IT/DEV Connections 2016 Wrap-Up

IMG_2130Note: For those that attended Jaap and my workshop on Monday, Advanced PowerShell Management of Office 365, the EXO slidedeck is available here, and the sample code is available here. Session slidedecks or handouts available through the app or Connections site.

Last Monday, I returned from the largest, independent conference on Microsoft technologies, IT/Dev Connections. Well, that should have been Sunday, but technical issues with the airplane and lack of options to fly back to The Netherlands the same day resulted in an extended stay, but that’s something for another story. IT/Dev Connections is a 3-day conference, consisting of 6 tracks holding a total of ~280 sessions. Like previous editions, the event again took place in the nice resort that is Aria, Las Vegas.

Almost traditionally, the is a pre-conference day where workshops are given. One of these workshops was Advanced PowerShell Management of Office 365, done by Jaap Wesselius and yours truly. The turn-up was good, even considering we had some though competition this year from workshops such as PowerShell Masterclass and Office 365 IT/Dev Connections Power Camp. Again it was my only session, so I had the rest of the week ‘off’ to attend sessions by fellow presenters.

GEWK4725

Left to right: Tony Redmond, Paul Cunningham, Gareth Grudger, Jeff Guillet, Michael van Horenbeeck, Konrad Sagala, Andrew Higginbotham, Gary Steele, Ingo Gegenwarth, Paul Robichaux, J. Peter Bruzzese, Jaap Wesselius, Michel de Rooij and Sigi Jagott.

Picking sessions for wasn’t an easy task this year. For Office 365 / Exchange (On-Premises) and PowerShell minded professionals, there were a multitude of sessions to choose from, and many times you discovered they were given the same time slot. The app was a big help picking sessions, and to be honest the app was a big improvement over last year’s app – kudos to Penton there. It could also be used to retrieve handouts, which made it easier to follow the contents presented by clicking through it on your own screen.

 

 

 

Wednesday saw an interesting ‘Bamboozle the Exchange Experts’. People from the Exchange Product Group were flown in for Connections to answer audience questions. During this session, none other than Greg Taylor, Ross Smith IV, Brian Day, David Espinoza, and Jeff Mealiffe took part in the panel, and Tony Redmond took it upon him to be the MC. It was not only insightful and interactive, it was fun, and the PG seemed to enjoy it as well.

If you are considering attending this event next year – and you should – know that with an attendance of ~1200 people (guesstimate), and apart from the fact that it’s independent and sessions are done by experienced people from the field, it also excels in that it is big enough to matter, yet small enough to hold an intimate feel to it. Compared to Ignite, one could say that there is less walking involved – or congestion, no full room issues, way better food and thus an overall better experience. Now if you plan on attending (or trying to get a speaking engagement – yes you, Maarten) for IT/Dev Connections 2017, and as the group shot above gives away, be aware Penton has decided to move the event for next year to San Francisco. So save the date: October 23-26, the Hilton, San Francisco (Union Square)!

Special thanks to Penton for having me, ENOW for hosting yet another great Scheduled Maintenance party at the Ghostbar, Quadrotech for finally being able to catch up, CodeTwo for having me for an interview.

Finally, here are some of the other IT/DEV Connections 2016 wrap-ups:

Office Servers and Services MVPs

It’s been a while since I made an overview of the number of Exchange MVPs around the world. With the recent reorganization of the MVP program, lots of product-related MVP awards were merged in container titles. For example, the former Exchange or Lync Server MVPs are now part of the Office Servers and Services MVP, making it nearly impossible to differentiate per expertise unless classifying individual MVPs.

ossmvpsmap20161003

The graphic displays distribution of Office Servers and Services MVPs over the world, per October 2016. The information is collected from the public MVP site, and while some MVPs remain anonymous (curious, as awardees are in principle active community members), it’s clear some regions are still under-represented.

Below are the numbers used to create the above map.

