Microsoft announces Unified Technology Event for Enterprises

imageOne Event to rule them all, One Event to find them,
One Event to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

Today, through Microsoft’s General Manager for Office, Julia White, Microsoft announced that there will be a Microsoft Unified Technology Event for Enterprises in Chicago next year, to be held in the week of May 4th. This new event is aiming at the current attendees of TechEd, Sharepoint Conference, Lync Conference, Project Conference (uh, what), the Microsoft Management Summit and our beloved Exchange Conference. It is also replacing those events starting next year, meaning RIP for events like MEC, SPC and TechEd. There is nothing mentioned regarding the faith of the related events held in non-NA regions, like TechEd Europe or TechEd Australia.

I consider myself lucky being able to attend the – what looks to be the last (again) – Microsoft Exchange Conference this year. Looking back at that event, thinking about setting, identity and depth, one can only hope for the best with this new monstrous event. After all, looking at recent attendance numbers and assuming there are some attendees visiting multiple of these events, adding recent numbers of TechEd North America (10k+), SPC (12k+), MMS (5k+), MEC (2,5k), LyncConf (0,5k) show the estimated attendance could easily go in the direction of 20,000+ attendees. That estimate is without representation from the related product groups and exhibitors. That is one big event.

With the next release of Exchange being announced for 2015, one could assume there are more products lined up for a common launch next year, similar to the Wave15 launch end of 2012 when Exchange 2013 was released together with Lync 2013, Office 2013 and SharePoint 2013. Though, I do not know the exact timelines of the non-Exchange products, so I could be wrong here.

An event of this scale event poses some serious challenges. That could be as elementary as transport or where to put that many people in the near surroundings of the convention center. Also, what sessions will be scheduled and at what level, given the mixed crowds of the generalistic TechEd and the more product-oriented deep-dive events like MEC. Companies sending delegations of their IT staff to these events may need to have drawings on who needs to stay back at home to keep IT running.

For people worried about the new unified event, Julia White tries to reassure people that the new format will be as ‘magical’ and ‘enjoyable’ as the individual events and it will even exceed them regarding ‘awesomeness’ and value. Meanwhile, Exchange fellows Tony Redmond and Paul Robichaux written up their own views on this change, I suggest you check them out as well.

Note that this site mentions McCormick Place as the event venue (thanks Mike Rigsby). It also mentions the event takes place from Monday until Friday:

Event Name Venue Start Date End Date Attendees
Microsoft Commercial Event 2015
Lakeside Center at McCormick Place

Map It

05/04/2015 05/09/2015 20000

The official announcements can be found here and here. More details will be made available around September.

Clearing AutoComplete and other Recipient Caches

Exchange 2010 LogoAnyone who has participated in migrations or transitions to Exchange has most likely encountered or has had to work around potential issues caused by the nickname cache. A “cache,” also known by its file extension, NK2 in older Outlook clients, is a convenience feature in Outlook and Outlook WebApp (OWA) which lets users pick recipients from a list of frequently-used recipients. This list is displayed when the end user types in the first few letters.

The potential issue revolves around end users using those lists to send messages, as the list contains cached recipient information. Because this information is static, it may become invalid at some point. Thus, when users pick recipients when sending messages, they may be sending messages to non-existent recipients or invalid e-mail addresses, which create issues like non-delivery of e-mail.

Read the full article over on ENow Solutions Engine blog.

Clean-AutoComplete

Using the script mentioned in the article, which can be used to clear cached recipient information, is straightforward. It requires Exchange 2010 or later and Exchange Web Services Managed API 1.2 (or later) which you can download here. Alternatively, you can copy the Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.DLL with the script as it will also look for it in the current folder.

The script Clean-AutoComplete.ps1 has the following syntax:

Clear-AutoComplete.ps1 [-Mailbox] <String> [-Server <String>] [-Impersonation] [-Credentials <PSCredential>] [-Type <Array>]

Where:

  • Mailbox is the name or e-mail address of the mailbox.
  • Server is the name of the Client Access Server to access for Exchange Web Services. When omitted, the script will use AutoDiscover.
  • Switch Impersonation specifies if impersonation will be used for mailbox access, otherwise the current user context will be used.
  • Credentials specifies the user credentials to use.
  • Type specifies what cached recipient information to clear. Options are Outlook  (Outlook AutoComplete stream), OWA (OWA Autocomplete stream), SuggestedContacts, RecipientCache or All. Default is Outlook,OWA.

