Review: Microsoft Exchange 2013 Cookbook

The folks at PacktPub asked me to review a book written by Exchange fellow Michael van Hoorenbeeck and Peter de Tender, titled “Microsoft Exchange 2013 Cookbook”. So, here goes.

The books is well structured, starting off with planning and designing your Exchange 2013 deployment on to installing the product. It then turns to configuring the individual Client Access Server and Mailbox Server role specifics, like certificates or Database Availability Groups. Next up is configuring external access which is described vendor neutral. Special attention is then paid to individual features like High Availability, backup/recovery, compliance and security. The book ends with Van Hoorenbeeck’s favorite subject, hybrid deployments. That chapter is unfortunately a bit short, but I’m inclined to think this is intentional and may be because an Office 365 book with information on this subject may be in the works.

The 326 page book is easy to read (I read it on the flight from Amsterdam to Bangkok). What is nice is that the book prefers to describe procedures using PowerShell cmdlets (recipes) instead of showing the GUI method, which is not only good for the adoption of PowerShell but also building PowerShell skills for some admins. Well-known tools of the trade are being mentioned in the book, like the infamous Exchange 2013 Server Role Requirements Calculator or Exchange fellow Paul Cunningham’s Get-DAGHealth.ps1 script for checking and reporting DAG health status. Yours truly also gets mentioned for the Exchange 2013 Unattended Installation Script; I won’t complain about misspelling my name though.

I haven’t had the chance to check out the Exchange Inside Out bible(s) by Tony Redmond and Paul Robichaux yet, but this book could be of value for admins trying to get up to speed with Exchange 2013, building PowerShell knowledge through PowerShell-by-example by reading this book and its practical task accomplishing instructions.

You can check for the book on Amazon here.

Review: iPhone with Exchange 2010: Business Integration & Deployment

A while back, I was asked if I wanted to review a book written by Exchange fellow Steve Goodman. The full title of the book is “iPhone with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010: Business Integration and Deployment” and it’s Steve’s first book. However, I didn’t take that into account when writing this short review.

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Overall, the book is a well written blend of Exchange and iPhone related content. Now, I look at products called “iPhone and/with ..” with a certain amount of skepticism. In such cases I expect something of which a marketing department decided that adding “iPhone” to the title could increase sales or justify a higher price, all because iPhone sells.

However, when reading through the 290 pages I was pleasantly surprised the book touches iPhone related contents some Exchange administrators may have never experienced first hand, like using the iPhone Configuration Utility. From my experience, most customers treat an iPhone device for what they are, YAEASC (Yet Another Exchange ActiveSync Client).

From an Exchange perspective, the book is extensive and covers topics like server roles and Database Availability Groups, but doesn’t cover all topics and not in too much details. For example, the book mentions that you need to make arrangements in order to make the environment available via the internet, but a little guidance on reverse proxy settings or how the important autodiscover process works might be helpful.

Overall, the book does a good job of trying to cover the gray area between iPhones and Exchange server, and could be appealing to Apple shops wanting to implement Exchange or a customer with Exchange or Office 365 looking for ways to manage iPhone end user devices. If you’re looking for in-depth information on Exchange only or PowerShell/Exchange Management Shell, I’d recommend like “Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Inside Out” by Tony Redmond or Microsoft Exchange 2010 PowerShell Cookbook by Mike Pfeiffer.

You can check for the book on Amazon here (Kindle version here).