Monday, December 30, 2013

Join with me in the IT Journey into the Past 2013...

It’s now time for all of us to step in to the New Year a head and to take a look the past events occurred this year at a glance. This year 2013 is quite significant than the past as we found many remarkable changes in our IT Environment and many new Technologies was innovated and reached to a unimaginable state and more new products released to the market which are even more robust that its predecessors and major enhancements made to the existing ones and most of all we can say this year is the year of enlightenment for the future of IT, where it showed us how the upcoming growth is projected with the current enhancements and Market strategy towards the future.

There are many events occurred in this year and it’s tough that we can recall all of them at once, so I decided to bring out few vital events occurred in the field of IT so far this year and how it changed the Market altogether and went far and beyond our imagination.

Let’s begin our Journey to the past…

Cloud Computing on the move…

Compared to any other year 2013 is the Era of Cloud Computing as far as I can see with my personal experience, This year most Organizations adopted Cloud Computing to their existing IT infrastructure some even started to provide their own hosting services to other consumers and major Organizations re-designed their products to support the Cloud and new learning opportunities are developed for getting adequate knowledge on this platform and IT folks already made aware on this and now started to dig more on to this from their current technology and even started do cross plat-form training in various new domains, with this I can say the next year we will have more domain experts for Cloud than the current state.

Prepare yourself for Hybrid…

In continuation with the above topic now Organizations and Administrators need to learn and evaluate more on Hybrid Cloud Architecture where in we have the great option of extending our IT Infrastructure to the Cloud and manage both the Cloud and On premises Environment seamlessly . As with my earlier post where I referred the Gartner’s prediction that by end 2017 we will have most of the Organizations will be using Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure.

Significantly, Microsoft, VMWare, Citrix , Amazon etc., and more Open source Cloud providers have designed their products in such a way where in they not only support the traditional Public or Private Cloud Infrastructure and they will the flexibility of supporting Hybrid Cloud environment and even recommend this deployment method in various instances.

New Product releases and enhancements this year at a glance...

There are many products released last year and the earlier version of the products were enhanced to the core with major innovations this year to provide rich design, deployment, Administration and User Experience than ever before.

I may not be completely covering the entire enhancements as I get a chance to know and work with only few of them under my expertise and providing them here for your reference and you can look out in the internet to see the complete list appropriately, Apologize If I miss out something.

I will begin with my Technology Exchange Server and Lync Server, this year was quite significant as we have more major enhancements made to Exchange Server 2013 and Lync Server 2013 products along with its companion products like SharePoint 2013 and Office Suite which forms a tight integration with each other and provide a enhanced experience for users when they use all of these Technologies in their IT infrastructure either On premises or with Cloud which is eventually Office 365 .

Also I myself worked with Microsoft team for the Wave 15 Service Upgrade to the Major Environment I support and gained rich knowledge and Experience during this process and identified new issues and product bugs and work together and resolved with Microsoft team and you could refer my earlier posts over this experience as I updated them under O365 section whenever I gained a new Experience and also this year O365 support is quite good in performing their role in terms of support and innovations of providing new features to the end users and complete Organizations IT requirement with their product line like BI support, EOP, OWA web access for Mobile devices, Email security enhancements like encrypted email much more which you can review at the Office 365 Technology blog as well as my Blog under the O365 Section

One more point to add is the new deployment feature of Office Suite which is no longer rely only on the traditional installation mechanism and the new Click to run deployment on installing the product in minutes and continue to use products during the installation currently in place and also Office on demand or some key futures to consider.

Now let’s take look at the Microsoft Cloud OS Windows Server 2012 and R2 release of this product which is the base for the Microsoft strong Cloud infrastructure as well as most of the Organizations started to evaluate and upgrading their Server Infrastructure to include this product and get the great benefits out of it. Along with this we have the major Companion for building the Cloud Infrastructure which is our System Center 2012 R2 products and now Microsoft team is concentrating more on this part and even free Training and Certifications vouchers are available from Microsoft Virtual Academy. And finally we have our Microsoft Cloud platform Windows Azure which now tops the market with its flexible capabilities and most Organizations now evaluate Azure as never before and Microsoft team enhanced this platform to the core where in now it provides major support like extending your IT On premises IT Infrastructure to cloud and easily provides Cloud storage and integration with BI and Big data products which meets the Organization’s IT forecasting and also provide strong Security features which makes it a favorable one among other competitors.

Along with this Microsoft other Technology vendors like VMWare enhanced their products like VMware Vcenter , VMware Horizon Suite, VCloud Suite and few other with more innovations and great features which are strong competitors with other virtualization vendors in providing various services like ITaas, Daas, Caas, and tradional Paas, Saas, Iaas etc., moving IT Infrastructure to the next level, significantly Citrix released their major desktop virtualization product Xen Desktop 7 and compete in the Market along with above vendors and to challenge these three major Vendors Open source products like Rackspace , Open Stack, Cloud Stack etc are gaining momentum to join the race and all of these are now running behind none other than our Amazon with its AWS which is now tops the Cloud computing market and now even more enhancements made to AWS like the new AWS workspace for providing VDI solutions to the end users to compete with other established vendors and with all this being said this year we had more innovations done on various product line in comparison with one another to meet the Organization requirement not only in terms of cost and also with various enhanced benefits and eventually it mandates the need of Architects and Administrators to know more on all of these product line and evaluate them and choose the best for their Infrastructure , we can see more enhancements next year with the past happenings this year as the proverb goes “Coming events cast their shadows before”.

