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Enjoying Windows 8? Check out Windows 8.1

May 31st, 2013 by

I have to admit, Windows 8 is pretty sweet.  It takes some time to get used to but once you start down the Windows 8 path you really start to get the feel for it.  The fact that my interface is the same on my Xbox, my Windows phone, my surface, and my laptop really makes it easy to learn the interface and appreciate it!

Now that Windows 8 has been around for a bit, Microsoft is releasing Windows 8.1.  Interested? you can learn more by checking out the Windows Blog for the article Continuing the Windows 8 vision with Windows 8.1.  It’s a good read with some of the new and enhanced features in Windows 8.1.  I really like the aspect how a lot of items can be saved up to the cloud.  Makes it easier with my multiple devices to keep a lot of my settings and information is available to me on multiple systems.  :)

Enjoy.

Exchange Server and limited email redirects

May 17th, 2013 by

I was recently on a customer site who was experiencing a problem with performing mail redirects via outlook rules in their environment.  The scenario went something like this:

Once, long ago, in an exchange galaxy far far away there were three mailboxes.  Each mailbox had outlook inbox rules configured.  These inbox rules would specify an action to take if an email message contained a specific work in the body or subject.  Depending on the content of the email message the message would get a redirect to one of the other mailboxes.  The rule was quite simple, After the message arrives and the message includes specific words, do the following….Redirect the message to Mailbox2.

Simple enough right?  Well, mailbox2 also had a rule setup.  After the message arrives and the message includes specific words, do the following….Redirect the message to Mailbox3.

Here is where things got really interesting.  The mail message that arrived in Mailbox1 would redirect to Mailbox2.  If that same message met the criteria of the inbox rule on Mailbox2 that email would get redirected to Mailbox3, based on the inbox rule, but it would never arrive to Mailbox3.

If we created an email and sent it to Mailbox2, with the required criteria to get redirected to mailbox3 the item would arrive.  Hmmm…. Where was the email message going you ask?  Well now, absolutely nowhere.

As it turns out this customer was moving to O365.  The mailboxes in question were also on O365.  I went out and started to do some work in my trusty work environment on O365 (pretty sweet right?).  Basically in O365 I recreated their exact issue, setup an inbox rule, and forward the message to mailbox2 which then would have an inbox rule to redirect to mailbox3, except it would not arrive to mailbox3.

I then decided I would fire this scenario up in my on-prem lab.  I created three mailboxes and created the same rule as noted above, when email arrives, redirect to another mailbox.  I sent an email to Mailbox1 that met the criteria of the rule which then forwarded the email to Mailbox2, which then forwarded to Mailbox3.  Whoa, the message arrived.  I actually went ahead and created two more mailboxes, Mailbox4 and Mailbox5, created my inbox rules and as it turns out the email would arrive to Mailbox4, but never arrived to Mailbox5.  Similar problem, I could get further in this scenario, as in, I was able to forward the email three times touching four mailboxes with my on-prem deployment while only being able to forward once and only touching two mailboxes with my O365 environment.

I then pulled up my trusty email headers, these things are great for troubleshooting mail routing problems btw, and started to review the header.  What I found was rather interesting.  For my on-prem test I found the following in the header:

X-MS-Exchange-Inbox-Rules-Loop: Mailbox1@xch.lab

X-MS-Exchange-Inbox-Rules-Loop: Mailbox2@xch.lab

X-MS-Exchange-Inbox-Rules-Loop: Mailbox3@xch.lab

Interesting I thought.  I then took a look at the header from my O365 work environment and reviewed the header there as well.  Did I mention headers are great for troubleshooting?

In the header I found the following:

X-MS-Exchange-Inbox-Rules-Loop: mailbox1@whatthebing.com

That’s it, only one?  Now I was scratching my head.  Well, logical sense would say that there is only one noted in the O365 environment because I never got the second email redirect from Mailbox2 as noted in my on-prem lab environment.  But, what happened to the second redirect, and for that matter what happened to my fourth redirect for my on-prem?

Well, that was a very good question.  As it turns out there is code in Exchange that will look for the line noted in the message header, “X-MS-Exchange-Inbox-Rules-Loop”, and as a result if the Transport service finds that specific line in the header too many times it will drop the message.  Wait, what, why?  Well, it is there for your protection my friend.  This is actually there to prevent a MailStorm or DOS attack within your exchange organization.  Yes, that’s right, it is there to protect the environment.  Last thing you want is an email looping through your environment over and over and over again which can start to cause performance issues, which causes users to complain, which causes you to look bad.

So, you’re probably asking yourself the question, how do I get around this?  Is there a registry key I can create or change?  No, this cannot be changed.  It is hard coded in the exchange server code, there is no registry key that can change this limit and it has been put in place to protect the Exchange Servers both on-prem and in O365.  To sum it up, On-Prem you get three redirects per message.  O365 you get one redirect per message.  Again, it is there to protect the environment.

