Saturday, September 28, 2013

Exchange Server 2013 Transport Rules an Overview

Transport Rules plays a vital role in administrating the Mail Flow in any Organization. This topic is not new for Exchange Admins, I have written this post to show few good options that I come across with Exchange 2013 Transport rules and also few facts that can assist Administrators to know the limitation and show how to utilize the enhanced features and work up on the requirement when arise.

First let’s review the Overview of Transport rules with Exchange 2013 from TechNet 

Also read the subsequent Topics shown below one after another to gain adequate knowledge over  Transport Rules.

I am going to cover 3 topics with Transport rules today in this post and there are many things that you can do with transport rules, these are just few examples that I want to show as a reference.

1.Creating Disclaimers/Non-Disclosure Statement with Transport Rules

I came across a very good article posted by Alan Byrne on where he shows how to create Disclaimers in O365.

Since this beautiful post available I am referring it here for this requirement as I don't want to make this post even lengthier and all the options shown here are applicable for On premise Exchange Server 2013 Environment as the EAC options for Creating Transport rules remains the same.

Alan updates at the end of this post that we can use the active directory attributes to create customized transport rules. Below is one example where we are creating Transport rules to apply the disclaimer for emails sent to specific domain by using user’s department code.

I have highlighted the Exception section on the above screen shot because it plays a significant role in this rule where in it controls the disclaimer to be appended only once to the E-mail that is sent out and does not append each time for further replies and forwards.

This raises a question why can't we make the disclaimer to get attached below the signature for all replies and forwards, here comes the limitation that I was taking about, we have only option to either prepend or append the disclaimer text and we cannot make it appear under our signature for each forwards and replies and if we really need it then we need rely on any 3rd party application.

I found this information while I was working on a requirement and it was not documented anywhere in TechNet clearly and below is the article that I found from HP which explains this to us in a nutshell.

2.Creating Transport rules to block E-mails with particular subject

There will be scenarios when some user accidentally sends E-mail to a large group of users through a Org wide distribution list which includes even the VIP users who are not intended to receive the E-mail and one after the other users would start to reply over this E-mail requesting them to get removed from the thread and eventually causes the Mail Flood scenario.

In this scenario to further avoid mail flood first we will create the Transport rule to block E-mails with the specific Subject and delete it with out notifying anyone.

Once this is Done we can set delivery restriction to the Distribution list to avoid future crisis and also we can run the below Exchange PowerShell cmdlet that can search for this subjected E-mail and remove it from all the user's mailbox who has received it inside the Organization.

PowerShell cmdlet :

Get-mailbox -resultsize unlimited | search-mailbox –SearchQuery  'subject:"Leave Notifcation"' –   DeleteContent

Note:  The above shell can be executed easily in a On premises Exchange Environment as most of the Organizations by default enable Exchange Administrators group full access on all mailboxes inside the Exchange Organization, but this is not easy when it comes to Exchange Online in order to Search the mailboxes inside Exchange Online the user should be added to the Discovery Management Role group which enables Multi-Mailbox Search possible and also to use the DeleteContent switch user need to be a part of MailboxImportExport role group which needs to manually created as there is no such default group available. Also this same applies to Organizations that does not allow Exchange Admins to have full access on the mailboxes by default in a On premises Environment

Check the TechNet here: Messaging Policy and Compliance Permissions

Limitation : Unfortunately we cannot handle the situation if user tend to change the subject and start a new mail thread once again before our troubleshooting task is completed. Once the above shell completes the task the subjected E-mail will be deleted from the user mailbox and  we need ensure that we set the delivery restriction on the distribution list at the earliest as this will block E-mail delivery to the users and quite reduce the impact of the issue and we can work separately with the users who has modified the subject and continues to cause the trouble and update them to stop relaying E-mails further.

3.Block E-mail delivery with Attachments to particular domain and sent a customized NDR to the Sender and also create a Incident Report for the Admin over this Activity.

