Thursday, July 31, 2014

Learn SharePoint Using Microsoft Office Interactive Content Pivot!!!

Microsoft team published the Microsoft Office Interactive Content Pivot that helps you to learn SharePoint Server 2013 and related contents from a single Interactive window that provides you access to all the available Technical content from TechNet and and you have options to filter your search with regard to your Job role, Technical subject etc., I recently came across this excellent guided study guide and writing this post today to share the same with you.

More information is available in the below TechNet blog

Introducing the Microsoft Office Interactive Content Pivot

Access the Content here: Microsoft Office Interactive Content Pivot

Use the Microsoft Office Interactive Content Pivot Help to check how to access the contents.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hybrid Configuration Wizard Failure With Exchange Server 2013 !!!

Microsoft team released a Knowledge base article to address the new Hybrid Configuration Wizard error that occurs when you run the HCW to create or manage an existing Hybrid Environment with Exchange Server 2013. This issue was recently reported and now declared as a known issue from Microsoft end, caused due to recent changes occurred in the Exchange Online service and suggest us to contact Microsoft support to receive an interim update to fix the issue.

Access the Knowledge base here: Hybrid Configuration wizard error "Subtask CheckPrereqs execution failed" for Exchange Server 2013

Note: Exchange 2010 Sp3 based Hybrid deployments are not affected with this issue. Check your Admin Portal Dashboard if you are already using Office 365 Hybrid for more details.


Here comes the official ELHO Blog post from Microsoft on this issue with FAQs

Important update available for Exchange Server 2013 hybrid deployments 


This issue is fixed with the new Exchange Server 2013 CU6 Release and if you have already installed the interim update for fixing the issue you are not required to uninstall it and continue your upgrade to CU6.

Refer here :


Monday, July 28, 2014

Official Microsoft Twitter Accounts to follow...

In Today's IT world Social Networking plays a major role and now everyone is connected with each other from anywhere on any device that's the power of Technology. Its always good to know whats happening in the Industry and stay focused on the next upcoming events and equip yourself to face the new challenges and take a deep dive in to the Technology.

When it comes to Microsoft Technology the changes are occurring at a rapid rate and to stay inline with these changes we need a strong medium which continue to update us with the latest happening everyday, every minute and even every second I would call, for which our "Twitter" takes the credit. Believe most of you already have a Twitter account and started to follow your favorite people and shared thousands of tweets across the globe, eventually for most of the people it has became a part of life, I am including myself for example.

Today I wrote this post to share you the recent Microsoft WIKI page, I came across containing the most vital Official Twitter accounts that we can follow to get the latest updates on Microsoft Technologies as stated above, All of these accounts are made available under a single window and the beauty is, its getting updated on regular basis and allows you to keep a track on the latest accounts once available and even you can suggest one if you find to include to the list.

Microsoft team broadly classified these accounts into the below categories and you can choose the ones to follow as needed.

Microsoft Twitter Accounts
  •     Advertising
  •     Careers
  •     Community Initiatives and Corporate Citizenship
  •     Conferences
  •     For Business Users and IT Decision Makers
  •     For Developers
  •     For IT Pros
  •     For Partners
  •     Help and Support
  •     Influential Individuals
  •     Learning, Education and Students
  •     Licensing
  •     Microsoft - News and Major Announcements
  •     MVP Program
  •     Open Source
  •     Products and Product Teams
  •     Research and Labs
  •     Security and Online Safety

Review the WIKI Here: Official Microsoft Twitter Accounts

Start following these accounts to stay up-to date with Microsoft Technologies and share your tweets to enhance the community. Happy Tweeting...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lync 2013 Client Sign-in Process

Its been quite sometime since I wrote few posts on Lync as I was so much involved in to Office 365 deployment and Administration over these days, Today I decided to review few of my old Lync Bookmarks to view some vital information on Lync 2013 Client Sign-in process and write a post to share with you.

When we migrated from OCS R2 to Lync Server 2010 there was so much excitement in the early days to administrate the new Lync Server 2010 Environment and end user education was quite challenging those times as users were used to Live meeting and later everyone adopted the new Lync Environment, As Technology never stays stable we had the new Lync Server 2013 released which is even more robust than its predecessors, wherein we have more new enhancements and architectural changes made to the product with this version which took Lync to the next level in the UC market. Organizations who adopted Lync started their migration already to this new Lync Server 2013 and some of them even adopted the Hybrid model having their Lync Environment extend to the Cloud.

Lets get in to our topic, As usual I am not going to write new things on this topic from my end as there are more resources available already in the community well written by Experts and Microsoft product team, so I decided to refer them through this post to provide you with a cumulative content on the topic to give you strong insight over how Lync 2013 Client Sign-in process works, what is required and how you can analyze when there are issues and troubleshoot effectively with the right tools in the right direction to resolve on time for rich end user experience.

