Exchange and Outlook Blog

Aug 25, 2011

Exchange Connections: Office 365, Message Tracking, and More On Display

The fall tech conference season is just about upon us, and it's not too early to make your plans for the shows you plan to attend. There's nothing like getting away from the server room for a little interaction with your peers and exposure to the latest trends and technology. I've got a small teaser for the fall Microsoft Exchange Connections conference that will take place in Las Vegas, October 31 through November 3—along with a special offer for my readers. First, the special offer: Use the discount code UPDATE when you register for a $50 savings. If you register before September 1, you'll also receive the "early bird" discount for a total of $250 off. Now the teaser: I've got a preview of a couple of the Exchange Server–related sessions that will be offered at the conference....More
Aug 4, 2011

Smartphone App Addiction: It Could Be a Good Thing

What good is a smartphone? I'm sure if you ask most smartphone users that question—whether they're loyal to Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, or something else—they'll have no problem spouting a list of exciting things their mobile device lets them do: email, IM, gaming, Facebook, navigation. They might even mention its ability make phone calls, although that's probably an afterthought. It's the apps that make a smartphone. In fact, it's the apps that are changing our lives in dramatic ways—that is, if you're among the smartphone addicted.MTV Networks along with Latitude Research recently released a new study about smartphone app usage. The research involved a survey of more than 1,300 people who reported using apps daily as well as in-depth interviews with app consumers. The key findings of this research fall into two areas. The first area has to do with how our app addiction is changing our daily lives—and, at least in the way they’ve presented their findings, changing them for the better....More
Jul 13, 2011

Self-Inflicted Wounds with Microsoft Outlook 4

I sent out a Microsoft Office Outlook invite yesterday for a call I was planning to have this morning—or so I thought. It occurred to me sometime late last night, as I was wondering why neither of the intended participants had responded, that in fact that was because I hadn’t included any invitees on the invite. Big Outlook fail on my part—although I’d like to go ahead and blame Outlook for letting me send an invite with no recipients. OK, to be technically correct, Outlook didn't send an invite (and obviously, neither did I); because there were no recipients, I merely saved an appointment to my calendar instead of sending a meeting request. I had wondered why Outlook would allow me to send an invite with no attendees selected....More
Jul 7, 2011

Data Residency and Legal Questions About the Cloud 4

With the official Microsoft Office 365 launch last week, and all its related build-up and hoopla, I've been speaking with a lot of cloud vendors lately. Naturally, everyone wants to share what they can do to help customers who plan to adopt Microsoft's cloud-based collaborations suite that features Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Office Web Apps, among other features. However, one topic that continues to surface around cloud solutions such as Office 365 is growing legislation that mandates where data can be stored. Perhaps the best-known example of this type of requirement comes from Canada where, in reaction to the US Patriot Act, Canadian companies are forbidden to use cloud services that store data on US soil. Basically, Canada and other governments that enact such legislation are trying to protect their citizens by ensuring that data about their citizens is stored where that particular government body has legal control over what happens to the data. So, the Canadian government doesn't want its citizens' data to be seized as a result of provisions of the Patriot Act if it happens to reside in a data center in the United States....More
Jun 23, 2011

Another BPOS Outage, Office 365 Launch Days Away 1

I can tell Microsoft Office 365 is about to launch by the flood of related press releases and story pitches swamping my Inbox these last few days—from both Microsoft partners and competitors alike. It also convinces me, if there were any doubt, that this is big news, for Microsoft and the relat...More
Jun 16, 2011

Are Governments the Best Bet for Cloud Messaging?