Here comes the enhanced features part on the Transport rules with Exchange Server 2013 , As you are aware that we have DLP features available with Exchange Server 2013, and these polices are applied through the Transport Rules and with this benefit now we can accomplish the above said task.

With Earlier version of Transport rules we still have the option to block emails with attachments to particular domain and notify the sender with the NDR. But we cannot generate an Incident for the Admin to track the user activity. We can now get this accomplished with the Exchange Server 2013 Transport Rules and enhance the Information Security of the Organization.

Let's explore how we do it.

In the above screen shot while selecting the Generate Incident Report condition we need to select the User who can receive the Incident report along with the required Information that needs to be included in the Report. Custom content highlighted in the above screenshot includes the below shown message properties that are available and can be included in the report and I have selected few for the example requirement.

Limitation : We will be able to select only user who has mailbox inside the organization to receive the Incident report and cannot include multiple users or distribution lists. and the suggested option is either create a common mailbox and grant access to the Administrators to manage the Incidents triggered or create a Outlook rule in the Mailbox that will automatically forward the generated Incident report to the Administrators mailbox.

Hope this post is a good one for the readers to get a refreshment on the Transport rules topic and explore things further.

Add-on Read:

Review the below Blog post to know few more examples and also steps to Export Transport rules from Exchange On premises to Exchange Online.


Windows Server 2012 Pocket Consultant

Windows Server 2012 contains many enhanced features and it's always good to know what is new in the product, how its different from it's earlier versions and also understand the changes that has occurred in terms of Administration. In order to know more on Windows Server 2012 Administration download and read this E-book from renowned Author William R.Stanek.

Download here : Windows Server 2012 Pocket Consultant

Grab your Paperback from Amazon and author has written a new eBook on the series for Windows Server 2012 R2 and its also available now.

Windows Server 2012 Pocket Consultant [Paperback]

Friday, September 27, 2013

PowerShell Basics

Today I visited WindowsITPro website and saw this latest post " PowerShell Basics: Formatting "  by Windows PowerShell MVP Jeffry Hicks, where he clearly explains what are the different formatting cmdlets available with the PowerShell, what they do, with real time demo which clearly explains their usage and provide us adequate knowledge on choosing the right formatting cmdlet on a requirement and also provides us the guideline to use the formatting cmdlets while executing with Scripts appropriately .

Formatting play a vital role when we execute any PowerShell cmdlet for viewing the results in an appropriate way, I read this post and it was really great, I wanted to thank Jeff for this excellent post and also share the same to my readers.

Also you can check other great posts from Jeff posted in the WindowsITPro website to lean more on Power Shell Basics and gain adequate knowledge in working with PowerShell.

Read the post here:


Additionally review the below Excellent post from Jeff to begin your PowerShell learning.

Review Here: Essential PowerShell Resources

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Virtualizing Exchange Server 2013

Virtualization has become a part of most of the Organization's IT Infrastructure, Virtualization techniques provide many great features in terms of High availability and Administration.

Exchange Server 2013 supports Virtualization same as its predecessor Exchange Server 2010 and running Exchange Servers in a Virtualized Environment is not a easy task as it involves proper planning over the deployment and strong knowledge for the Admins to manage the Infrastructure when a issue occurs to restore the service at the earliest.

Microsoft Team has provided many rich resources available for us to learn on this topic and understand before we decide to plan for adopting the Virtualized Environment for our Exchange Infrastructure, Let's learn this topic today.

First Let's begin by Understanding the Virtualization support with Exchange Server using the below TechNet article.

Microsoft Support Policies and Recommendations for Exchange Servers in Hardware Virtualization Environments

Once you understand the above recommendations, Let's take a look at the below TechNet article on Virtulization with Exchange Server 2013

Exchange 2013 Virtualization

Read here:

Once you understand the Hardware, Storage, Memory and other Virtualization requirements from above article, proceed to the next step by reading the below White Paper published by Microsoft Team on the Best Practices to adopt when deploying Exchange Server 2013 and Managing the Infrastructure in a Virtualized Environment.