Oh, I should point out that this only relates to inbox rules.  If an administrator were to modify the users mailbox to forward all mail to another mailbox the line dealing with Inbox Rules will not be entered into the header and the Transport service will never see it.

I hope you found this content as helpful as I do. Please feel free to comment and share.

Have a great day!

Exchange 2013 Sizing and Calculator, Sizing Exchange 2013, and The Deployment Assistant

May 16th, 2013 by

Whoa, finally a chance to blog some exciting news!

I wanted to bring to your attention a few things that have been made available in the last week on the Exchange Team Blog.

First I wanted to point out that the Exchange 2013 Server Role Requirements Calculator has been released!  This has been one of the major questions I have been getting from my customers, when will the calculator be released!  Now I have an answer, it already is!  Check out the great article by Ross explaining some of the new features of the Calculator in the link above.

Second, I wanted to point out that there is now official guidance on the area of Sizing Exchange 2013 Deployments!  This is another question I receive from a number of my customers pertaining to Exchange 2013.  I am very glad to see this has been released and you should definitely check out the article, if you’re an exchange geek like me it’s always fun to read these articles.

Finally it may not hurt to leverage the Exchange Server 2013 Deployment Assistant in your Exchange 2013 deployments, production or lab.  The Exchange Deployment Assistant is a web-based tool that helps you deploy Exchange 2013 in your on-premises organization, configure a hybrid deployment between your on-premises organization and Office 365, or migrate to Office 365.

Hope you find this information useful.  Please feel free to comment or share!

Back online

March 11th, 2013 by

Well, I had a server crash, my Blog went down, and it took me a long time to get this thing going back online.  Things are looking stable but I still have a lot I need to add back to the server.  So please, be patient as I continue to get things back on line.

Sorry to everyone and hopefully I’ll get this sorted out in the next few weeks in my limited down time.

 

Add SD (removable storage) to Music Library on MS Surface RT

December 21st, 2012 by

Hello, If you are like me you are enjoying the use of the MS Surface and you have an extensive music play list and videos that you like to have on your system.  To help preserve the space on my surface I went out and purchased a SD card to store my music and videos. However, when I went to add the SD card to my library I ran into a problem,

 

 

 

 

 

 

URGH!

I was not able to add the SD card to the library because it was considered a removal device.

Well, good news, there is a work around.

First what I did was create new directory on my Surface called C:\SD.  This basically put a folder on my C Drive which I will map my SD card to.

Step two, go into the computer management and manage the storage device, you can do this by going into your windows explorer, select “Computer” in the tool bar and select “Manage’.  This will bring us to our computer management screen.  Once here you are going to want to select “Storage” and “Disk Management”.

You are going to want to select your SD Disk, in my example it was Disk 1. You can select by holding down on Disk 1 until you get your box, and select “Change Drive Letter and Path”.  Here you will want to delete the drive D: (If this is where your SD Card is, or another drive letter you specified, NOTE do not do this to Drive C) by selecting “Remove”.  You will get a warning and simply click “Yes”.

Once you have removed the drive you will want to select “Add” and specify a Mount Point.  Here you will do a browse and select the folder we created earlier and click “Ok”, you will click OK all the way through.   Going back to C:\SD you will now see that you have mounted your SD card to your C Drive.

Now go back to your Music Library and select Manage and then Manage library.  Here you will be able to add your new mount point, C:\SD (Or whatever you called it) and you will be able to import your music and videos!

Excellent!  And yes, I did type this blog from my MS Surface!

Enjoy!

 

Netflix App Available for Windows 8!

October 25th, 2012 by

Ok, this may be old news but I just discovered there is a Netflix App for Windows 8!  That is sooo sweet.  I had to share with everyone out there.  I really enjoy Netflix and having an app for Windows 8 and the Surface, even better. :)

Thank you Microsoft and Netflix!

Exchange 2013, Office 2013 released to MSDN!

October 25th, 2012 by

Great news, the bits for Exchange 2013 RTM and Office 2013 RTM (and more!) have been released to MSDN!  Don’t wait, go play!

Exchange Server 2013 (x64) – DVD (Multilanguage)

New subscriber downloads RSS

 

Exchange 2013 RTM Help File released!

October 24th, 2012 by

If you’re like me and passionate about Exchange then you may be excited to hear that the Exchange 2013 RTM help file is now available for download!

You can grab it here: Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Help

You can leverage the help file to learn about Exchange 2013 but also prepare for the deployment of 2013 in your environment.  Impress your friends, impress your co-workers, and impress your boss  by displaying your knowledge of 2013 before it is even in your environment. :)

Some areas you will want to focus is on eDiscovery, which now has integration with Lync and SharePoint.  There have been some architecture changes to Exchange 2013.  We did away with the Hub Transport server role and consolidated into two server roles, the mailbox role and the Client Access Role.  Don’t worry folks, the Hub Transport service and functionality is still there, there is just no longer a dedicated server to the role.   Check out Mail Flow for more info on how mail is now routed in your org.

