ENow Exchange & Office 365 Solutions Engine Blog (ESE)

A Practical Look at Exchange Database Internals Part 2: Transaction Logging and Recovery

Posted by Andrew Higginbotham on Aug 30, 2016 9:50:31 AM

In part 1 of this series, I discussed how to connect to the Exchange database cache and the importance of transaction logs in database transactions. In this next part, you'll learn how transaction logging and recovery work in Exchange. 

The following blog post is a trimmed-down excerpt from the e-book "Exchange Server Troubleshooting Companion."

Transaction Logging and Recovery in Exchange

Of course, there is another reason that Exchange writes transactions to the log files before being committed to the database (.edb) file. By quickly committing transactions to disk (via transaction logs), it means that the transactions exist in two locations; memory and disk. If a failure occurs that causes the Information Store to terminate unexpectedly, the most recent transactions are still available and can be replayed into the database from the transaction logs after the database is mounted and to bring the database up-to-date.

For a long time, it was recommended to place your Exchange database file (.edb) onto different spindles than your transaction logs. This is still the recommendation when only one copy of a database exists (non-DAG protected). In fact, this is not for performance reasons but to assist recovery in the event of a storage failure. Say you lost your database drive, leaving you only with the transaction logs. Technically, if you still had every transaction log present since the database was first created, you could use ESEUTIL to generate a new database and commit every transaction from the logs into it. However, this is not usually the case. People usually resort to an Exchange-Aware backup, which leads us to why an Exchange-Aware backup truncates log files. When a Full Exchange-Aware backup is performed against a database, the .edb file is copied to the backup location, as well as any transaction logs present for the database. With these files, the database can be restored and the database can be brought into a Clean Shutdown state, meaning all transactions in the logs have been committed to the .edb file and the database can be mounted. As the backup completes, it sends a command to the ESE database engine stating that any transaction logs older than a certain point can be truncated (deleted). These logs are no longer required on the Exchange server because we now possess a copy of them in the backup set.

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Topics: Exchange, MSExchange

A Practical Look at Exchange Database Internals — Part 1

Posted by Andrew Higginbotham on Aug 22, 2016 1:58:00 PM

The following blog post is a trimmed-down excerpt from the e-book "Exchange Server Troubleshooting Companion."

Exchange database internals might seem to be a complicated topic, but we’re going to briefly discuss database internals from a very practical perspective.

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Topics: Exchange, MSExchange

Upcoming Features for Skype for Business Online

Posted by Nathan O'Bryan MVP, MCSM on Aug 15, 2016 10:33:43 AM

Generally, I write about Exchange and Office 365 topics, but recently I’ve been doing more work in the Skype for Business Online area. That is still Office 365, but it’s an area I haven't paid much attention to in the past. Until the release of the E5 license with Cloud PBX, I don’t think there was a reason to pay attention to Skype for Business Online. It was really only good for IM and presence, and there was nothing to configure or set up there.

With the recent release of the Cloud PBX features, I’ve been spending a lot more time thinking about Skype for Business Online, so I figured I would start writing about it, too. In this post, I’m going to look at some of the upcoming Cloud PBX features.

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Topics: Skype, Skype for business

Activity Alerts in Office 365

Posted by Vasil Michev MVP on Aug 10, 2016 11:49:49 AM

With the ever-increasing number of services and features in Office 365, keeping up with all the changes can be a challenge. Keeping an eye on all the different ways a user can do harm, either willingly or by mistake, is not an easy task, either.

While the on-premises versions of Exchange and SharePoint do offer some form of auditing, many organizations were surprised to find out that things were quite different after their move to the cloud. There was barely any auditing in the beginning, even for tasks performed by administrators, and in other areas it was very limited. (For example, until recently, auditing owner actions was not possible in Exchange Online). It took several years for Microsoft to address those issues, but now we have a role-based, searchable, exportable, unified log across (almost) all Office 365 workloads and operations, as well as the corresponding APIs. In case you are not familiar with the unified audit log, this article is a good starting point.

