Exchange and Outlook Blog

Jul 19, 2012

Exchange 2013 Preview: A Strange, Stealth Launch, But Take a Look

We've entered a new era, people, through the looking glass, and all that -- in so many interesting ways. It starts with the stealth launch of the Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Preview earlier this week. Microsoft buried this news under the high-profile launch event for the new Microsoft Office suite. The 2013 versions of SharePoint and Lync, which are also now available as Preview editions, both were called out during that event, but Exchange 2013 was entirely absent.What I find so unusual is how Exchange Server has been relegated to the weeds, in a sense, much like Windows Server 2012 was during the Windows 8 launch a couple weeks ago. Microsoft has definitely chosen to go with a more consumer-focused face at the moment. On the other hand, the low profile given to Exchange during this launch might be Microsoft's attempt to save the excitement for what they'll be presenting at MEC in September. Still, the fact that there hasn't even been a write up on the Exchange Team Blog as yet almost makes it seem like the team members themselves were taken by surprise....More
Jul 10, 2012

Android 4.0 ICS Comes to Razr Maxx: A Review

So I'm just back off vacation -- yes, I had a great time; thanks for asking -- and while I was away, my Motorola Droid Razr Maxx received the update to Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). Finally. Seems a bit strange to just now be getting this as new when all the talk is shifting to the next Android version, Jelly Bean, but that's the way this ecosystem works. Because I wasn't at work when the update came, checking email, calendar, Twitter, and so forth throughout the day, I really didn't experience much of what's new in ICS. Now that I'm back to the routine, my smartphone has again resumed its position as my constant companion, and I've been getting enough ICS to cause a brain freeze. Which is to say, I'm not entirely sure I'm pleased with the update. To be sure, ICS is a big update with many changes -- probably the biggest update in Android history to date. I'm left wondering the whys and wherefores of many of the changes, however, which seem largely to be change for change's sake. My biggest concern initially is that overall battery life seems to be suffering with this update: My superior Razr Maxx battery life now appears to be performing merely as good to acceptable....More
Jun 21, 2012

Load-Balancing Exchange 2010: KEMP Hits the Mark

Regardless of the size of your organization, setting up and running a Microsoft Exchange Server infrastructure can be a complicated proposition. Exchange Server 2010 provided numerous improvements in the way of high availability, compliance features, and other niceties and necessaries, but with new features come new complexities, such as the need for careful load balancing to make sure your Client Access servers are available to serve client connections at all times. IT pro Charlie Muir has firsthand experience of what it takes to successfully load balance an Exchange 2010 environment. When Muir started as head of service integration at international law firm Hill Dickinson, they had just completed a migration from Novell GroupWise to Exchange 2010 but hadn't employed load balancing. Muir was instrumental in helping the firm choose and implement KEMP Technologies's LoadMaster load balancers for their environment....More
May 31, 2012

Office 365 and the Development of Exchange 15

Excitement about the next Microsoft Exchange Server release seems to be growing, fueled in large part by the Microsoft Exchange Conference (MEC) 2012 that's scheduled for September. Exchange 15, or Exchange 2013 as some believe it will be officially called, will have its grand coming-out party at MEC. Ideally, we won't have to wait until September, however, for the Exchange team to release a public beta of Exchange 15 and begin to discuss some of enhancement they've been working on for the past several years.Of course, users of Microsoft Office 365 might already be testing features or improvements that won't debut for on-premises deployments until Exchange 15 arrives -- such was the impression given to me by Exchange General Manager Kevin Allison when I spoke with him last fall. Customers who plan to run on-premises Exchange "can have more assurance that this has been run at scale, it's got higher quality," Allison said. "They understand how it's being used and how they can drive that functionality into their businesses. I think that whole model helps facilitate a better on-premises experience."...More
May 24, 2012

Smartphones, Mobile Devices Transforming Corporate IT

Growth in smartphone and mobile device use and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend in corporate IT is now having a backward effect on PCs....More
Mar 29, 2012

Carrier Bloatware: The Android Plague 4

It's time to talk about carrier bloatware on smartphones. Actually, it's long past timed. You know what I'm talking about: It's all those apps that come pre-loaded on your new phone when you buy it, most of which are trial versions or apps for subscription services offered through the carrier. I had read a little about this problem prior to getting my Motorola Droid Razr Maxx recently, and now I've had the displeasure of a firsthand experience.I understand the phone manufacturers' and carriers' desire to include these apps on new phones. It's a simple way of advertising additional services they offer (in the case of their own apps) or of collecting a fee from another app publisher for that placement. It's the same thing that's been done on Microsoft and Apple desktop OSs for years. The problem here is that many of these smartphone apps are now being preinstalled in such a way that you, the end user and owner of the smartphone, can't uninstall the app if you don't want it....More
Mar 15, 2012

