Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy whatever…

To All My Liberal Friends and Colleagues:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2010, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wish.

To My Conservative Friends and Colleagues:

Happy New Year, in the year of our Lord, 2009/2010!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Exchange 2010 Transport Architecture Diagrams

The Exchange 2010 transport server role architecture diagrams are now available for download. The Hub Transport Role Architecture diagram can help you understand the different transport components involved in processing and routing messages, the different transport and routing agents that act upon messages and the SMTP events on which they are triggered, and visualize the mail flow.

transport diagram

The Hub Transport Extensibility diagram can help you understand how different transport agents process a message in the Exchange 2010 transport pipeline.

Both diagrams can be downloaded from Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Transport Server Role Architecture Diagrams.

Note that Exchange 2010 includes internal or built-in transport agents which are not visible when you use the Get-TransportAgent or Get-TransportPipeline cmdlets. The list includes transport agents that implement Information Rights Management (IRM) functionality- the RMS Protocol Decryption agent, Journal Report Decryption agent, RMS Encryption agent, and Prelicensing agent, as well as the Journaling agent. To learn more about transport agents, see Understanding Transport Agents in Exchange 2010 documentation.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It’s Official: RIM/BES Supports Exchange 2010!

It has been announced on the EHLO Blog yesterday that RIM now fully supports Exchange Server 2010.

In order to enable full support, three updates are required:

All three of these updates are available to customers of Exchange Server 2010 and BlackBerry Enterprise Server v.5.0 with Service Pack 1 at no cost. BlackBerry Enterprise Server v5.0 Service Pack 1 and Maintenance Release 1 can be found here:

Additional information on the solution requirements, preparing the BlackBerry environment for Microsoft Exchange Server2010, can be found on the BlackBerry site here.

Today's roll up also includes other minor updates to areas including calendaring, OWA, and transport. You can read more about Exchange Server 2010 RU1 here.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Office 2010 Beta Released to the Public

Office 2010 (or more importantly Outlook 2010) Beta has been released to the public on Technet, MSDN, the Beta Connect site now!

Here are the apps available
Search Server 2010 Express Beta (x64) - (English)
SharePoint Foundation 2010 Beta (x64) - (English)
Office Web Applications Beta (x64) - (English)
Visio Premium 2010 Beta (x64) - (English)
Visio Premium 2010 Beta (x86) - (English)
FAST Search Server 2010 Beta for SharePoint (x64) - (English)
Project Server 2010 Beta (x64) - (English)
Project Professional 2010 Beta (x64) - (English)
Project Professional 2010 Beta (x86) - (English)
Office Professional Plus 2010 Beta (x64) - (English)
Office Professional Plus 2010 Beta (x86) - (English)
SharePoint Designer 2010 Beta (x86 and x64) - (English)
SharePoint Designer 2010 Beta (x86 and x64) - (English)
SharePoint Server 2010 Beta (x64) - (English)
Business Contact Manager for Microsoft Outlook 2010 Beta (x64) - (English)
Business Contact Manager for Microsoft Outlook 2010 Beta (x86) - (English)

These are the new icons…

One of the many new feature changes from the earlier Office 2010 CTP release is the ability to enable color schemes and specifically black. I do like this feature and this color choice since it allows for more emphasis on the document and less on the menus.
MS Word 2010 in Black color scheme

MS Outlook 2010 in Black color scheme

 Message Reviewer showing social networking features

 This is pretty awesome as it shows you the RSS feeds from this person, the emails received, the attachments they have sent me, the appointments I have with them, and the OCS IM transcripts we have had together. (kinda brings a lot of Xobni into Outlook by default)

I think this download is a great thing for everyone to try out… Come and get it!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Exchange 2010 Deployment Assistant

Microsoft has released an updated "basic" Deployment Assistant to aid organizations with guiding them through the basic process of implementing Exchange 2010 in an existing Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2007 organization as well as a newly created organization. It does give good information for those organizations that are smaller or only needing some basic information. I think it is a good start for those organizations that are complex in nature or for those that do not have very experienced on site engineers. Of course, I might be a bit biased ;-) based upon my consulting background.

The Deployment Assistant is available at

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Exchange Server 2010 Reaches Public Beta

I can't believe it is finally time for me to openly (well sort of) announce and discuss the Exchange Server 2010 product which has now gone into its first public Beta as of today (04/14/2009). You can now download the public beta at this site! So, let's get down to a few of the features coming in Exchange 2010 (at least those I can opening discuss so far J ).

