Tony Redmond's Exchange Unwashed Blog

Apr 21, 2016
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Cherish your arbitration mailboxes - just in case! 1

Arbitration mailboxes made their appearance in Exchange 2010 as a special form of mailbox that is designed to be used by Exchange itself rather than a user. In short, there are times when Exchange needs to stuff data away for one reason or another and it makes sense to use a mailbox for this purpose. After all, mailboxes go in databases and can be protected by high availability, and so on… The full set of arbitration mailboxes is exposed in all its glory by running the command:...More
Apr 14, 2016
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Recycled email addresses and Outlook nicknames

The revelations (last October) that Microsoft is quietly recycling email addresses from its Hotmail, Live, and Outlook.com domains might have come as a surprise to some. According to an email statement from Microsoft to PCWorld.com cited in the article, when an account becomes inactive, “the email account is automatically queued for deletion from our servers....More
Apr 12, 2016
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Managing the dumpster - setting quotas for the Recoverable Items folder

The “dumpster” has been a feature of Exchange since Exchange 2000 to provide a last-chance opportunity for users to recover deleted items without having to ask an administrator to restore data from a backup. The current implementation, introduced in Exchange 2010, uses a folder structure under the Recoverable Items folder rather than a special database view....More
Apr 7, 2016
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Why an open archive API is needed to transfer data between cloud services 1

Microsoft is listed as one of the “Challengers” in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving (29 October 2015), which is testimony to the hard work and effort put into building out the compliance features over the last few years since their debut in Exchange 2010....More
Apr 5, 2016
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Understanding the overhead in an Exchange mailbox database

It’s taken me a while to get around to mentioning the rather useful “Database Growth Reporting” script for Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2013 that was described on the EHLO blog in January.  My apologies for this lapse in service. All I can plead is that other stuff got in the way between now and then and that I never really had a chance to test the code out thoroughly, which is a prerequisite before commenting on software....More
Mar 31, 2016
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The ultimate cloud email heresy

Email systems seem to be in a perpetual state of migration. Since 1996, the on-premises implementation of Microsoft email technology has gone through nine major changes, or roughly one every two years. No sooner are you done and dusted with one migration than the next appears on the horizon. It’s a wonder that we get any real work done at all....More
Mar 29, 2016
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Comparing Office 365 releases to the measured pace of on-premises software 3

Experienced administrators at companies that decide to move some workload from on-premises to the cloud are confronted by many challenges. I’ve covered some of those in recent posts, such as the lack of advanced training and figuring out how to cope with service outages....More
Mar 24, 2016
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The path to native high availability for Exchange

I received quite a few notes after recent posts covering how Exchange’s storage demands have evolved over the last decade and what this means for third-party vendors who sell high-end storage. Some pointed out that the storage vendors won’t mind too much if some of their market has disappeared because Exchange now favors JBOD....More
Mar 22, 2016
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The curious case of the blank default retention policy in Exchange Online 2

Recently I had occasion to check the default retention policy (called the Default MRM Policy) for my Office 365 tenant. As you do, I ran the Get-RetentionPolicy cmdlet and saw the following:...More
Mar 17, 2016
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Office 365 Admin Center switches to jazzy new interface 2

At the start of March, Microsoft began the process of switching out the current version of the Office 365 Admin Center to a fresh design. The new interface has been in preview for a couple of months and is now the default view exposed when portal.office.com is accessed by most tenants. Curiously the switch occurred despite the fact that the new interface is not yet functionally equivalent to the older Admin Center....More
Mar 15, 2016
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Lots of Exchange on-premises updates to install 4

Microsoft launched Exchange 2016 on October 1, 2015. Five-and-a-half months later Exchange 2016 has its first cumulative update (CU1) along with a batch of other updates – Exchange 2013 CU12, Exchange 2010 SP3 RU13, and Exchange 2007 SP3 RU19....More
Mar 14, 2016
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Exchange 4.0 cleared to fly 20 years ago today 8

I awoke this morning to a note from Iain McDonald to remind me that it was twenty years ago today that Microsoft approved the release of build 837 of a new product called Exchange Server. After being signed off in March 1996, the formal launch happened the following June. It took time to get the “gold” build sent to manufacturing so that copies could be distributed to customers plus all the ancillary activities such as marketing....More
Mar 10, 2016
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The @ legacy of Ray Tomlinson

I was sad to learn of the death of Ray Tomlinson on March 5. For those who don’t know, Ray was the engineer who figured out how to send email between computers in 1971. Part of that effort was the selection of the at sign (@) as the delimitation between personal account name and email domain for addressing messages....More
Mar 8, 2016
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The downside of being a filer and other reasons why Outlook's cached limits might bite you 6

One of the points I made in “How Exchange’s Recover Deleted Items option could be improved” is that it would be nice if Exchange could track the folder that an item was deleted from so that the item could be restored there if required. Some said that this wasn’t needed because they never use anything but the Inbox and Sent Items folders....More
Mar 3, 2016
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Exchange mailbox anchoring runs into stormy waters

When Microsoft announced that Exchange 2013 CU11 and Exchange 2016 CU12 would implement a “mailbox anchoring”, a new way of connecting Exchange Management Shell (EMS – or PowerShell if you like) sessions to Exchange servers, I weighed in with some thoughts on the topic and basically said that the new approach was a good idea....More
Mar 1, 2016
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How many ways can Outlook archive an item? 1

In January, I spoke with Javier Soltero, the new General Manager of the Outlook development group, about his plans, hopes, and aspirations for revitalizing the Outlook client family, including Outlook desktop....More
Feb 25, 2016
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Dynamic Office 365 Groups might come with a big cost

The law of unintended consequences erupted in full force after Microsoft announced their joy at being able to deliver dynamic Office 365 Groups in December. Dynamic distribution groups have been used since Exchange 2003, so the concept is well understood....More
Feb 23, 2016
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In praise of the humble archive mailbox 3

A recent Microsoft blog lauded the wonders of online archives, specifically of the type made available in on-premises Exchange and Exchange Online (just in case you thought otherwise). Interestingly, the post says that “studies suggest that three-fourths of an organization’s intellectual property is contained within email and messaging systems.” ...More
Feb 18, 2016
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How Microsoft’s focus on low-cost storage impacts the Exchange market

Following my post on “The story of Exchange IOPS” outlining the journey of Exchange from being an I/O hog to something far less demanding on storage systems, a recent request from Josh Odgers from Nutanix to consider his post “Peak performance vs Real World – Exchange on Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV)” seemed to be opportune....More
Feb 16, 2016
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The story of Exchange IOPS: How a crusade to make Exchange less of a storage hog enabled a successful cloud service 1

The history of software is littered with examples of grand strategic changes that never amounted to much when implemented. The crusade to reduce the number of disk I/O operations generated per user per second (IOPS) is an example of how a big bet paid off....More
What's Tony Redmond's Exchange Unwashed Blog?

On-premises and cloud-based Microsoft Exchange Server and all the associated technology that runs alongside Microsoft's enterprise messaging server.

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Tony Redmond

Tony Redmond is a senior contributing editor for Windows IT Pro. His latest books are Office 365 for Exchange Professionals (eBook, May 2015) and Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Inside Out: Mailbox...
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