soon. The podcasts are now available on iTunes for your listening pleasure.
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