I stumbled across a blog post by a Senior PM on the AD team at Microsoft which speaks to creating and managing multiple Windows Azure Active Directories. The post can be found here.
Microsoft has published an article that aims to help you keep track of the versions of DirSync that have been released, and to understand whether you need to update to the newest version or not. The article is supposed to be updated as new versions of DirSync are released. The article can be found here.
I stumbled across a script that was developed by MVP Alexandre Augagneur, which is pretty cool. The script can be used to generate an Excel report that shows information about user objects in a domain or forest. For example, the Excel workbook output from the script can show whether accounts are inactive or active, expired passwords, which accounts are locked out, and more.
Additional information on the script, including screenshots and the download link, can be found here.
Microsoft has released version 2 of the Lync Server Networking Guide. This guide provides a model for managing the network infrastructure for Lync Server 2013 – planning, monitoring, and troubleshooting. There are two new sections in the guide:
- Call Quality Methodology – a practical approach
- Troubleshooting Poor Streams
The updated guide can be found here.
Until recently, when you use custom domains with Office 365, you had to go through several manual steps to add the necessary DNS records at your DNS hosting provider. Microsoft has streamlined this process for customers that use GoDaddy as their DNS hosting provider; they can now use Office 365 to automatically set up their domain. Additionally, you can now buy a domain right inside the Office 365 portal.
Microsoft has released the Office 365 Help Center, which is intended to allow you to find the Top Issue, FAQ, and core information related to Office 365. If you’re signed into the community with your Office 365 credentials, you are presented the information thought to be most appropriate for your plan and role, but you can always select other plan and role filters in the gray bar at the top of the Help Center.
The Help Center is available at the top of every community page, from the Support Overview page in the Office 365 portal, and several other locations, and it’s available in all community supported languages. You can also directly access the Help Center here.
The Ask the Directory Services Team blog has a post that goes into great detail on the UI behavior for account lockouts in Active Directory. It goes as far as discussing the differences between Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2012.
It’s definitely worth a read and can be found here.
Microsoft has released a new Exchange Deployment Assistant, which combines all the on-premises and hybrid deployment scenarios from both the Exchange 2013 Deployment Assistant and the Exchange 2010 Deployment Assistant into a single tool.
Microsoft has added some tests to Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer, to help you test your mail flow configuration. These tests are intended for customers who use the Exchange Online Protection service to perform spam and malware filtering before sending email messages to your email servers. You can run these tests when setting up the service, or whenever you want to verify that your mail flow is set up correctly.
More details on the new tests can be found here.
Microsoft released the Mail Flow Guided Walkthrough, which can be used for troubleshooting issues sending and receiving mail or when mail is delayed in the following scenarios:
- The sender’s mailbox is hosted on Office 365 and the recipient’s mailbox is outside your organization.
- The sender’s mailbox is outside your organization and the recipient’s mailbox is hosted in Office 365.
- The sender’s and recipient’s mailboxes are both located in Office 365.
- The sender’s mailbox is hosted in Office 365 and the recipient’s mailbox is located on an on-premise Exchange server and both users are in the same organization.
- The sender’s mailbox is hosted on an on-premise Exchange server and the recipient’s mailbox is hosted in Office 365 and both users are in the same organization.
The Exchange Server Jetstress 2013 Tool allows you to simulate Exchange disk I/O load on a server to verify the performance and stability of your disk subsystem before putting your server into a production environment.
The updated version can be found here.
This poster shows the capabilities and requirements of Lync 2013, Lync Phone, Lync Web App, Lync for Mac, and Lync Mobile. With it you can see how Lync Server workloads facilitate communication across an organization.
The poster can be downloaded here.
Microsoft has released a pre-configured set of VHDs, which enable you to evaluate Lync 2013, Exchange 2013, SharePoint 2013, and UC developer platform APIs. The trial is split over 3 download releases:
- Part 1 – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40266
- Part 2 – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40267
- Part 3 – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40265
The complete topology consists of 7 virtual machines.