New Guys on the floor…

In continuation with our Technological innovative discussions we should not leave other major players who changed our current IT infrastructure and eventually assisted in preparing for the future like Software Defined Networking, Network Virtualization, Orchestration, Consumerization, Mobility (BYOD) and few other enhancements which gained more momentum this year and promoted by Major vendors in their Architecture and adopted by various Major Organizations in the IT industry.

I got some opportunity to attend few major live and virtual events this year on these topics and got more information on these and amazed how new Technologies are brought in to the existing environment and how they typically assist the Organizations in meeting their goal with reduced cost and High availability of services both internal and external in a secure way and form the basis of how robust IT can be and how it will be in the mere future.

Education Opportunities Broadened….

Unlike the past years where you need to spend more money for learning new Technologies now Major IT vendors made their product learning more flexible where you can learn most of them for free through On line virtual events and boot camps and to add our own renowned IT experts started to dig more in to the Technology and provide free On line training events and boot camps and share their technological blogs to readers in a more efficient way and these are not restricted to one Technology and you have more available outside and I wrote most of my blog posts referring to those in this year for your visibility and personally gained more knowledge and expertise this year in my entire IT carrier, hope this would be the same for you.

Few major ones are Microsoft Virtual Academy, Ignite events, VMWare webcasts, Netcom Learning and much more to add up.

Innovation is the key for changes and this year it is even more robust and now opportunities for IT folks is broadened where they can share their own innovations to the product group of major IT Vendors and most of them are considered and changes were made to the existing product line which makes people like us even more happy and take more initiative in bringing new changes to the market, You can refer my blogs where I pointed few of the innovative ideas shared by experts and through various public forums which made more significant changes to the existing IT infrastructure in different product lines.

With this being said the upcoming year will be even more good than the present state where most of will have the opportunity to explore and know more on the new Technologies and also share the experience with others as I always follow “Knowledge is meant to be shared”.

Flashback of Events in 2013

Major storms that hit IT this year…

As there is good there is always bad to accompany it and we can call the part not really bad at all times as some of them may be caused in order to make upcoming changes to the IT industry, and it is always good to recall them, I am covering few of them which I came across and as always there are many that are left over and need to be explored further with the available resources.

NSA Snooping is the first one that comes to my mind which is found out this year and raised a huge storm in the IT industry where our Information security was found to be at risk and major Organizations were at stake due to this Security threat and started to raise their voices on this topic and started to made their corporate security more tighten than ever before.

Review all related articles from Redmond Magazine here to know more on this till date.

Next is the End of support for various products in this year and also in the early next year which made most of the Organizations to revamp their IT infrastructure and raised a red flag to them to move to the newer technology at the earliest to stay up to date which eventually makes them to spend some huge amount on the new Technology and manual Administration work though Automation is available it is not the key player always during major changes.

End of support of Windows XP early next April and Windows Server 2003 in the mid of next year are few of the best examples.

Next one is the Discontinuation of MCM, MCSM, MCA certifications by Microsoft team which caused a huge disappointment across Microsoft IT folks and experts who spend lot of their effort to reach this ladder and many articles , personal blog posts and forums were flooded on this showing the disappointment in a broader picture which made Microsoft under pressure.

Last but not least, One more thing to point out is the fear spread among the IT industry about the Job security and their Future carrier in IT when major Organizations adopted Cloud computing and the word Cloud is everywhere and most of the Products were revamped to support Cloud and major Vendors shifted their concentration more on their Cloud side at one stage many folks who I personally know and even me was under a illusion whether will there be future for On premise IT or do you need myself to adopt the cloud and move on. As with me most of you would have had this dilemma and there were many discussions happened in the Industry by Various Experts and different product lines and concluded there will be still On premises and the dependency of Cloud will be high in mere future but there will not be a stage where there is only cloud and it is always good for us to welcome the new technology and know more on it as much as possible and even try to work with it when an opportunity approaches you now or in mere future which make you even more stronger than your current state and provides adequate power to face the new challenges as end of the day “Everything which is  called new is some one’s innovation and all skills are learn-able”.

Other Notable events...

Microsoft Lync 2013 has achieved JITC certification for Voice, Video, and IM and Presence under the category of Unified Capabilities Collaboration Platform (UCCP) from Department of Defense which allows the DOD employees to use Microsoft Lync 2013 to connect to information network which added more value to Lync and Microsoft Team. And with the current status of Lync we can even say in mere future our traditional PBX system can be replaced with Lync.

Microsoft Acquired Nokia and Skype this year which made them to begin their establishment in to the Mobile Market, Cisco Acquired Insieme Networks major ACI provider this year and VMWare acquired Nicira to strengthen their SDN solution.

Announcement of Steve Ballmer's retirement is a significant event and now Microsoft team is on the move to search for their Next CEO and we will hear more updates on this soon early next year.

Hope this review is quite good to recollect some great happenings this year and I thank all my readers personally who made read and share my blog from the day I started blogging till date and would request you to do the same as always and I will bring new rich contents as I come across for you and will share the joy together.. See you Next year… :)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Daily Online NewsPapers on the Move...

