010 GEEKS WITH A BLOG PODCAST – Apple Updates and Microsoft Ignite. #MSEXCHANGE #IAMMEC #PODCAST #TECH

Join us for a discussion around the new Apple updates, Microsoft Ignite and new Exchange news!

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Show notes:

  1. Apple Product Updates – 1:31 – http://www.theverge.com/2014/10/16/6989443/apple-ipad-mac-event-8-most-important-things
  2. Ignite – 14:50 – http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2014/10/16/introducing-microsoft-ignite-lineup-top-conferences-2015/
  3. Microsoft Shuts down Public folders – 17:17 – http://m.windowsitpro.com/blog/microsoft-turns-last-public-folder-their-internal-exchange-deployment
  4. Surface Pro 3 firmware update for pen – 31:58 – http://winsupersite.com/surface/surface-pro-3-gains-pen-improvements-latest-firmware-update
  5. Evolving EOP – 34:14 – http://blogs.office.com/2014/10/15/evolving-exchange-online-protection-eop-protect-tomorrows-threats/
  6. Russian Time Zone Update – 36:10 – http://support2.microsoft.com/kb/3004235
  7. New JetStress Release – 37:45 – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36849
  8. Windows 10  and 1 million downloads – 38:45 – http://adinermie.wordpress.com/2014/10/01/windows-server-technical-preview-newremoved-windows-server-roles-and-features/

009 GEEKS WITH A BLOG PODCAST – Shell Shock, Windows 10 & iPhone 6. #MSEXCHANGE #IAMMEC #PODCAST #TECH

Join us for a discussion around the new Shell Shock vulnerability, Windows 10 preview, iPhone 6, iOS8, Exchange CU6 release and more!

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Show notes:

  1. Shell Shock – 2:58 – http://www.engadget.com/2014/09/25/what-is-the-shellshock/?ncid=rss_truncated
  2. BendGate – 10:30 – http://www.forbes.com/sites/jvchamary/2014/09/30/iphone-6-bendgate-science/
  3. iPhone 6 and Apple Pay – 17:26 – http://www.valuewalk.com/2014/09/apple-inc-iphone-6-smugglers-china/
  4. Windows 10 – 22:03 – http://blogs.windows.com/bloggingwindows/2014/09/30/announcing-windows-10/
  5. Microsoft Exchange 2013 CU6 Released! – 28:21 – http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2014/08/26/released-cumulative-update-6-for-exchange-server-2013.aspx
  6. Problems with Microsoft Exchange 2013 CU6 – 30:58 –
    1. http://support2.microsoft.com/kb/2997355/en-us
    2. KB:2997209 – Exchange Server 2013 databases unexpectedly fail over in a co-existence environment with Exchange Server 2007
    3. KB:2997847 – You cannot route ActiveSync traffic to Exchange 2007 mailboxes after you upgrade to Exchange 2013 CU6
    4. http://exchangeserverpro.com/unable-move-mailboxes-exchange-server-2013-database-excluded-provisioning/
  7. Registry Entry to Control MAPI over HTTP – 35:53 – https://support2.microsoft.com/kb/2937684?wa=wsignin1.0
  8. Block AutoDiscover – 36:48 – http://blogs.technet.com/b/mspfe/archive/2013/05/01/so-you-want-to-block-exchange-2010-autodiscover-why-would-anyone-do-that.aspx
  9. Microsoft Round 2 of layoffs  – 40:37 – http://windowsitpro.com/blog/microsoft-layoffs-impact-exchange-technical-writers-where-now-documentation
  10. iOS 8 Issues – 45:21

008 GEEKS WITH A BLOG PODCAST – TechEd (and MEC) are Already Missed. #MSEXCHANGE #IAMMEC #PODCAST #TECH #SURFACE3

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Show notes:

