One of the nice things about working with Exchange is that there’s lots of code floating around the Internet that can be browsed, contemplated, and then perhaps reused in your deployment. Such is the case for Set-Exchange2010Features.ps1, a PowerShell script that’s maintained by fellow MVP Pat Richard. This wonderful script is designed to help you install Exchange 2010 and all its requisite bits and pieces onto a Windows 2008 R2 server. Its value is that it installs everything the same way every time the script is used, so you end up with a server that’s configured properly to a known standard. Best of all, because it’s a script, the human has far less work to do, and what’s not to like about that!
Pat is a very productive creator of useful scripts and is all too willing to share his work on his site, where you’ll find other super contributions, such as New-PasswordReminder.ps1, which sends email to users to prompt them to change their password because it will expire soon. His work spans Lync 2010 as well, so you have scripts such as Get-CsConnections.ps1 to help understand the connections that Lync front-end servers deployed in a pool are handling. All good stuff and worth investigating if you’re looking to fill out your administrative toolbox with useful utilities.
Of course, Pat isn’t the only Exchange MVP who cares to share their work with PowerShell. In fact, part of the recognition criteria used by Microsoft for the MVP award is the nature and type of contributions that potential MVPs make to their technical community, so it’s not surprising that others share code too. For example, Mike Pfeiffer, author of the Microsoft Exchange 2010 PowerShell Cookbook, publishes thought-provoking posts on his blog about topics such as “How to manage your Exchange 2010 organization with PowerShell implicit remoting over the Internet” using a technique broadly similar to the way that you connect to an tenant domain to manage it with PowerShell.
MVP sharing doesn’t solely focus on code. We all know that background knowledge that illustrates how and why technology works in the way that it does is often gold dust when the time comes to solve problems. Something like Mike Crowley’s description of how to install the Office 365 DirSync component is a good example of how an individual can help many others with a step-by-step guide through a process that isn’t always as well documented as you’d like.
Speaking of dark corners of Exchange that deserve more illumination, head over to Glen Scales’s blog any time you need some information about Exchange Web Services (EWS). Glen creates code to do things like “an Out of Office board using Remote PowerShell, MailTips, and EWS.” It’s always great to have sample code to use as a guide (or a base) when you need to write something, and Glen provides more workable EWS samples than anyone else that I know.
Another example of effective contributions by MVPs is when they take the time to analyze different aspects of a new product release to explain parts that are often overlooked in the rush to examine the headline features. By now everyone probably knows about Address Book Policies, mini-OWA, and the hybrid configuration wizard in Exchange 2010 SP2. But did you know that Microsoft slipped some new scripts into the kit? Well, MVP Jeff Guillet noticed the additions and documented what he found on his blog.
Exchange MVPs are not the only people who make fantastic contributions to the technical community, and I don’t want to be misinterpreted as saying that they do. Sharing is caring, or so a purple dinosaur is reputed to say, and I think it’s a strength of the Exchange community that so many care to share as much as they do. The Exchange MVPs are just the headline acts, but they couldn’t do what they do without so many others who are willing to contribute, review, assess, and extend.