Download here : Best Practices for Virtualizing and Managing Exchange 2013

Finally, View the below Teched Session from Microsoft to understand more on Virtualization in Microsoft Exchange Server 2013

View Here: Virtualization in Microsoft Exchange Server 2013

Also Check this TechTarget Post to avoid common mistakes when you plan for Exchange Server Virtualization.

Read here: Five virtual Exchange deployment mistakes to avoid

*Read the below new WindowsIT Pro forum post by Tony Redmond to uncover some of the reasons behind not to Virtualize Exchange based on few common scenarios before you start your virtualization roadmap for Exchange.

Review here: Is Microsoft really saying "don't virtualize" Exchange?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Microsoft Message Analyzer Available Now!

Microsoft Team has officially released the new Message Analyzer tool today for download, It's successor of the very well known Network Monitor Tool .

Every Administrator is very well aware about the NetMon Tool and its great features for capturing Network traces and Analyzing the protocol logs for troubleshooting most of the connectivity issues. As Microsoft Team always continue to improvise the product and include new features by course of time, its now time for the NetMon Tool and in this updated release they have made more significant changes to this new Tool not only by it's name but also on other advanced aspects for a enhanced experience.

Read the below post from TechNet blog to know more..

Message Analyzer has Released – A New Beginning

Read here:


Exchange 2013 DAG Webinar

Today I was checking MSExchangeGuru website and luckily found the latest post from Exchange Server MVP Prabhat Nigam regarding his Free webinar on Exchange Server 2013 DAG through Netcom Learning website.

This Excellent training is scheduled tomorrow 26th September from 1 PM - 2 PM EST [10.30PM - 11.30PM IST] and you can get yourself registered through website using the registration link provided and participate in the training to learn more on Exchange 2013 DAG concepts and also get your questions clarified from the Expert.

Below is the session details and the registration link.

Register here:


Update:  For Readers who missed to attend this session can now use the same registration link above to go to Netcom Learning website and download the presentation slides and also register themselves to view the recorded session.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Lync Server 2010 Architecture Poster

Lync Server 2010 Protocols Workloads poster is available for download from Microsoft which typically assists us in understanding how the workload is shared between different Lync Server roles in terms of all aspects of communication from normal Instant Messaging, Web Conferencing to advanced Federation and Enterprise Voice.

In general, If some one wants to know how a real time Lync Server 2010 Architecture would be in simple terms, then we will not refer them to this Workloads poster. and either we need to search for some Reference Topologies from Technet or create our own Visio Diagram, to make things easier I took Screen shot of a Lync Server Architecture diagram or I would call it as a poster from one of the Lync Teched Session delivered by none other than our Lync Expert Rui Maximo long back. and found the same today while organizing my Lync Materials and wanted to share it to my readers through this post.

This Poster is quite simple and great where it clearly explains how the Lync Server 2010 Architecture would be in a nutshell. Also I have uploaded the same to the ZoomIt site for your ease of viewing.

Check the poster here :

Understanding Active Directory

Active Directory is the heart of the Windows Server Environment, Every Administrator should have strong knowledge on what is Active Directory, what is it's use, how it functions, what are AD services and how to troubleshoot when a issue occurs and much more in detail to support the Organization's Infrastructure.

There are many resources available to us from Microsoft and also rich information is posted in multiple Technical blogs by Experts to learn more on this topic. Here in this post I would like to introduce you to the Microsoft Virtual Academy course "Understanding Active Directory"  provided by Microsoft to learn and understand Active Directory. 

Below are the topics covered and all you need is go to MVA training website and register yourself using your Microsoft or account and continue learning over the topic and additionally you will get access to other great Training sessions on all Microsoft Technologies up-to date in the Market.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

One More Update on Lync 2013 Client!

I saw a latest post from Microsoft TechNet blog posted by Jens Trier Rasmussen [MSFT], where Jens has updated that, now with the latest Lync 2013 September client update we will re-gain the functionality of adding picture from Web Address as a Lync Photo for the client, which is possible again and this option is not available in the client till date after the Lync 2013 client release.