(Unknown) 45 Hungary 3 Russia 8
Argentina 3 India 13 Serbia 1
Australia 24 Indonesia 2 Singapore 4
Austria 1 Ireland 2 Slovakia 1
Belgium 7 Israel 2 Slovenia 2
Bosnia-Herzegovina 3 Italy 9 South Africa 4
Brazil 10 Japan 20 Spain 7
Bulgaria 2 Korea 11 Sri Lanka 5
Canada 49 Kuwait 1 Sweden 10
Chile 2 Latvia 1 Switzerland 9
China 21 Macedonia 2 Taiwan 2
Colombia 3 Malaysia 3 Netherlands 14
Costa Rica 1 Mexico 4 Tunisia 1
Croatia 4 New Zealand 6 Turkey 4
Czech Republic 2 Norway 5 Ukraine 1
Denmark 4 Pakistan 2 United Arab Emirates 5
Egypt 2 Palestine 1 United Kingdom 24
Finland 2 Peru 1 United States 106
France 19 Philippines 2 Uruguay 1
Germany 18 Poland 2 Vietnam 4
Greece 1 Portugal 5
Guatemala 1 Romania 2  TOTAL  538

2016 Microsoft MVP Award

I am proud, happy and honoured to have received the Microsoft MVP Award for Office Server and Services for the 4th consecutive year:

mvp2016

MVP awards are given to individuals by Microsoft in recognition of their contributions to the technical community, such as writing articles on this and other sites, books, presenting, forum contributions or The UC Architects podcast.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my readers, followers, fellow MVPs and of course the Microsoft employees that have encouraged, helped and supported me over years.

My MVP profile can be found here.

Exchange Server Role Requirements Calculator 8.3

Exchange 2010 Mailbox Role Sizing Calculator 16.4The Exchange team published an update for the Exchange Server Role Requirements Calculator, the tool to aid you in properly sizing your Exchange Server 2013 or Exchange Server 2016 deployment.

The new version number is 8.3, and it contains two major enhancements compared to version 7.9:

  • Added ability for the calculator to automatically determine the number of Mailbox servers and DAGs that need to be deployed to meet the chosen input requirements
  • Added Read from Passive support for Exchange 2016 deployments which results in decreased bandwidth utilization for HA copies

You can download the calculator here. For more information, please consult the list of changes here or Read Me here.

Exchange Updates – September 2016

Ex2013 LogoNote: There are issues with Exchange 2013 CU14 and Exchange 2016 CU3 with regards to failing Content Indexing. Fellow MVP Jaap Wesselius blogged about this here. For now, recommendation is to not upgrade to CU14, until further notice. Also, there are acknowledged issues when running Exchange 2016 CU3 on Windows Server 2016. Don’t deploy Exchange 2016 CU3 on that OS until further notice.

Today, the Exchange Team released the september updates for Exchange Server 2013 and Exchange Server 2016.

The biggest changes are for Exchange Server 2016:

  • Exchange Server 2016 CU3 or later support on Windows Server 2016, which is expected to be released at Ignite next week. Windows Server 2016 Domain Controllers are supported; requirement is just Forest Functional Level at Windows Server 2008 R2 or later. Note that it is also announced Exchange Server 2013 will not be supported (as in: now, and in the future). Performance-wise, it is recommended to exclude Exchange setup and log folders, as well as the noderunner processes in Windows Defender.
  • Finally, Exchange Server 2016 CU3 introduces the long-awaited Read from Passive feature. This means, indexes will be generated using (local) passive databases copies, and no longer require coordination with the server holding the active database copy. The result is lower bandwidth requirements, and – compared to Exchange Server 2013 – faster fail-overs. Be advised this feature does not apply to lagged copies.
  • An update for the Mailbox Server Role Calculator(s) for Exchange 2016 is available now (v8.3), incorporating Read from Passive changes. This allows organizations to not only size their deployment, but also predict the positive effect on bandwidth usage for current environments as well by using numbers. You can download the calculator here.

