Monthly Archives: November 2013

Exciting things I have seen on the internet November 18 2013

Performance Tuning Guidelines for Windows Server 2012 R2– ok- it’s a little early for most of us (like, two years too early), but it never hurts to get a jump on these things. This is pretty comprehensive (meaning looooong), and I’d suggest you read it BEFORE you’re up to you’re a**e in alligators.

AV Exclusion Recommendations  here you go – everything. With a cherry on top. There is now NO EXCUSE for a server to be incorrectly set up. This document makes a great Christmas present, by the way. All my family are getting hardcopy.

Dual IPv4/IPv6 name resolution this is very interesting. Really. For those of who think you can ignore it because you’ve got IPv6 disabled – Microsoft recommend  you DO NOT disable IPv6 –  stop being naughty.

Clint Boessen’s 5 minute guide to office 365 migrations. If you’ve only got five minutes, but want to know about office 365 migration… this’ll do it.

There’s a new version of the MBSA out. You know what it stands for, you use it regularly, in fact, I’m shocked you haven’t told me that it was released. I guess it just slipped your mind, yeah?

Last month I told you all about the new on-prem Outlook Connectivity Guided Walkthrough tool – well the Ehlo blog has finally written a post on it. So slow. So very slow.

Here’s a really good post by Andrew S Higginbotham on troubleshooting Transport agents. We’ve got at least one issue like that rumbling along at the moment.

Fixing failed content-indexes from Paul Cunningham

Tony Redmond has once again written a bunch of interesting and useful articles:

In fairness, there’s very rarely a post on his site that isn’t worth reading, for one reason or another.

Exchange 2013 CU2 doesn’t let you have more than 50 databases, despite it claiming otherwise. It’ll be fixed in CU3, apparently. I’ll let you have the list of things that are BROKEN in CU3 when I get it. Sigh.

Talking of CU3, it’s late. I could tell you why, but etc etc. let’s just say something cropped up at the last minute. Again. It’s getting predictable and boring, now.

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Review: Microsoft Exchange 2013 Cookbook

I’ll put my hand up here and say that Packt gave me a free copy of this book to review; hopefully this hasn’t influenced my opinion too much, but free stuff is always nice. If someone would like me to review a Lamborghini (or even a new Volvo), I’m prepared to put myself out.

The technical content of this book is very good, as you’d expect from a team that includes Michael Van Horenbeeck. It’s one of the Packt “cookbook” series, and so is not intended to be an exhaustive catalogue of features like the “unleashed” books, nor a guide to design. This book is solidly in the “how do i…?” end of the market with the pocket consultant series, only more so. Each section follows a pattern where the task is introduced, instructions are given on how to perform it with the exchange admin centre, then with powershell, along with advice on which is appropriate for a given need, then there is a section explaining how the task is accomplished in more depth, then there is a short section containing references and a little bit of further information. It starts out with installing the prerequisites, goes through all the common config requirements, explains the basics of high availability, transport rules, certificate config, RBAC and so on.

There’s no fat here. Unlike, say, the “unleashed 2013” book which repeats the same information three or four times to fill its thousand-odd pages (even when it’s incorrect!), if you blink with this book you’ll miss something important. In a more in-depth book this might be an issue, but the content here covers the common scenarios with only the occasional digression into the unusual, such as how to prevent noderunner holding a database you want to delete, or the plain weird, such as how to do autodiscover redirection.

It’s plain that pretty much everything in the book is a result of real-world experience. Again, other books are clearly just reworded versions of technet articles – this is absolutely not the case with this one. The authors have carried out all the tasks in the book (many times, I would think) and so the procedures you get are the ones you need, and will work for most common scenarios. The authors are also happy to cover community resources as well as official Microsoft ones, so there are references to Paul Cunningham’s excellent powershell tools, among others. The writing style is easy and mostly engaging, and the layout is clear and obvious. Michael Van Horenbeeck is an active Exchange and UC community member and blogger and I’m sure would be happy to answer any questions people might have regarding the content.

It’s not all sunshine, however. The authors have an awesome amount of experience and knowledge, but the book itself could use a little sympathetic editing – at times the idiom is clumsy and unclear*, and there are some howling misprints and typos – for example the command to disable admin audit logging is the same as the command to enable it, apparently. In one case, this strays from the obvious misprint into slightly murkier waters – eseutil is referred to as “repairing” a database in dirty shutdown, when the command given is for the altogether less scary recovery (recovery is correct, here…). Having said that, proofreading costs both time and money; this book is well priced and timely, and I’d suggest that those are possibly more important than elegant grammar.

If what you want is a straightforward “how to” then this book is a good price, and will cover most of what a small to medium business would want from an email system. Given that the “pocket consultant” series now runs to two volumes, and is significantly more money, this is the front runner in the market. If design or exhaustive technical detail is your bag, then this isn’t aimed at you.

*given that all I can do in any language other than English is swear and order a beer, I am clearly in a great position to criticise.