Proactive Data Management for E-Discovery: Become Your Company's Hero

Have you ever had to respond to an e-discovery request for your company? Sometimes just the thought of facing a legal action can make seasoned Exchange Server administrators want to turn in their passwords and retire or find a new career as a janitor. Microsoft Exchange Server is a trove of information in almost any organization, but will you be able to find what you need when slapped with a discovery request?Although email and Exchange Server aren't necessarily the only targets of e-discovery, it's quite possibly where the bulk of your data resides. "Email makes up so much of what is discoverable," said Barry Murphy, co-founder and principal analyst for eDJ Group, an analyst firm focused around e-discovery and information management. "There's this notion that everything passes through the Exchange server at some point, so it's usually the number one priority in any kind of e-discovery," Murphy said....More
Feb 17, 2012

Smartphone Security & Nomophobia

I learned a new word this week: nomophobia. It's a made-up word, but then all words were made up at some point. When I first saw it, I thought it might be the fear of baseball players with names like Hideo Nomo or Nomar Garciaparra. Instead, it's defined as a fear of being out of mobile phone contact -- "no-mobile-phone phobia." As a self-professed smartphone addict who's already grown quite attached to my Droid Razr Maxx, I had to stop and consider this word. I saw this term in the results of a study sponsored by security vendor SecurEnvoy. According to this survey of 1,000 people in the United Kingdom, 66 percent admitted to suffering from nomophobia....More
Feb 16, 2012

Microsoft Office 365: Security and On-Premises Requirements

At the Cloud Fest 1-day conference in Denver last week, one of the first things Microsoft's David Chow said during his opening keynote was, "There's no glory in running email anymore." There probably weren't many Exchange Server administrators in the room because there was no laughter. I mean, seriously: when was there ever glory in running email? The point Chow was making, of course, is that businesses don't want to focus on running an email system such as Exchange, which means that considering a service such as Microsoft Office 365 makes a lot of sense. Let Microsoft make it their business to manage email so that you can focus on whatever your business's goals are. Right? Chow is director of product management for Office 365, so that's a message he's well-positioned to make....More
Feb 14, 2012

Lync 2010, Load Balancing, & Bandwidth 1

How is your Microsoft Lync 2010 deployment going? Are you even looking at Lync? I recently ran a poll about Lync adoption on the Exchange & Outlook page of, and I was surprised by how many responders said they were already using or were planning a move to Lync 2010. Pleasantly surprised, I should say. The poll results indicated that 45 percent of respondents were already running Lync 2010, and another 8 percent were using Lync 2010 through Microsoft Office 365. Further, another 24 percent said they were currently planning to upgrade to Lync 2010. That leaves less than a quarter of respondents who were sticking with their current unified communications (UC) provider, whether that was a previous version of Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) or a competing UC platform....More
Feb 7, 2012

Droid Razr Maxx: Return of a Smartphone Addict

It's been a while since I've written anything about my life as a smartphone addict. The reason is simple: It's a little embarrassing to claim the moniker of "smartphone addict" when you're stuck using a mobile device from the Stone Age. Of course, the Stone Age in mobile technology at this point is anything more than a year or 18 months ago. As of today, however, I've abandoned my stalwart original Droid by Motorola and am now using the Droid Razr Maxx. Two years ago, I wrote about my selection process that landed me on my first smartphone, the Droid. At the time, there were signs that the Android mobile OS was on the rise, but it still felt like a bit of a risk. I certainly have never regretted my choice, even with all the -- quite legitimate -- problems with the Android ecosystem, ranging from malmare in the Android Market to OS version fragmentation across devices that can be a real headache for IT departments....More
Jan 30, 2012

Free PST Capture Tool Now Available: Beginning of the End for PSTs?

Microsoft didn't quite make the predicted end-of-year 2011 release for its PST Capture tool that was originally announced last summer. But the good news is, as of today you can get this long-awaited -- and free -- tool in the Microsoft Download Center.The aim of this tool is to discover PSTs throughout your network, including on PCs, fileshares, even USB drives, and give you the ability to import them into Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 or to Exchange Online. "As we've had a lot of success with our archiving technology and people adopting Exchange 2010," said Ankur Kothari, a senior product manager with Exchange, "one of the things that customers have been asking us for is the ability to stop having these rogue bits of data across their organizations." PST Capture helps fight this problem by collecting PSTs "in a centrally managed place so that they can do things like discover against that data or have appropriate policies in place that will expire content, or keep it, as needed," Kothari said....More
Dec 15, 2011

Lync Mobile Clients from Microsoft Debut 3

It took a year after the release of Microsoft Lync 2010, but this week Microsoft finally released mobile clients for its real-time communications server. That means you can access your corporate Lync server for IM, presence information, and related goodies, from your smartphone. So far, Microsoft has released clients for Windows Phone and Android, with iPhone, iPad, and Symbian versions expected any time now. The smartphone addicts among us will rejoice....More
Nov 11, 2011