  1. Surface Pro 3 – Weeks later – 2:35
  2. Phone 8.1 Update 1 released for developer preview –  7:45 –  http://www.wpcentral.com/windows-phone-81-update-1-rolling-out-developer-preview-users
  3. What Happened to TechEd? – 10:15 –  http://blogs.office.com/2014/07/21/microsofts-unified-technology-event-for-enterprises/
  4. OneNote Update – 19:45 –  http://www.geekwire.com/2014/microsoft-launches-onenote-amazons-tablets-phone/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+geekwire+%28GeekWire%29
  5. NFL and the Surface  –  22:20 –  http://www.sfgate.com/technology/article/NFL-players-to-use-tablet-computers-during-games-5665371.php
  6. Secure Exchange – 31:50 –  http://searchexchange.techtarget.com/feature/Five-steps-to-a-more-secure-Exchange-2013
  7. Managing Mailbox Quotas – 35:45 –  http://blogs.dirteam.com/blogs/davestork/archive/2014/08/01/managing-mailbox-quotas-how-i-do-it.aspx
  8. Gather Transaction Logs Easy – 40:30 – http://www.ntexcellence.com/2014/07/how-to-gather-exchange-20102013.html
  9. Active Directory and Azure  – 43:10 –  http://blogs.technet.com/b/ad/archive/2014/08/04/connecting-ad-and-azure-ad-only-4-clicks-with-azure-ad-connect.aspx
  10. Exchange 2013 Hybrid Deployment Updates – 44:40 – http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2014/07/30/important-update-available-for-exchange-server-2013-hybrid-deployments.aspx
  11. PAM and Cluster Core Resources – 46:05 – http://blogs.technet.com/b/timmcmic/archive/2014/08/04/exchange-2010-2013-pam-and-the-cluster-core-resources.aspx

007 GEEKS WITH A BLOG PODCAST – Skinny Jeans, Pink Shirt and a Tool Belt. #MSEXCHANGE #IAMMEC #PODCAST #TECH #SURFACE3

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Show notes:

  1. Microsoft’s Effort’s to Refocus – 2:17
  2. Does the Apple and IBM Deal Matter? – 7:15
  3. Microsoft, Nokia and Android – 23:24
  4. Microsoft Surface 3 July Updates – 27:38
  5. Microsoft Provides Password Tips– 33:30 –
  6. Microsoft Learning Takes on Exchange 2013 SP1 Exam Updates – 39:45 –   http://www.expta.com/2014/07/an-open-letter-to-microsoft-learning.html
  7. Microsoft Top support Solutions – 48:35 – http://blogs.technet.com/b/topsupportsolutions/
  8. Microsoft Increases Public Folder Limits – 51:33
  9. Exchange Server Mailbox Statistics Report Tool – 55:17 – http://exchangequery.com/2014/04/14/exchange-server-mailbox-statistics-report-tool
  10. Clearing Autocomplete Cache – 58:53 – http://eightwone.com/2014/07/17/clearing-autocomplete-and-other-recipient-caches/

How To: Exchange 2013 SP1 and MAPI over HTTP

The list of features available with Exchange 2013 SP1 when combined with Outlook 2013 SP1 is certainly compelling. This specific combination, in particular, introduces a new client connection mechanism using Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) over HTTP. Why the change in the client connection method? The reliability of the existing RPC over HTTP connection method between the Client Access server and Outlook client became problematic within certain network environments. The complexities of load balanced VIP’s along with connected Outlook clients changing networks (LAN to WLAN) proved to tax the performance of the legacy RPC Proxy found within IIS. Enter MAPI over HTTP! This connection method will allow Outlook to dump the aging RPC protocol in favor of an HTTP-based protocol. There are two clear benefits to using the MAPI over HTTP protocol. First, performance gains will be recognized because only TCP connections need to be reestablished after network hiccups not the full range of RPC connections. This allows Outlook clients to recover quickly and reconnect to the users mailbox when changing WLAN networks, connecting to a wireless hotspot (MiFi), or resuming a laptop from a hibernated state. Secondly, MAPI over HTTP allows Exchange to own the user session data and is not solely dependent on the current session (like RPC).