Lync Client Sign-in process changed from Lync 2010 to Lync 2013 where in the Lyncdiscover DNS record is checked first by the client to connect to the environment before they follow the old sign-in procedure.

The above said process was first explained in the Nexthop article from Microsoft, later our renowned MVP Jeff Schertz wrote a post on this topic explaining this in detail, This was the first one I read to know this change and have referenced the same below.

Access here: Lync 2013 Client Autodiscover

Once you read this above blog post, for your ease of understanding review the below WindowsITPro post on the topic from Byron O. Spurlock.

Access here: Lync Client Discovery Process

Additionally read the below Blog post from Byron to know the importance of EndpointConfiguration.cache file, which also plays a vital role with the client sign-in process.

Decoding Lync's EndpointConfiguration.cache File

These articles provides you guideline over how the new Sign-in process happens with Lync 2013 Client, next its time for some deep dive stuff. Though there are more deep dive articles available I would always recommend to view things along with your reading because it give you more understanding on the topic.

Review the below Teched 2014 Level 400 Deep Dive Session on  Lync 2013 Client Sign-in Process to understand things better from our renowned Lync Expert Brian R. Ricks, Brian presented this same session during Lync Conference 2014 and I am referencing the latest Teched session here.

View here:  Deep Dive into the Microsoft Lync 2013 Client Sign-in Process

With the above resources in place you will have a strong Idea on Lync 2013 Client Sign-in process and add one more credit to your Lync learning.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Microsoft’s Unified Technology Event for Enterprises

Microsoft team is making more changes to the way they deliver products, updates and support in the recent years which is evident from the current happenings in the IT market with Microsoft Technologies. They are so much involved now in providing more innovations to IT world with their current business strategy "Mobile first, Cloud first" which is expressed through various events to partners and customers providing  a strong insight on their vision and future road-map, as a part of this change next year we will be having the new "Unified Technology Event" replacing the traditional SharePoint, Lync, Exchange and Teched Conferences hosted individually over these years and will be now hosted as a Single Event (Unified) from next year, and the Inaugural conference will be held on the week of May 4, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.

More information is available in the below Official announcement from Julia White MSFT in the Office Blogs.

Access here: Microsoft’s unified technology event for enterprises

Though this is a great change from Microsoft end to host a single event to deliver their vision and road-map, there are different views on this from the community some key views include,  How well we all can plan and attend a single event, Which sessions to attend out of various sessions that will be made available some sessions may overlap as they might get scheduled for the same time, Also is it possible to host events for all products in this short schedule will the time be sufficient, With this change we can expect more number of participants around the world attending the event than ever, how well Microsoft is planning to make arrangements to accommodate the crowd, Will these events be hosted at various regions over the year similar to Teched event and much more. You can watch out the external Technical community pages and MVPs comments on their blogs sharing their views over this change to know more. I am eagerly awaiting to get more information on this topic from Microsoft and look forward to attend this event in live next year and share my experience.


Microsoft today 16th October 2014 officially announced the new name for the Unified Event as  "Microsoft Ignite" review the below "The Official Microsoft Blog" post to know more. Also follow @MS_Ignite to stay tuned with the latest updates.

Review here: Introducing Microsoft Ignite and our lineup of top conferences in 2015

EHLO Blog post published today on this announcement.

Introducing Microsoft Ignite – meet us in Chicago

Assist Microsoft team to Shape the new Ignite Event through the new Ignite YamJam.

Review here for more details: Help shape the Microsoft Ignite event

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Worldwide Partner Conference 2014 Video Sessions now Available!!!

Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2014 was completed recently, This event is quite significant one in their history as this is the first conference for Satya Nadella as a new CEO of Microsoft, his Keynote Session was awesome and filled with rich information on how Microsoft is designing their product line to address the needs of various customers in today's emerging Technology, it show you how they are building their future road-map with their current business strategy "Mobile First, Cloud First" and how successful they are doing this with the help of their partners world-wide.

This year we have more innovations from Microsoft like Azure Machine Learning, Delve etc. which were showcased during the event along with other new updates on partnering and business. Also this time we had more sessions from partners and Microsoft Leadership team on various topics and all were excellent. Microsoft team has provided some key videos on demand now in the WPC Community forum, when you review each video you will come to know how Microsoft team is getting ready to re-architect the future of IT. If you are partner or a customer who use Microsoft products in your IT Infrastructure and you are planning to either adopt or already using their Mobility and Cloud computing platform then these videos are the best one for you to watch to know the present and future of Microsoft Technology.

