Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Microsoft Licensing and the IT Pro Community Town Hall

This week, I was invited to the IT Pro Community Leaders Town Hall forum at Microsoft in Redmond. This forum was organized by Steve Ballmer. While Steve was not with us the entire time, I was surprised that he had been briefed on the important points that were made even while he was not there.

One point that was made painfully clear was that Microsoft licensing is far too difficult and that getting inconsistent answers is common place. I personally made that point to Bob Muglia after he had heard it from the group. Several others made this clear to Steve B. as well. The best comment of the entire day was when someone told Steve B. that Microsoft IT should have to figure out Microsoft licensing, too. Then there would be some changes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Using Edge Transport as a mail relay

Another question that popped up during a session last week was how to use the Edge Transport role of Exchange 2007 as an external relay. Thanks to Bharat Suneja for helping to clarify this.

In order to have the Edge Transport server "relay" mail directly, in E2K7 you need to config an "external relay" accepted domain. If you configure an "internal relay" accepted domain, the Edge Transport delivers the message to the internal Hub Transport servers where the Hub Transport server relies on a mail-enabled contact with the correct SMTP address to relay the message onward. Here is the text of what Bharat sent to me.

As far as relaying is concerned, AcceptedDomains can be set up as External Relay domains or Internal Relay domains - in the former scenario mail is received by the Edge and relayed to the destination mail system, in the latter case (for cross-Forest/trusted Forest environments, where Contacts exist in AD for the destination domain) - the Edge relays to the Hub and the Hub delivers to the destination Forest - usually inside the perimeter / over a vpn connection.


Licensing clarifications for SCR, CCR, and LCR

I had a question last week during Exchange Connections that I wanted to make sure I properly clarified regarding Exchange 2007 Enteprise Edition server.

Enterprise Edition is only required for "failover clustering" meaning Clustered Continuous Replication (CCR) or Single Copy Clustering (SCC) and/or if you need more than five mailbox databases on a single server. It is NOT required for Local Continous Replication (LCR).

No licensing decisions have been made about the target server for the new Exchange 2007 SP1 feature Standby Continuous Replication, however it is a good guess that the SCR target server will require Enterprise Edition if it hosts more than five databases or if it will need to be part of a cluster once the administrator initiates a fail-over.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Exchange 2003 "Lifecyle Information"

Today in the Q&A session for our presentation in Denver, someone asked about the end-of-life for Exchange 2003. This can be found on the Microsoft Support Lifecycle page. The end of mainstream support is planned to be on April 14, 2009 (sooner than I thought) and extended support on April 8, 2014 (later than I thought). You can view this information here.

Exchange Server 2000 mainstream support ended on December 31, 2005 and extended support ends on January 11, 2011.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Safe sender list aggregation in Exchange 2007

Every once in a while, I get something wrong. Really wrong. Since the first time I read about per-user "safe sender" lists residing on the Exchange 2007 Edge Transport server (or the Hub Transport server if you have the anti-spam agents installed there), I *assumed* that it included block lists also. After some testing, though, I wondered why the per user "blocked sender" lists were not working.

The feature is just "safe senders"; safe sender list aggregation does not include the user's blocked senders. As Microsoft's Ross Smith pointed out to me, that is why it is called "safe sender list aggregation." :-)


HP hardware, warranties, and mea culpa

I was talking to some friends this week from HP about my blog post from February and my unhappiness with HP's refurbished hardware warranties. Don't get me wrong, I still love HP server hardware. I wanted to post a follow-up and share a couple of important lessons learned regarding refurbished hardware, though. First, check the warranty. Saving a few bucks on hardware may not be worth a shorter warranty period. Second, allow for an adequate burn-in time before the warranty expires. :-)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Message Waiting indicator for Exchange 2007 Unified Messaging

A pretty common question I am asked is how to support the Message Waiting Indicator (MWI) on traditional telephones when you move the mailbox to Exchange Server 2007 using the Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging server role. I just learned about a product that sounds really promising from Geomant. They provide a Messaging Waiting Indicator function and an SMS function that is supposed to integrate with Exchange 2007.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

GoDaddy, Subject Alternate Name certificates, and Exchange 2007

Exchange 2007 automatically creates "self signed" SSL certificates for CAS and Hub Transport servers. However, if you want to use SSL for OWA/ActiveSync/Autodiscover/Availability, etc... or if you want to do TLS/SSL for SMTP, then you need a publicly trusted certificate. However, this introduces a problem. Internal clients try to use the server name or the internal FQDN and will generate errors if the certificate on the internal HTTP virtual server is issued for an external URL.

The answer is to either create both internal and external virtual directories and use separate SSL certificates for each. This is a bit of a pain in the neck, though.

The Exchange 2007 EMS cmdlet new-ExchangeCertificate can create a certificate request that includes multiple additional server names or FQDNs. These additional FQDNs go in to the Subject Alternate Name field of the certificate.

Not all public certificate authorities will support these. However, GoDaddy has come out with a new certificate called a 6-in-1 certificate for $62.99 per year. This is a great deal and one I will probably be recommending to all of my customers.

New York City planning "ring tone" law

Did I hear correctly? Or was it the jet lag? April Fools Day? I was driving in from the Orlando airport at O-God thirty this morning and was listening to the news. Apparently, New York City is considering a law that would prevent any ring tone on cell phones except "approved" ring tones. They have 4 approved ring tones at this point that they are considering.

Was this in bizarro world? Did I not hear this correctly? Or have we really reached the point that John Q. Public wants to legislate ring tones. Are we so fragile and helpless that we want the government create the ring tone police? Are we truly this intolerant?

Personally, I find ring tones annoying. But I would never in a million years dream of goverment legislated ring tones. If this is a joke, they really should not play them so early in the morning when I am groggy and jet-lagged. :-)