Microsoft has released a downloadable version of the Exchange Server 2013 Architecture Poster. The poster highlights the significantly updated and modernized architecture in Exchange 2013, and highlights the new technologies in Exchange 2013, such as Managed Availability, the new storage and high availability features, and integration with SharePoint and Lync. In addition, it illustrates the new transport architecture in Exchange 2013. The Server 2013 Architecture Poster can be downloaded here.
Microsoft has released version 2.0 of the Lync 2010 and 2013 Bandwidth Calculator, which tool can be used to estimate network bandwidth consumption by Lync clients in enterprise WAN networks with either Lync 2010 or Lync 2013 deployments. It can also be used to size bandwidth needed for traffic of remote Lync users.
You can download Lync 2010 and 2013 Bandwidth Calculator here.
Microsoft has released the Hybrid Free Busy Troubleshooter. A Hybrid Deployment consists of an on-premises Exchange server environment that has at least one Exchange 2010 or Exchange 2013 server. In this environment there is also a DirSync (Directory Synchronization) server, and in many cases, a deployment of ADFS (Active Directory Federation Services) to provide single sign-on capabilities to the users. The idea of the hybrid environment is to allow two separate organizations (Exchange Online and Exchange On-Premises) to feel like one organization.
Free Busy is the most commonly used “feature set” in a hybrid deployment. According to Microsoft, if you were to resolve issues with Free Busy lookups, many of the other potential issues you have with your hybrid deployment would be resolved as well.
The Free Busy Troubleshooter can be found at http://aka.ms/hybridfreebusy.
Microsoft has released the Office 365 Outlook Connectivity Guided Walkthrough, which is designed to enable you to isolate and resolve any connectivity or performance issues with Outlook clients connectivity to an Office 365 mailbox.
The guided walkthrough supports the following types of mailboxes:
- User mailbox
- Archive mailbox
- Shared mailbox
For each type of mailbox, the guided walkthrough also presents different types of issues.
The Office 365 Outlook Connectivity Troubleshooter can be found here http://aka.ms/outlookconnectivity.
MVP Alexandre Augagneur added a PowerShell script to the TechNet Script Center Repository, which can help you locate IP v4 subnets that you may want to add as Active Directory sites. The script, called Collect-MissingADSubnets, helps you to review client logon attempts from the domain controllers where no matching site was found. You can export the results to a spreadsheet and check them against your network environment.
The next release of Office 365 includes new tenant reports focusing on Mail, Protection, and DLP. A complete list of available reports, and description, can be found here. The following is a list of the available reports:
- Mailbox login activity
- New and deleted mailboxes
- New and deleted groups
- Filtered inbound mail
- Filtered outbound mail
- Inbound malware detection summary
- Outbound malware detection summary
- Outbound suspicious filtering summary
- Inbound rule summary
- Outbound rule summary
- Inbound DLP summary
- Outbound DLP summary
The NextHop Blog, which is a great source for Lync information, recently published four troubleshooting articles for Lync Online, including:
This poster illustrates and explains the new world of identity and authentication in Office 2013 and Office 365. Two scenarios illustrate how identities are provisioned and how those identities are authenticated completely in the Microsoft cloud or in a hybrid (on-premises and Microsoft cloud) topology. Download is available here.
Microsoft has published a document that speaks to best practices for securing Active Directory. The document is over 300 pages long, and provides 22 recommendations for security AD. What’s more, it has lots of context so you can understand the recommendations and best practices. The document can be downloaded here.
The Exchange 2013 Deployment Assistant has been updated to include support for the following scenarios:
- Upgrading from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2013
- Upgrading from Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2013
- Configuring an Exchange 2013-based hybrid deployment for Exchange 2007 organizations
I posted back in 2008 about a Microsoft article that speaks to the maximum limits for Active Directory. Microsoft has updated their content to include Active Directory in Windows Server 2012. Specific updates include:
- Increase in the number of RIDs that can be allocated over the lifetime of a domain with Windows Server 2012
- Update regarding the maximum number of objects to reflect garbage collection batch size, which is 5000.
The new content can be found here.
In an effort to make finding content easier, Microsoft has released new shortcut / vanity URLs for each of the five Active Directory server roles. The new URLs include:
The table below is an extract from the Office 365 Service Description for Exchange Online, and provides a feature comparison between Exchange Server 2013 and the Office 365 Enterprise Plans.
In case you haven’t heard, Microsoft is in the process of rolling out the next generation of Office 365 (commonly referred to as “Office 365 after the service upgrade”), and its underlying products (Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Web Apps, Lync Online, etc.). This post provides a summary of the new features in Exchange Online in the new Office 365.