For a list of fixes in these updates, see below.

Exchange 2016 Cumulative Update 3 15.1.544.27 KB3152589 Download UMLP
Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update 14 15.0.1236.3 KB3177670 Download UMLP

  • KB 3154387 The DFS health set is listed as “Unhealthy” in an Exchange Server 2016 environment
  • KB 3175080 Cannot log on to OWA when FIPS is enabled in an Exchange Server 2016 environment
  • KB 3176377 Links to access Exchange items in SharePoint eDiscovery search result fail with an HTTP error 500 in Exchange Server
  • KB 3161916 Data loss may occur during public folder migration to Exchange 2013, Exchange 2016, or Exchange Online
  • KB 3176540 OWA error reporting responds with a HTTP error 500 in OwaSerializationException
  • KB 3190887 Upgrading Exchange Server causes the server to go offline unexpectedly
  • KB 3191075 You can’t install Cumulative Update 2 for Exchange Server 2016 on a Russian version operating system

  • KB 3132513 “The Delegates settings were not saved correctly” when you try to add a user to Exchange Server 2013 from Microsoft Outlook
  • KB 3172017 “NotFound Export failed with error type: ‘NotFound'” error occurs when you perform an eDiscovery search in Exchange Server 2013
  • KB 3176377 Links to access Exchange items in SharePoint eDiscovery search result fail with an HTTP error 500 in Exchange Server
  • KB 3176540 OWA error reporting responds with a HTTP error 500 in OwaSerializationException
  • KB 3176873 Can’t create a new profile or connect to Exchange Server 2013 when an organization contains many address lists
  • KB 3061079 RPC Client Access service crashes and Event 4999 is logged in Exchange Server 2013
  • KB 3134918 An IRM-protected message sent to an external contact isn’t returned in a search or discovery results when journaling is implemented in an Exchange Server 2013 environment
  • KB 3190887 Upgrading Exchange Server causes the server to go offline unexpectedly

These Cumulative Updates for Exchange Server 2016 and 2013 include the security update released last week, MS16-108. The Cumulative Updates for Exchange Server 2016 and 2013 also include DST changes.

Notes:

  • Exchange 2016 CU3 includes schema changes (version 15326, reference), and Exchange 2016 CU3 as well as Exchange 2013 CU14 may introduce RBAC changes in your environment. Where applicable, make sure you run /PrepareSchema to update the schema or /PrepareAD to apply RBAC changes, before deploying or updating Exchange servers. To verify this step has been performed, consult the Exchange schema overview.
  • When upgrading your Exchange 2013 or 2016 installation, don’t forget to put the server in maintenance mode when required. Do note that upgrading, before installing the Exchange binaries, setup will put the server in server-wide offline-mode.
  • Using Windows Management Framework (WMF)/PowerShell version 5 on anything earlier than Windows Server 2016 is not supported. Don’t install WMF5 on your Exchange servers running on Windows Server 2012 R2 or earlier.
  • When using Exchange hybrid deployments or Exchange Online Archiving (EOA), you are required to stay current.
  • 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.
  • Cumulative Updates can be installed directly, i.e. no need to install RTM prior to installing Cumulative Updates.
  • Once installed, you can’t uninstall a Cumulative Update nor any of the installed Exchange server roles.
  • The order of upgrading servers with Cumulative Updates is irrelevant.

Caution: As for any update, I recommend to thoroughly test updates in a test environment prior to implementing them in production. When you lack such facilities, hold out a few days and monitor the comments on the original publication or TechNet forum for any issues.

MS16-108: Security Fixes and Rollups for Exchange 2007-2016

Ex2013 LogoNote (18sep2016): Be advised that there are reports on the security fix for Exchange 2016 CU2 leaving the system in a suboptimal state, like not re-enabling services. For now, the reports contain possible workarounds for those situations

It seems every once in a while, vulnerabilities are discovered in the Oracle libraries, licensed by Microsoft for Microsoft Exchange. For september, it is that time again, with a potential issue which allows remote code execution by means of a attachment which is to be handled by the library.