Above said information is not enough as this feature will not get automatically enabled with the update and to get this feature enabled for the client it requires the Lync Administrator to configure a new ClientPolicy entry called EnablePresencePhotoOptions through Lync Management Shell.

Quick overview on this with the Lync client

Option Available with Lync 2010 client 

Option not available in Lync 2013 client so far.

 Option will be Enabled after installing the Update and Configuring the Client policy.

Once the option to Show a Picture from a web site is selected, user can specify the required web address and need to ensure that all the specified conditions are met before specifying the link and save the changes.

Lync Powershell cmdlets 

Read the blog post to know more on this enhancement.

Configuring picture from a web address in Lync 2013

Read here:

Additionally, check this Article on Configuration information for enabling Lync presence photo option

Read here: Lync 2013 client and and pictures from custom URL

*One more here: Using Lync like a LyncPRO – Look good in federated calls!

Lync 2013 September update is a quite significant update, where in it has not only made the above said feature possible for the Lync client it also re-gains us the Lync Presence Status functionality in System Tray as before and finally, It has also brought us one more new long-awaited feature "Lync Spell Check"

To Know more on this read my earlier updated blog post "Lync 2013 Spell Check"

Red Alert:

After installing the Latest September 2013 update we will have a new issue with the Lync 2013 client in terms of Meeting Presence status due to synchronization issue between Exchange Server 2013 and Lync Server 2013. Microsoft team is aware on this issue and posted the below KB article and updated that this issue will get resolved in an upcoming update.

Presence status isn't updated based on Exchange calendar in Lync 2013

Read here :

Update: This Presence issue is resolved with the new November Client update

Read here : 

November Client Update is more significant than the earlier ones check out the detils below to know more what new features and fixes it brings in for users.

Check here: November 2013 Update for the Lync 2013 Desktop Client

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Data Loss Prevention with Exchange Server 2013

Data is something which is critical for any Organization in any Industry or Technology, and to manage the sensitivity of the Data and also maintaining its privacy and security is the mission critical task and every Organization is spending huge amount of resources in performing this operation and it eventually takes additional cost for the management.

Let's get in to our topic, before Exchange server 2013 its predecessors supported Data loss prevention options for E-mail security provided by other 3rd party software and managing the solution required additional task for the Administrators to learn and gain adequate knowledge on the DLP software and configure the Exchange server accordingly in aligned with the Corporate Information Security policy.

With the advent of Exchange Server 2013 you don't need to rely on any other 3rd party solution for establishing DLP anymore as before. where in, it now comes as an in-built feature which can be enabled in few clicks and also easy to setup and manage according to our requirements without any special training or additional cost involved.

Every Exchange Admin is aware about the Exchange Transport rules and their functionality and this knowledge is suffice to establish the DLP, Also we have some predefined templates available which we can utilize to set up the policies at ease and also these policies are easy to understand and customizable according to our security needs, It ensures that sensitive data is not leaked out at any cost in E-mail perspective and provides warning message to users when they attempt to send any sensitive data, provides the option to either block those emails completely or override with justification and the most important one to consider is the reporting feature which notifies the Administrator or the Information Security professional on this activity made by the user as an incident with the custom report.

To learn more on Data Loss Prevention, first review the below TechNet article
Read here:

Once you complete reading the above article, review the below Microsoft Press blog post where you will get a real time experience setting up DLP.
Read here :

One more post over DLP in O365 : Office 365 compliance controls: Data Loss Prevention

Finally, It's always good to read things for understanding the subject and visually see things for experience.

Review the below Teched Session from Microsoft to know more on DLP in detail which also covers the new DLP capabilities in Outlook 2013.

View here: Data Loss Prevention in Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Outlook 2013

* Check my new blog post on Exchange Server 2013 Transport Rules Overview where  I demonstrated a bit of this feature in Action.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Disabling Lync access for Disabled AD Users

When you see this Topic you will get this question do I need to really need to disable Lync Access separately for a user  if I am disabling his/her AD account? the Answer is YES.