Microsoft Office 365 will officially launch on June 28. Meanwhile, it seems not a week goes by that I don't see an announcement from Microsoft about some big new customer won over to its cloud platform, whether Office 365 or one of the various Microsoft Online Services such as Exchange Online, and of course Google makes the same sort of announcements about its new customers. For the last couple of years, it seems like most of the announcements about big new customers for the cloud have been for...More
Jun 16, 2011

Exchange 2010 Licensing: Take Our Poll

Last week, Paul Robichaux wrote about Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 licensing requirements. The topic was suggested by a reader email that explained a problem whereby in this reader's small organization, he was being told that he needed Exchange 2010 CALs for all users in the organization as soon as the first Exchange 2010 server is installed.Now, we've put together a survey about Exchange licensing that we'd like you to take....More
Jun 2, 2011

NFC and the Internet of Things

Two months ago, I don't think I'd heard of near field communications (NFC). And now, it seems to be coming up in daily conversation. Granted, my daily conversations tend to be with people in and around the technology world, specifically in messaging and mobile communications; your daily conversations might vary. But this often seems to be the way with tech terms: They burst on the scene, make a big splash, and before you know it you can't remember when they weren't part of the landscape.There's a lot going on with NFC, and a lot of companies betting big on this technology. In case you, like me, have had your head in the sand with regard to NFC, let's take a quick look at what it is, and what it might mean for mobile device support and your Microsoft Exchange Server organizations.At a basic level, NFC is a wireless communication technology that requires a very short range, typically 4 centimeters or less. One side of the NFC conversation is the initiator, which generates a radio frequency (RF) field that can power the target device, and thereby provide for exchange of data. NFC is mostly being talked about as a technology for mobile phones—so far—and there are a few basic functions it can perform. First, NFC could be used in a smartphone to read information from "smart posters" where information is encoded or embedded by way of RFID tags. Second, NFC can be used for peer-to-peer (P2P) communication, such as exchanging contact information between two smartphones....More
May 26, 2011

Messaging Options Don't End with Microsoft: 2 Alternatives

I've written before about the frustration many organizations no doubt feel as they're increasingly being told they need to move their messaging systems to the cloud—and not just any cloud, but Microsoft's Office 365. If not the cloud, you face the expensive and potentially difficult process of upgrading your Exchange organization to Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, unless you've already made that transition. If you're not using the latest and greatest, you're probably being urged into some upgrade path either to avoid problems with end-of-life software versions and aging hardware or simply to get the productivity advantages of the newest features. Sounds familiar, right? Well, I'd like to continue to tell you that you do have other options. Today I've got a couple for you to consider....More
May 20, 2011

Friday Fun: Zombie Apocalypses, Smartphone Addiction, and the Answer to World Peace

Well, Microsoft TechEd 2011 down in Atlanta is over. Apparently we've got some sort of rapture or other on tap for the upcoming weekend. And if that's not enough to worry about, the CDC is now warning people to prepare for a zombie apocalypse. That's right, the CDC: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an official organization of the US government. This is even bigger than that time the US Postal Service was used to prove the existence of Santa Claus.Wait a minute. That was a movie.My life has become a movie—is that it? I'm going with that theory for the moment. And as long as I am, and the world could end this weekend anyway, I might as well spill my latest crazy idea for ending all hate and wars and terrorism and creating world peace. It's a really simple plan, and yet radical at the same time....More
May 17, 2011

TechEd 2011: Exchange 2010 SP2 Features Demoed 1

Yesterday at Microsoft TechEd 2011 in Atlanta, attendees were able to attend a session entitled "What's New in Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP2: Featuring GAL Segmentation." This session marks the first public unveiling of many of the features that will be introduced in this second service pack to Exchange 2010, which is expected to be released "in the second half of calendar year 2011." The session speaker, senior program manager Greg Taylor, pointed out that service packs bring both bug fixes and new features, contrary to the old definition that focused only on bug fixes. And he unveiled some new features worthy of excitement.So, with that in mind, let's take a quick look at what you can expect to see in Exchange 2010 SP1. A couple of features are somewhat architectural. First, SP2 adds Cross-Site Silent Redirection for Outlook Web App (OWA). Essentially this means you can have a true single sign-on (SSO) experience even when logging into OWA through an Active Directory (AD) site that doesn't host the user's mailbox....More
May 16, 2011

TechEd 2011: The Cloud (Again), Windows Phone Updates, and Exchange Server Virtualization