Access here : Worldwide Partner Conference 2014 Videos

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Office 365 Client Connectivity

Microsoft team has designed their Office 365 Environment effectively with a huge investment keeping in mind that they need to provide a highly available solution for all the customers adopted their service, To provide service for world-wide customers they have datacenters placed across the globe that are well connected with one another through highly reliable and scalable networks, which makes this Highly available solution possible. As an administrator its always good to understand how our clients connects to the Office 365 and how it varies for each Online service. To know this better Microsoft team has published a TechNet article, This post is written today referencing the article along with few other important resources to provide adequate information on the topic in a nutshell and share it with you.

Before you begin you need to understand how Microsoft team has designed their Architecture and how it reals works, to know this review my earlier blog post referencing the Share point conference video session "What's behind Office 365?" once you review this video, you will have a strong idea over how things are setup and work in the backend.

Now its time for us to review the TechNet blog post, when you read this article ensure that you capture the differences between how each client connects to different Office 365 service and how it varies from one another, for Example: SharePoint Online Client connects to the Actual datacenter and Lync Online Client connects to the nearest Regional datacenter etc.  Having clear idea in this area will make you understand how the actual connection is established when your clients tries to access the service internally within Office 365 datacenters and provides you adequate knowledge to troubleshoot issues if the client is not able to make successful connection with the service.

Review the TechNet Article here: Reference: Client connectivity

Ensure that your Organization meets the below critical requirements for the clients to connect to the Office 365 service, These critical requirements include System requirements, Network Connectivity Configuration and DNS records, there are other requirements too and these areas are critical and most of the issues occur in this part if its not setup as desired, so as stated earlier ensure that your Environment is setup properly in-accordance with the guideline provided by Microsoft.

Office 365 system requirements

External DNS records for Office 365

Office 365 URLs and IP address ranges

If your Organization is fine with these above key areas then you will likely have a highly available solution with the Office 365 service.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Codename Oslo is now "Delve"

Microsoft Officially announced yesterday their new project Codename "Oslo" will be now called as "Delve", the most awaited Office graph feature will be released by the end of this year for Office 365 customers as per Microsoft Official announcement.

"Announced earlier this year as Codename Oslo, today we’re sharing that the official name is Delve. Delve, the first experience powered by the intelligence fabric we call the Office Graph, will be available to Office 365 customers later this year. It’s an incredible new way to search and discover content across Office 365 that delivers personalized insights based on machine learning. Delve surfaces information that would be of interest and relevance to you, enabling you to discover and connect with new information you might otherwise not have. Delve effectively removes the information silos that exist across applications, while better supporting information discovery to enable teams to work together as a network."

Microsoft team is getting ready for the next week Worldwide Partners Conference and this time they made lot of innovations to their product line to meet the on-demand requirements of the Cloud market, few other notable things are Azure Machine Learning , New SMB Plans for Office 365 etc. Below Official Microsoft Blog post outlines these announcements and we can expect by the end of this year Microsoft's Innovation in their Cloud business will take the industry to the next level.
Review the Blog post here: Microsoft delivers updates, innovations and expansions to meet cloud demand

Checkout this updated Office Blogs post : Introducing Delve (codename Oslo) and the Office Graph

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Hybrid Cloud Series - Episode Three

Get ready for the next Webinar in Success with Hybrid Cloud Series scheduled this July 17 2014. You can access my earlier blog post here to gain access to the previous Webinars available on demand.

This Episode 3 in series is quite a vital one to attend as Mark and Brad will cover the key aspects on hybrid cloud options available for customers who migrate from Windows Server 2003, which is reaching its end of support by next year July 2015, Also other key discussions are on the way over Infrastructure Modernization to give you clear understanding on Microsoft Hybrid Cloud Strategy to take your IT Infrastructure to the next level.

Register here: Hybrid Cloud Series - Episode Three

Thursday, July 03, 2014

End is near for Windows Server 2003...The Countdown begins!!!

Believe everyone is aware about the deadline for Windows Server 2003 extended support, which is scheduled for 14 July, 2015 post which you will not receive any support or updates for the Operating system similar to our Windows XP and Exchange Server 2003 which reached their deadline earlier this April 2014, I wrote a blog post on this earlier under the name "The End is Near for "Legacies" to provide you an heads up on the same and now its time for us look back and get ready to upgrade to the latest Supported Operating system and we have a strict deadline of about one year from now over which we can get this upgrade completed and move the workloads to the new Server platform and stay safe and enjoy the benefits of the new Technology which went beyond our imagination and far away from Legacies.

I wrote this post today to remind you over this topic and share you some vital resources available from Microsoft that provides you adequate knowledge and makes you ready to get things started at the right time, which is now, I would suggest so that, we can get things completed sooner rather than later within the deadline.

Before we begin watch this Windows Server 2003 End of Support Awareness video from Microsoft to know the impact.

