March 2015 was a busy month, if only because I was heads-down writing content for the “Office 365 for Exchange Professionals” eBook that is scheduled for launch at Microsoft Ignite in Chicago next month. At this point it’s a matter of editing material and making sure that it kept updated to reflect the pace of change that occurs inside Office 365, which can be pretty rapid at times with not all changes being flagged in advance. So it’s been an interesting experience to write about an ever-changing vista.
In any case, my Exchange Unwashed blog on WindowsITPro.com had to be taken care of too, so here’s what appeared on the blog during March 2015.
MDM for Office 365 – better than EAS policies, but not quite full mobile device management (Mar 31): ActiveSync (EAS) policies have been used to control mobile devices for years, but the protocol was designed a long time ago (in Internet terms) and doesn’t handle the kind of mobile device access that occurs in a more-than-email world. So Microsoft have included basic mobile device management (MDM) in Office 365. It won’t meet the MDM needs of the more complex enterprises but it will be sufficient for the masses, which is what is needed for Office 365.
Using the updated version of the Office 365 Admin app (Mar 26): Microsoft has released an updated version of the app to help Office 365 administrators run their tenants. The app is OK – just OK. It could be so much better and hopefully it will be in time, but not right now.
RBAC Manager: making Exchange role-based access control more understandable (Mar 24): RBAC Manager is a CodePlex project, which means that both the source and executable are available to you. It’s a pretty good utility for managing RBAC roles, assignments, and definitions for Exchange 2010, Exchange 2013, and (with some caveats), Exchange Online. I like the program a lot and contacted the author to tell him so and to urge him to improve the code so that some of the flaws were addressed. Here’s hoping that the issues will be resolved, but today’s code is pretty good and very useful.
The various flavors of Outlook (Mar 19): Sometimes you might imagine that Microsoft has rebranded everything in sight to be Outlook. It makes sense to exploit the Outlook brand, but it can be confusing with Outlook desktop and Outlook apps and Outlook mobile and Outlook for Mac and so on… So this post attempts to bring everything together. And yes, I know it omits Outlook Mobile Access (OMA). That’s because it is a dead Outlook: it has ceased to be, is no more, and gone to the great byte wastebasket somewhere in the sky…
Exchange 2013 CU8 appears. Instant boredom ensues – but for the best possible reason (Mar 17): I really upset some people by calling Exchange 2013 CU8 “boring”. But CU8 is, and it’s a good thing. It’s good because no problems have been reported since Microsoft shipped CU8 and it’s good that the software has achieved a solid level of reliability and quality. But it’s bad that Exchange 2013 has entered the point in its lifecycle when nothing exciting can be expected in future updates. Not that I wasn’t ecstatic about the public folder updates in CU8… Oh no…
Microsoft releases Delve after six months incubation in Office 365 First Release program (Mar 16): Some could care less about Delve and rightly so, especially if you are running on-premises software as Delve is just for the cloud. But I rather like it, just like I appreciate most knowledge management software, which Delve is really. Not that Microsoft will ever apply such a moniker to Delve. That would be the kiss of death, or something like that. But Delve is now in the wild and you can use it if you’re an Office 365 customer, which is good.
Why PSTs should never show their faces on a file share (Mar 12): One of my more popular rants on the horrible nature of PSTs and why they should never be placed on a network file share. Except that unlike most rants, there is some good logic behind this recommendation.
Stopping reply-all responses to messages is harder than you might think (Mar 10): Let’s face it: we all have probably used reply-all to respond to a message when we should not have. And then cursed Outlook and Microsoft and anyone else who contributed to the creation of the reply-all plague. You might then look for a solution to eradicate the problem and come across some interesting work done by Microsoft Research, which is good for Outlook, but not so helpful for the many other clients that we use today.
Clutter evolves to become more useful – but still only for Office 365 (Mar 5): Clutter is a great example of a feature Microsoft introduced into Office 365 without any management capabilities. For all that, I quite like Clutter and consider it a great way of eliminating rubbish from my Inbox, which is why I liked the addition of some administrative features to support Clutter. Still not enough, but at least it’s a start.
Do Exchange Online backups make sense? (Mar 3): After sitting down and talking to the nice people at Spanning.com, who have a product to take online backups of Exchange Online mailboxes, I wondered if these backups make any sense at all. Maybe they do. Your choice.
Now we’re into April and I have to complete the book, make sure it is formatted nicely (always interesting for eBooks), create some presentations for Ignite, and take care of the blog. I shall be busy.
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