Thursday, January 29, 2015

Microsoft Ignite Session Catalog Now Available !!!

Last July 2014, Microsoft team announced their plan on bringing a new change to the way Microsoft Technology events are hosted by providing a Unified Technology Event for Enterprises. This was a hot topic at that time and we had various reviews and comments across the globe over this major move by Microsoft. On 16th October 2014 finally "Microsoft Ignite" was born, Microsoft team globally announced the location and dates "May 4-8, 2015 in Chicago IL"and finalized the event. Now the time is nearing.

Its now time for one more significant announcement from Microsoft Ignite team on whats coming? Yes, The most awaited Session catalog, Which is now made available with one more opportunity to be part of the #IgniteJam live tweet Jam in twitter, this February 3rd, at 9:00 a.m. PT to know more.

Access the Official post here : Introducing the Microsoft Ignite session catalog

Review the Session Catalog here: Ignite Sessions

We have about 275 Sessions on a whole, covering various Microsoft platforms and Technologies from novice to advanced, presented by prominent Experts from Microsoft along with Key people in the Technical Community united together in this Unified event.

Innovation with Microsoft is going beyond imagination which is evident from the recent Technology happenings in the IT world and the sessions are designed in such a way, that provides more insight on the present Technology and shows the path towards the future.

The best part with this announcement is, You now have the list handy that shows whats in, and all  you need to do is to review and decide what Sessions you are planning to attend and try get the most out of it.

If you are not yet registered, you have the link for registration in the Official blog post to register for the event and experience the Technology.

*Follow @MS_Ignite for current updates.

I am eager to know more on this and will be joining the #IgniteJam and share some more information here. stay tuned...


Microsoft Ignite team released the full list of sessions and many of the speakers for the Ignite event.

Access these below Posts to know more:

World’s largest SharePint? It will happen ‘all week’ at Microsoft Ignite!

Be the first to learn what’s next for Exchange and Office 365 at Microsoft Ignite - Full session list now available

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Office 365 - Microsoft Peering Agreements!!!

Today I came across an excellent post from,written by our renowned Expert Henrik Walther MSFT, updating us the details of Microsoft Peering Agreements with ISPs around the world for providing better Office 365 Network performance.

Access here to view the list :

Review this link to know more on Microsoft Peering Agreement :

As stated by Henrik, If you come across any Client/Customer facing Performance/Latency issues with Office 365, check and validate whether their ISP is listed in the peering Database, which will be the first step for Identifying the underlying cause and drive towards resolution.

Monday, January 26, 2015

South Asia MVP Open Day 2015 Roundup!!!

I would like to begin this post with the famous Quote "No matter how far we travel, the memories will follow in the baggage car" this is quite known to all of us, The best part is some of them travel along with us for a longer period of time, and this post is about one of such beautiful memories that added to my collection, came through my recent experience in the South Asia MVP Open Day 2015.

Being my first year as a Microsoft MVP, I was so eager to attend this event and counted my days towards the big day to meet everyone in the community, in which I am now given a chance to be a part of.  This event was organized In the Silicon Valley of India, "Bangalore" in a quite amazing location abundant with nature and ambiance.

Once I reached the location, I was amazed to see a great number of fellow MVPs arriving to the event and the numbers increased overtime, which  really made me happy, that I am now getting a chance to meet most of them in one place and can spend sometime valuable time together. We all had a warm welcome by the Organizers. We refreshed ourselves quickly to unveil the surprise awaiting and was ready to begun the event.

I am still re-collecting all the beautiful moments and learning we had in the last two days, the list is quite lengthy and this post should then need to be converted to a Series, if I started to share all of them. I will cover some of the great moments in a nutshell, and share my joy and experience to you all, because "Happiness is only real when Shared". 

It begun with the Introduction session on the MVP program, Its value and benefits to self and to the community, hosted by Microsoft Community Mangers and MVP Leads, who Organized this great event and head the MVP program in South Asia

The Introduction session was quite amazing as we got an opportunity to meet Our Community Managers, in live and got our Queries answered. Gained a better visibility on the MVP Program through which we all can do more to the community and also guide the aspiring candidates outside to be a part of this great program.