I recently came across few daily Online Newspapers created by our renowned MVPs and Technology Experts through over various technologies, in here they share various vital articles, blog posts, news feeds and updates happening in the IT environment related to specific products, which are quite a rich resource to read and they are updated every day with new information to make us up-to date with the Technology.

I wrote this post here to Introduce you to these Online Newspapers to know more on the technology and stay up to date.

Daily #MSExchange Paper

Windows Server 2012 Daily

The #Lync Daily

The Jeffery Hicks IT Daily

MS #Azure and #Intune daily

The #PowerShell Daily

The #cloud Daily

The Microsoft Azure Times Daily

These are the few that I read so far and will continue to update the post as I found other vital ones.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Exchange 2013 load balancing using open source tools with Steve Goodman!

Recently, I read a recent post from TechTarget under the Search Exchange forum written by none other than our Exchange MVP Steve Goodman on how to use Open source tools available to setup a Load balancing solution for Exchange Server 2013 described in detail with clear description and walk through.

Steve is well known for his new experiments and findings that typically assists us in understanding the subject more clear in a new way which eventually shows us how to utilize the available technology and form a robust solution at ease, In here, he shows us how to use Open Source tools like Ubuntu Virtual machine and HAProxy using simple configuration and transform it to a successful load balancing solution. As we all know with the new Exchange Server 2013 Architecture we no longer required an expensive layer 7 Load balancing solution and all we require is a Layer 4 Load balancer that can distribute the incoming traffic from the clients and this setup will be good enough to support the environment if you want to reduce costs and the environment is small with limited servers.

I read this post and it contains real valuable information and thought of writing a post here which would point you to this post if you have missed to read and also for new readers.

Access the post here : Set up reliable Exchange 2013 load balancing with open source tools

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Journey to IT as a Service Powered by Software-Defined Data Centers WhitePaper

In Today's IT world Technological changes are happening everyday and now Cloud Computing is reached a state far beyond Imagination and now multiple Organizations has adopted the Cloud and also some started to provide it as a service, it starts with the SaaS(Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and Iaas (Infrastructure as a Service) and now there are many services added like CaaS (  Computing as a Service) DaaS ( Desktop as a Service ) and ITaaS ( IT as a Service) and for all these to work some key factors to consider is the Server Virtualization and Network Virtualization , to add to it now Organizations providing these services shifted their concentration towards SDN (Software Defined Networking) where we leverage the benefits of Software to do the Networking tasks among the traditional Hardware based networking to provide highly available Networking solution which eventually converts the regular Data Center to a Software-Defined Data Center.

VMware team conducted an Analysis with Forst & Sullivan IT Consulting firm on the topic and shared their Analysis report through a WhitePaper which is a really a very great information provided by them to readers to know the present and the future of IT and to understand how ITaas can help Organizations to met the goal and how Virtualization benefits the over all IT architecture and also shows us how a Software Defined Data Center adds value to the business in detail.

Review the below PDF document to read the complete report to know more.

Access here: Journey to IT as a Service Powered by Software-Defined Data Centers

Top Support Solutions for Microsoft Lync Server and Exchange Server TechNet Blog

Today I came across an Excellent TechNet blog posted by Mary Houston for Lync Server and Exchange Server and other Technologies and I covering Exchange and Lync Topics here, Mary wrote this blog by collocating all the vital web links, troubleshooting tools, TechNet articles and major resources available for Lync under a single window which will be quite useful for readers to read and also use it while troubleshooting issues.

The TechNet blog is categorized in to 5 topics for both Exchange Server and Lync Server each will have relevant links to the resources and below are the ones taken from the blog and you can access the blog link posted at the end to get the complete information.

Lync Server 

1. Solutions related to routing UC On-Prem\Sign-In, Presence, IM, and Contacts\Sign on and authentication - Internal user

2. Solutions related to Routing UC On-Prem\Sign-In, Presence, IM, and Contacts\Sign on and authentication - External user

3. Solutions related to routing UC On-Prem\Manageability, Planning, and Deployment\Installation and uninstallation issues (using Msiexec, updates, Office Communicator Automatic Updates, and pilot cleanup)

4. Solutions related to routing UC On-Prem\Manageability, Planning, and Deployment\Service startup

5. Solutions related to routing UC On-Prem\Sign-In, Presence, IM, and Contacts - Group Chat\GroupChat – Other

Read the post here: Top Support Solutions for Microsoft Lync Server

Exchange Server 

1. Solutions related to mobility and ActiveSync

2. Solutions related to client server connection issues and delays

3. Solutions related to calendaring, free/busy and availability

4. Solutions related to Outlook authentication prompt

5. Solutions related to Outlook/user connectivity issue

Read the post here : Top Support Solutions for Microsoft Exchange Server

For other related Technologies check the complete Top Support Solutions Post below

Read here: Top Support for Microsoft Solutions

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Exchange 2013 Boot Camp from ExchangeServerPro

Today I received E-mail from ExchangeServerPro team regarding the new Exchange 2013 Boot Camp Training course, Paul earlier updated about this to the readers and today he released the Module 1 Training videos for free and this module covers some vital topics for Exchange Server 2013.

If you are already a registered user for then you should have received an email as of now and if you have not yet registered the register for the same and review the Training module.

Access the Training here:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Vital Posts for the day!