The tweets and other official news releases are flying fast out of Atlanta today with Microsoft TechEd 2011 underway. This morning's keynote address from the conference, by corporate vice presidents Robert Wahbe and Jason Zander, focused a great deal on the cloud but also included big announcements about Windows Phone updates. Microsoft Exchange Server also has its share of the spotlight today with new virtualization support news.As I saw on Twitter, one attendee was overheard after the keynote to say, "It was all cloud cloud cloud, blah blah blah." Although this point is not strictly true, it certainly points out the feeling about the cloud in the mind of many IT pros: They're sick of it and probably tired of Microsoft (and others) pushing it all the time. Nonetheless, the message presented in the keynote about how companies can reduce cost, speed innovation, add flexibility, and so forth, is certainly something that will sit well with CIOs and other company execs. Of course, it would be good for them to keep in mind problems such as last week's 3-day outage of Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), which as Paul Thurrott notes was only partially explained by the company....More
May 5, 2011

Real-World Exchange 2010 Migration: Implementing the New Stuff

If you've planned or performed a Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 migration, you're well aware of how complicated the process can be. A factor that can make it even more so is having to support multiple OSs—Windows, Mac—and ensuring that the different clients you're running on those platforms are ready for the back end upgrade. Not to mention the headaches around multiple mobile device OSs, and the variety of update levels each of those devices might be at (yes, I'm looking at you, Android). After all the basic challenges have been met so that you can be sure to have a fully functioning messaging environment post-migration, it might be time to start looking at implementing some of the new features that Exchange 2010 brings with it. Of course, some of those features will actually figure into your design and deployment—using database availability groups (DAGs), for instance. And that's about the point where we left off in the last part of our discussion with the Penton Media IT team about their Exchange 2010 migration....More
May 4, 2011

Untangle Your Brain (Or at Least Your Outlook Inbox)

Today has been typical: My work (that is, interacting with both internal and external colleagues through email and IM and Twitter) has prevented me from doing my work (that is, writing and editing and all the other tasks necessary to publish content for websites and magazines). I've probably said this before: Outlook is a plague, but it's a plague we can't live without in the business world. Although there certainly are days I'd like to just rip the whole thing out, delete everything, and start from scratch.Do you have similar trouble managing your Inbox, calendar, and other streams of communication? Perhaps there's a tool that might help you to revise your habits or simplify your behaviors. Xerox Corporation has just released a free tool called Business of Your Brain, which analyzes your Microsoft Outlook email and calendar data and presents you some interesting statistics about what people, topics, and other nonsense is occupying all your time....More
Apr 29, 2011

Messaging and Collaboration for SMBs Without the Geeks

Are you a little tired of being told you need to migrate your messaging systems either to Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 or to Office 365, as if those were the only two choices left in the wide world? Assuming you need a technology refresh, you might want to consider other options, of which you'll find there still are plenty. It's true, if you're considering a cloud service, Office 365 has some compelling selling points, but you just might want to check out some of the competition: for instance, HyperOffice.The HyperOffice collaboration suite is a cloud-based service aimed at small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs). "With our mail, contacts, calendar, we're essentially an Exchange alternative," HyperOffice president Farzin Arsanjani said. "And then we have documents and projects and the rest where you straddle the line between Exchange and SharePoint to some extent. It's a full-blown business-class email with all the regular bells and whistles, with full spam control, and virus control, and quarantine control. It has filtering capabilities, folders, out-of-office replies, and we support it on many different mobile devices, many difference browsers—PCs or Macs, it doesn't matter. We have full support for POP as well as IMAP clients, and we have deep support for Outlook."...More
Apr 27, 2011

Real-World Exchange 2010 Migration: Staging the Move

Here at Windows IT Pro, our goal is to bring IT pros the information that helps you get your jobs done. Sometimes that means telling the stories of others who have already done a particular task. We're fortunate to be able to talk with our own IT department about the tasks they're involved in, such as the recent upgrade to Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. Like many organizations out there, our IT staff has to deal with budget constraints, employee adoption and communication, and justification to management for any changes they want to implement. In the first article in this series, I began the discussion with the two members of the company's IT team most responsible for handling the transition to Exchange 2010, senior systems architect Brent Mammen and Exchange administrator Sean Cox (see "Real-World Exchange 2010 Migration: Preparing for the Move"). Now, we move on to talking about the actual migration and the various problems the team encountered—and had to overcome—as the move progressed....More
Apr 22, 2011

