Sorry for the delay in publishing the June 2015 digest for my “Exchange Unwashed” blog on WindowsITPro.com. Travel and the need to crank up the organization of updates for the 2nd edition of the “Office 365 for Exchange Professionals” eBook (available in PDF and EPUB formats on ExchangeServerPro.com and for Kindle on Amazon.com) got in the way. We plan to have the 2nd edition out for IT/DEV Connections in Las Vegas in September (the complete writing team will be participating at the conference) and there’s lots of change within Office 365, so that took precedence. But, excuses aside, here’s what happened in June 2015.
Clutter and Groups killed Office 365’s People View (June 30): As you all know, once an organization replaces an on-premises service with a cloud service, a lot of control is ceded to the cloud provider. This is a great example. Microsoft launched People View in 2014 as an example of how automation and machine learning would help us take control of our inboxes and then removed it (quietly) because of changing circumstances. I can defend the action on technical grounds, but the communications around the removal could have been improved.
VMware tells Microsoft that they don’t know anything about Exchange 2013 performance (June 25). An interesting debate erupted when a VMware evangelist seized on some EHLO blogs and attempted to use their content to prove that the Exchange development group really doesn’t know what they are talking about when it comes to sizing and performance of virtualized systems. Oh well…
The value of First Release to Office 365 tenants (June 23): Office 365 offers tenants the ability to see new functionality early by signing up for “First Release”, which typically means that you see new features appear in places like Outlook Web App or the Office 365 Admin Center a few weeks in advance. Or six months in advance when it comes to something complex like Delve. There is much value to be gained from knowing what’s coming, especially when you can’t control the fact that eventually features will be seen by your users when they become part of the standard release.
Using intelligent capture and analysis tools to eliminate PSTs (June 18): Everyone got quite excited when Microsoft launched the Office 365 Import service to allow PSTs to be ingested into online mailboxes (including archives). But ingestion is only the end of a long process of finding PSTs, capturing them, fixing errors, removing duplication, and managing the entire process. Which is why you need intelligence, as provided by the tools I mention in this article.
Exchange 2013 CU9 appears alongside roll-up updates for Exchange 2007 SP3 and Exchange 2010 SP3 (June 15): All software becomes boring after a while. Exchange 2013 is in that category now because attention has shifted to Exchange 2016. But the development group still has to provide updates to fix bugs and support security bulletins. So the ninth cumulative update appeared on June 15 and the very good news is that it seems to have been absorbed by customers without too many problems. Some glitches, but nothing at all like previous updates.
Microsoft updates Exchange ActiveSync to ensure that mobile clients stay connected (June 11): Exchange ActiveSync, or EAS, is one of the huge success stories of Exchange over the last decade. No one could have predicted the massive success of mobile devices after Apple released the original iPhone in 2007 or the impact of Android. All of these devices depend on EAS to connect to Exchange. The protocol hasn’t been updated in a while, but it is for Office 365 and Exchange 2016, mostly to sort out some calendaring glitches.
How Exchange’s new ever-expanding archive mailbox works (June 9): The introduction of the Office 365 Import service probably means that a lot of data is heading towards Exchange Online. Hopefully that data, which is probably old-ish, will end up in archive mailboxes and not primary mailboxes – you wouldn’t want to synchronize all that old stuff back to Outlook after it has been ingested. Archive mailboxes can grow pretty big now, but the new expanding mechanism allows them to get even larger. I wonder when we will see the first 1 TB archive mailbox. It will be a logical entity as the data will be split across 20 physical mailboxes, but that doesn’t matter…
Granular administrative roles appear in Office 365 (June 4): Over 1.2 million tenants run inside Office 365 and the administrative needs vary greatly across that collection. Some are quite happy with the basic out-of-the-box admin experience while others, mainly the larger tenants, want more granularity in permissions. After all, who’s to say that the most skilled SharePoint administrator possesses the same ability to manage Exchange or vice versa? So we now have granular administrative roles. Which is nice!
Managing user mailboxes to specific quotas with retention policies (June 2): Proving that good ideas should be discussed in many places, MVP Jeff Guillet and I both wrote about this concept. Basically, a PowerShell script controls the assignment of retention policies to mailboxes to control their growth. If the mailbox approaches its limit, a more restrictive policy is applied, etc. It might have value for some.
It was an interesting month. Spats with VMware, a new type of mailbox, progress towards eliminating PSTs, and an update for ActiveSync after many, many months. Let’s see what July brings!
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