Today is quite significant as I found there are few vital posts updated outside in the renowned Technical websites and forums and also updates over some major happenings occurred in the IT Environment and I am writing this post to sum up those that I read here for readers visibility.

Top 3 articles from WindowsITPro

Talking Exchange Server with Microsoft's Perry Clarke by Tony Redmond

Microsoft discontinues Forefront Unified Access Gateway (UAG) by Tony Redmond

2013: A Look Back and a Look Forward on the Technology Stories That Matter to IT by Rod Trent

Update:  One more new article from WindowsITPro Preparing for IT Longevity in 2014

VMware in 2013: The Year in Review from Petri IT Knowledgebase

Lync and Software-Defined Networking - Lync Team Blog

Eight Exchange skills and topics every admin should know by Steve Goodman - TechTarget

Microsoft CEO candidate Nadella: Here's what Ballmer taught me - ZDNet

Introducing Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 E-Book

It's now time for one more free E-book from Microsoft Team, This time it's on the new Microsoft System Center 2012 R2, When it comes to Microsoft Cloud solution System Center plays a major role and this e-book is a good resource to begin your learning on the product in detail from Experts.

Download here: Introducing Microsoft System Center 2012 R2

Monday, December 16, 2013

Lync Deployment Designer Tool

When it comes to designing a Lync Environment whether it is Lync Server 2010 or 2013 we are aware about the traditional Microsoft Planning Tools and these tools are the rich resources that will typically assist us in getting the Environment setup through the inputs we provide during the planning phase and also provides you a visual topology and assist you with the deployment.

Both of these Tools can be downloaded from Microsoft Download Center.

Download here: Microsoft Lync Server 2010, Planning Tool

Download here: Microsoft Lync Server 2013, Planning Tool

Now, it's time for one more tool developed by our Richard Brynteson well known for his famous Lync blog Mastering Lync which is one of the best blogs available outside to read and explore more on Lync Server.

Richard Named this tool as Lync Deployment Designer Tool and this tool is released only today and it's in the initial phase and you can test this with a sample design and there are lot of new features are planned a head in the future road map of this Tool, Thought of writing a post to share this information here so that you can include this excellent tool to your collection and it will be quite useful when you plan to design and deploy Lync server environment in mere future.

Access the Tool here: Lync Deployment Designer

Additional Bytes:

Additional to the above tool found an other Design calculator available for download from TechNet gallery for Lync server 2013.

Download here : Lync 2013 Detailed Design Calculator

One more Online Bandwidth calculator available from SmartHosted

Access here: Lync Bandwidth Calculator

Domain Controller Decommission an Overview

In every Organization's IT Infrastructure introducing new Server and removing the old one from the Environment is not a new topic and when it comes to Windows Server Environment it becomes quite critical as there are more dependency over the Server that is getting retired, let's say the one your are about to retire is a Domain Controller.
I was reading few TechNet articles on the topic and also a new PFE blog post today which made me to write this post as these articles when combined under a single roof will provide readers with the required information needed when they plan to decommission a DC from their Environment and also what are things they additionally need to look out and perform a successful decommission that does not impact the Environment.

Let's check out the articles and begin our reading.

Before your remove any DC from the environment you need to first demote the server by removing the Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) server role by using the Active Directory Domain Services Installation Wizard or an answer file or by running Dcpromo.exe at a command line. Review the below article for more detailed information.

Scenarios for Removing AD DS

Once this above task is complete now the next step is to remove the DC from the domain, for this follow the below article  and this also contains three different ways as above which are shown below
  • Removing a domain controller by using the Windows interface 
  • Removing a domain controller by using an answer file 
  • Removing a domain controller by entering unattended installation parameters at the command line 

Access article here : Removing a Domain Controller from a Domain

Now it's time for the additional things to check before we proceed with the above steps of removing the DC, normally administrators will know what are the applications that use the DC for authentication and also they will notify the necessary application team regarding the change before they proceed to ensure that those applications are configured to use a new DC, there are scenarios in which we are not sure about some of the applications that are developed very long time ago and the developers would have left the Organization and some unknown applications are still used and not known to the Administrators and still use this DC to function which we are about to decommission, At this stage we need to have a mechanism that can assist us in identifying what are the applications that use our DC in hand and then proceed with action plan of updating the application accordingly and proceed with the change.

For the above said vital task Microsoft PFE Adrian Corona has written an excellent post on the Ask PFE Blog that typically address the needs of getting this information collected easily with the help of internal tools like Data Collector sets and ETW Tracing with few Excel work.

Review the below blog post for detailed information and ensure that you perform these outlined steps once on your Environment in addition to the already planned process before your decommission your DC.

Domain and DC Migrations: How To Monitor LDAP, Kerberos and NTLM Traffic To Your Domain Controllers

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Exchange Server and Kerberos Authentication for MAPI Clients

Today I was reading some topics on Exchange Server Authentication, I came across few great articles available on the community which cleary explains the MAPI Client authentication. Also most important one to review is how to configure the MAPI Clients to use Kerberos Authentication with Exchange Server 2010 and 2013.

Every Admin is aware about the authentication mechanism available for Clients to authenticate to Exchange Server and most Organizations are using the Traditional NTLM (Integrated Windows Authentication) for Internal clients connection and Basic authentication for web and external connections and still Kerberos authentication is the most preferable for major Large Organizations, which makes the authentication more easy and secure. Though it is one of the best method configuring comes to little complex when it comes to establishing it in a Exchange Server 2010 Organization or later.