The related security bulletin is MS16-108 (KB3185883), which corrects Exchange behavior for :

  • parsing certain unstructured file formats.
  • handling open redirect requests.
  • handling Microsoft Outlook meeting invitation requests.

Depending on the lifecycle status of the product, fixes are made available either through a Rollup or as a security update for the following product levels:

Note that Rollups only address the vulnerabilities mentioned in security bulletin, and this bulletin replaces updates the rollups and security updates of MS16-079.

The issue is deemed critical, which means organizations are advised the implement the security fix at their earliest convenience. However, as with any update, it is recommended to thoroughly test updates and fixes prior to deploying them in a production environment.

The Exchange Versions, Builds and Dates page has been updated with the above information as well.

 

 

The UC Architects Podcast Ep60

iTunes-Podcast-logo[1]Episode 60 of The UC Architects podcast is now available. This episode is hosted by Pat Richard, who is joined by John Cook, Tom Arbuthnot, and special guest, Ken Lasko. Editing was done by Andrew Price.

Topics discussed in this episode are:

Exchange Topics

Office 365

Lync/Skype for Business Topics

Events

You can 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 community podcast by people with a passion for Unified Communications; our main focus is on Exchange, Skype for Business or related subjects.

Exchange Server Role Requirements Calculator 7.9

Exchange 2010 Mailbox Role Sizing Calculator 16.4The Exchange team published an update for the Exchange Server Role Requirements Calculator, the tool to aid you in properly sizing your Exchange Server 2013 or Exchange Server 2016 deployment. The new version number is 7.9, and it contains mainly bug fixes.

Functionality changes and bug fixes since version 7.8:

  • Added support for 1.8TB disk capacity
  • Added color formatting for when memory exceeds the maximum recommended value
  • Fixed calcNumDBCopyInSDC formula to take into account proper number of lagged copies
  • Fixed calcActDBPDCWorst formula to take into account non-HA deployments
  • Fixed an issue where ReplayLagManager calculated field did not take into account the user disabling JBOD
  • Fixed version mismatch and added Add-PartitionAccessPath in Diskpart.ps1 script
  • Fixed issue with export CreateDAG.ps1 script where it defined Alternate Witness in single datacenter deployments
  • Fixed diskpart.ps1 script to sleep 10s after creating partition but prior to formatting to minimize error condition
  • Fixed RetainDeletedItemsUntilBackup to be set to $false for NDP deployments

You can download the calculator here. For more information, please consult the list of changes here or Read Me here.

Exchange Updates – June 2016

Ex2013 LogoThe Exchange Team released the wave of Exchange updates for Exchange 2016 down to Exchange 2007.

Major changes in contained in these updates:

  • .NET 4.6.1 support for Exchange Server 2013 and 2016.
    • When upgrading Exchange, install the CU before upgrading to .NET Framework 4.6.1. For greenfield deployments, you should be able to install the .NET Framework 4.6.1 straightaway, prior to installing Exchange; however, no official statement on that yet.
    • When deploying .NET Framework 4.6.1, the following OS dependent fixes are required as well: KB3146716 for WS2008/WS2008R2, KB3146714 for WS2012, and KB3146715 for WS2012R2
  • BitLocker support for AutoReseed. More information here.
  • By default, SHA-2 certificates are generated. This includes the self-signed certificates as well.
  • Like Exchange 2016 CU1, Exchange 2016 CU2 is an uncompressed ISO file. If bandwidth is scarce where you will be deploying, be sure to download this 6GB file upfront.
  • Not mentioned in the KB’s list of fixes for Exchange 2016 CU2 and Exchange 2013 CU13 is the inclusion of KB3161916, Data loss may occur during public folder migration to Exchange 2013, Exchange 2016, or Exchange Online.