Autodiscover

To provide backwards compatibility, Exchange 2013 SP1 servers are able to respond to AutoDiscover requests for MAPI over HTTP or RPC over HTTP requests.

The method by which MAPI over HTTP clients actually receive Exchange URL’s does not change. Outlook clients will have to inform Exchange though of the connection protocols that they can support. Configured MAPI over HTTP clients will send Exchange an AutoDiscover request using a specific x-header (x-MapiHttpCapability). An Exchange 2013 SP1 server will then validate AutoDiscover requests that include an x-MapiHttpCapability header. This is to ensure that the header value is greater than zero and that the server itself supports the mapiHttp protocol. If this works and the x-MapiHttpCapability headers are valid, the server provides the MAPI over HTTP URL’s. If this does not work then Exchange will present the RPC over HTTP URL’s. Backwards compatibility makes life easy!

Caveats

As with most new software features there are significant caveats and a supported configuration that must be met in order to utilize MAPI over HTTP.

  1. First, your Client Access and Mailbox environment must be running Exchange 2013 SP1 with .NET Framework 4.5.1.
  2. Secondly, your mail clients need to be running Outlook 2013 SP1.
  3. Next, you need to ensure that the performance of your Client Access Servers is in line with the new sizing guidance from the product group. The CPU requirements for Client Access Servers configured to support MAPI over HTTP has increased by 50% over traditional RPC over HTTP sizing guidance.
  4. Lastly, MAPI over HTTP clients’ can/will have connectivity issues to public folders that reside on legacy Exchange servers (2007/2010). MAPI over HTTP configured clients’ will need to access 2013 modern public folders. If you are not using legacy public folders this does not apply to you (lucky!).

How to Configure MAPI over HTTP

 Let’s first verify what the standard Outlook 2013 SP1 connection status looks like. In the screenshot below you will see a standard RPC over HTTP connection. Notice the protocol column is showing RPC/HTTP.

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 9.11.29 AM

Next we need to take a look at what our InternalUrl is set to on our Client Access Servers.

Get-MapiVirtualDirectory | ft server,internalurl

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 10.28.54 AM

Since the InternalUrl is set to a FQDN that is not on our certificate, we need to change the InternalUrl to https://mail.contoso.local/mapi.

Set-MapiVirtualDirectory -Identity “srv3\mapi (Default Web Site)” -InternalUrl https://mail.contoso.local/mapi -IISAuthenticationMethods Negotiate

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 10.30.53 AM

Alternatively you can set the InternalUrl on all servers this way:

Get-MapiVirtualDirectory | Set-MapiVirtualDirectory -InternalUrl https://mail.contoso.local/mapi

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 10.31.13 AM

Next, we need to enable MAPI over HTTP at the organization level. First lets verify that MAPI over HTTP is not enabled.

Get-OrganizationConfig | FL *mapi*

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 10.34.05 AM

We see that MapiHttpEnabled is set to false within our organization.

In order to enable MAPI over HTTP we issue the following command.

Set-OrganizationConfig -MapiHttpEnabled $true

After setting this parameter we can then verify the change.

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 10.39.18 AM

After several minutes any user connected with Outlook 2013 SP1 will receive a prompt that Outlook will need to be restarted. A fix to suppress this client-side alert is in the mix for an upcoming CU release this summer.

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 11.54.20 AM

After restarting Outlook 2013 SP1 you will see a standard MAPI over HTTP connection. Notice the protocol column is showing HTTP.

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 12.15.12 PM

Additionally, the AutoDiscover log for this Outlook session generated by Test E-mail AutoConfiguration will display the new MAPI over HTTP Autodiscover provider listed.

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 12.17.47 PM

Administration and Troubleshooting

It is noteworthy that Microsoft has provided several different methods to troubleshoot MAPI over HTTP.