Today I saw the latest post from Ehlo World blog posted by Lync Server MVP Pat Richard on the Topic "Finding AD Disabled Accounts Who are Still Lync Enabled" this was quite informative for Admins because we normally thought when a user AD account is disabled it automatically disables his Lync access, but this was not the real case and disabled AD user can still access the Lync for about 6 months. Quite amazed when I heard this and wanted to share the same for the readers.

In his blog post Pat referenced the article posted by Exchange Server MVP Jeff Guillet on his "The EXPTA" blog titled "Disabling a User in AD Does Not Disable the User In Lync" in here Jeff clearly explains the reason behind the Lync sign-in access available for users even after their AD account is disabled.

Below is the extracted information from the blog post,

When User logs in to Lync Client and select Save My Password option, Lync server will generate an X.509 certificate for the user.  Lync will publish the certificate to Lync RTC database and distribute it, along with the private key, to the personal certificate store to the user on the local computer.  The certificate expires 180 days from the publication date and is used for further authentication for that user from that computer, Certificate authentication is convenient and speeds up the sign-in process significantly, but it means that Lync doesn't check the AD user account to see if it's disabled.  If a disabled user signs into Lync using certificate authentication, they will still have access to all Lync features including IM, web conferencing and Enterprise Voice until the certificate expire.

Read this blog to know more on how to fix this issue by revoking the certificate for the user and also disable the Lync access for that user.

Read here :

Check this new Excellent Article on this topic from MVP Andre Morpeth with real time demo and show us how this behavior actually works .

Check here: Lync Users Can Login After Domain Account Is Disabled 

It's now mandate that we disable users Lync access and also revoke this certificate when the user leaves the Organization along with our regular account termination procedures which safeguards the information security of the Organization.

Finally, Let's come to Pat's Post on "Finding AD Disabled Accounts Who are Still Lync Enabled" where he provides us with One liner Lync shell scripts that can help us Identify the users who's AD account is disabled and still enabled for Lync access and disable their access all at once on our environment.

Read here :

These posts are great and gives us an opportunity to understand this potential issue and take right steps in mere future when we have this scenario, and perform the appropriate action to get things fixed at the right time as guide lined and Thus, maintaining the Information Security for our Organization.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Windows PowerShell Web Access

Windows Server 2012 has brought in many great features with its release and one such remarkable feature is the ability to use PowerShell on the fly with the Windows PowerShell Web Access.

Windows PowerShell Web Access acts as a Windows PowerShell gateway, providing a web-based Windows PowerShell console that is targeted at a remote computer. This feature enables you to run Windows PowerShell commands and scripts from a Windows PowerShell console in a web browser.

Windows PowerShell Web Access runs only on Windows Server 2012. It is not available on earlier versions of Windows Server products. However, you can use the web-based Windows PowerShell console the gateway provides on any client device's browser that supports JavaScript® and accepts cookies.

More information is available in the below TechNet article on how to setup this feature on Windows Server 2012

Install and Use Windows PowerShell Web Access

Once you check the article you will see lot of steps mentioned to follow to enable this feature and its quite understandable, that it requires lot of time to read and understand each one of the steps involved for a successful deployment.

To make your work easier check this below post from Windows PowerShell Blog which provides you visual experience of deploying this feature through Video workshop from Microsoft which can be downloaded for Offline viewing.

Basic installation guide for Windows PowerShell Web Access

Finally, You can check one more great article posted in Aviraj Ajgekar Blog by author Aviraj Ajgekar from Microsoft where he clearly explains the steps involved to get this feature setup through a real time experience on his Lab environment and documented all the steps excellently for the readers to understand and perform a successful deployment

* One more new post from Exchange Ranger Blog on the topic with step by step instructions to install and configure Powershell Web Access at ease.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Window Azure Posters

Windows Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers. Build applications using any language, tool or framework. You can integrate your public cloud applications with your existing IT environment.

Microsoft future on Cloud relies on Windows Azure platform and it has very great features that cannot be explained in a nutshell and more information is available in the below Windows Azure website.