  • Exchange 2010 should be in full release mode by the end of the year (according to this PCWorld article)
  • Rumors have also been floating around the Internet recently that the forthcoming Office 14 (most likely will be Office 2010) will not ship until sometime in calendar year 2010.
    • Both product names would seem to be accurate since Microsoft typically names its products after the fiscal year in which they ship, not the calendar year. Microsoft begins its fiscal year each July 1st.
  • Microsoft's stated direction for new server products is to release both an On-Promise server solution as well as a hosted service based solution (currently known as BPOS).
  • It appears that for those existing BPOS customers, they will be given the option of upgrading to the new Exchange 2010 capabilities online starting in the first half of 2010.
  • When Exchange 2010 ships, it is expected that organizations will be able to support both an On-Premise and a Service or hosted solution seamlessly within the same company. This provides many companies I have worked with in the past the ability to support year round employees "On-Premise" and yet offer a Hosted solution for temporary or seasonal workers. This could very well benefit organizations that have large seasonal work forces that didn't or couldn't move to Exchange because of the cost involved in ramping up servers for the seasonal workers. It will be interesting to see the eventual licensing model that Microsoft chooses to use for this…

With this new version of Exchange, there are a large number of significant changes to the product that I will be discussing in some detail over the next few weeks/months. For now, I will focus on one new feature that enables organizations to create and easily support a more granular administration model. With Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft published White Papers such as Configuring Permissions in Exchange Server 2007 and Exchange 2007 Permissions: Frequently Asked Questions. With Exchange 2010, although no White Papers are yet available, the permission model is much simpler and is based upon the Roles (not the Exchange permission set as it has been in all previous versions of Exchange). For example, an organization might need to grant specific permissions to search and access specific mailboxes if they are a Compliance Officer or Human Resources Manager in the company (according to Julia White, director of the Exchange product management team). What took a great deal of effort in Exchange 2007 and often with only limited success will be done in Exchange 2010 with relative ease.

I am very excited about this Exchange version, more so than I remember being about any other version in the history of Exchange. And yes, for those of you who don't know me, I have been working with and implementing Exchange since the Early Adopter program for Exchange 4.0 (the very first version) and also worked with MS Mail, CC:Mail, and others before that. The Exchange Product Group has come a long way with this product and has really listened to customers with regard to some of the key pain points they experienced in earlier versions of Exchange. The Product Group, in my opinion, has worked hard to resolve these pain points in Exchange 2010, often in very creative ways that I think will "Just work".

In future posts, I will be covering these topics related to Exchange 2010:

  • Storage goals and design changes
  • OWA Feature Updates
  • Management and Permission Changes for users and administrators
  • Compliance with Exchange 2010
  • High Availability and Disaster Recovery
  • Unified Messaging Improvements
  • Migration to Exchange 2010
  • Developer API Changes

Stay tuned…

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Exchange 14 Web Services Preview

Ok, so Microsoft finally has release some information I have been dying to talk about with respect to Exchange 14. Microsoft is preparing to release with Exchange 14 a managed API for Exchange Web Services that can be utilized by developers to access Exchange data within mailboxes such as folders, email, calendar, contacts, etc… The Web Services approach is nothing new as it existed in Exchange Server 2007, but most applications written for Exchange Server 2003 or 2007 still used WebDav. Exchange Web Services is the new WebDav. There is already a sample Vista Gadget available today to demonstrate this functionality.

Go here to get more information on Exchange 14 Web Services and the announcement

Here is the PDC2008 presentation on Exchange Web Services Managed API

Go here to read more about the Managed Web Services API from MSDN.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Microsoft makes available Outlook 2007 Pre-SP2 Performance update

Microsoft has released (in February of this year) a cumulative update for Office that is a pre-release of fixes due in Service Pack 2. I have been running this for a few weeks now and the biggest changes in this update are these:

Outlook Improvements

  • Improved responsiveness (reduced I/O disk usage and improved UI response time)
  • Decreased Outlook startup time
  • GREATLY improved exit/shutdown time (this one is HUGE since it resolves the issue with Outlook not really shutting down when you ask it to).
  • Improved performance for folder and view changes
  • General reliability of calendar updates especially in delegate manager scenarios

General Improvements

  • Reduced Data File Checks (this is noticed when you see the message "The data file <file name> was not closed properly…")
  • Improved search reliability
  • Fewer duplicate RSS items
  • General security improvements

A full list of improvements and fixes included in this update are available at:

The update is available on request from this site:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Using PowerShell to Provision Active Directory Users

In the last two issues of TechNet Magazine, Don Jones of Concentrated Technology, has written about scripting (and therefore automating) the creating of users accounts within Active Directory. He does use the Quest Active Roles PowerShell cmdlets to accomplish his goal, so if you don't have that, some of the details might not work for you as described. However, he does go into good detail on some basics of PowerShell scripting such as using Process blocks, and imputing data into the pipe by way of a csv file. He also includes video demonstrating the techniques. So far, 2 of the 4 parts to this story have been published, so keep watching here or on the TechNet Magazine site for the last 2 parts. All in all, it is worth the read.

Source: Automating User Provisioning, Part 1 and Automating User Provisioning, Part 2