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Microsoft Announces Skype for Business

 
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  • Lync and Skype Users all keep their favorite features and functionality 
  • Lync and Skype users can all communicate with each other through federated services
  • Complete unification of platforms will drive greater unified communication adoption

Back on July 10, 2014 new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sent an email to all Microsoft employees that was published on the web for all to see.  His subject line: “Bold Ambition & Our Core

The Future of the Exchange Administrator

 
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By: Tony Redmond - 11/13/2014

Anyone who runs an on-premises Exchange environment today would be forgiven for wondering how long their job will last, at least in its current shape. The sales pressure from Microsoft and other vendors to influence CIOs to consider moving workloads to cloud platforms increases all the time and the inevitable fear is that jobs disappear once work is transitioned.

The situation for an Exchange administrator is pretty straightforward. The company can stay with on-premises Exchange for the immediate future as Microsoft’s support policy means that Exchange 2013 will remain in extended support until 2022 while Exchange 2016, due for release in late 2015, will be supported until 2025. The same support window applies for hybrid deployments where some workload stays on-premises and some runs in the cloud. On the other hand, the company might decide to go "all in" and embrace the cloud by moving to Office 365 or another hosted Exchange solution.



The Future of Software Defined Networking in Windows

 
windows server 2012

By: Jonathan Hassell - 11/12/2014 

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about networks and connectivity, especially, about how software defined networking is going to change the traditional networking landscape and how SDN fits in with current deployments, either on premises, in a hybrid cloud, or entirely cloud.

Are you familiar with SDN? “Software Defined Networking” does to networks what virtualization has done to hardware, and in fact, it has already begun to do its work:



Automating the Pruning of Stale Active Directory Users and Computers

 
AD

By: Adam Bertram - 11/04/2014
 

One of my current job responsibilities is managing Microsoft's Active Directory (AD). AD is an enormously useful product and fulfills many different roles. AD also comes in many different sizes. I've seen AD environments with a single domain and a single domain controller with a couple dozen users and computers to hundreds of domains with hundreds of domain controllers and hundreds of thousands of accounts. AD can expand to a nearly infinite size and the amount of objects in AD tend to grow quickly over time.


Azure AD Sync Tool HTML Report

 
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By: Michael Van Horenbeeck - 11/03/2014

Last year, Exchange Server MVP Mike Crowley wrote a script which would interactively report on the Office 365 Directory Synchronization tool. In the meantime –last September to be more exact – Microsoft released the new “Azure AD Sync Service” tool which seems deemed to replace DirSync at some point in the future.

As I do see the tool being used in production from time to time, effectively already replacing DirSync, I thought it would be useful to “upgrade” Mike’s script to work with the new kid on the block.



How to Achieve High Availability With Small Lync Pools

 
microsoft exchange 20132

By: Dennis Winkelmann - 10/27/2014 Since the release of Lync 2013 I have been dealing with customers who fall under a certain amount of seats (for simplicity reasons let’s call it 1000 users) and still continue to today. In Lync 2010 designing a small pool with two front end servers for high availability was much easier because it was a supported design by Microsoft. However, this has now changed with Lync 2013 (which I will describe later on).
During the 2014 Lync Conference I attended the session, “Planning for virtualizing Lync 2013” and noticed the trend in people struggling to present their customers with a descent solution.
Therefore the answer to what the best practices for Lync pools with a small amount of users are all while ensuring high availability is… well, it depends…
Let’s take a look at the facts for designing a high available infrastructure with Lync 2013:

  1. One Single Front End with the stated HW on Technet (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg398835.aspx) can host up to 6,660 users (Less than Lync 2010 as a lot of database features such as the presence state are now handled on the FE). – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg615015.aspx
    1. This is true for the user profile that is stated on Technet and can highly differ from your company’s user profile. -> http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg398811.aspx
    2. You should never run a FE on its own in a pool due to high availability reasons but first and foremost to achieve a quorum  - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg412996.aspx
    3. Running two FE in a pool is also not a good idea. Microsoft states there are a lot of caveats when running this and most importantly the SQL Server/ Mirror will come in to the quorum which isn’t a good idea. -> http://blogs.technet.com/b/rischwen/archive/2014/02/24/lync-2013-high-availability-deep-dive-architecture.aspx
    4. So what you will want is a pool with at least three FE Servers to have full high availability. But if you only have less than 1000 users, why would you need a pool that could potentially support over 10,000 users and risk wasting a lot of HW resources and money?!
  2. Microsoft states that for pools with a small amount of users, use two Standard Edition Servers in a backup relationship -> http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg398095.aspx

What that means: No real high availability solution, since you have to manually shift whenever a server comes down!
So what are the options left here? Scale down the (three) servers!
With a virtualized environment that shouldn’t be a big of deal right? Wait! Let’s see what Microsoft states concerning virtualization -> http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/confirmation.aspx?id=41936
Here are the best practices when planning your virtualized environment:

These are the DON’TS:







To Virtualize or Not to Virtualize Exchange

 
microsoft exchange 20132

Many already realize the overarching benefits of Exchange virtualization, but may have lingering questions regarding deployment, cost, complexity, configuration, support, third party applications, and more. Recently, ENow board member and Microsoft Exchange MVP Tony Redmond authored a white paper titled “Virtualizing Exchange 2013 – the right way” the document deconstructed the arguments for and against Exchange virtualization and presented recommendations and best practices for a level-headed deployment. 

Lync Call Quality Methodology to enhance the Call Quality and User Satisfaction (Part IV – Score Card)

 

Lync Call Quality Methodology to enhance the Call Quality and User Satisfaction (Part II – Server Health)

 

Lync Call Quality Methodology to enhance the Call Quality and User Satisfaction Part I: CQM

 
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