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Top Exchange and Office 365 Sessions to Attend at Ignite

 

By Michael Van Horenbeeck - Exchange MVP, MCM - 04/29/15

Ignite, Microsoft's largest technical conference this year, is less than two weeks out. If you haven't started planning your session schedule, now would be a good time to do so.

One thing is for sure: It will be a busy week! With almost 800 sessions covering a variety of technologies, it will be hard to choose what sessions to attend, and you’ll undoubtedly have to make some hard choices. And we all know that choosing means losing...



Is a hybrid Exchange deployment the right option for you?

 

By Michael Van Horenbeeck - Exchange MVP, MCM - 04/22/15
One of the decisions you have to make when moving to Office 365, is to determine how you will move mailboxes. There are various options available which makes it hard to see the forest through the trees. Choosing the right approach is not an easy task. The decision is influenced by many variables like the size of your organization, the impact on your users and IT department or the bandwidth of your internet connection.

Before we address the question of whether or not you should go down the road of a hybrid deployment, let's quickly review the options that are available to you today. Please note that the descriptions below are not intended to cover all aspects of each approach, rather to paint a picture of the current landscape:


Which Federation Protocol Should I Use?

 

By Jim Katoe - CISSP, CISA, CISM - 04/15/15
This question comes up frequently when talking to developers in my company. Fortunately MS has a PFE who has blogged on the subject. http://blogs.technet.com/b/askpfeplat/archive/2014/11/03/adfs-deep-dive-comparing-ws-fed-saml-and-oauth-protocols.aspx

This article is fantastic and technically accurate in the details. I highly recommend reading it.  But I disagree with the conclusions he makes at a higher level. I think I can explain that disagreement by examining the PFE’s situation.  Firstly, he wrote this 5 months ago, and the situation changes quickly in federation. Secondly, he works for Microsoft and as a PFE the scenarios he encounters are likely more Microsoft focused than those of us in the “wild”. Thirdly, he is focused on ADFS as his technical area, it is the focus of his blog and he is quite clear on that.  But for those of us using ADFS as a federation infrastructure, many of us are also using Office365 and therefore Azure AD.  So we actually have a secondary federation infrastructure, in Azure AD, available to us. This secondary option changes the landscape by granting us additional federation capabilities because Azure AD iterates more quickly than ADFS. Azure AD supports more types of grant flows in OAuth than ADFS and it supports OpenID Connect.


CPU Contention and Exchange Virtual Machines

 
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By Andrew Higginbotham - Exchange MVP - 04/08/15

A Closer Look at the New ActiveSync Redirection Feature in Exchange 2013 CU8

 
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By Michael Van Horenbeeck - Exchange MVP, MCM - 04/01/15
On March 17th, Microsoft released Cumulative Update 8 for Exchange Server 2013. By now, we're all used to the idea that cumulative updates and not only Service Packs have also become a vehicle to introduce new features into Exchange. Hence, it is no surprise that CU8 comes with a bunch of new features and improvements alongside a myriad of bug fixes.

It has been since Cumulative Update 5 that Microsoft introduced new "hybrid" features. So you can imagine how pleased I was to learn that CU8 contained a rather important improvement with regards to hybrid deployments.


Troubleshooting Exchange Hybrid Deployments Video

 

In this webinar, Exchange MVP Michael Van Horenbeeck will be discussing the following topics regarding Exchange hybrid deployments:

How to Migrate Scheduled Tasks from One Server to Another

 
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By Adam Bertram - Senior Systems Consultant - 03/18/15
With the end of life approaching for Windows Server 2003, a lot of admins are moving services from legacy 2003 servers to Windows Server 2012 R2.  A common task when performing this migration is to move scheduled tasks.  Windows provides some help with this by enabling you to export and import scheduled tasks. But there’s no migration tool to migrate all or only some of the scheduled tasks.  I pity the admin with 50 scheduled tasks running on an old Windows Server 2003 server who has to manually export and import every single one of those scheduled tasks. There has to be a better way. And it just so happens there is!  It’s called PowerShell.

By creating a PowerShell script, you can automate this migration. And you can make it as simple as running a single script—providing the source server name and the destination server name—and watching it work.  However, the script isn’t just going to write itself.  Unfortunately, you must do a little work up front. But I promise you’ll thank me after you’ve exported/imported your hundredth scheduled task.  In this article, I show you how to build your own script to easily migrate scheduled tasks from one server to another.


Average IT Salaries in the U.S.

 
Interactive Salary Map Preview resized 600

According to surveys taken in 2014, data indicates:

2014 Staff & Entry-Level Salaries
  • Lowest Amount: $43,556.00 (Webmaster)
  • Highest Amount: $120,993.00 (Enterprise Architect)
  • Systems Administrator: $72,714.00
    (View All) 
2014 Middle IT Management Salaries
  • Lowest Amount: $78,468.00 (Network Manager)
  • Highest Amount: $122,429.00 (Data Warehousing Manager)
  • IT Manager: $89,997.00
    (View all) 

2014 IT Salaries by Region - Interactive Map (Computer World)





The Challenges of Reporting and Monitoring Exchange in the Cloud

 

By: ENow Software - 03/04/2015


This is a story about one company’s trials and tribulations of migrating to and maintaining a hybrid cloud environment; specifically Microsoft Exchange. Once upon a time Acme Industries decided to move to the cloud. The decision was based on a sales pitch from a cloud vendor that described the pretty blue skies of the cloudy world. “You'll have fewer servers on premise so it’ll be less complex and overall you'll be very happy.” The company agreed that reducing on-premise services, simplifying infrastructure and gaining the ability to reprioritize their IT staff to higher value tasks made a great deal of sense. And while they all agreed this was a wise decision, they knew it was important that they recognized that like any deployment, there were going to be new processes to learn and expectations that need to be managed. However, not everything would be moving to the cloud, there would be some accounts that would remain on-premises. Therefore, theirs would be a hybrid deployment.

The company then moved their mailboxes and some data into Office 365. They started using Lync and SharePoint too. Slowly, the IT team noticed that the move to the cloud wasn’t always what they thought it would be. They uncovered a variety of challenges. A cloud solution, by itself, might be a very straightforward thing and Outlook is fairly simple. However, in a hybrid deployment, there’s a great deal going on behind the scenes.  Acme quickly realized that their hybrid environment was no longer about Exchange, SharePoint or Lync individually. Rather, it is combining or federating these pieces that create a series of “unknowns”.  For instance, DirSync now needed consideration. The team now required an entirely new set of factors (messaging, AD, networking, security, etc…) to review and plan for.




Setting Up Your First PowerShell DSC Pull Server

 
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By Adam Bertram - Senior Systems Consultant - 03/04/15
Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) is a technology introduced in Windows PowerShell v4.0.  DSC sets out to save the IT professional time by essentially building scripts ahead of time. These scripts build configurations on machines and enable us to simply “make it so”—rather than worrying about banging out tons of code on our own.  DSC is a technology that enables us to not only save time—by leveraging pre-built functionality—but it also includes the capability to keep configurations the way we want them.

DSC is a big topic, and I highly encourage you check out this TechNet article on the Windows PowerShell DSC Overview.  This will give you a good start on DSC, but there is also tons of great information out there on this topic as well.  If you’re new to DSC, I highly recommend understanding the basics before you set up your own pull server.  You’ll find that you understand the content better that way, rather than just blindly following instructions.


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