For a list of fixes in these updates, see below.

Exchange 2016 Cumulative Update 2 15.1.466.34 KB3135742 Download UML
Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update 13 15.0.1210.3 KB3135743 Download UML
Exchange 2010 Service Pack 3 Rollup 14 14.3.301.0 KB3151097 Download
Exchange 2007 Service Pack 3 Rollup 20 8.3.468.0 KB3151086 Download

Exchange 2016 CU2 fixes:

  • KB3171162 You cannot search emails in Outlook or Outlook Web App in an Exchange Server 2016 Cumulative Update 1 environment
  • KB3164346 Cannot connect to a mailbox when MAPI over HTTP protocol is used in an on-premises Exchange Server 2016 installation
  • KB3163039 Email message body is garbled when Simplified Chinese characters are included on BCC line in an Exchange Server environment
  • KB3162968 “Failed to load script” error when you log on to OWA and select a language
  • KB3126723 Retention policy doesn’t work on the In-Place Archive mailbox in Exchange Server

Exchange 2013 CU13 fixes:

  • KB3164701 Can’t create a new send connector in Exchange Control Panel in Exchange Server 2013
  • KB3164700 Write scope in EAC on a role group reverts to default scope in Exchange Server 2013
  • KB3164359 Stop error and restart triggered by ServerOneCopyInternalMonitorForceReboot responder in Exchange Server 2013
  • KB3163186 “Repair update” message after you send a meeting invitation to a distribution list in Exchange Server 2013
  • KB3163173 NDR after you accept or decline a meeting request in Exchange 2013
  • KB3163039 Email message body is garbled when Simplified Chinese characters are included on BCC line in an Exchange Server environment
  • KB3162964 Items are held unnecessarily in the DiscoveryHold folder in Exchange Server 2013
  • KB3162957 “Invalid search filter” error when you use the “UM Mailbox Policy” filter in Exchange Server 2013
  • KB3162934 Test-ExchangeSearch cmdlet fails without parameters or with the -MailboxDatabase parameter in Exchange Server 2013
  • KB3162933 Outlook client remains disconnected after the mailbox is migrated to Exchange Server 2013
  • KB3162772 Accepted or declined messages for a forwarded meeting are sent to the forwarder in Exchange Server 2013
  • KB3160935 Public folder forwarding rule doesn’t work after migration to Exchange Server 2013
  • KB3150799 IMAP with NTLM fails if a user’s UPN and primary SMTP address don’t match in Exchange Server 2013
  • KB3150036 The EdgeTransport process crashes on an Exchange Server 2013 server that has the Edge Server role installed
  • KB3149767 “System.FormatException” error is logged in Event Viewer when Exchange Server 2013 runs on a French operating system
  • KB3142157 Exchange Server Health Management Worker process restarts frequently in Exchange Server 2013
  • KB3140102 OWA application pool crashes with KeyNotFound exception in Exchange Server 2013
  • KB3129946 Update to support the AutoReseed feature in a DAG environment that’s BitLocker-enabled in Exchange Server 2013
  • KB3126723 Retention policy doesn’t work on the In-Place Archive mailbox in Exchange Server
  • KB2661294 Email address policy doesn’t generate addresses of recipients in Exchange Server 2010 or Exchange Server 2013

These Cumulative Updates for Exchange Server 2016 and 2013 as well as the Rollups for Exchange Server 2010 and 2007, fix the security issue described in Security Bulletin MS16-079. The Cumulative Updates for Exchange Server 2016 and 2013 also include DST changes.

