Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lync 2010 has RTM’ed!


Today the Microsoft UC team has announced that Lync 2010 has reached Release to Manufacturing (RTM).  This means that all the features and code are final.

The announcement from the UC team can be read HERE.

The next major milestone is General Availability (GA).  This is set for November 17th and will line up with the virtual worldwide launch event. 

You can find more information about the launch event and Lync product information by going to the official Microsoft Lync product page HERE.

I look forward to blogging more about Lync in the future!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Adding Context to Lync Conversations

The wonderful thing about Lync is that you can initiate communication across all available modalities no matter what application you are currently working in.  While this has been true since OCS, Lync has taken it a step further.

Take the scenario of when you are digging through your emails and need to respond to one.  You know that if you reply with an email, the conversation is going to go back and forth a few times.  So you would rather take care of it in an IM conversation.  By hovering over the presence icon, you can initiate an IM conversation.


When the IM window opens, two things happen.  The IM window is labeled with the same subject as the email and a link is provided for any participants to open up the email that is being referenced. 


This is great because when the recipient gets the IM, they can immediately click the link and read the email in context. 

Users can also define the subject of any conversation.  When starting a conversation, the Conversation Subject can be defined by selecting the options and selecting “Change Conversation Subject”


The user can then define the subject of the conversation:


When the recipient gets the toast, the Conversation Subject is shown:


Now the conversation window will be labeled with that subject:


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Announcing Office 365


Microsoft just announced the next version of their online products that will replace the BPOS suite.  The new name is Office365 and you can go the the official website at

Key benefits to Office365 include:

  • Anywhere access to email, documents, contacts, and calendars on nearly any device
  • Work seamlessly with Microsoft Office and the other programs your users already count on everyday
  • Business-class features including IT-level phone support, guaranteed 99.9% uptime, geo-redundancy, and disaster recovery
  • Pay-as-you-go pricing options which give you predictability and flexibility for all or part of your organization

Office365 is based on the 2010 version of products (while BPOS was based on the 2007 version) and includes the following products:

  • Exchange Online
  • Lync Online
  • SharePoint Online
  • Office Web Apps
  • Office Professional Plus

Microsoft has released Service Offering Descriptions for the Beta that can be downloaded HERE

If you want to get signed up for the Beta, I suggest you do so now.  You can go to the Beta sign-up page to reserve your spot.

Some reactions and comments around the community:

More resources for Office365:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Exchange 2010 Reference List

I constantly keep hitting the same websites as references when designing and troubleshooting Exchange server.  I have decided to put these links in one location for two reasons: first so that I can have a one stop shop for my links and second in hopes that it might help out some other people.

Planning and Discovery

Exchange Supportability Matrix – ever wondered what clients are supported with what versions of servers or what Active Directory versions are supported?  This is your place to go.

Discontinued Features – This is a must stop when planning a migration to Exchange 2010.

Exchange Pre-Deployment Analyzer – “Readiness” check for Exchange 2010 in your environment.

Exchange Profile Analyzer – use to discover mail usage statistics across organization.  Very helpful tool for finding inputs into the storage calculator (listed below).

ActiveSync Client and Feature Comparison – includes various phone types and what ActiveSync policies are supported with each.

Exchange 2010 Licensing – Everyone’s favorite topic, but it is very important to know the difference between Standard and Enterprise versions of the Server and User CAL.  All the gory details here.

Design and Deployment

Exchange Deployment Assistant – This is a great place to start for migrations or new installations.  This will provide checklists and installation steps to get your Exchange 2010 environment up and running.  This is not meant to be a complete migration guide as every implementation is different.

Exchange 2010 Install Guides – A little more detailed than the Deployment Assistant mentioned above. They are meant to help get you to a successful install with design considerations included.

Exchange 2010 (and SP1) Pre-reqs – make sure your servers have everything they need for a successful installation of Exchange 2010.

Publishing Exchange with TMG – Microsoft whitepaper with all the steps and considerations for deploying TMG with Exchange

Internet Publishing Scenarios – A great reference for all different types of publishing scenarios and the pros/cons associated with each.