Droid Razr vs. iPhone 4S: Head to Head, in Commercials

It's always exciting when a new Motorola Droid smartphone hits the streets, as with today's release of the Droid Razr on Verizon. Of course, it's much the same with Apple's iPhone; they just don't happen as frequently. In comparing some of the official promotional commercials for the Droid Razr and the iPhone 4S, it's clear these companies approach things quite differently. Let's have a look....More
Nov 10, 2011

Exchange 15: Insights from Exchange Server GM Kevin Allison

At last week's Microsoft Exchange Connections conference in Las Vegas, Exchange General Manager Kevin Allison gave a keynote entitled "Moving Into the Future with Microsoft Exchange." Before moving forward, Allison took time to apologize for and explain the problems the Exchange team had earlier in the year with updates to Exchange 2010. Personally, I think that was a really good move -- something I think doesn't happen enough in our society, let alone from big corporations....More
Oct 27, 2011

Using OWA Over Outlook: An Experiment

I've been spending some time with an old friend of late, a friend we call OWA. When Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 launched about two years ago, improvements to Outlook Web App (OWA) was one of the major themes: conversation view, MailTips, integrated presence and IM, all available with full-featured OWA versions on multiple browser platforms. The question I had at the time was if OWA was now good enough to replace Outlook on the desktop altogether.For many people, undoubtedly the OWA experience truly offers all you need in an email and calendaring client. But my recent immersion in OWA has highlighted the gaps that still remain between OWA and the complete Outlook desktop version you get with the Microsoft Office suite. To start with, let's look at some of the positives....More
Oct 25, 2011

New BlackBerry Cloud Service Links with Office 365 - 25 Oct 2011

It's so rare these days to hear any good news about the BlackBerry ecosystem. As one of my colleagues put it in conversation yesterday, RIM seems to be circling the drain on its way out, potentially leaving space in the mobile market for Microsoft's Windows Phone to assume third place by default. But today brings some good news from RIM for BlackBerry users.RIM announced the public beta of BlackBerry Business Cloud Services for Microsoft Office 365. What this means is that if you're using, or planning to move to, Office 365, you'll now be able to continue using your BlackBerry devices with that service as well. RIM will host the service (which I know will give some businesses shivers, considering the recent BlackBerry outage), and it will feature a web-based console to allow administration of BlackBerry devices from anywhere....More
Oct 20, 2011

Exchange 2010 SP2 . . . Coming Soon? 1

I've been wondering whatever happened to that next service pack for Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 that was announced way back at TechEd 2011 in May. The lack of information lately almost makes it feel as if this update has been forgotten. Microsoft said at the time that Exchange 2010 SP2 would be available "in the second half of calendar year 2011," which is where we find ourselves now, with time quickly running out.Microsoft has a history of releasing Exchange Server updates in early November, so I wouldn't be surprised to see SP2 make its debut within the next few weeks. That would also be in keeping with the idea of having Exchange releases and updates adhere to a regular rhythm, a notion espoused by Exchange General Manager Kevin Allison.So, as a reminder, Exchange 2010 SP2 will include a plethora of bug fixes—naturally. But in keeping with the recent standard of service packs being about fixes and new features, SP2 also includes a few noteworthy additions....More
Oct 6, 2011

Mobile Device Management in the BYOD World 1

How important is mobile device management to your business? We've gone beyond the days when organizations could simply standardize on a single device, or even platform, such as BlackBerry, and manage everything the same. It's not even just iPhone or Android smartphones anymore; the iPad has launched the tablet space in earnest. The BYOD world has taken over. I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing. If you can increase employee satisfaction and effectiveness by letting them use the mobile devices they love best, it seems like an easy win—provided your IT department is prepared to manage the variety of devices such a situation brings....More
Aug 30, 2011

Exchange Server 2010 Deployment Trends: Michael B. Smith Has His Say

Microsoft Exchange Server expert and author Michael B. Smith has a technology career spanning almost 30 years. His first job in IT was while he was in college in the early 1980s (picture not available, but I'm imagining some really great hair). After working for a few different companies over the years in IT departments, in 1999 he started working in IT consulting, working largely with building hosted Exchange environments. Michael published his first article in 1984 in Byte magazine, and since that time he's written a couple hundred articles, over 400 blogs, 2 books, and contributed to 4 other books.If you're attending this fall's Microsoft Exchange Connections, you'll be able to share in some of Michael B. Smith's well-earned messaging wisdom as he'll be presenting several sessions. Michael is also, by all accounts, an accomplished swing dancer, and although I can't say you'll get to see that skill displayed—well, you just never know, do you? You still have a couple of ways to get a discount on conference registration. First, the early bird discount has been extended until September 8; second, use the code UPDATE when you register for an extra $50 savings.Now let's see what Michael had to say about the current state of Exchange server deployments and what you might expect to see at Exchange Connections....More
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Exchanging ideas, news, and reviews about Microsoft Exchange and Outlook, and the wider fields of messaging, mobility, and unified communications.

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