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On-Premise Exchange Notes from MEC 2014

 
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By Theresa Miller


MEC 2014 was an educational event that provided great insights into all aspects of Exchange.  If you missed the conference this article will cover learning aspects as they related to deploying Exchange On-Premise.  Here are some of my takeaways from the conference on this topic.

New Products
Microsoft announced that they expect the next version of Exchange will be released sometime in 2015.  As Office 365 continues to grow they are releasing new product options such as Clutter and People View to Office 365 customers first.  They also indicated that they do expect these options will be added to Exchange On-premises; however, the timeframe was currently unknown.

What are my Server Roles?
Exchange 2013 at RTM only had two server deployment roles.  They were the CAS and mailbox role; however, with Exchange 2013 SP1 they have brought back the Edge Transport Role.  These roles are the same as what we have learned about in Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010 with the exception of the CAS role.  The CAS role has been architected in a way that it will no longer perform any data rendering.  The CAS role will only provide authentication and proxy redirection.  Providing support for internet protocols, transport and unified messaging.  This includes HTTP, IMAP, POP, SMTP and the UM Call Router.  The Edge Transport Role (optional) and Mailbox role support the same functionalities as in the past.  For more information on the Edge Transport this article explains its purpose well. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb124701(v=exchg.150).aspx

The other role based recommendation; which is similar to Exchange 2010, is to run all of your roles on all of your servers.  For example, every Exchange server should have the CAS and Mailbox role installed on it.







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MEC 2014 Conference Highlights

 
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By ENow
The Keynote
The MEC 2014 conference was amazing and brought together email administrators from around the world to talk about Microsoft Exchange.  The conference started with a keynote where they announced the introduction of OWA for Android.  This offering provides Android users another option for their daily needs and provides an alternative to ActiveSync.  OWA for iPhone was already previously available. 

(MEC 2014 T-shirt by ENow)
Other keynote insights on the future direction of Exchange and Office were:

  • The future includes focus on the cloud, social integration, security and compliance
  • Use of Data Loss Prevention to empower the user, help maintain compliance and allow organizations to enjoy enhanced security
  • The cloud-based file sharing platform called One Drive when used with Microsoft office automatically provides file security to those the attachment is being sent to.
  • Last but not least, all of the attendees were surprised with Dell Tablets!  Thank you Microsoft!

Technical Content
After the keynote was over it was time to dive into great technical content that provided attendees with that latest and greatest guidance and everything and anything Exchange.  Whether you were looking for information about Exchange on-premise or Office 365 there were deep dive sessions for everyone.  When reaching out to conference attendees about what they considered the technical highlights, this was their feedback:

  • Exchange Unplugged Sessions were a favorite because attendees were able to ask panel experts anything they wanted about specific topics creating free flowing learning opportunity.
  • They enjoyed general exposure to the latest and greatest information on Microsoft Exchange Best Practices for Exchange On-premise upgrades, Office 365 and Hybrid Exchange deployments.
  • Learning about new features such as Office 365 offerings around Personalized Inbox Options (clutter, personal view and more), Office Graph and Multi-factor authentication.
  • Modern public folders were also considered a fun topic.
  • Data Loss Prevention options in Exchange 2013 SP1 and Office 365.

The UC Architects
One of the final sessions of the conference was a live recording of Episode 36 of the UC Architects podcast.  They covered many conference topics in their podcast. Here are just a few of the many conference highlights they discussed:

  • Yammer!  While Yammer was not covered with a conference session it was discussed here.  There were varying opinions on this topic amongst the group with some in favor and some not.  A comment was made that the conference session information posted in Yammer for the conference was useful.  Yammer is one to watch.
  • Like the attendees they are interested to see how the newly announced features are received such as Clutter, Office Graph, Personal View and more.  It was commented that these are all fascinating technologies and if working with these new products including Yammer help do jobs better, then this is great.
  • They discussed Office Applications for tablets and phones including OWA for Android.  The introduction of these tools bridge BYOD devices and can help with containerization, but these products do not compete with all the features of MDM products.
  • For the rest of their conversation, thoughts and opinions watch for the entire podcast to be released at www.theucarchitects.com website soon!

Social Activities and Other Events
Like any conference, MEC was busy with social activities as well.  Highlights were the Microsoft sponsored Rainy Street Block Party and the ENow/UC Architects “scheduledMaintenance party”.