So for example, suppose you want to clear the Autocomplete stream used by Outlook on a mailbox, you can use:

Clear-AutoComplete.ps1 -Mailbox Olrik -Type Outlook -Verbose

ScreenCapTo remove the Autocomplete stream used by OWA on your Office 365 account, you can use:

Clear-AutoComplete.ps1 -Mailbox olrik@office365tenant.com –Credentials (Get-Credential) –Type OWA

Feedback
Feedback is welcomed through the comments. If you got scripting suggestions or questions, do not hesitate using the contact form.

Download
You can download the script from my Technet Gallery here.

Revision History
See Technet Gallery page.

 

 

The UC Architects Podcast Ep40

iTunes-Podcast-logo[1]We’re glad to announce the availability of episode 40 of The UC Architects podcast.

This episode is hosted by Pat Richard, who is joined by Michael Van Horenbeeck, Dave Stork, John A Cook, Stale Hansen, Andrew Price and Michel de Rooij. Special guest is Tony Redmond. Editing was done by Andrew Price.

Topics discussed in this episode are:

  • Learn why Alternate Login ID is Office 365′s hidden gem
  • Exchange and Antivirus Exclusions – Still A Critical Conversation
  • Microsoft explains roots of this week’s Office 365 downtime
  • Office 365 for business public roadmap
  • Is Microsoft really saying “don’t virtualize” Exchange?
  • Why running Exchange on Azure is an unattractive proposition
  • June updates for Lync client (KB2881013, KB2850074)
  • Lync for Mac update—E911, video & file-sharing enhancements (14.09)
  • Using Lync like a LyncPro
  • New Tool: Change Lync Conferencing Dial-In Number Display Order (GUI)
  • Port 5088 Missing from Lync 2013 Documentation
  • Call Quality Methodology scorecard for Lync Server
  • Cisco and Microsoft Lync Content Sharing
  • SIP Pinger Tool
  • Verify Lync QoS settings with this little script
  • Content Switching with Exchange and Lync-related Workloads
  • 74-338 course overview

More information on the podcast including references and a link to download the podcast here or you can subscribe to the podcasts using iTunes, Zune or use the RSS feed.

About
The UC Architects is a bi-weekly community podcast by people with a passion for Unified Communications; our main focus is on Exchange, Lync or related subjects.

Exchange and NFS – A Rollup

imageA short write-up after some recent articles which were published to clarify and emphasize Microsoft’s current position on virtualization and the support for storing Exchange information on NFS volumes. I will stick to the headlines, as the topic has already been touched several times by people from the Exchange community, after which I would mostly be repeating things that have already been said. Yet, many customers still have the perception that Exchange on NFS is supported or are actually running this configuration, often the result of a push from the storage or virtualization vendor. As it is not, I will repeat key information here to counter misleading information, hoping it might prevent customers from selecting unsupported configurations.

End of last year, a lively discussion was revived on some distribution lists and forums on why NFS was still not supported for storing Exchange information. However, it was all speculation as the creator of the product did not take part. The official support statement was (and is) that Exchange is not supported on NFS and only block-level storage is supported. Tony Redmond did a write-up on that here.

Then, in the preamble of the Microsoft Exchange Conference 2014, a ‘suggestion’ to support NFS was put on the community ideascale site, where people can propose suggestions for Exchange. This site is not an official channel but it does provide a way for the community to gather suggestions and check for demand. So, it allowed to verify if the current lack of NFS support was major thing or not, as people producing the most noise do not necessarily represent the majority. Response seemed limited, except for some hardware vendors who made lots of noise, possibly in an attempt to get traction in the Exchange community.

Then, Tony did a follow-up article after a discussion with Jeff Mealiffe, knowledgeable on Exchange, Sizing and Virtualization and nicknamed ‘The PerfGuy’ for obvious reasons. In the article, the problem areas of NFS are set out. Interestingly (but not surprising), Exchange is similar to SQL Server from a storage perspective, the latter having very specific documentation regarding storage requirements. Also mentioned is that successfully running JetStress by the vendor is no indication on the supportability of storage configurations. After all, that JetStress succesfully runs for a certain amount of hours is great, but it is a storage performance validation tool, not a storage supportability validation tool. At the Microsoft Exchange Conference 2014, using arguments presented earlier in the article, Jeff reaffirmed the non-support of NFS in his presentation.