First, a URL has been provided that displays basic connectivity diagnostics. The page displays the Client Access and Mailbox server that we have connected to, Exchange version, and vdir path. This page can be accessed using the following URL.

https://mail.contoso.local/mapi/emsmdb

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 10.50.35 AM

Secondly, we have three different log locations that can be reviewed. The MAPI over HTTP logs can be found here:

%ExchangeInstallPath%Logging\MAPI Address Book Service\

%ExchangeInstallPath%Logging\MAPI Client Access\

%ExchangeInstallPath%Logging\HttpProxy\Mapi\

Lastly, we can use the Test-OutlookConnectivity cmdlet to verify that MAPI over HTTP is working on our server SRV3 by way of the Microsoft Exchange Health Manager service.

Test-OutlookConnectivity -RunFromServerId srv3 -ProbeIdentity OutlookMapiHttpSelfTestProbe

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 11.29.11 AM 

Conclusion

The addition of an HTTP-based protocol for the myriads of mobile Outlook users will be a welcome change! The layers between the end user and the Exchange server has been simplified, thus providing the ability for users to switch from a work WLAN to their personal hotspot (and back again!) with minimal disruption to the Outlook session. Deploying MAPI over HTTP within a large enterprise will definitely be challenging given the significant caveats and supported configurations that must be met. I’m sure over time the enterprises’ that have already invested in Exchange 2013 will address these caveats and reap the rewards of MAPI over HTTP.

Simplicity is magical when it works!

005 Geeks With A Blog Podcast – TechEd Preview with Paul Robichaux. #MSExchange #iammec #podcast #tech

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Show notes:

TechEd sessions presented by Paul Robichaux – 2.10

Thoughts on premium clients released for non-Microsoft platforms – 5.50

Is Lync on-premise following in the footsteps of Exchange? – 10.00

How will Lync Online get around the lack of enterprise voice? – 14.34

Market opportunities and Regulatory concerns with Enterprise Voice – 17.18

The process and challenges of writing Exchange 2013 Inside Out: Clients, Connectivity, and UM – 19.38

Discussion of the Microsoft Exchange Preferred Architecture blog post – 30.56

Managed Availability Discussion – 43.54

What is the future of Exchange – 50.48

Paul’s upcoming sessions – 59.18

How To: Exchange 2013 SP1 and Active Directory-Detached Clusters: #MSExchange #iammec

Working in the Technology industry for 16 years has afforded me many opportunities to serve as the celebrated, distinguished, and illustrious ‘on-call’ contact. During the 10 years or so working at various levels and stages of a system administrator, there seemed to be a very consistent theme with being on-call. If I did not plan anything on the weekend – the phone did not ring. However, if I planned on a nice dinner with my wife on Friday night – the phone would ring. Most of the time the calls were not critical situations, but rather something relatively minor. About once a year though, a true critsit would come my way. Nothing was more infuriating as when these outages were a result of another engineer (or myself) shooting themselves in the foot. In my experience though – most outages were revealed to be self-inflicted during post-mortem exercises. This scenario plays out in most organizations and is something that the Microsoft support organization is well aware of. After all, they are the ones that receive the critsit calls from grumpy and embarrassed engineers. As a result, Microsoft has been preaching simplicity.

Since the release of Microsoft Exchange 2010, the Database Availability Group (DAG) has become the crowning jewel around the high availability and site resilience story, and the technology continues to evolve. This of course is my opinion after working with many third-party products that claimed to provide the same level of protection for Exchange 2003 and 2007, but seemed to cause too many sleepless nights.

The addition of a DAG into a messaging design allows a perimeter to be created for database replication, failovers and switchovers. It is important to note that a best practice DAG design also leverages the concept of incremental deployment. This means that we first create an empty Active Directory (AD) object that contains important information about our DAG. Then, we build upon the AD object by adding Mailbox servers to participate in the DAG. This step uses the Windows Failover Clustering components to create a cluster (CNO, IP Address etc.) that is unique to the DAG and manages database mount status, continuous replication and Active Manager duties. The final building block is to create and add database copies into the DAG.