To add to this, We had few great Sessions Organized in a way that adds more value to the work that we do in our day to day basis in every corner of the Technology, from Traditional "Microsoft Office" and it extended to the Cloud "Microsoft Azure" and even beyond.

These sessions were hosted by fellow Senior MVPs and Microsoft Technical Leads and Managers in an efficient way that gave us more than what we expected from their sessions, because there is always more when you learn from the "Experts".

Then, It was party time, where we MVPs meetup in Indian Traditional Costumes to represent our culture in the late evening and had a great time together stepping away from our Technology discussions for a while.

Microsoft does not restricted and limited our learning only on Technology, and it went one step a head where we learned some of the greatest Leadership Qualities from Industry experts and real world examples, which really moved us all and I would say on a personal note it gave me a spark that will for sure going to reshape my career towards the path of enlightenment.

We MVPs are not only strong and Innovative on our writing and we can do more, we are only "Separated by our Technology, United by Microsoft" and to prove this, We were given activities as Teams on the move, which we never expected to be so great, through which we gained a lot of learning, from Team work to Leadership and even it went beyond and Ignited our Innovative ideas that can really shape Microsoft's future and take it to the "Edge of the Curve". 

Finally, the big event came to an end, only by time I would say, as the memories stay still fresh. We all were ready to go back with this great feeling to our homes after saying most painful word "Bye for now... "

I would say, this was a great beginning for some new Relationships, that's going to do some effective new advancements to what we do to the community and take it to the next level.

We were given some great goodies that will make us remember this event. Also we have the most evergreen Picture of all us together that remains forever and speaks a lot than I can describe.

I would heartily thank Microsoft and The South Asia MVP Award program for Organizing such great events,  which really adds more value to us as Community Leaders and also gives us an opportunity to meet one another to do more. I always believe "People together with Great minds do Miracles".

I believe you would now have a visual experience of my great memories, and would thank you for spending sometime in reading this post and shared my happiness.

You can expect few other great write-ups soon in the upcoming days in my blog the latest Technology happenings as always along with few of my great experiences as above that will for sure be interesting and add more value to what you get here. Bye for now...

Monday, January 19, 2015

What's New in Windows Server Technical Preview !!!

Next version of Windows Server is on the way and now we have the Technical Preview available for Evaluation. Microsoft team has released a TechNet article that covers What's new in Windows Server Technical Preview and provides references to the new enhancements.

Microsoft team has started to work more on Windows Server vNext and we can expect more innovations on the way and notified to the community in the upcoming days.

Access the TechNet article here: What's New in Windows Server Technical Preview

Download and Evaluate here : Windows Server Technical Preview


Microsoft team plan to release further previews through the remainder of 2015, with the final release in 2016. Next preview is planned for the spring of 2015.

Access here: Windows Server and System Center roadmap update

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Skype for Business Technical Training is on the way!!!

I Believe everyone aware that next version of Lync is getting renamed as Skype for Business, Microsoft team with their announcement updated that they will include shipping of new client, server and service in Office 365 during the first half of 2015. And yesterday they announced the availability of Skype for Business technical training created to help partners and IT pros to get ready for the upcoming product release.

Below is the Official Announcement extract,

Starting January 19th through the end of March, the Office 365 Summit events will include instructor-led trainings on Skype for Business to help your company quickly take advantage of the upcoming opportunity.

Sessions include Skype for Business technical tracks for IT pros, developers and users including:

Register here for in person training at an Office 365 Summit.

Can’t attend in person? Learn online.

Beginning in February, we’ll make the Office 365 Summit content available on the Office 365 Summit Readiness tab for those unable to attend in person and we’ll start a series of live webcasts that provide deeper, topic by topic, training on Skype for Business.  

You can view the current session list and register hereSkype for Business Readiness Series

Review the Official Announcement here to know more : Skype for Business sessions now included in Office 365 Summits

I am eager to experience the much awaited new Skype for Business and provide a write up soon... stay tuned...

Garage Series is now Office Mechanics !!!

The Garage Series for Office 365 live show is getting renamed as Office Mechanics.