Also take a look at the policy and compliance; there is no more “Legal Hold” but rather an In-Place Hold which allows the hold to be granular, allowing you to have an indefinite hold, a query-based hold, or a time-based hold.  There have also been some great changes to DLP and compliance on 2013.

Also take a look at Managed Availability.  Ross has a great post on the Exchange Team Blog, when I heard about this for the first time I thought, how cool is that!  You can find the link here:  Lessons from the Datacenter: Managed Availability

I could go on and on about 2013, but I’ll let you discover it for yourself!

Exchange 2013 approved for RTM!

October 12th, 2012 by

Hello World, I am still alive and extremely busy.  Last month I was lucky enough to attend MEC which was a great experience with an introduction to Exchange 2013, for those of you who did not make it I recommend you watch for a future MEC, no date specified but it was worthwhile to go.   Learning about the new features of Exchange 2013 was most excellent and meeting other people in the Exchange community was an excellent experience.  I love meeting people in the Exchange community and talking to them about Exchange and how poorly Green Bay is doing this year (you know who you are!).

Speaking of Exchange 2013 yesterday the Exchange engineering team signed off on the RTM version of exchange 2013! Talk about an exciting news!  The new features of Exchange 2013 are pretty darn cool.

For more information check out the news over at the Exchange Team blog in the article The New Exchange Reaches RTM!

Hopefully I will get more time to start blogging more, I do miss sharing all my tales and things I find interesting.

Until next time, and hopefully not to far off.

Comments, questions?  Please share your thoughts!

 

Exchange 2013 Preview Released

July 16th, 2012 by

For those of you Exchange junkies out there like me I thought I would share with you that the next version of Exchange, Exchange 2013, has released a preview.  I encourange everyone go out and play, as I am. :)

The Preview has two roles of the server available, the Client Access server and the Mailbox server.

Client Access servers accept connections from clients and proxy those requests to the back-end Mailbox server that houses the active mailbox database copy. Multiple Client Access servers can be grouped together into a load-balanced array. The Client Access server performs authentication, redirection, and proxy services; it doesn’t perform any data rendering. Connections to the Client Access server are stateless which means that there is no need to maintain affinity between a client and an individual Client Access server for subsequent connections because all data processing and transformation occurs on the Mailbox server. Because of this change in architecture, Exchange 2013 Preview requires layer 4 load balancing. Layer 4 load balancing is protocol-unaware and balances traffic based on IP address and TCP/UDP port.

A Client Access array includes two different components: the Client Access service and the Front End Transport service.

The Client Access service performs the following functions:

  • Provides a unified namespace, authentication, and network security.
  • Handles all client requests for Exchange.
  • Routes requests to the correct Mailbox server.
  • Proxies or redirects client requests for legacy servers, such as Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010 Client Access.
  • Enables the use of layer 4 (TCP affinity) routing.

The Front End Transport service performs the following functions:

  • Provides a unified namespace, authentication, and network security.
  • Handles all client requests for Exchange.
  • Routes requests to the correct Mailbox server.
  • Proxies or redirects client requests for legacy servers, such as Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010 Client Access.
  • Enables the use of layer 4 (TCP affinity) routing.

Mailbox servers house the mailbox data for the organization and perform data rendering and other operations. Mailbox servers can be grouped into back-end clusters which consist of database availability groups (DAG). Mailbox servers perform the following functions:

  • Host mailbox databases.
  • Provide email storage.
  • Host public folder databases.
  • Calculate email address policies.
  • Conduct multi-mailbox searches.
  • Provide high availability and site resiliency.
  • Provide messaging records management and retention policies.
  • Handle connectivity because clients don’t connect directly to the Mailbox servers.
  • Provide all core Exchange functionality for a given mailbox where that mailbox’s database is currently activated.
  • Fails over mailbox access when a database fails over.

The following briefly describes some new and some improved features in the Mailbox role for Exchange 2013 Preview:

  • Evolution of Exchange 2010 DAG:
    • Transaction log code has been refactored for fast failover with deep checkpoint on passive database copies.
    • To support enhanced site resiliency, servers can be in different locations.
  • Exchange 2013 Preview now hosts some Client Access components, the Transport components, and the Unified Messaging components.
  • Exchange 2013 Preview Store has been re-written in managed code to improve performance in additional IO reduction and reliability.
  • Each Exchange 2013 Preview database now runs under its own process.
  • Smart Search has replaced the Exchange 2010 multi-mailbox search infrastructure.

For more information on What’s New in Exchange 2013 Preview check out this link: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/97501135-2149-4590-8373-98e638ac8eb1

Where can you download the preview to play?  Go here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/fp179701

For Exchange 2013 Prerequisites go here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb691354(v=exchg.150)

Finally, before installing the Preview read the release notes, keep in mind, this is a preview!  Release notes are here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj150489(v=exchg.150)

Since this is a preview, it is not currently supported for installation with Exchange 2007 or 2010, so please install in a LAB environment only as noted in a number of the articles.