The discussion seemed to die down until few weeks ago when Tony was in a Twitter conversation with one Josh Odgers, engineer at one of the storage vendors. In the discussion Odgers dropped the rationale and even went so far as to insult people. When searching online, you will find other rants as well, so I guess Josh’ employer does not have any form of social media guidelines for their employees. That does not help when you are trying to lobby for your cause (and potential markets for your storage appliances). Tony wrote an extensive response here, I recommend checking it out.

Now what storage vendors and their employees do or do not do is up to them. However, things like this may become an issue when vendors repeatingly and knowingly position their storage solution as a supported alternative to customers, like for example Odgers does for Nutanix (NDFS is Nutanix’ proprietary distributed NFS implementation). Yes, I’m sure it flies like a rocket and I am sure some customers will be persuaded by sales people to a game of chance by running Exchange on their appliances. As an Exchange consultant however, I prefer supported solutions and so should you. Or have a serious chat with the Risk Manager.

Update (Jul 9,2014): The UC Architects fellow Mahmoud Magdy posted a blog on his experiences and encountered limitations of storage appliances such as Nutanix here.

The UC Architects Podcast Ep39

iTunes-Podcast-logo[1]We’re glad to announce the availability of episode 39 of The UC Architects podcast.

This episode is hosted by Steve Goodman, who is joined by Johan Veldhuis, Dave Stork, John Cook, Tom Arbuthnot and Michel de Rooij. Editing was done by Andrew Price.

Min topics discussed in this episode are:

  • Exchange 2013 CU5 (Release, Hybrid Improvements, OAB Improvements)
  • Exchange 2010 SP3 UR6
  • Discussion about Exchange storage (Steve’s Article, VMware KB)
  • Open Specifications Posters for Office client, Lync, SharePoint, Exchange, SQL Server, and Windows
  • Exchange Server 2013 Platform Options poster
  • DLP from Exchange coming to OneDrive for Business and SharePoint
  • myBulletins, tool that provides personalized list of the security bulletins
  • Lync Room System (LRS) v15.10 May update out for Smart with fixes and enhancements
  • Lync Callback Reminder
  • XenDesktop Certified on Lync 2013
  • Update 2880980 for Lync 2013
  • Lync 2013 support for SQL AlwaysON
  • Beta release of Azure AD Sync via Connect
  • UC Birmingham User Group August

More information on the podcast including references and a link to download the podcast here or you can subscribe to the podcasts using iTunes, Zune or use the RSS feed.

About
The UC Architects is a bi-weekly community podcast by people with a passion for Unified Communications; our main focus is on Exchange, Lync or related subjects.

Script Updates

powershellA small heads-up for those not following me on Twitter of one of the other social media channels. Last week I made updates to the following three scripts:

Install-Exchange2013.ps1, version 1.72

  • Added CU5 support
  • Added KB2971467 (CU5 Disable Shared Cache Service Managed Availability probes)

Remove-DuplicateItems.ps1, version 1.3

  • Changed parameter Mailbox, you can now use an e-mail address as well.
  • Added parameter Credentials.
  • Added item class and size for certain duplication checks.
  • Changed item removal process
  • Remove items after, not while processing folder. Avoids asynchronous deletion issues.
  • Works against Office 365.

Remove-MessageClassItems.ps1, version 1.3

  • Changed parameter Mailbox, you can now use an e-mail address as well
  • Added parameter Credentials
  • Added parameter PartialMatching for partial class name matching.
  • Changed item removal process. Remove items after, not while processing folder. Avoids asynchronous deletion issues.
  • Works against Office 365.
  • Deleted Items folder will be processed, unless MoveToDeletedItems is used.
  • Changed EWS DLL loading, can now be in current folder as well.

Be advised I keep am overview of the scripts and their current versions with publish dates here.

 

Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update 5

Ex2013 LogoToday, Cumulative Update 5 for Exchange Server 2013 was released by the Exchange Team (KB2936880). This update raises Exchange 2013 version number to 15.0.913.22.