You have multiple Infographics posters available from the website for download through which you can learn more on different platforms visually and experience the great features of the product.

Review and download from here :

Microsoft Security Advisory Update on Internet Explorer Vulnerabilities !

Today I saw a tweet from Windows IT pro over the latest Security Advisory Update from Microsoft Team on Internet Explorer Vulnerabilities that could allow remote code execution, and the primary target is IE8 and IE9 but Microsoft team update that this could affect all supported version of Internet Explorer and they are working towards addressing this issue and also released a fix it that can resolve the issue for now.

More information is available in the Microsoft Security Advisory Bulletin

Check here:

Also you can get the fix it from the below link

Check and download from here :

Monday, September 16, 2013

Storage, High Availability and Site Resilience in Exchange Server 2013

Today I was sorting my browser bookmarks as they reached very high in numbers and luckily found three consecutive bookmarks I made for this topic last year and opened each one of those and started to read and got a clear refreshment on the great features that Exchange Server 2013 has brought to us in terms of Storage, High Availability and Site Resilience. and I had forgotten certain cool things in the course of time as I involved in other technologies and it's good that I got a chance to review them today to get back on track.

Enough of my story, These articles that I mention above are the rich resources to learn the new enhancements that is introduced with Exchange Server 2013 and every Admin should know all these features and how it works, what benefits we get out of it, what is required from our end to make this features work etc. I read these topics when Exchange Server 2013 was introduced and amazed over the product and started to read more and explore and I wanted the share the same to my readers to join along with me in the journey.

Let's get in to the Topic, to learn more on any Exchange related to Topic we rely on TechNet and this post is from the same person who is responsible for what you read on this topic from TechNet, I believe you would have already guessed who it is, Yes, its none other than our Scott Schnoll from Microsoft and taken from his official blog "Is This Thing On?"


This post is quite significant among the other posts written by him on his blog, where he clearly explains all the great features available with Exchange Server 2013 in comparison with its predecessors, which includes some great topics mentioned below

  • Multiple databases per volume
  • Autoreseed
  • Automatic recovery from storage failures
  • Lagged copy enhancements
  • Managed Availability
  • Best Copy and Server Selection enhancements
  • Maintenance Mode
  • Automatic DAG network configuration
  • Operationally simplified site resilience
  • Separation of Mailbox and Client Access recovery
  • Leveraging client-side DNS behaviors, such as IP failover for the namespace

Check the links below and it's a three part series as I mentioned above and I would request you to spend some time and read the complete series to know and enjoy the great features of Exchange Server 2013.

Storage, High Availability and Site Resilience in Exchange Server 2013, Part 1

Storage, High Availability and Site Resilience in Exchange Server 2013, Part 2

Storage, High Availability and Site Resilience in Exchange Server 2013, Part 3

Additional Bytes

Once you complete reading the series you will be having enough knowledge on Exchange Server 2013 and after this what you need is the visual experience and this is also provided to us by Scott through his Teched Session below

 Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 High Availability and Site Resilience

 View here :

Sunday, September 15, 2013

PortQry Tool to check your Port Status

When working with either Exchange Server or Lync Server or any other Server that use defined ports for communication, issues could occurs to end users when certain port is not opened or blocked due to firewall or other potential causes that make the service to go down and it becomes the Admin Responsibility to identify the root cause and fix it at the earliest.

Most of us will start to investigate by resolving the name of the affected server or the required record in DNS, then telnet to the target machine from the affected machine using the required port and identify where the issue is and then proceed with the troubleshooting.

This Post is about one of the Utility available from Microsoft called PortQry that comes in both Command line utility and also in UI format that helps us in the above said identification of open ports on the target machine at ease and we can access this utility and specify the Server IP address or FQDN and either select from the predefined Queries or provide the port that you need to verify the status and query for results. It will check both TCP and UDP ports based on your selection and give you the results.To add, one good use of this tool is we can export/save  the Query results and view it offline and analyze for issues.