Lync 2013 DDC is a simple low-level design calculator based on Excel, for a Lync 2013 Standard Edition deployment. Fill in hostnames and IP addresses, and it will calculate DNS, certificates and firewall requirements.This is an initial version covering a standardised deployment with Lync Standard Edition, and most design elements set at standard or best-practice.
It works well assuming:
Microsoft has announced it’s doubling the capacity of its mailboxes for Exchange Online and Office 365 from the current capacity of 25GB to 50GB. The new 50GB per user capacity is being gradually rolled out across the world from today through to November and there will be no extra charge for the additional capacity. The announcement can be found here.
In a post on the Office Blog, Microsoft has published Office 365 availability for the past four quarters:
…worldwide uptime number for Office 365 for the last four quarters beginning July 2012 and ending June 2013 has been 99.98%, 99.97%, 99.94% and 99.97% respectively.
Full details can be found in the Office Blog post here.
Windows 7 and Windows 8 use similar user profile formats, which do not support interoperability when they roam between computers that are running different versions of Windows, as detailed in the Unpredictable behavior if you migrate a roaming user profile from Windows 8 to Windows 7 KB article. A Senior Premier Field Engineer at Microsoft has published a workaround, which can be found here.
The Microsoft white paper, which provides an overview of the security practices and technology that support enterprise-grade security in Microsoft Office 365 for businesses of all sizes, has been updated. Here’s the abstract from the white paper:
Moving productivity services to the cloud requires a serious consideration of security and privacy issues and technologies. Office 365 is designed to deliver the enterprise-grade security you require to move to the cloud with confidence. Our data centers are designed, built, and managed using a defense-in-depth strategy at both the physical and logical layers, and our services are engineered to be secure using the Security Development Lifecycle. Office 365 makes it easy for users and administrators to access and use data and services while following security best practices. We have built our cloud-based productivity services with you in mind, helping you embrace the advantages of the cloud on your terms and at your own pace. Learn more about the enterprise-grade security that Microsoft has provided for many years.
Microsoft Support has released a cumulative update for Lync 2013, which includes new functionality for the Lync 2013 Desktop Client. Here’s a summary:
- Embedded Images – Add images in-line with text during one-to-one conversations.
- Meetings View – View the day’s meetings from Meetings View in the Lync client main window.
- IM Mute – Presenters may disable use of the conversation window during a scheduled meeting.
- Q&A Manager – Presenters can review and respond to meeting questions in a structured way.
Microsoft released a reporting workbook that provides a detailed view into the email protection data that is available in the Office 365 Reporting dashboard. It is available to all Exchange Online and Exchange Online Protection customers, and provides summary graphs for a number of different types of email message filtering. It can be downloaded here.
This Microsoft Test Lab Guide (TLG) provides you with step-by-step instructions to create the Windows Base Configuration test lab, using computers running Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview, With the resulting test lab environment, you can build test labs based on other Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview-based TLGs from Microsoft, TLG extensions in the TechNet Wiki, or a test lab of your own design that can include Microsoft or non-Microsoft products. For a test lab based on physical computers, you can image the drives for future test labs. For a test lab based on virtual machines, you can create snapshots of the base configuration virtual machines. This enables you to easily return to the base configuration test lab, where most of the routine infrastructure and networking services have already been configured, so that you can focus on building a test lab for the product, technology, or solution of interest.
You can download it here.
Microsoft released a diagram that provides an illustration of the eDiscovery flow across SharePoint, Exchange, Lync, and file shares. The diagram can be downloaded here.
Microsoft released a diagram that is a high-level illustration of a network environment that includes Lync Server 2013, SharePoint Server 2013, and Exchange Server 2013. This diagram illustrates networking elements that are common across these products—remote and internal access, authentication, client traffic, and routing traffic through shared devices. The diagram can be downloaded here.
This post highlights some of the improvements to Active Directory in Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview, which are focused on helping companies deal with the proliferation of consumer devices.
Join personal devices to the workplace
Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview allows users to join their personal devices, both Windows devices and iOS devices, to Active Directory. When a personal device is Workplace-Joined, it will provide second-factor authentication and single sign-on (SSO) to corporate resources and applications.