Performing a Server transition is not a easy task as it involves thorough analysis within the current environment to ensure that all the supported applications that relies on this legacy server platform is upgraded to the next supported version. When we do this migration we typically end-up changing Forest and Domain functional level to the next supported mode (Raise functional level) which is the key for most of the stuff to work in the Server Infrastructure, which will for sure have impact on all the supported products and applications that relies on the current Windows Server Operating system functional level and to do this we need to have a proper plan in place and also thorough testing if possible before we make any major changes and execute things with care for a positive transition without unexpected events to occur that could impact our business by causing downtime.

With the above points its pretty clear that we need to move away from Windows Server 2003, so now the next question comes here, To which Windows Server OS I make the switch, Server 2008 R2 or 2012 R2? This is a genuine question as people don't want to migrate straight away to the latest version as their workloads cannot be moved all of a sudden to the new technology wherein most of their legacy applications still relies on the older platform and not yet re-written to adopt to the current one, but this puts some risk for them because even Windows Server 2008 is reaching is end of main stream support soon and will be in extended support till 2020 but there wont be any new enhancements when you make a move here and the suggested one is to move to 2012.

As everyone aware that Windows Server 2012 R2 is the most robust Operating system in the present IT market which revolutionized the industry and placed Microsoft on the Top making it one of the largely adopted Operating system world wide, which is now running and serving millions of users in Microsoft Public Cloud Infrastructure that took their Server business to the next level. Additionally you can extend your Organization and move your workloads to Microsoft Cloud i.e.,  Microsoft Azure which is the next option that puts your Organization one step further in the industry.

I complete my review here and Its now time for you to start your learning and get ready for transition, before you begin read this below TechTarget post that covers critical points on the topic in a nutshell that provides you clear roadmap for your next action.

Plan to migrate before Windows Server 2003 end of life

Begin by reviewing this below TechNet walk-through post on Migrating Active Directory from 2003 R2 to 2012 R2 which clearly shows you step by step process to get this task completed.

Migrate Active Directory from Windows Server 2003 R2 to Windows Server 2012 R2

Once done, Here comes the vital resource as I stated earlier, Its the new Microsoft Virtual Academy Live Event " Migrating Legacy Windows Server to 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure " scheduled this July 24 2014, 9.00 AM- 1.00 PM PDT, Presented by Andrew McMurray, Microsoft IT Evangelist get yourself registered for this Event and gain real time experience in understanding the need for transition and plan your successful Migration a head from Legacy and share your experience, I will be performing this activity soon and update you with mine. Happy Migrating... :)

Review and Register here: Migrating Legacy Windows Server to 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure


If you missed to attend this course on July you can now watch this re-broadcast of this course with Live Q&A session with the instructors scheduled this August 14, 2014 9:00am–1:00pm PDT

Add-on Read: 

Here comes the official Microsoft simple four step process: Discover, assess, target and migrate from Windows Server 2003.

Check here: Windows Server 2003 end of support

*Additionally download and read this below IDC Whitepaper

Download here: Windows Server 2003: Why You Should Get Current 


Get ready to block your calendar this Friday, Sept 26, 2014,  1 pm – 2 pm ET to attend the free Webinar "Windows Server 2003 End of Life" from Netcom Learning presented by Shane Snipes MCT covering some key concepts on Windows Server 2003 End of Life and deep dive discussion on following the above said 4 step process for successful migration.

Register here: Windows Server 2003 End of Life


Windows Server 2003 reaches end of support in less than 6 months, get ready to move on.

For customers still using Windows Server 2003, now is the time to migrate - The Official Microsoft Blog.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Microsoft Online Services Service Level Agreement!

Service Level Agreement is the bridge between the Customer and the Service provider over which everyday IT business activity runs and our Office 365 is not an exception, Microsoft has clearly defined their SLA in terms of all their supported Online Services, having clear idea on this one becomes mandate for every Admin to know the service levels and manage the environment effectively. I missed to refer this vital information under my Office 365 section and got a chance today to update it to make available for readers under the collection.

Review the below Microsoft Volume Licensing webpage and download the current SLA reference document.

Download here: Microsoft Online Services Service Level Agreement

Also download and review the Microsoft Office 365 Dedicated Service Level Agreements to know the SLA for dedicated plans.

Download here: Microsoft Office 365 Dedicated Service Level Agreements


Microsoft team recently made a significant change to the Online Services Use Rights document to understand their terms and conditions at ease across their various Online Services offering.

The Online Services Terms (OST) document replaces the Online Services Use Rights document starting July 1, 2014. The OST will be refreshed on a quarterly basis similar to the Product Use Rights document and is posted at the same location.

Review the announcement here: New “Online Services Terms” Document Streamlines and Unifies Licensing Terms across Microsoft’s Online Services

Direct Link: Volume Licensing for Microsoft products and Online Services