interesting things i have seen on the internet 30/12/2013

it’s been too long since the last one of these, but there were one or two challenges earlier this month (on the plus side, the overtime will pay for christmas). i apologise therefore for the unwieldy size of this post; hopefully you’ll have a quiet day or two before the post-christmas rush in which to go through and pick out items of interest. i’d like to think it’s all interesting, of course.


Exchange Design

mapi extensions for http. well, this is properly fascinating… instead of encapsulating the rpc call into an http packet, this adds mapi extensions for http, enabling outlook to connect to the CAS using nothing but http, if i’m reading it correctly.

there’s a new version of the 2013 server role requirements calculator. please don’t email Ross telling him he’s made a mistake. not unless you’re really really sure, anyway.

Tony Redmond has a cassandra post here about migrating to modern public folders. he’s never wrong, so i’d pay close attention to him on this.

Michel de Rooij has been playing with JetStress, and published this article on the differences in ESE performance between 2010 and 2013.


Exchange Troubleshooting

possibly the most useful article published in the last few months; the technet blog “top support issues” broken down by product, and in the case of exchange, by functional area as well. you’ll notice that issue number 1 is how to deactivate file level antivirus (FLAV) filter drivers. it amazes me how often disabling FLAV causes a problem to disappear. last month i posted a link to an exhaustive exclusions list for FLAV. here it is again.

there have been updates to the “current issues with Activesync and third party devices” article for exchange 2007 and exchange 2010 which may help explain some recent challenging behaviour. the fix for recent challenging behaviour has been to upgrade to SP3 RU2 for exchange 2010, by the way.

There are updates to the replacement for the MPS utility – the new Microsoft Diagnostic Tool. expect a more detailed post on how to use this in the near future, but for now, have a look at this KB article.

and here is the first unfixed bug in SP3 that microsoft will put their hand up to – attendees display incorrectly in outlook. not too serious, but i bet we’ll have someone moaning about it. workaround only, so far.

as previously mentioned, but it bears repeating, IE11 and OWA don’t play nicely together.

a quick and dirty guide to troubleshooting group policies and outlook. surprising how often group policies are at the root of weird outlook behaviour. not as often as third party plugins, though.


Exchange General

Earlier this month Tony Redmond had a great interview with Perry Clarke, the head of the Exchange Product Group at Microsoft. On premises exchange is definitely not doomed. definitely. While there isn’t that much technical content, it’s good to read the vision for Exchange, and an explanation of some of the problems experienced this year.

do i need DAC in a single AD site: Rhoderick Milne has a lovely summary of DAC here, plus a discussion of its use in a single AD site. (the answer is “probably”, by the way). it’s also worth reading his posts on RBACCU lifecycles and “6 mistakes to avoid with CU command line installations” You’ll be seeing a lot from me, and probably a lot of other people, over the coming months about CU lifecycles, service pack lifecycles and so on. for instance, read down a bit…

Rollup 8 for exchange sp2 and rollup 4 for exchange 2010 sp3 are released!

eh? it’s only five minutes since the last rollup was released! ‘sright – this IS the last rollup, but with security bulletin MS13-105 included – rollup 3 (for instance) has been withdrawn and replaced with rollup 4.

full details here:

Exchange 2007 SP3 RU12 –
Exchange 2010 RTM RU5 –
Exchange 2010 SP1 RU8 –
Exchange 2010 SP2 RU8 –
Exchange 2010 SP3 RU4 –
Exchange 2013 RU1 –
Exchange 2013 RU2 –

if you’ve downloaded rollup 7 for sp2 with the intention of applying it after the change freeze is lifted, then you might want to download it again, now.

there are a lot of posts about the demise of forefront UAG, but the advice regarding TMG last year holds true – it’s still supported, it just won’t to be available for purchase, a bit like the vauxhall frontera. a lot like the frontera, in fact; overpriced and unpopular. WAP is the future for exchange 2013, we’re told, but configuration advice is pretty thin on the ground. i’ll have a more detailed post on options later.

here’s a nice post on the correct way to use new-mailboxSearch, which may be timely for some of you.

using powershell to get public folder permissions. a series of useful cmdlets for listing and manipulating public folder permissions in exchange 2010 and 2013.

you’ll all know how to add full mailbox access for another user; however you might not be aware of the way to disable the automapping that inevitably follows. Paul Cunningham also has a useful script to get an ActiveSync device report.