The high availability story for Exchange 2013 SP1 (with Windows Server 2012 R2) has evolved into an even stronger story. Now, (using 2013 SP1 and 2012 R2) Mailbox servers configured with a DAG do not require the creation of a cluster administrative access point or IP address.

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 7.39.39 PM

This means that the Windows Failover Clustering Manager can no longer be used to manage the DAG (specific PowerShell cmdlets are used against each individual cluster member instead) as the IP Address and cluster Network Name resources are not present.

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 7.33.50 PM

With this configuration, PowerShell cmdlets are used to manage all aspects of the DAG (much like a non-Exchange Active Directory-detached cluster). It is also important to note that the CNO and cluster A record within DNS are also missing. The DAG-name is no longer required to be resolvable within your companies internal DNS. The removal of the CNO, IP Address and Network Name dependencies are a result of changes introduced with the release of Windows 2012 R2. Now, Exchange can leverage an Active Directory-detached cluster. The removal of these legacy dependences helps to simplify both deployment and administration.

Regarding deployment, we no longer require AD permissions to create objects or to pre stage cluster computer accounts. Administrators can now rest easy that an over-eager employee can no longer delete the CNO because they did not recognize the name. Microsoft’s effort for simplicity in design, implementation and administration is evident.

Let’s delve into how we leverage all these new enhancements with a step-by-step tutorial.

For the purpose of this walkthrough, we will utilize a box called SRV1 to house the FSW, SRV3 and SRV4 to run the Exchange 2013 SP1 Mailbox role.  Each of these servers have Windows 2012 R2 installed. While there will certainly be other servers/roles within the Exchange/AD architecture, these are the relevant boxes for this walkthrough.

We need to determine what server is going to host the file share witness for our two server DAG. Once the server has been determined, the Exchange Trusted Subsystem needs to be added to the local admin group on the server.

Next, we issue the PowerShell command from SRV3 to create the DAG. The server srv1.contoso.local will be used for our example. Notice in the syntax below the IP Address is set to None.

New-DatabaseAvailabilityGroup -Name DAG01 –DatabaseAvailabilityGroupIPAddresses ([System.Net.IPAddress]::None) -WitnessServer srv1.contoso.local –WitnessDirectory “c:\fsw“

If you did not add the Exchange Trusted Subsystem to the local administrators group, on the computer configured to host the file share witness, the following error will be displayed:

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 11.29.55 AM

Once the DAG is created successfully, the first Mailbox server can be added. Exchange will first check within AD to verify that the Mailbox server is not already part of an existing  DAG. To add the first Mailbox server to our newly created DAG (DAG01) the following PowerShell command from SRV3 is issued:

Add-DatabaseAvailabilityGroupServer -identity DAG01 –MailboxServer srv3

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 11.44.18 AM

Once the Mailbox server has been identified as not part of an existing DAG, the Windows Failover Clustering components are installed.

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 11.44.25 AM

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 11.49.15 AM

Once our first Mailbox server (SRV03) has been added to the DAG (DAG01) we can then add the second Mailbox server from SRV3.

Add-DatabaseAvailabilityGroupServer -identity DAG01 –MailboxServer srv4

Now that both our Mailbox servers (SRV03, SRV04) have been added to the DAG, we need to verify our work thus far. We will use PowerShell from SRV3 to show the two Mailbox servers we just added.

Get-DatabaseAvailabilityGroup

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 12.01.48 PM

In order to show how the DAG IP address is reported when no cluster administrative access point or IP address is configured, the PowerShell command below is used. We will want to take note of the DatabaseAvailabilityGroupIpv4Addresses and DatabaseAvailabilityGroupIpAddresses values.

Get-DatabaseAvailabilityGroup | fl

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 12.03.39 PM

When we created the DAG and specified the FSW (server) location, you may of noticed that this folder was not immediately created. The FSW folder is actually not created until the second Mailbox server is added to our DAG. Once the second Mailbox server is added into the DAG, thus requiring quorum,  the FSW folder is created on SRV1 as you see below.