This Cumulative Update contains the following fixes compared to SP1 (CU4):

  • 2963590 Message routing latency if IPv6 is enabled in Exchange Server 2013
  • 2963566 Outlook Web App accessibility improvement for UI appearance in Exchange Server 2013
  • 2962439 You cannot sync contacts or tasks in Microsoft CRM client for Outlook in an Exchange Server 2013 environment
  • 2962435 CRM synchronization fails if the time zone name of a meeting is not set in an Exchange Server 2013 environment
  • 2962434 Slow performance in Outlook Web App when Lync is integrated with Exchange Server 2013
  • 2958430 “Some or all Identity references could not be translated” error when you manage DAG in Exchange Server 2013 SP1 in a disjoint namespace domain
  • 2957592 IME is disabled in Outlook Web App when you press Tab to move the focus in an email message in Exchange Server 2013
  • 2942609 Exchange ActiveSync proxy does not work from Exchange Server 2013 to Exchange Server 2007
  • 2941221 EWS integration for Lync works incorrectly in an Exchange Server 2013 and 2007 coexistence environment
  • 2926742 Plain-text message body is cleared when writing in Outlook Web App by using Internet Explorer 8 in Exchange Server 2013
  • 2926308 Sender’s email address is broken after importing a PST file into an Exchange Server 2013 mailbox
  • 2925559 Users always get the FBA page when they access OWA or ECP in Exchange Server 2013
  • 2924519 “SyncHealth\Hub” folder is created unexpectedly after installing Cumulative Update 2 for Exchange Server 2013
  • 2916113 Cannot open .tif files from email messages by using Windows-based applications in an Exchange Server 2013 environment
  • 2592398 Email messages in the Sent Items folder have the same PR_INTERNET_MESSAGE_ID property in an Exchange Server 2010 environment

Notes:

  • Be advised that this CU includes a Managed Availability probe configuration that may result in the frequently restarting of the Microsoft Exchange Shared Cache Service in some environments. More information, see KB2971467.
  • Be advised of OAB architectural changes documented here. If you are affected, it is recommended to update CAS servers prior to Mailbox servers.

This Cumulative Update includes schema and AD changes, so make sure you run PrepareSchema / PrepareAD. After updating, the schema version will be 15300.

Note that Cumulative Updates can be installed directly, i.e. no need to install RTM or Service Packs prior to installing Cumulative Updates. Note that once installed, you can’t uninstall a Cumulative Update nor any of the installed Exchange server roles. The order of upgrading servers is irrelevant, unlike with previous generations of Exchange.

Finally, and I can’t emphasize this enough: For any Hotfix, Rollup, Service Pack or Cumulative Update, I’d recommend to thoroughly test this in a test and acceptance environment first, prior to implementing it in production. When you lack such facilities, hold out a week or two and monitor the comments on the release article or TechNet forum for any issues.

You can download Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update 5 here; UM Language Packs can be found here. More details about these changes, preparing Active Directory or installing this Cumulative Update can be found in the original announcement.

Exchange 2010 SP3 Rollup 6

Exchange 2010 LogoToday the Exchange Team released Rollup 6 for Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 3 (KB2936871). This update raises Exchange 2010 version number to 14.3.195.1.

This Rollup includes the following fixes:

  • 2960652 Organizer name and meeting status field can be changed by EAS clients in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2957762 “A folder with same name already exists” error when you rename an Outlook folder in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2952799 Event ID 2084 occurs and Exchange server loses connection to the domain controllers in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2934091 Event ID 1000 and 7031 when users cannot connect to mailboxes in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2932402 Cannot move a mailbox after you install Exchange Server 2010 SP3 RU3 (KB2891587)
  • 2931842 EWS cannot identify the attachment in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  • 2928703 Retention policy is applied unexpectedly to a folder when Outlook rule moves a copy in Exchange Server 2010
  • 2927265 Get-Message cmdlet does not respect the defined write scope in Exchange Server 2010
  • 2925273 Folder views are not updated when you arrange by categories in Outlook after you apply Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 3 Update Rollup 3 or Update Rollup 4
  • 2924592 Exchange RPC Client Access service freezes when you open an attached file in Outlook Online mode in Exchange Server 2010
  • 2923865 Cannot connect to Exchange Server 2010 when the RPC Client Access service crashes

Notes:

  • If you want to speed up the update process for systems without internet access, you can follow the procedure described here to disable publisher’s certificate revocation checking.
  • If you got a DAG and want to properly update the DAG members, check the instructions here.
  • Rollups are cumulative, i.e. they contain fixes released in earlier update Rollups for the same product level (RTM, SP). This means you don’t need to install previous Rollups during a fresh installation but can start with the latest Rollup package.

As with any Hotfix, Rollup or Service Pack, I’d recommend to thoroughly test this rollup in a test and acceptance environment first, prior to implementing it in production.

You can download Exchange 2010 SP3 Rollup 6 here.

Get-MyMailboxStatistics

powershellLast update: Version 1.01, July 14th, 2014.