There is also a useful pair of posts on the EHLO blog about understanding the Activesync mailbox log, for those who’d like to dig a little deeper.

Techtarget’s top exchange server content of 2013. some of this is interesting. some of it is probably less so. very few people (other than me) care about the demise of the MCSM, for instance.

Tony Redmond has an article on running Exchange 2013 in the cloud. synopsis; it’s possible, but not supported. yet.

Steve Goodman’s article on important Exchange skills and topics is useful as a checklist – if you’re weak on any of this, now you know what you need to learn (hybrid deployments, in my case).

the EHLO blog has a couple of useful posts on the new litigation and in-place hold functionality in Exchange 2013 and Office 365, and a general introduction to managed availability. you may recall i’ve posted before on how MA is likely to affect customers who see every MDB x-over as a disaster.

Core General

how to build your ADFS lab on server 2012 part 1 & part 2.

we’re going to be seeing a lot of ADFS this year, i should think, so it makes sense to have a good play with it. as an added bonus, the lab includes a bit of message analyser work, the all-singing, all-dancing replacement for netmon. yes, i AM still using wireshark, as it happens, but i feel guilty about it.

how to monitor traffic to your DCs.

i am really excited about this post. now all i need is a spare day or two to play around with it. or someone to log a call which looks like it might benefit from this approach…

“hi nick, i’d like to log a call about out of office not resetting correctly”

“great, we’ll need to follow the method outlined in this article on DC traffic!”

A real life memory pool leak

i love this article – it details the troubleshooting process really clearly. he also calls out three rules at the end which are incredibly important, and, in my experience, always overlooked:

  • complex environments spawn complex problems – we need to co-operate with other teams, not just look for an opportunity to chuck a problem over the wall into their laps.
  • benchmarking, baselining, call it what you want – it’s vital. if you don’t know where you’ve been, it’s difficult to know where you are.
  • don’t assume you know what the problem is without looking at the evidence. it’s all too easy to spend a lot of money fixing stuff that isn’t broken.

Office 365

henrik Walther’s guide to configuring an office 365 trial subscription – well, you’ve got to start somewhere. I’d recommend keeping an eye on his blog, here, and also on the main website for more useful office 365 resources. i’m a bit of a novice when it comes to office 365, so if anyone has any useful resources that I have missed, then please let me know, and i’ll include them.

Paul Robichaux has a nice guide to the office 365 beta exams, for those who are thinking of taking them. the warning about the amount of Sharepoint Online material looks pertinent; i’m very proud of my total ignorance regarding sharepoint, but it looks like i may have to rectify that…

Timothy Heeney has an interesting post on why URL filtering is a better way to secure access to Office 365 than IP filtering.

There’s a list of recent and upcoming office 365 support webcasts from the ignite website here. some of these look pretty good, but i’ve not gone through any yet, so it may by hype… if the “hybrid config wizard and hybrid free/busy” presentation from Timothy Heeney (again!) is anything like his live presentation, it’ll be excellent. (Adriaaaan!)

Tony Redmond has this useful post on the use of Office 365 as a test bed for on-premise exchange, and how to get a heads up on the changes that are likely to be coming in future cumulative updates.


right – that’s it. there was lots more i could have posted about, but if you’ve made it this far, you’ve had enough, i should think.

Thank you all for your feedback and encouragement this year. I wish you all a peaceful and prosperous 2014.

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