Microsoft team is planning to take this show to the next level in this new year starting next week to provide more deep-dive insight on the challenges and innovations with Office 365 with a brand new name, brand new show that's accessible from anywhere with any device on the move.

Review this Official Blog post to know more with the Into - The Garage Series is now Office Mechanics

Access the new website link to stay tuned with the last updates on each Wednesday at

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

ADFS & Dirsync Server and Service Availability Check Script !!!

Monitoring ADFS \ Dirsync Servers are essential for an Office 365 Environment and we have various Monitoring Tools in house and available through supported 3rd party vendors for Environment availability.

This is a simple PowerShell script that checks the ADFS\ADFS proxy, Dirsync Servers Availability by testing the connection via Test-Connection cmdlet (sends ICMP echo request packets ("pings") to one or more computers) and also it checks the critical services status using Get-Service cmdlet and cumulatively report us the status in a formatted HTML report via an automated E-mail as per the scheduled task we specify.

Also you can modify this script to specify the Names of any Windows Servers in your environment and specify the Services to be monitored inside for reporting according to your requirement at ease.

Below is the Quick preview of the results simulated for a server and service unavailability.

You can download the script from Microsoft Script Center here: ADFS & Dirsync Server and Service Availability Check Script

Good News on Mailbox Moves to Office 365 !!!

Microsoft team recently made a remarkable update to Exchange Online service as a part of December 2014 updatewhich now removes the Maximum item size limit restriction of 25 MB on Mailbox moves to Office 365 and increased the limit to 150 MB which eventually reduced the amount of migration overhead on calculating large item size on user mailboxes and work separately to address this as an add-on task during migration.

Below is the extract from the Official Announcement,

Office 365 Exchange Online message size onboarding limit increase — We are making a change to allow customers to migrate larger mail messages to Exchange Online. We now allow messages up to 150MB to be migrated to the service. The change is available immediately to all customers and is published as a new limit in the Exchange Online limits page in the Office 365 service description. We are not changing other limits such as mailbox size or maximum send/receive limit for messages. This change enables customers with large messages to easily migrate their existing content to the message.

This enhancement is quite significant as this reduces add-on work during the migration as most users will fall under this 150 MB category and there may be few exceptions still which is inevitable which we need to address as before. This new update will for sure increase the adoption rate and also speeds up the migration timeline.

Exchange Online Limits TechNet Page is updated to reflect this new change.

Note: This new limit applies only for native MRS-based moves and not for EWS, MAPI and IMAP and 3rd party Tools.

Additionally, we still need to consider the bandwidth consumption factor during such moves and its always advisable to educate users on Mailbox clean-up process as a best practice to have their mailbox size limit under control which eventually benefits both the end user in terms of better performance and also for Admins during the migration activities.

Hope this New year is filled with lot of new surprises from Microsoft and I am eager to experience and share the same with you.... stay tuned...

Thursday, January 08, 2015

DAG Witness Server on Microsoft Azure !!!

I recently came across a vital TechNet article published few days back, which speaks over a new enhancement for Exchange Server 2013 Database Availability Groups by making the most awaited feature "Witness Server in Microsoft Azure" now possible. This new enhancement will make Exchange DAGs more robust by building one more layer of high availability and assists the Automatic Data Center fail-over during DR scenarios in a site-resilient Exchange Infrastructure.

Its been quite sometime since I worked with DAG and this feature was the most expected one when Microsoft started this discussion way back and stopped due to service limitation for a while, the same is now getting addressed and this great feature is now made available.

The key to make this work is the new enhancement "Multi-site VPN support" made available to Azure in  June 2014 as updated in the below extract from the article.

Microsoft Azure introduced multi-site VPN support, which enabled organizations to connect multiple datacenters to the same Azure virtual network. This change also made it possible for organizations with two datacenters to leverage Microsoft Azure as a third location to place their DAG witness servers.

Today got a chance to spend sometime on reading this article and thought of writing this post to share this to readers and we can soon expect the official announcement.