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 12.01.16 PM

At this point, we are ready to create a new DAG-protected  database on SRV3. For our example we are going to add the database called mbx01 to SRV3.

The following PowerShell command from SRV3 is used to add a DAG protected database:

New-Mailboxdatabase -server srv3 -name mbx01 -Edbfilepath “C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\Mailbox\mbx01.edb” –logFolderPath “C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\Mailbox”

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 12.07.57 PM

After the new database has been added, a warning to restart the Information Store service on SRV03 is provided. The following command from SRV3 will be used restart the service:

Restart-Service MSExchangeIS

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 12.09.47 PM

In order to verify that mbx01 is mounted we need to run the PowerShell command from SRV3 below:

Get-MailboxDatabaseCopyStatus -Identity mbx01\srv3 | ft name,Status,ContentIndexState,ReplayQueueLength,CopyQueueLength

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 12.17.41 PM

At this point we have SRV3 and SRV4 participating as members in our DAG. However, only SRV3 has a copy of the database (mbx01) that we want to make highly available. On our second server Mailbox server (SRV4) we want to add a copy of the mbx01 database. To accomplish this, we will need to issue the following PowerShell command from SRV4:

Add-MailboxDatabaseCopy mbx01 -MailboxServer srv4

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 12.22.08 PM

After adding a copy of mbx01 to SRV4, a warning that the Information Store needs to be restarted is presented. From an Exchange PowerShell window on SRV4 we will need to restart this service.

Restart-Service MSExchangeIS

Now that we have created a highly available cluster of Mailbox Servers, and added a second copy of the mbx01 database on both servers, we need to verify database health. In the example below, we can see that MBX01\SRV3 is showing as mounted. Also, MBX01\SRV4 is showing healthy as the status. The CopyQueueLength and ReplayQueueLength are both set at zero and the ContentIndexState is healthy. From either Mailbox server we can issue the following command

(Get-DatabaseAvailabilityGroup) | ForEach {$_.Servers | ForEach {Get-MailboxDatabaseCopyStatus -Server $_}}

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 12.32.00 PM

As you can see from our example of setting up a new DAG with a highly available mailbox database, Microsoft has both simplified and streamlined the process. The overarching theme when combining Windows Server 2012 R2 with Exchange 2013 SP1 is ‘Simplicity.’

Personally, I look forward to not receiving a call during the middle of the night that “the Exchange mailbox databases on the cluster wont mount and Systems Center is complaining about missing a CNO or something like that.” While we may not be able to get out of on call duty, we may be able to make our systems a bit more resilient thanks to Microsoft’s latest chapter in the Exchange high availability story.

 

004 Geeks With A Blog Podcast – My Preferred Architecture. #MSExchange #iammec #podcast #tech

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Show notes:

Azure AD Sync Preview – 2.52

http://www.stevieg.org/2014/04/understanding-the-azure-ad-sync-preview

Exchange 2013 SP1 Arch Poster Download – 7:10

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=42542

Windows 8.1 Million downloads in a week – 10:10

http://www.wpcentral.com/over-one-million-windows-phone-81-preview-devices

Nike kills sports band and focuses on software17:06

http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/breakout/nike-kills-fuelband-as–wearables–revolution-dies-before-it-begins-145640361.html

Cortana Animations – 24:22

http://wmpoweruser.com/cortana-hack-reveals-all-the-possible-animations-included-in-wp8-1/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Xbox Operations Center – 27:38

http://www.totalxbox.com/73483/features/disaster-squad-behind-the-scenes-at-the-xbox-live-operations-centre/

Surface 64 GB 28% off  – 30:06

The Surface 64 GB went from $499 to $329 with touch cover

As the world of Exchange turns – Exchange News

Microsoft Exchange Preferred Architecture – 36:28

http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2014/04/21/the-preferred-architecture.aspx