I found out this morning that I was awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) designation for 2013. This is the 6th year that I have been designated as a Microsoft MVP in the Directory Services expertise.
It’s been a while since I’ve authored a post on Active Directory. This post focuses on some of the new features in Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) in Windows Server 2012. The new features/improvements can be categories into the following:
- Deployment and Upgrade
- Platform Changes
Tony Bates, President, Skype Division at Microsoft released a post following a keynote he gave at the inaugural Lync Conference that speaks to the future of communications. Within the post, there is some interesting information regarding the integration of Skype and Lync, and some new enhancements to Lync. Some highlights include:
- 5 million seats of enterprise voice have been deployed, which is a gain from 3 million seats 14 months ago.
- 90 of the Fortune 100 companies are Lync customers.
- Lync-Skype connectivity for presence, IM and voice will be available to all Lync users by June.
- Lync 2013 mobile apps for Windows Phone 8 and iOS will be available in early March, with Android coming roughly a month later. VoIP and video over IP has been added to all of the apps, and the ability for iPad users to view shared desktop and application content in a Lync meeting has been added as well.
The post also highlights some of Microsoft’s plans around product delivery over the next 18 months, including:
- Lync Online updates will be delivered quarterly and a new Lync server version will be released in Q2 of 2014.
- Enterprise voice support will be added to Lync Online/Office 365.
- Structured meeting support to will be added to Lync Online, and the next version of Lync Server, enabling remaining Live Meeting customers to fully transition to Lync.
- Video to Skype + Lync connectivity will be added and native interoperability between Lync and 3rd party VTCs.
Microsoft has released the Hosting and Multi-Tenancy Guidance for Exchange Server 2013 document, which is available for download here.
Similar to the guidance with Exchange 2010, Microsoft states that you should only use the built in tools, cmdlets and interfaces for configuring your solution, and you should not under any circumstances directly manipulate objects in AD to meet your desired configuration.
The document also highlights features that might not work as hoped when Exchange is configured for multi-tenancy, and makes recommendations for configuration, or for disabling where necessary.
There are some important changes for Exchange 2013, so the document is definitely worth a read if you are planning to deploy a hosting or multi-tenancy solution with Exchange 2013.
Microsoft has released the new Microsoft Lync Connectivity Analyzer. This tool will help Lync administrators determine whether the deployment and configuration of their on-premises Lync Server environment meets the requirements to support connections from Lync Windows Store app and Lync mobile apps.
Lync Connectivity Analyzer attempts to connect to your server by using the same services and protocols that are used by the apps themselves. The tool tests the following Lync Server components:
• Autodiscover service
• Authentication Broker (Reach) service
• Mobility (MCX) service
• WebTicket service
Lync Connectivity Analyzer tests the configuration of the following additional components:
• Publication of DNS records for Autodiscover URLs
• Proxy servers
Lync Connectivity Analyzer also provides a detailed report so you can see exactly what URLs, services, and protocols are used at each step to help you understand how the Lync apps operate and debug and troubleshoot problems.
Microsoft has changed the way Exchange is serviced in Exchange 2013. Quarterly Cumulative Updates (CU’s) will be used to distribute routine product updates. Additionally, each quarterly CU package will be released as a full refresh of the Exchange product and will be installed as a build to build upgrade. The version of Exchange shipped to on-premises customers in each CU will be the same version used to host Exchange Online on Office 365. Security updates will be delivered via independent packages that can be applied to a previously released Cumulative Update package or installed during the upgrade to the current Cumulative Update package.
For more details, and FAQs, pertaining to Exchange 2013 servicing, refer to this link.
The Exchange Team Blog published a post that details Exchange 2013 Server Role Architecture, which can be found here.
Microsoft released two new Identity whitepapers this month.
The first paper covers the fundamental pillars of identity as defined by the Microsoft solution architects, that can be useful in creating a strategic direction for an identity infrastructure in your organization.
The second paper covers identity infrastructure capabilities specific to both on-premises and cloud computing that we at Microsoft are most often asked by our customers to implement. This paper also contains introductory information on the existing Microsoft solutions that can help you obtain these popular identity infrastructure capabilities.
Microsoft has updated the Visio Stencil for Exchange 2013, which can be downloaded here. The Visio Stencil for Exchange 2013 contains Exchange 2013 specific icons to help you create visual representations of Microsoft Exchange 2013 deployments, including on-premises, hybrid, and Office 365.