Friday Fun: Droids Landing, iPhone Aliens, and the Continuing Saga of Smartphone Addiction

They're at it again at DroidLanding on Twitter, posting cryptic comments and links to bizarre videos, all leading to clues and a new smartphone giveaway. This time the scavenger hunt is for the Samsung Droid Charge, a forthcoming 4G LTE device. I've wasted a lot of time on these games for previous smartphones. I might give this one a miss. Or I might not. Follow @DroidLanding and the #chargelanding hashtag on Twitter if you're interested.And in case you think I'm just all about the Androids, no, I appreciate iPhone aliens, too. So here's a new game for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad (running iOS 3.2 or higher) called Alien Autopsy. Similar to the old favorite Operation game from Milton Bradley, this version lets you dismember an alien body, just as if you were in Roswell, New Mexico, back in 1947. The company press release promises "amusing sound-effects," including "an other-worldly scream" should you fail and wake the alien during organ removal. Should be a classic. From True North Productions, Alien Autopsy is now available from the iTunes AppStore....More
Apr 21, 2011

Real-World Exchange 2010 Migration: Preparing for the Move

Penton Media, the company that owns Windows IT Pro, recently completed an upgrade to Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, moving from Exchange 2007. After the migration was complete, I had a chat with the two members of the company's IT team most responsible for handling the transition, senior systems architect Brent Mammen and Exchange administrator Sean Cox.Brent has been with the company for just over four years, and was also involved in the merger of Prism and Penton at that time. A big part of that merger was upgrading to Exchange 2007 while converting half of the company from Lotus Notes to Exchange. Sean joined Penton a little over a year ago, but he's been working with Exchange Server since the days of Exchange 5.5. Although his title says Exchange administrator, he also works with storage, VMware, and other systems, as you might expect.The company has 20 offices around the United States, as well as one in the UK, one in Canada, and one in Hong Kong. Brent and Sean are based in Overland Park, Kansas. In this first part of our discussion, we talk about why the company chose to upgrade from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010 and how the IT department prepared to make the transition....More
Apr 18, 2011

Office 365 Enters Public Beta Phase

After months of invitation-only access, today Microsoft announced availability of the public beta for Office 365, so businesses eager to sample the company's cloud wares can now get aboard. Originally introduced last October, at which time a limited, private beta was released, Office 365 replaces Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), but is based on the latest releases of Microsoft's communications stack: Exchange Server 2010, SharePoint 2010, and Lync 2010. It also adds Microsoft Office, either as the online Office Web Apps or a downloadable desktop version of Office 2010, depending on subscription level.A lot of people look at Office 365 as a game-changer in the hosted space. Microsoft is offering a complete messaging and collaboration package which few can match, let alone beat, and it's mostly applications and technology that are quite familiar to most businesses....More
Apr 14, 2011

EAS Logo Program: Good Start, But Not Far Enough 2

Yesterday, Microsoft announced the Exchange ActiveSync Logo Program, which is designed to give IT pros confidence that they're allowing well-supported mobile devices to connect to corporate networks. Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) has become the standard protocol for mobile device syncing and policy control. The problem has been that even device makers that license the protocol from Microsoft can implement it at different levels on their smartphones and other mobile devices. The new logo program will certify that a given device meets a minimum level of EAS support.The program details 14 EAS policies that must be correctly implemented. They include such basics as direct push for email, calendar, and contacts; handling HTML email messages; autodiscover for over-the-air provisioning; and GAL lookup. But the required features also include some of the enterprise-level controls, such as remote device wipe, password requirements, and managing the number of acceptable failed logon attempts. Certification for the program to achieve the logo will be handled by a third-party lab, which makes sense when you consider that Microsoft wants to certify its own entrant, Windows Phone 7.But therein lies the problem with the program, as I see it....More
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