More information with detailed walk-through is available in the TechNet article below,

Access here: Using a Microsoft Azure VM as a DAG witness server

Moving Witness to Azure is still a great enhancement for High Availability and Site resilience and I believe Organizations' who utilize Azure as a part of their Infrastructure may start to adopt this soon. As a side note, Deploying Exchange Servers in Azure is not yet supported and this article is applicable only for placing the witness server for DAG.


Here comes the official EHLO Blog post announcement on this great feature.

Access here: Using an Azure VM as a DAG Witness Server

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Join with me in the Microsoft IT Journey into the Past 2014...

A New Year has just begun with lots of hopes and wishes on our mind to focus on the future, with this being said its always good to look back at what has occurred in the past for a moment which ideally shapes the future. Join with me on the Microsoft IT Journey into the Past 2014 and experience the great moment with the Microsoft Technology.

Last year was an Epic in the field of IT and its more significant for Microsoft, the Technology that I live and breathe everyday, with new innovations on the move making the whole year occupied with lot of new happenings every minute that shaped the future of IT.

I decided to make this post bit simple as I wont be able to cover such a vast happenings in a singe write-up, instead I reviewed my very own blog posts for the whole year and selected few vital ones from every month which I found quite significant and referenced them here from bottom-up for you to review and there are still more information available in the community that you can refer, these are few from my end and suffice to my knowledge to start the journey and see how things were and how it got changed overtime.


Quick Tour and Review of Office 365 - Garage Series Video !!!

Datacenter changes for Office 365 an Heads Up!

Azure AD News - Year End Wrap up !!!

Video calling between Skype and Lync available now !!!

Exchange Server Updates now Available !!!


New Update for Yammer Sign-in !!!

Get Ready to Upgrade your SHA-1 Certificates!!!

Exchange Server CUs and RUs are delayed !!!

Clutter Reaches GA !!!

Lync becomes Skype for Business !!!


Disable Support for SSL 3.0 to Avoid POODLE Attack !!!

Built-in Mobile device management now Available for Office 365 !!!

TechEd Europe 2014 has begun...

Unlimited OneDrive Storage is coming to all Office 365 Subscribers !!!

Windows 10 is Coming...


Time to Say Good Bye soon for Office on Demand from Office 365 !!!

Azure Active Directory Synchronization Services (AAD Sync) Reaches General Availability !!!

Delve is coming...

Migrate Your Environment to Office 365 for Free...

Directory Integration Tools Feature Comparison


Exchange Server 2013 CU6 Released!!!

Migrating to a Hybrid Server Environment with Microsoft Azure

Azure AD Connect Overview

Getting Ready to Become an MCSA Office 365

Getting the Most out of Your Office 365 Trial MVA Course


Official Microsoft Twitter Accounts to follow...

Microsoft’s Unified Technology Event for Enterprises

Worldwide Partner Conference 2014 Video Sessions now Available!!!

Codename Oslo is now "Delve"

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


Office 365 Outages in a Row!!!

Office 365 for Business Public Roadmap Released!!!

Troubleshooting Outlook Connectivity and Performance issues with Office 365


Microsoft Join Hands with Salesforce!!!

Exchange 2013 CU5 Released !!!

Office 365 Evaluation with Gartner

Office 365 Trust Center Re-launched

TechEd North America 2014 Event Started Today!!!


Forefront Identity Manger becomes Microsoft Identity Manger soon!

New Azure Active Directory Sync Services Tool

Microsoft Azure not affected by Heartbleed bug

Azure Active Directory Premium now Available

Last day for Legacies!!!

PowerShell 5.0 now Available!!!

MEC 2014 Completed!!!


Today is a Great day in Microsoft!!!

Microsoft New Enterprise Mobility Suite is on the way...

Windows Azure becomes Microsoft Azure!!!

Office 365 IT Pro Network Yammer Group!

Still Using XP...Get ready to Upgrade!!!


Microsoft New CEO Announced!!!

Exchange Server 2013 SP1 Released!!!

Office Web Apps now becomes Office Online

Video calling between Skype is on the Way!!!

O365 - Upgrade your IE


Sky Drive becomes One Drive Soon...

Directory Based Edge Blocking Now Available!

