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Lync: With great power comes great responsibility


By: Jay Gundotra When was the last time you licked a stamp? Or made a call from a landline? When was the last time you flew across the country for a 10 minute meeting with a projector?  It wasn’t long ago when these were the state of the art methods to communicate and collaborate with customers, vendors, even other employees. However, over time email made the posted letter obsolete and cell phones supplanted payphones. While the importance of communication is still the cornerstone of success for any company, the means and method of how continues to evolve.  With the accelerated rise of platforms like Lync, many companies made the communication process easier, but realized they also needed to raise the bar in order to properly manage this integrated technology.

Clearing AutoComplete and other Recipient Caches


By: Michel de Rooij
Anyone who has participated in migrations or transitions to Exchange has most likely encountered or has had to work around potential issues caused by the nickname cache. A “cache,” also known by its file extension, NK2 in older Outlook clients, is a convenience feature in Outlook and Outlook WebApp (OWA) which lets users pick recipients from a list of frequently-used recipients. This list is displayed when the end user types in the first few letters.

The potential issue revolves around end users using those lists to send messages, as the list contains cached recipient information. Because this information is static, it may become invalid at some point. Thus, when users pick recipients when sending messages, they may be sending messages to non-existent recipients or invalid e-mail addresses, which create issues like non-delivery of e-mail.

Microsoft Solutions Advisory Board – Azure, Cloud Services and More


By Theresa Miller
Every Quarter a group of business software experts, community members and various other industry-related organizations come together for a Microsoft employee-led meeting. These meetings aim to apply any feedback acquired through Microsoft’s community partnership program towards the development of ideas which pertain to solving and preventing any potential or existing software issues. The content of April’s meeting focused on Windows Azure, cloud and datacenter solutions content, BYOD in addition to other relevant topics. This article will cover topics and directions discussed with the group.

Cloud and Datacenter Solutions

First on the agenda was a discussion that provided an overview of cloud and datacenter solutions content. The goal was to provide cross-product or cross platform configuration solutions that solved business problems.

Finding and Eliminating XP PCs on Your Network

microsoft windows xp stop

By Adam Fowler 7/9/2014 Windows XP has famously gone End of Life (EOL) on 8th April 2014. Unless you have a special costly agreement with Microsoft, you should already be off of XP and onto something newer (Vista/7/8) or at least actively working on the upgrades.

Exchange 2010 3rd Party SSL Certificates: The Whole Story


By: Theresa Miller Eventually all good things come to an end and that’s no exception to our 3rd party certificates that allow access to Outlook Web App and other web-based Exchange workloads such as Active Sync or Outlook. This article provides a step by step process on how to update your Exchange 2010 certificates from start to finish.  This article also assumes we are using a DigiCert wildcard certificate.  Most of this work can be pre-staged before the actual implementation and is highlighted below.  With that, let’s begin!

Office 365 Exchange Online Outage – A Failure to Notify

6/25/2014     By: ENow Software
  • Exchange Online failure follows Lync Online failure just the day before 
  • Customers and administrators frustrated by poor communication from Microsoft
  • Reinforces the importance of conducting your own monitoring of online services

One of the important things service professionals learn in customer expectation management class is that if you call a customer to inform them of a bad situation, it stops being so bad.  If they have to call you, it’s a disaster.

What’s New in Hybrid Exchange 2013 On Prem & Exchange Online Deployments


By Jonathan Hassell

Now that Exchange Server 2013 Service Pack 1 is out, many organizations are beginning to seriously evaluate the latest iteration of Microsoft’s messaging platform. Many of these same organizations may have divisions, offices, or even vast swaths of their company using Exchange Online or Office 365 and Microsoft’s hosted Exchange platform. Helpfully, Service Pack 1 enables some key functionality in Exchange as it relates to hybrid on premises and cloud deployments. In this piece, I examine two important developments in hybrid Exchange deployments that are possible now that Exchange 2013 Service Pack 1 is available:

Hybrid Deployments with More than One Active Directory Forest

The Hybrid Configuration Wizard can be used to interoperate with Exchange Online across all of your forests, especially in larger deployments with multiple forests containing an Exchange organization—a newly supported scenario.

Filling the Blind Spot of MS Exchange


By ENow Software

“True wisdom is knowing what you don't know”

It’s an old maxim that traces back to the time of Confucius, but it is still a nugget of wisdom serving as the cornerstone of strategic operations for modern IT environments.
The biggest threat to any IT environment is the unknown. Once a problem is identified and understood, the only issues remaining are the resources needed to address it. However, to achieve that and drive organizational business needs, companies must maintain an intelligence mechanism to provide insight into the unknown. Simply, IT must rely on solid reporting.

Yet, of all the tools in the IT quiver, none are as important as email (and by extension Exchange messaging and Active Directory databases). For most organizations it is the central communication lifeline…yet so many overlook email/messaging-related issues that could potentially impact productivity, operational effectiveness and ultimately profitability. Many issues such as outage/service optimization, security red flags, and storage affect every corner of enterprise operation. And without critical measurable data from KPIs, companies are managing with a significant blind spot.

Yet, reporting is a broad topic. So, in terms of supporting “The Big Picture,” Exchange reporting best practices must offer quantifiable insight into one of 3 enterprise-driving categories:

New Hybrid Configuration Wizard features in Exchange 2013 CU5

by: Michael Van Horenbeeck

As posted here, Microsoft released Cumulative Update 5 for Exchange 2013. At first sight, this update doesn’t appear to make lots of changes – at least not visibly. However, it does contain a lot of fixes and, as you will find out, there have been some changes to the Hybrid Configuration Wizard as well. 

New options in the Hybrid Configuration Wizard

Whenever you enable an organization for a hybrid deployment in CU5, you will find the following new option:

Does your environment need an Exchange 2013 Edge Transport server?


By: Jeff Guillet
Microsoft first introduced the Edge Transport role as one of the five Exchange roles in Exchange 2007 and offered it again in Exchange 2010. The purpose of the Edge server role is to provide a solution for customers who require inbound SMTP connections to terminate in the perimeter network (DMZ), rather than in the internal network. Since most inbound SMTP connections are unauthenticated, some security departments are uneasy at allowing these connections directly to internal resources (your Exchange servers). Edge transport servers allow these customers to deploy Exchange without having to buy an SMTP gateway appliance.

For further security, computers running the Edge Transport role are not joined to the internal Exchange organization’s domain and cannot run any other Exchange roles. It is possible to join Edge servers to a separate DMZ domain for group policy configuration and common security configuration, but this is rare since most customers do not deploy Active Directory in their perimeter network.

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