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Topics: Security and Compliance, exchange online, Office 365, Office 365 security and compliance center

Get Your Top 10 Exchange 2016 Questions Answered at MS Exchange Con 2016

Posted by ENow Software on Aug 10, 2016 11:37:27 AM

As an Exchange administrator, keeping your finger on the pulse of leading business technologies can fall low on your list of priorities, especially as daily support tickets pile up. Often, admins also don't have the time or resources to spend a week at an out-of-state conference.

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Topics: MSExchange, Exchange 2016

New Features in Outlook and Exchange Online

Posted by Nathan O'Bryan MVP, MCSM on Aug 1, 2016 12:22:07 PM

Microsoft has been busy releasing features for Exchange Online over the last couple of weeks, so I thought this would be a good time to talk about three new features: Focused Inbox, Outlook Mentions and Certificate Based Authentication.

What is Focused Inbox?

Focused Inbox is a feature that came from Microsoft acquisition of Acompli in December 2014. Focused Inbox has been a part of the iOS Outlook app since it was launched shortly after Acompli was brought into Microsoft.

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Topics: exchange online, Outlook

Finding Real World Value in Azure Active Directory Premium

Posted by Justin Harris MVP, MCSM, MCM on Jul 27, 2016 6:21:38 AM

When you think about the value proposition for Azure Active Directory Premium, most of the features that are front and center revolve around self-service password reset, multi-factor authentication (MFA), SSO for SaaS-based applications, and enhanced reporting. These features are certainly all great examples of how the value of Azure Active Directory Premium can be demonstrated within the enterprise.

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Topics: Office 365, Azure active directory, azure active directory premium, azure ad application proxy

Migrating Distribution Lists to Office 365 Groups

Posted by Nathan O'Bryan MVP, MCSM on Jul 18, 2016 10:10:51 AM

Office 365 Groups (that’s Groups with a capital “G”) are a newish feature of Office 365 that allow for collaboration across several different cloud applications. Office 365 Groups are the cloud only evolution of Site mailboxes, a technology introduced with Exchange and SharePoint 2013 that gave users a single place to access data stored on both Exchange and SharePoint.

Since those days, Office 365 Groups has grown to include significant functionality. The problem has been that, at least until recently, there was no native migration path to transform your on-premises distribution lists into Office 365 Groups other than manually recreating them. In this post, I’m going to walk you through the process of migrating on-premises distribution lists into Office 365 Groups.

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Topics: Office 365, Office 365 groups, Office 365 Group migration

Meet the Azure AD PowerShell Module

Posted by Vasil Michev MVP on Jul 11, 2016 2:30:27 PM

Without any big announcements, a preview version of the Azure AD PowerShell module was released last week. In this article, we will go over the release in a bit more detail and cover some of the changes in comparison with the MSOnline module.

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Topics: Powershell, Azure, Azure active directory, azure ad, Azure AD PowerShell Module

Supervisory Review in Office 365

Posted by Nathan O'Bryan MVP, MCSM on Jul 5, 2016 9:14:12 AM

Security and compliance are big concerns for corporate customers moving to Office 365. As such, Microsoft is putting a lot of resources into ensuring that customers have the tools they need to ensure their data is kept securely and compliantly.

Recently, I went through the new Security and Compliance Center in Office 365 and wrote about the features and functionality that existed there. One section of the Security and Compliance Center that I did not dedicate much space to was a new feature called “Supervisory Review.” Today I plan to circle back and take a look at this new functionality in Office 365.

What is Supervisory Review in Office 365?

Supervisory Review is a new set of features in Office 365 that allows administrators to configure Office 365 to capture employee communications that meet specific criteria for examination by designated reviewers. The classic example of the need for this functionality is in financial services organizations. It has long been an industry requirement that an ethical firewall stand between those employees who trade securities and those who recommend securities to customers. Supervisory review policies are a way for management to enforce and monitor that ethical firewall.

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Topics: Office 365

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