Today I am going to point you to few vital articles available from Microsoft and Technical Experts on this topic already which are clearly explained with the reason to configure Kerberos authentication and the guided steps with live examples for better understanding, read the same to know how you can enable your MAPI Clients to use Kerberos authentication.

First Review this below Microsoft KB article and the EHLO Blog post to begin your study. This clearly updates you why you need to setup Kerberos authentication with addition steps as with Exchange Server 2010 as this is enabled by default in earlier versions of the product, because of the new client connectivity changes introduced in the product with CAS Server and CAS ARRAY and how you can configure Exchange Server to allow the MAPI clients to authenticate using Kerberos authentication with Exchange Server 2010 SP1 using Alternate Service Account (ASA) Mechanism.

Kerberos authentication for MAPI client connection to a Client Access server array

Recommendation: Enabling Kerberos Authentication for MAPI Clients

Once you review the above articles and the referenced TechNet articles inside them you will come to know about the significance of Kerberos Authentication and how enable the same in your Environment.

Next you need to see how to do this configuration visually, for this review below TechNet blog

Setting up Kerberos with a Client Access Server Array Exchange 2010 SP1

Above articles completes the requirement of enabling the MAPI Clients to use Kerberos authentication with Exchange Server 2010.

When it comes to Exchange Server 2013 there an entire shift in the Exchange server Architecture where we now have our CAS Server as a stateless Proxy and there is no need of a CAS Array and majorly now Exchange 2013 uses RPC over HTTP (outlook anywhere) to allow the MAPI clients to connect which removes the need of the RPC end points. 

Internally in Exchange Server 2013 environment NTLM is used for authentication and for External it would be Basic and even with this version of Exchange we can still leverage the benefit of having Kerberos authentication, there is no official Documentation from Microsoft available on the same and I came across and an excellent blog post  from You said "Unified"? blog posted by Collaboration Architect Benoit Boudeville, below which explains clearly over the new changes as an Introduction and also visually explains you how to configure your Exchange 2013 Environment to support Kerberos authentication.

Review here:  Exchange 2013 - Configure the Client and Kerberos (load balancer or DNS round-robin) access

Note:  Ensure that you translate the above post to English as it is posted in French.


Microsoft team published the below vital EHLO blog post today (2/20/2015) to provide guidance on how to setup and utilize  Kerberos authentication with Exchange 2013 and Exchange 2010 Coexistence Environment.

Access here: Exchange 2013 and Exchange 2010 Coexistence with Kerberos Authentication


After the release of Exchange Server 2016 RTM, Microsoft team published the new guidance for Exchange 2016 Coexistence with Kerberos Authentication for Exchange Server 2010/2013.

Access here: Exchange 2016 Coexistence with Kerberos Authentication

Additionally, review the below excellent article on the topic from MVP Jeff Guillet

Enabling Kerberos Authentication in a Mixed Exchange 2013 / 2016 Environment

Thursday, December 12, 2013

'The Next 10 Years’: The digitization of nearly everything with Microsoft

In today's modern world Technology has went far beyond Imagination and now everything is getting digitalized and we rely more over the new Technological innovations everyday and significantly in the last decade it has developed to a very large extent and still continue to evolve.

Information Technology has now become a part of life and now traditional IT Architecture is changed along with the new innovations that are in place starting from Virtualiztaion to Cloud computing at all levels. Organizations started to adopt the new Technology very soon nowadays and also have a quick sense of fore casting made easy with the advent of the Technology and plan their future with the right sense of Business Analytics and  Business Intelligence.

I wrote this blog post today to point to one of the latest article posted in The Official Microsoft Blog by Satya Nadella Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft in the LeWeb’13 Technology event occurred recently, where he stated how Microsoft latest Cloud Technology has improved the productivity of various Organizations across the globe and the new Innovations happens in the IT market towards the future and how Technology will be improved in the next decade and concludes that we can see everything being digitalized and it will be an era of digitalization.

 I read this article and felt great and sharing here to my readers through this post.

Review  the article here: LeWeb’13 and ‘The Next 10 Years’: The digitization of nearly everything

Windows Server 2012 R2 Access & Information Protection WhitePaper

Identity and Access management is the key for Information Security in any platform with every Organization, when it comes to Windows Server 2012 R2 it is even more enhanced with cool features like Web Application Proxy, Direct Access, Work Folders etc. through which adds additional layer of security to the environment and also provides various secure access methods of accessing the data from different locations through different media both internal and external.

Today it's time for another WhitePaper from Microsoft team to know more on the Access and Information protection with Windows Server 2012 R2, download the WhitePaper and review it to know more.

Download here: Windows Server 2012 R2 Access & information protection

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Submit Your Ideas Today!

New changes will occur only if there are Innovative Ideas, And Imagine if there is a place where we all of us can put our Ideas together to bring a major change in the existing environment, thus making the product a robust one which meets all our needs and make the Administration easier than ever before with every release.

Ideas that I am referring here are pertaining to the Exchange Server and Lync Server products and these products are now enhanced like ever before by Microsoft team and with every release some new functionality is added and also unfortunately some existing cool features are removed and some are replaced with the new ones and with this being said the views of every individual Admin changes along with the product feature some are happy, some are sad but eventually everyone wants some enhancement to be made to the product which reduces the management tasks and provide a rich Administration and user experience.