Those leveraging quota settings to manage their Exchange environments, you are probably periodically running some sort of script or set of cmdlets to retrieve information on mailbox sizes, quota settings and if any mailbox is above any of the quota thresholds. For a quick indication of the current size in relation to the quota settings, StorageLimitStatus may contain one of the following indicators depending on the quota settings on the mailbox or mailbox database hosting the mailbox:

  • BelowLimit – Speaks for itself
  • IssueWarning – Mailbox size above Issue Warning limit
  • ProhibitSend – Mailbox size above Prohibit Send limit
  • NoChecking – No quota checking
  • MailboxDisabled – Mailbox size above Prohibit Send and Receive quota limit

So, to get a list of all mailboxes with any over-quota status, you can use:

Get-MailboxDatabase | Get-MailboxStatistics | Where {$_.StorageLimitStatus -match 'IssueWarning|ProhibitSend|MailboxDisabled'} | Select DisplayName, ItemCount, TotalItemSize, StorageLimitStatus, LastLogonTime

Unfortunately, in Exchange 2013 the StorageLimitStatus gets no longer populated:

image

As KB2819389 explains, this is by design. In Exchange 2013, mailbox quotas are no longer cached. By not being cached, retrieving quota information may result in poor performance as it queries Active Directory for quota related attributes. The argument is a bit puzzling, considering there is a NoADLookup switch which directs the cmdlet to retrieve information from the mailbox database (cache) instead of Active Directory. Perhaps a better workaround would have been to make NoADLookup a parameter, make it $true by default and leave StorageLimitStatus unpopulated when NoADLookup is $true.

Of course, that does not help customers who want a quick quota report. For this purpose I have created two things in 1 script:

  1. A helper function Get-StorageLimitStatus() which will take a mailbox statistics object and return a StorageLimitStatus object.
  2. A script Get-MyMailboxStatistics.ps1, a proxy function for Get-MailboxStatistics which will use the Get-StorageLimitStatus helper function to populate the StorageLimitStatus.

Get-StorageLimitStatus
When you want to use the helper function, extract it and include it in your quota reporting script or PowerShell profile (making it available when firing up a shell). To use the helper function in the cmdlet shown earlier, use:

Get-MailboxDatabase | Get-MailboxStatistics | Where {$_.StorageLimitStatus -match 'IssueWarning|ProhibitSend|MailboxDisabled'} | Select -ExcludeProperty StorageLimitStatus DisplayName, ItemCount, TotalItemSize, @{n="StorageLimitStatus"; e={ Get-StorageLimitStatus $_}}, LastLogonTime

This will remove StorageLimitStatus from the output and add a calculated field bearing the same the name, calling the Get-StorageLimitStatus helper function with the current mailbox statistics object to set its value.

Get-MyMailboxStatistics.ps1
This is a proxy function for the Exchange Management Shell cmdlet Get-MailboxStatistics. This means that the current, original cmdlet was used to create a wrapper which will call the original cmdlet. Having a wrapper allows you to restrict or enhance the original cmdlet and tailor it to your needs.

A quick tip on how to create a proxy script in the clipboard (more information on creating proxy commands here):

$data= New-Object System.Management.Automation.CommandMetaData (Get-Command Get-MailboxStatistics) 
[System.Management.Automation.ProxyCommand]::create($data) | clip.exe

Downside is that future changes to the Get-MailboxStatistics cmdlet will not be automatically incorporated in the wrapper. Feeding it objects also doesn’t work, but you can work around that by temporary storing the objects in a variable and passing that to the script (see examples below).

To populate the StorageLimitStatus, we will post-process each object in the output of Get-MailboxStatistics, using Add-Member to overwrite (-Force) its current value and –PassThru to pass it along in the pipeline. Being a proxy command, the parameter options are identical to the original Get-MailboxStatistics. Some examples:

.\Get-MailboxStatistics.ps1 -Database MDB2
$m= Get-Mailbox –Database MDB2 
$m | .\Get-MailboxStatistics.ps1 | ft –AutoSize DisplayName,TotalItemSize,StorageLimitStatus

image

Do be aware that this will incur Active Directory queries and thus performance of the script may not seem fast. However, in previous versions of Exchange you got immediate results as all the quota information was readily available from the cache. On the plus side, the status you see will be non-cached, current information.

On a final note and maybe needless to say that in order to use this you need to run it from the Exchange Management Shell and since it’s an unsigned script you need to set ExecutionPolicy to Unrestricted.

Feedback
Feedback is welcomed through the comments. If you got scripting suggestions or questions, do not hesitate using the contact form.