Mailbox Role Storage Calculator – I can’t stress how important this tool is.  The place to start when designing the infrastructure.

Certificate Installation – Hosted by Digicert, but can be used as general guidance.  CSR Creation and Certificate Installation videos.

Tools, Reference, and Troubleshooting

ExFolders – replacement for PFDavAdmin

Microsoft Exchange Team Blog – “the” blog to follow for great articles and up to date information – some of the most thorough and well written articles about Exchange.

Remote Connectivity Analyzer – a “must-use” tool in any Exchange deployment and great overall troubleshooting tool.

NDR Code Reference – list of NDR codes and descriptions of each code with possible causes and troubleshooting steps.

Network Port Reference – broken down by Exchange role

Blackberry Enterprise Supportability Matrix – check here to make sure your environment is supported

Exchange Posters and Visio Stencils – includes Exchange 2007 and 2010 architectural reference posters

Exchange Technet Forums – a virtual knowledge base for Exchange.  Community support at its best.

Exchange 2010 SP1 Help File – A complete and standalone reference to all Microsoft Exchange Technet content.

Exchange 2010 Technet Library – Online library of all Exchange documentation.

Exchange Script Repository – developed and tested scripts to be used for all versions of Exchange – great site for troubleshooting and discovering MS, SPF, reverse lookups, etc.

Did I miss anything?  If you have another good link, post a comment!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Applying Updates to Exchange 2010 SP1 and SP2 (including DAGs)

UPDATE: This procedure applies to applying updates to SP2 as well.

Now that the first Update Rollup for Exchange 2010 SP1 has released, it is a great time to review the proper way to apply updates to Exchange Servers including DAGs.

First off, the recommended order to apply updates to Exchange roles are as follows:

  1. Edge Transport
  2. CAS (apply to Internet facing sites first and back-up any OWA customizations)
  3. HUB
  4. UM
  5. MB

After downloading the Update Rollup, it is time to install.  If you try to install the update just by double-clicking it, the update will fail and the following error will be displayed: “Update Rollup…ended prematurely”


Too bad it doesn’t tell you what to do.  To get the update installed successfully, the update must be initiated from an elevated command prompt.


Now run the update .msp file from the elevated command prompt:


The update wizard will launch and complete successfully:


Exchange 2010 SP1 provides some new scripts to help with performing maintenance on DAG members.  To apply the update to a DAG member, the following steps should be taken:

Step 1 - From the Exchange installation path (in my case C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V14\Scripts\), run: .\StartDagServerMaintenance.ps1 –ServerName “MBXServerName”


This script will:

  • Run Suspend-MailboxDatabaseCopy for each database copy hosted on the DAG member
  • Pauses the node in the cluster, which prevents it from being and becoming the PAM
  • Sets the value of the DatabaseCopyAutoActivationPolicy parameter on the DAG member to Blocked
  • Moves all active databases currently hosted on the DAG member to other DAG members

Step 2 – Install the update rollup as described above

Step 3 – From the Exchange installation path (in my case C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V14\Scripts\), run: .\StopDagServerMaintenance.ps1 –ServerName “MBXServerName”


This script will:

  • Run Resume-MailboxDatabaseCopy for each database copy hosted on the DAG member
  • Resumes the node in the cluster, which it enables full cluster functionality for the DAG member
  • Sets the value of the DatabaseCopyAutoActivationPolicy parameter on the DAG member to Unrestricted

Step 4 – (Optional) Use the RedistributeActiveDatabases.ps1 script to re-balance the active database copies across the DAG

Happy Updating…

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Exchange 2010 SP1 Update Rollup 1 Available

The first update for Exchange 2010 SP1 has just released and can be downloaded at: Exchange 2010 SP1 Update Rollup 1 Download

For a description of all the included fixes, see KB 2407028

  • 2028967 Event ID 3022 is logged and you still cannot replicate a public folder from one Exchange Server 2010 server to another
  • 2251610 The email address of a user is updated unexpectedly after you run the Update-Recipient cmdlet on an Exchange Server 2010 server
  • 978292 An IMAP4 client cannot send an email message that has a large attachment in a mixed Exchange Server 2010 and Exchange Server 2003 environment
  • 982004 Exchange Server 2010 users cannot access the public folder
  • 983549 Exchange Server 2010 removes the sender's email address from the recipient list in a redirected email message
  • 983492 You cannot view updated content of an Exchange Server 2010 public folder

For those of you running DAGs, please see the “Installing Update Rollups on DAG Members” in the following article: Managing Database Availability Groups.