Our renowned MVPs Matt Landis and Pat Richard has created common forums for posting our Innovative Ideas through the Ideascale website which is a cool one where you will get to know how many people like us are in need around the word willing to make significant changes to the product and also suggest their innovative ideas to bring in new features and much more details along with voting to show your acknowledgement for the Ideas and also post comment to provide your suggestions and to post your own Ideas.

Though these forums are not officially from Microsoft, they still have the power of our Ideas and reviewed by most of the Microsoft experts and some significant changes were made to the products with every release and you will come to know them once you get to these forums and register your self.

Access here: Microsoft Exchange Improvement Suggestions

Access here:  Microsoft Lync Improvement Suggestions

Exchange 2013 Modern Public Folders Migration, Cleanup & Rollback Webinar

It's now time for one more Webinar from Netcom Learning and this time it's on Exchange Server 2013 Modern Public Folders, with this release of Exchange Microsoft made some significant changes to the Public folder Architecture and this session will be a great one for us to know on the topic along with the discussion on Migration ,Cleanup and Rollback with live demo from our Expert MVP Prabhat Nigam on December 18th 1pm – 2pm EST.

Get yourself Registered here : Free Webinar: Exchange 2013 | Modern Public Folders Migration, Cleanup & Rollback

Outlook New Email Issue caused by Mobile device and Fix

Recently I came across an Issue reported by user that his email from Inbox are automatically moved to a folder named Junk which was automatically created (Not to be confused with Junk Email folder) and we were not able to identify the cause initially and the issue was not resolved after several troubleshooting steps and finally found out that this is caused by user's Mobile device and resolved after following the instructions provided in the MS article which I am going to share now through this post.

When user reported this issue we started the investigation by checking the outlook rules if any and there were no rules that could trigger this and when we found out that this folder is automatically created it turned our attention from the rules, we placed the client in Online mode and used MFCMAPI tool to move the emails from this Junk folder to other folder and deleted this folder, but within seconds the folder got re-created and made us under confusion, Later user updated us that he is using the Mobile device Samsung Galaxy S4 and referenced us an TechNet article from Outlook forum which was created for this issue by renowned Outlook MVP Diane Poremsky and the solution provided in the article resolves the issue.

As stated earlier this issue seems to be strange when it appeared initially and most of the Admins will get amazed over this issue when it occurs for their users and eventually it turned out to be the specific mobile device and the known issue with it caused the problem and rectified. I thought of writing post to bring this to the reader's attention prior to get the issue addressed at the right time with the right steps and also to get it placed under the known issues section to educate users on the same.

Review the article to know more : Outlook creates extra folder called "Junk" in Mailbox

Disabling Edge Server File Transfers in Lync from Perficient

Today I saw this post from Perficient written by Trevor Miller over disabling Edge Server File Transfer in Lync 2010 and 2013, Trevor has provided us the cmdlets to be used along with the MS articles for reference, found this useful and written this post to share the same here.

Below are the cmdlets

Lync 2010

New-csfiletransferfilterconfiguration -identity edgeserverfqdn -blockfileextension $true -action blockall -enabled $true

Lync 2013

New-csfiletransferfilterconfiguration -identity edgeserverfqdn  -action blockall -enabled $true

Review the article for more information : Disabling Edge Server File Transfers in Lync

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS13-105 for Exchange Server

Today Microsoft team has released the Security updates for Various versions of Exchange Server which are available for download to fix the remote code execution vulnerabilities identified in the product, More detailed description is available in the Microsoft Security Bulletin MS13-105 in detail.  This Security updates are available only for the specified version of the Exchange server products and you need to upgrade your Exchange Server version to get this update installed.

Access this EHLO Blog post to know more and also review the Security Bulletin referenced for complete information with download links

Released: Microsoft Security Bulletin MS13-105 for Exchange

Additionally, Read the below TechTarget post

Final Patch Tuesday of 2013 includes critical Exchange Server, IE fixes

Exchange Server Changes to the Active Directory Schema

When we Install Exchange Server in our Environment or whenever we upgrade our Exchange Server version or Service Pack Schema changes is made which is known to every Admin, but most of us are not completely aware about the attributes and class added to AD during the installation and the changes made to the existing attributes and classes and today I am going to share you the MSDN article which is available for us to know more the topic which reference us to the Exchange Server 2003 to Exchange Server 2010 Active Directory Schema Changes Reference guide detailed information.

Knowing this will help us to understand what are the changes made during the Exchange Server installation and upgrade in our Environment.

Review this article to know more : Exchange Server Changes to the Active Directory Schema

Above link will also have reference to Exchange Server 2013 AD Schema changes TechNet article.

Download the reference guide from download center and review the doc to know more.

Download here: Exchange Server 2003 to Exchange Server 2010 Active Directory Schema Changes Reference

Monday, December 09, 2013

Windows Server 2012 R2 - Virtual Desktop Infrastructure WhitePaper

Desktop Virtualization is now one of the hot topic in the Market and various renowned and new Organizations started to adopt VDI and also provide this as a Service too. Windows Server 2012 R2 provides some enhanced features in comparison with other VDI Solution providers in the Market like VMWare, Citrix etc. Microsoft always enhances their product with every release and now this changes are being done rapidly as ever before and it's always good if we keep ourselves updated on the same.