(The UC Architects featured on the wall of the scheduledMaintenance party)

Maarten receiving MEC Trivia 2nd place prize of $500
On Monday evening, Microsoft blocked off Rainey Street for conference attendees.  This street is full of bars that at one time had been homes.  Rainey Street had a charming feel to it, but more importantly conference attendees had the opportunity to network with other Exchange gurus and relax after a long day of conference sessions.  On Tuesday evening, the UC Architects party sponsored by ENow was held on the rooftop of the Speakeasy bar in downtown Austin.  Yet another opportunity to network, meet the UC Architects, knowledge share and relax.
Conference Hall highlights included Exchange Trivia games by Binary Tree and ENow Software.  Binary Tree offered a quiz game where contestants solved binary puzzles to win prizes.  ENow and Tony Redmond partnered to develop a challenging Exchange quiz with a $1000 prize for first place and a $500 prize for second place.  Congratulations to all the winners of these trivia games!  It was a challenge, but the payoff was worthwhile.
Behind the scenes, the Microsoft Product Group and Exchange MVPs were also recognized for their contributions to MEC and the Exchange community.  Congratulations to Paul Robichaux who was awarded Exchange MVP of the Year!  The following article acknowledges ALL these key contributors and their awards as well.   http://thoughtsofanidlemind.com/2014/04/02/exchange-oscars-at-mec-2014/
In summary, from the keynote to the conference close there was something here for everyone.  Overall, MEC 2014 was a great conference!

 















What to Look for at MEC 2014

 
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Next week Exchange administrators and Exchange MVP’s are looking forward to Microsoft’s Exchange conference MEC 2014 http://www.iammec.com/.   The conference is scheduled from March 31st through April 2nd in Austin, TX at the Austin Convention Center.  The conference covers all aspects of Exchange including deployment and migration of Office 365 and Exchange On-Premises, security, e-discovery, compliance, support, manageability, architecture and much more.  If you love to learn about Exchange and its possibilities then MEC is the place to be next week.

How to Add an Exchange 2010 Custom Attribute using PowerShell

 
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By Theresa Miller

Every mailbox object in Exchange has a series of fields called custom attributes.  These can be found by right-clicking on a mailbox in the Exchange Management Console, choosing properties and then clicking on the custom attributes button in the bottom right-hand corner of the window.

So you ask, what might I use custom attributes for?  Within Exchange Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) there are some user-based policies can use a unique custom attribute http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee332316(v=exchg.141).aspx. Additionally, if you are going to setup custom Address Lists you may also want to base your list on a unique custom attribute.



Exchange 2010 Public Folder Data Recovery

 
Exchange 2010 Public Folder Data Recovery

by Theresa miller

As an Exchange administrator you likely work in an environment that has public folders.  Public folders allow users centralized access to tasks, email, calendars, contacts and more.  Over the years Microsoft has worked to move away from this technology, but was not able to due to customer dependence on this functionality.  In Exchange 2013, they have redesigned public folder technology and have introduced Modern public folders.  These are built on traditional mailbox technology which should streamline the backup and recovery process.  Despite this many organizations are still running Exchange 2010, so there is still a need to understand how to recover data from the public folder databases within your organization. 

What kinds of things might need to be recovered and why?   Well, you may have an end-user that cannot find their public folders calendar entries due to a mass deletion, some of their mail data went missing from a public folder or a legal investigation unexpectedly came up.



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Tools for validating a hybrid deployment

 
hybird deployment

By: Michael Van Horenbeeck

Lync 2013 – Deploying Persistent Chat with Compliance

 
Persistent Chat Deployment

By: Alex Berin

Our goal for today is to deploy Lync 2013 Persistent Chat components.

First of all, a brief technical introduction and some basic history on this feature.



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Microsoft Lync 2014 Conference: Recap

 
scheduledMaintenance Party - Ghost Bar at the Palms

By: Alex Berin
What do you do in Las Vegas? You get drunk and you gamble. Well, there is one more thing you can do - attend a Microsoft Lync Conference.

Yes, this year Lync Conference took place in Vegas. I did not attend the first conference Lync Conference in San Diego, but based purely on my impressions from this year’s event, I will be coming back.


Keys to deploying Exchange without emptying the wallet

 

By: Michael Van Horenbeeck

In part one, we discussed keeping three things in mind when you're trying to find the most cost-effective option for deploying on-premises Exchange: using just a bunch of disks (JBOD) for your deployment, letting Exchange handle its own availability, and automating as much as you can. We went into detail about JBOD deployments, default configurations and approaches to consider for your deployment.

Take a closer look at other factors to keep in mind as you continue researching the best on-premises Exchange deployment option for your organization, including cost comparisons, standardization, backups and the importance of the IT department through all of this.



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Match your Exchange deployment to your IT department budget

 

The time when IT departments had virtually unlimited budgets to build and support enterprise options is long gone. Now IT departments often struggle to keep a balance between cost, quality and functionality. And many of those functions are often reduced to the bare essentials. But that may not necessarily be a bad thing.


This "bare essentials" approach reduces an IT department budget footprint, but that doesn't mean it's the most cost-effective over time. These systems might cost more to maintain, or they might lose you money because of decreased end-user productivity.


If you want a cost-effective on-premises Exchange deployment, keep the following things in mind. You should deploy Exchange using JBOD storage. You should keep things simple by letting Exchange handle its own availability. And you should define service plans for your organization and automate as many tasks as possible.

Efficient systems cost less in the long run.

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