Download
You can download the script from the TechNet Gallery here.

Revision History
See Technet Gallery page.

Clutter in the Gutter?

At the Microsoft Exchange Conference earlier this year, the Office team introduced us to some nice features which were under development at that time. These features are part of Office Graph, a machine learning feature set meant to make the end user experience more personal and contextual as part of the Enterprise Social initiative.

imageIn the keynote, during a “Geek out with Perry”, Perry (Corporate VP for Microsoft Exchange) mentioned that the “Cloud First” approach allowed Microsoft to implement features step by step, with the option of reverting not-so-good changes. In the end, this should also result in a better product for the on-premises customer when releasing new Exchange builds, and ultimately Exchange v.Next (the next version), as they would not receive the not-so-good changes. It was mentioned several times, also in individual sessions on Office Graph features like Clutter and Groups as well, that these features would be “cloud-first” but there was “no ETA yet” for Exchange on-premises. At that time, most of us leaving MEC did that with the impression that all these features, at some point, would make it to Exchange or Exchange v.Next.

Apparently we got hold of the wrong end of the stick. Last week this article appeared on Network World, where in an interview with Julia White (GM Office Marketing) she mentioned that Clutter would not make it to “Office Server”, which seems to be the term for the on-premises deployments of the Exchange, Sharepoint and Lync Server triplet. This was a bit surprising, given the information received at MEC. The reason given in the article for this deviation was that Office Graph is too “compute intensive” to include on a Office Server. I assume to preempt any sounds on being forced to the service, Julia states that, “It’s not capricious favoritism toward Office 365 customers.” This is more or less in line with Microsoft’s earlier statements, on not having plans to stop delivering on-premises releases of Exchange (v.Next). In the discussion that followed on Twitter, Julia confirmed that “Clutter won’t make ExServer v.Next unfortunately.”

File:Classic shot of the ENIAC.jpgThe scale of Office 365 is incomparable to the average business running Exchange, Sharepoint and Lync on-premises and the amount of information that needs to be processed for Office Graph. And I can’t help it, but looking at the ‘compute intensive’ argument brings back memories of computer rooms where big monolithic systems offered computing powered easily surpassed by today’s tablet. With Clutter being expected for later this year and vNext next year, that is a considerable window. Some claim that Moore’s Law is obsolete and we also can’t expect to be running Skynet from home next year but still, computing power increases and I know of some customers who would just get the additional hardware onboard to facilitate those extra features. In addition, Clutter can be enabled on a per-user basis anyway.

In a more or less opposite statement, Julia is quoted saying, “Our philosophy is anything we technically can ship in servers, we will. We want our server customers and our cloud customers to have as much as we can ship to them. If it’s possible technically and it’s feasible then we’ll put it in the servers.” I think the reason for not adding Clutter should be sought in the hints Julia provided in the 2nd part of the article. With on-premises customer not following or even delaying upgrading to current versions of Microsoft’s products, Exchange, Sharepoint, Lync and clients, makes it hard to ship and support product transcending features, especially if this requires the latest (and greatest) version.

Think Site Mailboxes, more or less the predecessor of the announced Groups feature of Office Graph. Implementing Site Mailboxes requires Exchange 2013, Sharepoint 2013 and Outlook 2013 and additional configuration to integrate the Exchange and Sharepoint products. In the field, I see very low adoption of Site Mailboxes. Many customers are running older product levels (blocking implementation) or it’s a more elementary reason like not having deployed Sharepoint. But then, for those that are running Site Mailboxes, it adds value. Isn’t that what this is all about? Note that for the compliance discovery feature to work, proper configuration of Exchange, Sharepoint and Lync is required as well, but compliance is perhaps is a better selling point than clutter or one of the other Office Graph features could ever be.

“Assumption is ..” are the first words of a well-known saying. For the future, don’t expect anything you see announced for Office 365 to be ported to the on-premises Exchange releases, even though that product stems from the same code. Then again, features might get dropped, for reasons provided above or just because they were not ready. That’s nothing new and we got accustomed to a little disappointment now and then. In the case of Clutter, it’s a shame because it looked like a neat feature to work more efficiently through e-mail without configuring tons of rules. In the case of Groups, it is confirmed for v.Next, but you never know for sure until it is released. Meanwhile, Microsoft should maybe try to prevent confusion by demonstrating Clutter a.o. in sessions called “What’s new in Exchange“.

If you got an opinion on these changes in course or feature drops, please share them in the comments.