Since this is a pretty old tool the default queries are not updated to the new server requirements and does not helps us much and we can use the manual specification option and provide the ports that we want to check separated from one another in the input and check the results . I wanted to share over this utility as this was not known much to us to and add it to our available list of troubleshooting  utilities.

You can download the utility from here :

To show you the tool functionality I tested the port 443 connectivity of Lync online from my machine.

Update: Check the below post from flinchbot blog to add Lync ports under the predefined Queries list for testing.

Read here:  PortQueryUI Config.xml File for Lync

Additional Bytes:

Most common and the best troubleshooting utility for analyzing most of the issue is Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer tool which supports both On premise and O365 environments.

Test Link :

Also we have one more tool called TRIPP (Transport Reliability IP Probe) available for testing Lync Online through which we can perform tests to identify the required ports are either open or blocked along with few other vital tests.
Preview of Test results

Test Link :

Multi-Tenancy and Hosting with Exchange and Lync Server 2013

In today's world Technology is expanding to the core where in everyday one new change or innovation occurs and it's hard to explore and manage everything at one shot. Now, every Organization who has enough resources available to manage its Operations and Service concentrates on providing the same resources as a Service to other Organizations who are looking for outsourcing their infrastructure support for reducing costs, to achieve better technical support, reduce more resources and for other various reasons.


Organizations that are providing the Service are termed as Hosting providers and either they use a shared server for providing you the service with enhance security and Mechanism that ensure the hosted Organizations are separated from one another by all means and they did not know they are hosted within the same server or we can have a dedicated server for the Organization similar to a private cloud support with some extra cost.

There a many Options available in the Market once you decided to Outsource the Service and let's get in to Our Topic for the day " Multi-Tenancy and Hosting with Exchange and Lync Server 2013". With the above discussion you got the idea what  Hosting means, Let's understand what is "Multi-Tenancy" the term itself is giving us a little answer, When we provide hosting service to multiple Organizations we call each one of them as Tenants. And each Tenant is independent of one another and they are different entities though they work over the same hosting server, the concept of providing support to these multiple Tenants is termed as Multi-Tenancy.

Exchange Server 2013 and Lync Server 2013 are the latest and greatest release of Microsoft Collaborative products out in the Market and every Organization is quite interested to explore the new products, test them to know its pros and cons along with the new features that it has brought in and then implement it to production. Both Exchange Server 2013 and Lync Server 2013 supports Hosting and Multi-Tenancy like its predecessor 2010 which Ideally helps the Organizations who are getting ready to provide the Hosting Service to Other Organizations and also for Organizations who are already in the Market to upgrade their existing Hosting Infrastructure for better service and support.

Hosting different Tenants is not a easy task when compared to design and deploy a single Exchange or Lync Organization on premises it requires more adequate resources, proper planning ,designing and caution on deploying the solution and finally know what is available and what is not for users and Admins for a successful implementation.

Above discussion has provided you some basic insight on what is hosting and what Hosting providers do and some generic information, Let's review some good resources available from Microsoft to know more on this and prepare yourself for either providing the hosting solution or to know how it works and how to support.

Review the below articles to know what is this Hosting and Multi-Tenancy and how this technology works with Exchange Server 2013 and Lync Server 2013 in a nutshell.

Exchange Server 2013 hosting and multi-tenancy solutions and guidance

Announcing the Release of Lync Server 2013 Multitenant Hosting Pack

Once you get the Idea, download the below documents and review the guidance and deployment suggestions provided inside to know more in depth and use the information as the guidance for designing and deploying the solution.

Download Link :

Download Link :

Download Link:

Though this Hosting technology seems like providing more benefits to the Organizations who have adopted this as a service and also for Organizations who are providing this service, eventually we can say it is not too much beneficial when compared to other available solutions like Office 365 or Google Apps in one way, because the cost involved in providing this service is quite high, providing continuous availability is not achievable as a downtime could cause multiple hosted Organizations to go down if the Infrastructure of the Hosting Organizations is not set up for High Availability and Fault tolerance, and also support users when they report issues regarding the service availability, hence Hosting Organizations should invest here more. Also some features are not available as it will be available with the On premises or a Private cloud deployment with an Hosted environment in terms of both user experience and Administration.