ADFS 3.0 with Office 365

It really took sometime for me to get this posts in order, I was amazed over these new changes and innovations one after the other when I do this write-up, hope you all will enjoy this journey at each stage and come back with some rich experience that keeps you stay fresh to face the future... which has already begun... :)

*As an add-on read review the below Excellent 2014 wrap-up post from In The Cloud Blog by Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President, Enterprise Client & Mobility  at Microsoft.

Access here : 2014: A Great Year for IT

*Another excellent write up from Tony Redmond MVP in his Exchange Unwashed blog on Exchange Server.

Access here : The world of Exchange in 2014 and what's likely in 2015

Upcoming changes to SharePoint Online Public Website !!!

I recently came across this Microsoft Knowledge base article on upcoming changes to SharePoint Online Public website which is quite important, As an Office 365 Administrator we need to know the recent changes a head and action since this change is related to the discontinuation of  SharePoint Online Public website feature starting this January 2015.

Most of the Large Organizations normally relay on other 3rd party website hosting providers and integrate with Office 365 service for public presence and there are still few Small and Medium size business Organizations who has adopted this feature and impacted by this change and such existing customers of this feature will continue to have access for another two years. New customers who subscribe to Office 365 after the changeover date won't have access to this feature. Moving forward, Office 365 customers will have access to third-party offerings that will enable them to easily integrate their public presence with their Office 365 service.

Microsoft team has clearly explained the background of this change along with the FAQs explained in detail in the below Knowledge base article, review the same and get ready for the change if you are one among the Organizations using this feature. Also  standby for more updates on the article and keep an eye on the ZDNet post referenced below updated by Microsoft veteran Mary Jo Foley for quick updates.

Access the MS Knowledge base here : Information about upcoming changes to SharePoint Online Public Website

ZDNet post : Microsoft confirms it is dropping Public Website feature from SharePoint Online


Microsoft team updated the Knowledge base article with list of Third Party web hosting companies partner with Office 365:


As stated in the article Microsoft team will still continue to evaluate and expand this list for customers in the mere future. Also Microsoft will support SharePoint Online Public Websites for existing customers who already have them for a minimum of two years after the changeover date of March 9, 2015. Customers fall under this, can opt to move to supported third party solutions either now or later within this support period.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Know Azure AD better today !!!

Today I came across this excellent write-up in the ASK PFE Blog on Azure AD by Michael Hildebrand - MSFT, which is a must one to read for every Administrator who work with Azure AD and also for the ones who are on the way to learn and adopt the Microsoft Cloud platform.

Below are vital topics and FAQs covered in the article with rich content and I would suggest you to spend some time and read this article top-down and fully understand what is Azure AD and what is possible with Azure AD etc. to enhance your knowledge on the topic and stay top on what you do now with Azure.

  • Hello Azure Active Directory
  • Why should I care about Azure AD?
  • How do I populate our Azure AD directory with on-prem AD user information?
  • Is Azure AD an LDAP-compliant directory? How do we interact with AAD programmatically?
  • Is there Group Policy in Azure AD?
  • Can I deploy an instance/replica of Azure AD in my on-prem Datacenter?
  • Can I deploy an instance/replica of my on-prem AD into Azure?
  • Is Azure AD content replicated across international borders?
  • Are there parent/child relationships if I have more than one AAD directory (like those in a Windows Server AD forest)?
  • How do I manage Azure AD? Is there an equivalent to AD Users and Computers ("A-Duck" for you old-school AD admins)?
  • Do we still use Kerberos, NTLM, LDAP, ADSI, and other protocols I'm familiar with?
  • What's in a name?
  • I've been doing AD admin work since the dawn of AD with Windows 2000 – is my profession in jeopardy?
  • Ok – my New Year's Resolution is to learn more about Azure, Azure AD, Azure datacenters, etc – where can I get more information?

Access the post here: Azure Active Directory for the Old-School AD Admin

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year 2015 !!!

Exchange Anywhere wishes everyone a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2015 !!!

Last year 2014 was an extra-ordinary year for Information Technology as more innovations occurred through out that year which is unimaginable and went beyond our imagination. Stay tuned for my Journey to the past 2014 warp up coming soon...