Sunday, December 23, 2012

Data in extension / custom attributes cleared when mailox is removed

Did you know... if you store data about a user account in the extensionAttribute1 - extensionAttribute15 that the data will be cleared when the mailbox is removed.  This is expected behavior and by design.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Costs associated with Exchange and email systems

We now live in the day and age of outsourcing.  With platforms such as Office365 offering no only email but also SharePoint and Lync services for as little as $10 per month, outsourcing email and other services appears very attractive.  More than one IT manager has asked me recently what does their email system really cost.

As a guesstimate, I typically tell people their email system probably costs between $10 and $15 per mailbox per month to operate.  Operating your own email system has a number of advantages that are hard to quantify including flexibility and possibly more timely resolution of issues.  The "outsourcing" costs are a bit misleading because if you move to a hosted provider, chances are you will still need someone on staff with email and client software skills. After all, the problems such as "Outlook won't load" and "My rules are not working" are not going away.   So that has to be factored in to any potential cost savings.

  Typically, the biggest cost factor for any email system is the labor involved in setting it up and running it. Usually 45-55% of the overall cost of the email system is the administrators.

  Some other factors to calculate include:
  • Software licensing costs including acquisition and annual maintenance 
  • Don't forget software such as backup, antivirus, monitoring, etc... 
  • Hardware costs including acquisitions costs and annual maintenance
  • Overhead associated purchasing hardware and software.  If you decide to buy 10 servers, someone has to process the paperwork, pay the invoices, accept deliveries, inventory the new equipment, put it in a rack, run cables, etc...
  • Air conditioning/cooling.  Did you think of that?  In Hawaii, our electricity is around US$0.33/KWh.  It costs around $600 to keep a 2U server at 72 degrees F year round. 
  • Power:  A 2U server with a couple of TB of local disk space costs around $700 to power for on year. 
  • Floor space?  What is the annual rent/lease cost for a rack full of equipment?  This is probably negligible in most cities, but in some cities with extremely expensive rents this may be a factor. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

The IT Curmudgeon

After a particularly frustrating week at work...
  1. There are rarely good technological solutions for bad behavior. (this one comes from Ed Crowley)
  2. Any meeting that gets off track more than twice will not achieve its intended goal.
  3. Projects that are not well scoped will come in late and over budget.
  4. "On time and under budget" are misnomers in IT.
  5. An IT department's effectiveness is inversely proportional to the number of layers of management.
  6. IT organizations that are afraid / intimidated by their users will inevitably serve those users poorly.
  7. Scope creep is the enemy of IT.
  8. Good information security practices are important; rigorous information security practices stifle productivity and creativity. 
  9. Regularly scheduled meetings diminish in productivity after each meeting occurrence. Beware the recurring meeting!
  10. Consultants and vendors almost always act in their own best interest.
  11. Complexity and change are the enemies of high availability.
  12. Everything has a maintenance / sustainment cost.
  13. Fear the IT Manager that tries to get too much in the technical weeds.
  14. No good can come from your CIO meeting with your consultant’s “senior practice manager.”
  15. No organization ever knows the true cost of their IT infrastructure, services, and operations.
  16. Avoid major IT projects using internal staff.  Internal staff gets sidetracked with existing duties. 
  17. Beware the IT manager that wants Administrator rights.
  18. A Configuration Management team that treats engineering and operations teams like their enemy are encouraging people to find ways to bypass them.
  19. People have to see “what’s in it for them” with regards to collaborative tools otherwise they won’t use them.
  20. Bureaucrats always expect you to know about their bureaucracy.