If you are running Forefront, it is important to disable Forefront protection during the update:

  • Before running patch: fscutility /disable
  • After running patch: fscutility /enable

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Embedded Click to Call with Lync

I am sure there will be more, but this is a great side effect of using Lync (a co-worker tipped me off to this).  Lync will embed click to call functionality within websites.  Third parties created some add-ons in OCS for this, but it is nice to see that it is now native to the installation.

When you view a website, you will notice the Lync Click to Call icons wherever there is a phone number:


When hovering over the Click to Call icon, it shows the action:


Once you click the icon, Lync immediately opens up a call window and calls the number:


Ahhh, the simple things in life.  Beats copying and pasting!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Going Deeper with Archiving in Exchange 2010 SP1

There is no doubt that pre-SP1 archiving had some shortcomings.  There has been a lot of improvements for archiving in SP1 in regards to both administration and user experience that makes Exchange 2010 archiving a very viable option.
Let’s get a few facts about archiving out of the way before diving in:
What is Online Archive?
  • Online Archive is a secondary user mailbox that a user can use to store Exchange data.
  • Used to offload the “live” mailbox data to provide better performance to Outlook
  • Ability to offload “cold” Exchange data to lower tier storage or separate servers to provide better performance to “live” Exchange data
  • Used to manage/organize Exchange data either voluntarily or mandatory
  • Archive mailboxes are online only, they cannot be cached for offline viewing
  • Currently archive mailboxes can only be viewed in Outlook 2010 and OWA 2010.  Outlook 2007 is supported with the Dec. 2010 hotfix package.  See MS Exchange Team Blog.
  • Methods to get items to the archive mailbox:
    • Manually
    • Inbox rules
    • Retention policies (note that Managed Folders cannot use the “Move to Archive” option)
    • Import messages from a PST
  • Discovery search automatically includes the archive mailbox (if it needs to be excluded, EMS must be used for the search)
  • The Enterprise User CAL is required for any mailboxes that are enabled for archiving
What Online Archive is not?
  • Archiving is not journaling.  If your organization requires preserving email on the transport layer, journaling is still required.
  • Archiving does not provide stubs or shortcuts in the mailbox to the item that has been archived.  The archived email is moved to the archive.
Archive mailboxes can be enabled and managed through the EMC and EMS.  Probably the most publicized feature is that archive mailboxes can be homed on different databases, different servers, or hosted servers.  When enabling a mailbox for archiving, you can select what database to place the archive mailbox (which includes hosting the archive mailbox).
Note that we can select any database on any server:
Also during a new mailbox move request, the administrator has the option to move the primary and/or the archive mailbox.
In the EMC, the icon for an archive enabled user has changed:
The archive mailbox has separate quotas than the primary mailbox.  In pre-SP1, the quota was set to unlimited.  With SP1, the quota is now by default set to 50GB with a warning at 45 GB.
When a mailbox is enabled for archiving, the Default Archive and Retention Policy is applied to the mailbox.
The default policy is shown here:
The Default Archive and Retention Policy includes a Default Tag that will move all items older than 2 years to the Online Archive.  This policy is shows in the following Outlook view:
Note that if another Retention Policy is applied to the mailbox it will replace the Default policy.
Now let’s move onto client connectivity.  When a user is enabled for archiving, the Online Mailbox is automatically added to Outlook and OWA.
Note the options to the default retention policy applied are available to the user:
In a delegate or shared mailbox situation, a user that has Full Mailbox Access rights to another mailbox will automatically have the other mailbox’s archive added to their Outlook view:
Archive-outlook-full access-markup
Exchange 2010 SP1 has closed many of the gaps that were present in pre-SP1.  I hope this post has shed some light on those.