ENow Exchange & Office 365 Solutions Engine Blog (ESE)

Let the Games Begin: The Exchange 2016 Preview Is Out!

Posted by Michael Van Horenbeeck on Jul 24, 2015 1:23:00 PM

A few days ago, Microsoft released the public preview of Exchange 2016 to the world. For many messaging professionals, this is usually an exciting time. But is it really? I remember when Exchange 2007 'hit the market.' I spent quite a few long days and nights discovering the new features and dramatically changed architecture. Pretty much the same happened when Microsoft unleashed Exchange 2010. The newly minted Database Availability Group kept many people – including myself  fascinated and busy for a long time. One of my fondest memories about that time was a hefty, yet in hindsight very funny, discussion that followed a technical presentation at my former employer.

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Topics: exchange online, Exchange 2013, Exchange 2016 preview

Office 365 July 15 Outage — More Visibility Needed!

Posted by Michael Van Horenbeeck on Jul 23, 2015 11:33:00 AM

As reported earlier, Office 365 was recently hit with a widespread issue. According to the case details that Microsoft posted to its service dashboard, the problems started around 6:15 PM (EST) on July 15 and were solved by July 15 at 9:30 PM (EST). 

That is a little over three hours that customers were experiencing all sorts of issues! Even though it's unlikely this outage alone will affect Microsoft's 99.9% uptime on a yearly basis, the impact and inconvenience on the customer base is big. While Microsoft does a terrific job running Office 365, this wasn't the first outage, and it likely won’t be the last, either.

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Topics: office 365 outage, Mailscape365, office 365 reporting, exchange online outage, office 365 monitoring

Mobile Device Management (MDM) In Office 365

Posted by Dominik Hoefling on Jul 22, 2015 8:00:00 AM

The growth of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, changed the world rapidly. Today, according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI), there are almost as many mobile devices as humans on the planet: about 7 billion.

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Topics: Mobile Device Management, Office 365

Tips for Elegantly Departing Employees’ Mailboxes

Posted by Jonathan Hassell on Jul 20, 2015 7:00:00 AM

While handling employee separation is generally a process controlled or handled by human resources, IT has to get involved somehow to manage email, contacts, and other knowledge items stored within Exchange. Here are some suggestions on how to gracefully handle the technical side of employees transitioning out of your organization.

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Topics: Microsoft Exchange, departing employee mailboxes

The Annual Summer Office 365 Outage, 2015 Edition: What to Take Away From It

Posted by ENow Software on Jul 16, 2015 10:35:00 AM

It seems as if every summer something seemingly innocuous  happens in a Microsoft datacenter halfway around the world and it spreads  around the service like wildfire, taking down access for vast numbers of  customers. It happened at the end of June last year in 2014, where Exchange  Online and Lync Online were down for hours, and it has just happened again this week.

The Outage

Here is how it started: at 5:28 PM Eastern time, Microsoft  officially establishes an ongoing incident report:

Current Status:  Engineers are investigating an issue in which some customers may be  experiencing problems accessing or using Exchange Online services or features.  This event is actively being investigated. More information will be provided  shortly.

29 minutes later, at 5:57 PM Eastern, the company  acknowledges that this outage is a reasonably widespread issue:

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Topics: Office 365, office 365 outage, Exchange

IRM, OME, S/MIME, and More: Managing Encryption in Exchange Online

Posted by Nathan O'Bryan on Jul 14, 2015 4:00:38 PM

Earlier this year, I wrote a series of articles for Windows IT Pro that dived into configuring and using encryption in Exchange Online. That series has been well-received, so I’m teaming up with the good folks at ENow Software to turn that series into a webinar.

Join me on August 13 at 11 a.m. PT for “IRM, OME, S/MIME, and More: Managing Encryption in Exchange Online” — a webcast exploring how to configure and use encryption in Exchange Online.

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Topics: exchange online, ENow Software, Managing encryption

A Closer Look at Azure AD Connect – Part 2

Posted by Michael Van Horenbeeck on Jul 8, 2015 10:06:20 AM

In the previous part of this article series, we've taken a first look at Azure AD Connect and reviewed what a default installation looks like using the express settings. In this part, we'll dive deeper into the advanced options of the installation wizard. The express settings option likely meets the needs for most organizations looking into deploying directory synchronization alone. However, if you are looking at a more complex synchronization scenario, like a multi-forest environment or if you would like to deploy and configure Active Directory Federation Services, the advanced options are what you are looking for! 

Note: The advanced options, especially the ones related to the advanced synchronization scenarios, are very powerful and can create potentially disastrous consequences. Even though we will be discussing the various options throughout the next few articles, do not attempt to make any changes if you are not completely familiar and comfortable with the option and its effects on your deployment and environment!

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Topics: SQL, ADFS, Azure AD Connect, installation wizard

A Closer Look at Azure AD Connect – Part 1

Posted by Michael Van Horenbeeck on Jul 1, 2015 2:55:18 PM

As reported earlier, Microsoft released Azure AD Connect to the public on June 24. The long-anticipated tool is the successor to Azure AD Sync and DirSync. But it’s much more than that. 

Although a large part of Azure AD Connect still revolves around directory synchronization, I like to look at it more as a "Cloud Identity Enablement" — a solution rather than just a synchronization component. This is because Azure AD Connect not only allows you to deploy directory synchronization for almost every possible identity scenario you can dream of, but it also enables you to set up and configure identity federation through Active Directory Federation Services from within the same wizard.

Configuring identity federation for your Office 365 tenant consists of three key steps:

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Topics: Azure, AADSync, Azure AD Connect, configuring identity federation

Microsoft releases "Azure AD Connect" to the public

Posted by Michael Van Horenbeeck on Jun 25, 2015 4:50:08 AM

Yesterday, Microsoft announced the General Availability (GA) of Azure AD Connect. Azure AD Connect is consiered to be the successor to DirSync/AADSync. However, it is much more than just a synchronization engine. The tool allows customers to use a single wizard to configure various aspects of identity synchronization and authentication with Microsoft's Online Services.

The wizard - which shows similarities to the one used in AADSync - allows you to install and configure various Directory Synchronization options and now also includes the ability to automatically setup and configure Active Directory Federation Services. Before, you still had to manually enable a domain for federation after having isntalled and configured AD FS yourself. Now, the wizard allows you to "pick and choose"
which servers you are designating for AD FS and it will go out and perform the installation and configuration in Office 365 for the selected domains for you.

The biggest benefit of the tool is that it greatly simplifies the process so that administrators don't have to unnecessarily struggle with the entire process. After all, even though the sync and authentication process in itself are pretty straightforward, setup and configuration have proven to sometimes be quite challenging.

Next to these GA features, Azure AD Connect also includes the ability to preview features such as User- and Group Writeback; which Microsoft said to be releasing later.

For more information, have a look at the original announcment here or get started immediately and download the tool here.

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Topics: Active Directory, Azure, Office 365 sign-in, Federation, Office 365 authentication, Selective authentication, AADSync, AADConnect, DirSync

The Future of Microsoft Exchange (Online) Webinar Unraveled

Posted by Joel Brda on Jun 24, 2015 7:19:00 PM

With Exchange 2016 fever in the air, many admins are left with looming questions about what changes this new iteration will bring.

ENow’s Microsoft Exchange Server MVP Michael Van Horenbeeck recently partnered with MSExchange.org to host a webinar that would clear up some lingering questions surrounding Exchange 2016 and beyond.

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Topics: Exchange 2013, Microsoft Ignite, Preferred architecture, Exchange 2016

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