Take a look at the New WhitePaper released to know more on the topic.

Additionally, take a look at the below article from CANITPRO blog on Deploying VDI with Windows Server 2012 explained clearly with Screen shots and also review the Jump Start video referenced in the post to know more on VDI deployment.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Exchange Server Happenings Last week!

It's been a week time now since I wrote my last post as I was on Vacation and once I am back online I started to review the happenings over last week in the Industry and found quite significant new articles, Posts and new releases as well as new Issues were found and documented and most of you would have already aware on these and for readers who did not have the opportunity to get things checked last week and missed one or two vital updates this post will be help as I am listing the ones which are important in terms of Exchange Server  in a single window and starting to write my posts again beginning with this one.

Let's begin with Tony Redmond posts on his WindowsITPro Exchange unwashed blog

Get your questions clarified from the Expert and also Tony will note down your Questions which are really essential and take it up to Microsoft Perry Clarke CVP Exchange during his interview on December 13 and get most our questions answered and over the future of Exchange.

What question would you ask Microsoft's Exchange development supremo?

Tony updates about the new Monitoring changes introduced with O365 and also discuss on other new potential issue with the release of new CU3 for Exchange 2013 and much more in this post

How nice: Microsoft is now monitoring my Office 365 email

If you completely read the above post you will come to know about the new EAS URL issue caused by the new Exchange Server 2013 CU3 installation which is a new issue again makes us bit worried as we thought CU3 will be a better build than it's predecessors, Also you can recreate the URL post upgrade and get things fixed soon.

Check this below EXPTA Blog over this issue cause and fix explained by our MVP Jeff Guillet

Exchange 2013 CU3 upgrade removes the ActiveSync virtual directory ExternalURL  

One more post from Tony on an other potential issue about the OWA experience with IE8 and Mozilla Firefox 2.4 on XP machines post CU3 installation and On premise and O365 environment though the office date for XP end is in April 2014, these things make the scenario worse and urges the Organizations to upgrade the PCs from XP to higher versions soon. These things are explained good in the below post.

Exchange 2013 CU3 causes headaches for OWA on Windows XP

One New TechNet blog post from Rhoderick Milne [MSFT] on his 250 Hello blog over the mistakes to avoid when we install the Exchange Server 2013 from CLI explained clearly with live demo.

Check here: 6 Mistakes To Avoid With Exchange 2013 CU Command Line Installations

Also take a look at the below Vital articles released last week along with the above ones

Released: Exchange 2013 Server Role Requirements Calculator Update

Office 365 URL based filtering is just better and easier to sustain

Security updates for Exchange next week

Three Microsoft collaboration tools all Exchange admins should know

Additional bytes

Exchange Server Supportability Matrix

Windows PowerShell Failover Clustering

Microsoft To Add Data Encryption in Response to Gov. Snooping

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Webinars for Dummies - Free E-Book

We are attending many Online Webinar sessions and Virtual Events conducted by all major Technology providers from Microsoft, VMware, Citrix, Kemp Technologies, Google etc. for a while now, Personally I have attended many of them in the recent years and those sessions were designed in such a way that you will feel like you are in a Live Event and also you can access the online contents during the session at ease, clarify your Queries using the Q&A pane etc., and most of all you will have a rich experience once you come out of the session.

It's today that we are an attendee for this type of Events may be sooner or later we may deliver one for the role and the Technology we are in, As of now Virtual Events and Webinars play a larger role in the Technology than the regular Live Events in this Busy world.

I found this E-book useful for me to begin with my Webinar experience also this E-Book is from ON24 who are one of the popular Webinar and Virtual Event services provider, Thought of sharing this through this post and you can get this free E-Book through a Simple Registration.

Grab your copy here:  Webinars for Dummies - Free eBook

Outlook Lync Integration New Issues and Fixes

Outlook Conversation History folder used to save your Lync Conversations may suddenly stop working and you may also receive error message pertaining to Outlook when you login to Lync client. This is where your user will come to know about the Integration issue with their Lync Client and Outlook and update the Support team for assistance.

Whether you have Lync On premise or Lync Online Outlook connectivity to Lync is possible and it's done using the Autodiscover service by your Lync Client and through EWS it makes the connection with your Outlook and shows your presence based on your availability in Lync and Outlook and also provides you the ability to save your IM conversations in Outlook etc.

Review this article to know more on this, which is explained beautifully.

How Lync 2010 obtains Exchange Web Services (EWS) URL via Autodiscover in Exchange 2010

Once you read the article you will come to know the importance of having proper Autodiscover and EWS configuration to make things work and this would be your starting point of any troubleshooting.

EWS Internal URI and External URI needs to be configured correctly on your CAS Server and also your Autodiscover DNS record should point to the correct CAS server both internally and externally for successful EWS discovery because Lync does not use SCP object like outlook for autodiscover and it only uses DNS based discovery method, which needs to set correct for Integration to work, this is where most of the issue relies and gets fixed, but there are other possibilities too that are discussed further below to give you an idea to get things checked in all possible ways to address the issue.