Even Major Services like Office 365 and GoogleApps etc are not exceptional from downtime but the infrastructure used inside these giant deployments are highly scalable and reliable through which the service is restored on time, but we cannot expect the same with all other Hosting vendors as the Infrastructure built by them may not match to this larger Service options and the resources to manage during these down time is also a key consideration. Keeping the downtime and Company's High availability considerations in mind Hosting providers need to design the solution and offering details should be clearly defined in the SLA before the customer opts the service.

Organization's requirement changes from one to another and it's the sole discretion or choice of the Organization to adopt the right technology that is suitable for their needs which addresses their complete requirement in terms of both cost and service availability. Hosted Services are still popular and will continue to emerge and if you are one who is planning to get in to this race, read the above articles and guidance documents and get yourself prepared to face the challenges and to provide a rich experience for you clients.

Finally, Read this below article which gives you some idea on the difference choices available for Organizations to adopt and their comparison with which you will come to know where the hosting service stands in terms of Microsoft Exchange based E-mail Services.

Read here:


Recently I came across this TechNet post on Understanding multi-tenancy in SharePoint Server 2013, Planned to include here as an add-on, If you are looking for knowing more on Multi-Tenancy with SharePoint then this TechNet page is the first one to begin.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Why Microsoft ?

Microsoft is a world leader in providing Information Technology Solutions and it's products have became a part of our lives for years. Also the best thing about Microsoft is they continue to improvise their existing products, develop new products and provide innovative solutions which meets the requirements and standards at all levels.

So you can think why do I ask this question "Why Microsoft ?" most of you know this answer and also have different views in answering this question, but my intention is not to get answers for this well known question and it's about introducing you to the Microsoft website called  "Why Microsoft"  this website is quite there for some time but most of us either did not get a chance to know on this or didn't get chance to review the website in detail to know more on Microsoft products and their future Roadmap.

Web Link :

Recently in twitter I started to follow this website and was amazed where in every day I used to get some updates from Microsoft and tweets that take me to the website's pages that provides rich technical White Papers, Great articles which describes Microsoft products and their enhanced features in comparison with its Competitors in the Technology Market and much more.


Twitter Link :

For your quick preview, access the below post from this website where they compare the feature differences between PowerPoint Web App vs. Google Slides

I receive great deal of information every day so I wanted my readers to get to know on this and review the great website and also follow it on twitter and utilize the benefits to know more on Microsoft products and stay up to date with the Technology.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Lync 2013 Spell Check

Today I saw this tweet from Lync MVP Matt Landis where he mentioned about the new Lync 2013 Client feature "Spell check" that is available now to save our time from performing this task manually as we do now before we IM any user during our conversation or during a Lync Meeting to exchange ideas.

One important information to note is, now the updates for Lync 2013 client are delivered with Office 2013 updates and this feature is available to us when we install the  Latest September Office 2013 update and unfortunately this update caused the Outlook 2013 client folder pane issue and revoked by Microsoft team and will be re-published with the bugs fixed and to know more on this review my post "Outlook 2013 Folder Pane Issue with September Public Update"

Here's the Spell Check 

Also to add more now we have one more feature re-enabled with this update which is the Lync presence status in the System tray where we have now is only the blue Icon with Lync 2013 client and need to hover it to view the actual presence status .

Current Lync 2013 presence status in System tray

After installing the update, Presence Status is show in the system tray as before.


More information is available in the below post from flinchbot blog explained in a excellent way.

Let's wait for Microsoft to re-publish the update to enjoy these features with the Lync 2013 client.

Update: The Wait is Over now the Lync 2013 client September 2013 Cumulative Update is available now and can be downloaded from the below location.

Download here :

Finally, Read this below excellent post from MVP Tom Arbuthnot on his blog where he walks us through the new features mentioned above visually. Also flinchbot blog mentioned above is updated by the author to include this recent update.

Read here :