Notes:

  • Exchange 2016 CU2 includes schema changes (version 15325), and Exchange 2013 CU12 may introduce RBAC changes in your environment. When applicable, make sure you run PrepareSchema /PrepareAD before deploying. To verify this step has been performed, consult the Exchange schema overview.
  • Exchange 2016 CU2 introduces activation preference changes for Database Availability Groups. You might want to consider reading the article upfront describing these changes here.
  • When upgrading your Exchange 2013 or 2016 installation, don’t forget to put the server in maintenance mode.
  • The Windows Management Framework (WMF)/ PowerShell version 5 is not supported. Don’t install this on your Exchange servers.
  • When using Exchange hybrid deployments or Exchange Online Archiving (EOA), you are required to stay current.
  • 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.
  • Cumulative Updates can be installed directly, i.e. no need to install RTM prior to installing Cumulative Updates.
  • Once installed, you can’t uninstall a Cumulative Update nor any of the installed Exchange server roles.
  • The order of upgrading servers with Cumulative Updates is irrelevant.
  • Rollups are cumulative per service pack level, meaning you can apply the latest Rollup for Service Pack X to a Service Pack X installation.

Finally, as always 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 few days and monitor the comments on the original publication or TechNet forum for any issues.

 

 

The UC Architects Podcast Ep57

iTunes-Podcast-logo[1]Episode 57 of The UC Architects podcast is now available. This episode is hosted by Pat Richard, who is joined by Steve Goodman and Tom Arbuthnot. Editing was done by Andrew Price.

Topics discussed in this episode are:

  • Microsoft is rolling back the mailbox anchoring change for remote PowerShell that was introduced in 2013 CU11
  • Exchange 2013 and 2016 Exmon tool is now available
  • A friendly reminder that WMF (PowerShell) 5.0 is currently not supported with any version of #MSExchange
  • Exchange says no to .NET Framework 4.6.1
  • Hybrid Shared Mailbox access is now supported
  • Announcing the new Office 365 admin center
  • Office 365 Reporting web service and Windows PowerShell cmdlets
  • Office 365 Hybrid Configuration wizard for Exchange 2010
  • Bulk provisioning Office 365 licenses and services script
  • Mitel Networks (MITL) to Acquire Polycom (PLCM) in ~$1.96B Deal
  • Lync 2010 transitioning from mainstream to extended support
  • Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition Released
  • Thomas Poet’s Office Cloud Connector Edition
  • Cloud Connector Edition Skype for Business Online Planning and Migration Guide
  • Microsofts Free StatsMan Released for Skype for Business and Lync
  • Configure OAuth between Skype for Business Server and Exchange Online
  • Microsoft’s Skype now works without plug-ins with Windows 10’s Edge browser
  • Skype for Business Hybrid–Additional Office 365 Domain
  • Announcing content viewing for Skype for Business on Android and updates to iOS
  • Skype for Business SDN Interface 2.4 Released with PowerShell Provisioning
  • Skype for Business Client Update Video Webcast: Announce Offline Messaging!
  • Skype for Business Server 2015, Capacity Calculator
  • CMS Changes in Skype for Business 2015
  • Quick Tip: SLA Errors – Just Ignore Them
  • Technical diagrams for Skype for Business Server 2015
  • Microsoft to eliminate Skype Managed Accounts feature by March’s end (Regular Skype, not Skype4B)
  • Displaying Network and Building Information in Call Quality Dashboard (CQD) Online
  • Lync 2013 Client Update Feb 2016 (KB3114732) 15.0.4797.1000.
  • Lync Server 2013 CU
  • Skype for Business Server 2015 CU2 (March)
  • Pat’s Get-CsUpdateVersion script
  • .NET Framework 4.6.1 and Skype for Business/Lync Server Compatibility
  • StatusKey for Skype for Business
  • Lync 2013 / Skype for Business Call Pickup Group Manager Version 2
  • UC Birmingham User Group  (5/11)
  • UC Day mailing list for more information about a dedicated UC and cloud conference happening on 24th October in the UK
  • IPExpoManchester (5/19)

You can 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 community podcast by people with a passion for Unified Communications; our main focus is on Exchange, Skype for Business or related subjects.