One more issue apart from the above one, is due to the EWSFindCountLimit reaching the maximum value of 1000 (default) and causes this issue and once user deletes some unwanted folders and reduces their mailbox folder count below the default value this issue will get resolved, but this is an workaround and not a solution so the best one to do if you have On premise Server is to either increase this value to a higher number or set it to null and update the user with the new setting. Below article from Flinchbot website explains this clearly with examples

Review here : Another fix for Lync Conversation History problems

New Issue Begins here:

The above issues mainly occurs in On premise Lync environment and also easily identifiable and fixed, the one which I am going to show you now with Lync Online seems likely to be understood and easily resolvable now for you using this post but it  was actually not the same case when I faced it as it  involved additional troubleshooting steps from the provided ones in the support articles which I have done recently and fixed the Outlook Lync Integration for a large number of users in a Global environment which I support.

Below is the Microsoft Article which speaks about the sign-in issue or the error message you would receive when you login to Lync client which generally talks about the Outlook integration and updates you that your Lync Sign-in address and Outlook profile address is not matching as shown below

Review the article to know more in detail : There was a problem connecting to Microsoft Office Outlook" error when you sign in to Lync Online

As stated in the article this generally happens when you use Lync Online and your SIP address matches your E-mail address but your UPN is different, though Microsoft updates us that all three of them needs to be the same for the configuration to work, it is not a easy task for Organizations to update UPN of users to match their E-mail address on a larger scale and Major Organizations use the Hybrid Exchange model and this change is not possible at ease and not a preferable one as it may cause other potential impact and moreover users tend to change their SMTP addresses on the fly and the only possible change we can do is to ensure that the E-mail address matches the SIP address and this is suffice to make things work and it was working for a large crowd and broke suddenly.

As stated in the article the WindowsEmailAddress property plays a vital role in making the connectivity work and this property gets updated when user updates their E-mail address in  On premise Exchange through Dirsync to the Cloud Azure directory (MSODS) and corresponding change replicates to the Exchange Online, Lync Online and SharePoint Online. This is a pretty straight forward process which MS does on their Backend and works seamlessly, Unfortunately this updation might broke on their end due to unexpected events and trigger this issue which I am going to explain now through my self experience and will show you how I identified the issue and fixed it with Microsoft Team.

When this issue started we were unable to identify at the early stages as the outlook configuration is setup correctly and also users are having no issues in accessing Lync or Outlook and nothing much revealed to us after we analyzed the Lync logs and still the Integration was not working and one fine day we Identified where the issue relies with the help of a user and also using the Lync Online powershell released at that time earlier this year.

One of our user updated when some one searches for her in Lync and select send an email message it was opening the email message with user's old Email address in the To field where in user has updated here Email address while ago and the same is showing up fine in outlook and user Lync sip address is updated to the new one and user uses the same to sign -in but Lync still points to the old address when user use the E-mail functionality from Lync which in turn tied to outlook to process the request.

This throw some light to us and with the help of the Lync online powershell we verified the settings and identified the issue , where user WindowsEMailAddress property in Lync online is showing the old one and in Exchange Online it is showing the updated correct one, this evidently proved us that Lync still uses the old SMTP address and things outlook and Lync sign in address are different and breaks the integration.

After this, we updated Microsoft team and pointed out where the issue is and proceeded with our next steps and when such issue occurs it is always good to identify the total number of affected users altogether in the Environment and create a report and fix them all at one go.

We used the following cmdlet to generate the csv report of the users who are enable for Lync with their SIP Address and corresponding WindowsEmailAddress and did some Excel work and prepared the final report of affected users.

Get-Csonlineuser - Resultsize unlimited | Select Alias, DisplayName, SipAddress, WindowsEmailAddress | Export-csv C:\Report.csv

Check this post to know more on how to install and connect with Lync Online powershell module

Access here : Windows PowerShell Module for Lync Online Available now !

Once the report is generated we found that updating Lync online alone is not possible on the Cloud directory end as attributes are Dirsynced from On premise to Cloud and the solution is to perform a dummy update on the affected accounts like adding an dummy Extension attribute that triggers the change notification via Dirsync to the Cloud Directory (MSODS) and then from there the changes replicate to the internal directories through which Lync online will also gets updated with the correct value and fixes the issue.

Check this below post to see how you can update extension attribute for a user through powershell then you can use your scripting techniques to do the task for all the users affected using the report generated as input at ease, also you can edit the same script to remove the attribute post Dirsync, as our primary task for replicating the changes to Lync online for WindowsEmailAddress attribute updation is already done through our earlier sync cycle and this action can be done to revert the accounts back to normal by removing the additionally added dummy attribute.

Check here: Adding and removing extensionattribute to AD object

Alternatively you can add an Secondary SMTP ( dummy) for the affected users and post dirsync the changes will be replicated as stated above and then you can remove the same from the user mailboxes as needed. Check this below post and use the small script that does this at ease.

Add Secondary SMTP Address in bulk for Exchange Server 2010

We verified the changes via Lync Online PowerShell and also through Lync Client's send email functionality for validation and finally contacted affected users and received update that their issue got finally resolved after a long time. This was really a great experience for me.

I am sharing this here so that you check the Integration issues on this perspective too and fix it at the earliest, easy way is to check using the Send email message functionality from Lync client and then using Lync Online PowerShell to confirm the status and Generate the affected users report proactively and fix it on a larger scale. You can perform this on your own and also update Microsoft team on the same so that they can verify if any issues occurred on their end and also assist you with getting this fixed soon.