Exchange Unwashed Digest – December 2015


Another month (and year) has gone by but the posts keep on flowing in my Exchange Unwashed blog on WindowsITPro.com. Here’s what happened during December 2015. My two favorites are the posts that describe the Office 365 Group Connectors and asking the question whether Azure Active Directory is becoming the Achilles Heel for Office 365.

Looking back at the world of Exchange in 2015 (Dec 31): Lots of stuff happened with Exchange, Exchange Online, and Office 365 during 2015. Some was expected, some came as a bit of a shock. Anyone who makes predictions about the future can expect to get some right and some wrong. I think my set of predictions were reasonable. Some were on the mark, some missed, and some got near the bull. I’ll try and do better in 2016.

Probably not such a good idea to disable Managed Availability (Dec 29): Managed Availability consumes server resources such as memory (quite a lot really) and CPU to get its work done. Probes have to execute, the data returned by probes has to be analyzed, and responders sent out to fix problems. You get nothing free in this world, especially in software applications. Everything has to be paid for in code. So wonderful idea #1545 is to save all those system resources by disabling Managed Availability so that Exchange 2013 can work more smoothly and gracefully. Good idea? Hmmm…

Active Directory and Exchange – too tight for a rename (Dec 24): The relationship between Active Directory and Exchange began 15 years ago and is tight and enduring. So tight that renaming domains is impossible once Exchange is installed, simply because Exchange stores so many objects within the directory. That wasn’t always the case, but it is now.

Pretty Delve profiles need better synchronization (Dec 22): I like Delve a lot because it provides a great way to organize information. But I am a lot less impressed at the way that Delve profiles refuse to synchronize with other Office 365 directories. It seems like a curious omission and something that will cause people to have deployment problems when things like phone numbers turn up with different values in different places. Odd…

Why mailbox anchoring matters (Dec 17): Splice the mainbrace and knot some ropes, Exchange is heading for nautical times as mailboxes are now firmly attached to their databases with anchors for all protocols. The news from Tuesday is that Exchange 2013 CU11 and Exchange 2016 CU1 change the Exchange Management Shell (EMS) to follow the same path as other protocols do when connecting to a mailbox. Time was when the process was very simple, but now that Exchange can switch mailboxes between databases quicker than a ferret goes down a hole after a rabbit, you need help to find their current home. EMS used not to care very much but now it has to mind its Ps & Qs and play by the rules. Some will think the change is right and appropriate, others think it’s a solution looking for a problem. Make your own mind up.

IE9 to deliver “diminished experience” for Office 365 users from January 12 (Dec 15): A current refresh of the System Requirements for Office 365 brings the news that IE9 users will face a diminished experience from January 12, 2016. In other words, things won’t be quite as nice as they would be if you cared to use another browser. Such as Edge, because Microsoft’s new Windows 10 browser is the only one that Office 365 apparently likes. But that’s not true either because some things just don’t work in Edge. We live in a complicated world…

Is Azure Active Directory becoming the Achilles Heel of Office 365? (Dec 11): European Office 365 tenants woke up on December 3 to find that some of their users couldn’t access their mailboxes or SharePoint sites. In fact, the problem didn’t exist with the Office 365 infrastructure: a configuration error in Azure Active Directory caused authentication failures for web protocols, which meant that Outlook Web App (OWA) clients and the Office 365 service health dashboard and administration consoles couldn’t authentication and therefore couldn’t connect to Office 365. The same issue wreaked havoc with other Microsoft cloud services that depend on Azure Active Directory, all of which caused a great deal of concern for the five hours that it took for Microsoft to rectify the issue. Although we don’t yet know the precise root cause, it seems pretty clear that Azure Active Directory is a huge dependency for Office 365 and might even be sufficient to be regarded as its Achilles Heel. There’s work for Microsoft to do here as well as to fix the reporting of outages to Office 365 tenants.

Two years on: revisiting a conversation with Exchange development chief Perry Clarke (Dec 8): In December 2013 I sat down with Microsoft’s Perry Clarke to discuss the current state of Exchange and how things might evolve into the future. Two years is actually a long time in terms of technology and it’s interesting to look back to discover how good and bad the predictions made then turned out to be. As it happens, I think much of what we talked about in terms of Exchange and Office 365 remains true. What’s changed is Microsoft’s mobile email client strategy… Read on…

Interesting connectors make cloud data sources available to Office 365 Groups (Dec 3): Connectors provide a way to link different things together. In this case, we have Office 365 Groups on one side and lots of different cloud-based services such as Twitter and Trello on the other. Microsoft has some interesting code in developer preview to show how the link can be made so that information extracted from other services can be imported into Exchange Online and end up as conversations in Office 365 Groups. It’s a terrific idea and one in which I can see a lot of value. Definitely worth your while to investigate.

Microsoft releases Office 365 E5 Plan (Dec 1): We all want to have the best version of something – the best car, the best seat on an airplane, or the best PC we can buy. And now you can get the best-ever Office plan (E5), which is packed full of functionality and ready for deployment. Microsoft has included some very interesting technology. It will be interesting to see how features like Delve Analytics are used in production…

Now on to 2016. Technology keeps on changing and there’s more and more to uncover, describe, contemplate, and analyze. It kind of keeps life interesting…

Follow Tony @12Knocksinna

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About Tony Redmond ("Thoughts of an Idle Mind")

Exchange MVP, author, and rugby referee
This entry was posted in Cloud, Delve, Exchange, Exchange Online, Office 365 Groups, SharePoint Online and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Exchange Unwashed Digest – December 2015

  1. Pingback: Weekly IT Newsletter – January 4-8, 2016 | Just a Lync Guy

  2. Pingback: NeWay Technologies – Weekly Newsletter #181 – January 8, 2016 | NeWay

  3. Pingback: NeWay Technologies – Weekly Newsletter #181 – January 7, 2016 | NeWay

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