Microsoft Office & Exchange 2010- end of support


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

3 more Microsoft products fell out of support on October 13, 2020:

  • Office 2010
  • Office 2016 for Mac
  • Exchange Server 2010

If you’re on these older versions, upgrading should certainly be on your roadmap. If not to Office 365, then to a more recent on-premises release. As corporate security becomes an ever greater focus, and ransomware becomes an ever greater threat, now is not the time to be running unsupported software that’s over a decade old!

The changes for access to Office 365 have kicked in too, meaning the only releases of Office that are supported to access Office 365 are:

  • Office 2016
  • Office 2019
  • Microsoft 365 Apps (formerly Office365 Pro Plus)

While Microsoft aren’t proactively blocking older versions, they’ve stated that as they fall further behind, performance and/or reliability issues may start to occur.

Further Reading

Office 2010

Exchange 2010

Microsoft Productivity Servers in 2021


What is the future for the on-premises versions of Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, and Skype for Business Server aka the Productivity Servers? Microsoft’s move to the cloud is clear, successful, and accelerating so where does that leave organisations not yet ready to ditch their locally deployed servers? Will there be another release or are the current 2019 versions the end of the road?

More information has been revealed at Microsoft Ignite 2020, both in this Teams session “On Skype for Business? Design your path to Microsoft Teams” and this Exchange session- “Exchange – Here, There, and Everywhere“. There WILL be a new release (or a “vNext” as Microsoft call it) for:

  • Skype for Business Server
  • Exchange Server
  • SharePoint Server

available in the 2nd half of 2021 – so still around 12 months away at the time of writing.

Licensing change

These next releases will be on-premises but available only via a subscription model. Does this mean there will a change to the licensing model i.e. will they remove CALs etc. or is it just the same licenses and metrics but with no perpetual license option? I’m not sure yet but I’ll keep an eye out for more info.

Microsoft are treating this as an intermediate step for customers unwilling to move to Office 365. Once the CAPEX v OPEX argument is removed, I’m sure many orgs will find their move to the cloud speeds up significantly – which is a win for Microsoft.

There are plenty of technical improvements coming for all the products, as well as Exchange Online (including “+ addresses” like Gmail which is cool!) – the Ignite videos and the links below will give more info on those.

Further Reading

TomTalks blog

Petri article

Microsoft BPOS & Messagelabs


Can Exchange Online co-exist with Messagelabs or other 3rd party scanning tools?

That is the question I have been investigating for the past week or so…and I have an answer…sort of…nearly.

First things first, yes I know Exchange Online includes ForeFront Online Protection for Exchange (FOPE) and I also know that it is a very good product.

However there are a number of situations where customers would like a2nd option too. This could be because they’re mid way through a contract, because they’d like a “safety net” or indeed because they just don’t like Forefront.

I first looked into it last year and got a definite “Yes it can be done”; I used that as the basis for a customer conversation around 3rd party support. The customer then spoke with BPOS support around how to implement it…and they advised that it couldn’t be done! This was something of an issue and set me off on a quest to get a concrete answer, one way or the other.

I posted a question up on the Technet Exchange Online Forum but didn’t get a response so after much confusion internally at Microsoft, conversations with business groups and technical support teams, the final answer was:

“It isn’t supported but it should work”

So this wasn’t as good as my original “yes” but a vast improvement over “No”, which is something.

This is yet another issue that will be resolved with the arrival of Wave 14:

An update to FOPE, scheduled for release at the same time as BPOS wave 14, will include new connector functionality that will enable this scenario.

So within the next 6 months we’ll have full support for 3rd party mail scanning tools, which will be one less thing to worry about 🙂

Exchange Online & Android


The other day at work I was asked if you can connect Android phones to Exchange Online…so I went off to investigate.

Microsoft’s page gives a list of devices and supported OS’s:

image

http://www.microsoft.com/online/mobility/exchange-activesync.mspx

I’ve got the HTC Hero and so does the person who asked, so that’s the route my investigation took, I opened up the “Mail” section on my phone and went to work.

The auto-detect feature doesn’t work with Exchange Online (or so it seems) so it’s on to manual setup, which asks for:

  • Email Address
  • Server Name
  • Domain
  • Username (Same as the email address)
  • Password

Apart from a couple, they’re all pretty self explanatory but there’s one that could trip you up:

Server Name:

There are 3 different server URLs depending on location:

image

but it just wasn’t working for  me, so I called Microsoft BPOS support. After a bit of a false start, they were very helpful and gave me a call to work through the issues.

I navigated to OWA through my browser (mail.microsoftonline.com)but couldn’t log in. I then found it was resolving itself to the “red001…” address, which clearly wasn’t right as I’m in the UK, so I cleared all my bookies, cache etc and went back to the setup screen.

I tried again and still no luck, but then I tried one last thing…entering the server URL without the “https://” and the start. To be honest, I’m not sure why I tried that (although I’m equally sure that someone more techie than me would have tried that first!) but it worked! Entering simply “red002.mail.emea.microsoftonline.com” worked a charm and BOOM, I could see my emails on my Android device. A quick check revealed that the calendar and contacts were syncing too…brilliant 🙂

I hope that helps anyone wondering if this can be done and/or having trouble getting it working 🙂

SQL Server 2008 for Small Business


There are many version of SQL Server 2008. Standard, Enterprise, Web, Express, per Processor and more…and now there is one more…SQL Server for Small Business.

This version appeared pretty quietly and is particularly well known. It follows a similar path to Small Business Server in that it is restricted to 75 users, but it also has many other caveats.

First of all, it can only be installed on certain versions of Windows Server 2008. These are:

  • Server 2008 Std
  • Server 2008 Std without Hyper-V
  • Small Business Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2008 for Windows Essential Server Solutions
  • Windows Server 2008 without Hyper-V for Windows Essential Server Solutions

You’ll notice there’s no Enterprise or Datacenter and also no Server 2003. I’m going to double check if Server 2008 R2 is now an accepted OS too.

There are some specific rules around the domain too:

  • Must be joined to a domain “where a single server in the domain must contain all the flexible single master operations (FSMO) roles and is the root of the Active Directory forest
  • Domain cannot have trust relationships with any other domain
  • Domain cannot have any child domains

Further details can be found on Microsoft’s site here:

http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2008/en/us/small-business.aspx

This version of SQL is licensed with CALs so cannot be used for Web applications.

It can be purchased through the OEM channel, which makes it an attractive price point for small businesses.

Exchange for Small Business

There is also Exchange for Small Business available now…but it is somewhat shrouded in mystery! It randomly appeared in November’s price file without so much as a “How do you do?” and doesn’t want to give out any information about itself.

The oddest part is that it is Exchange 2007…the month that Exchange 2010 is released brings a Small Business edition of 2007? Why?!

The URL that should give the info page now redirects to the Exchange 2010 site…understandable but a little frustrating. I asked Microsoft today what the restrictions on this edition are and they weren’t able to tell me…the best we can give at the minute is “it’s probably the same as SQL”.

If anyone can shed any light on it – I’d welcome it…

Exchange 2007 & Server 2008 R2


Windows Server 2008 R2 doesn’t support Exchange 2007. That is a fact and it has caused confusion, consternation & anger among many of Microsoft’s customers and indeed partners (I can confirm that!).

The big question was “Why"?”…as when Server 2008 R2 was released in September, Exchange 2007 was the current version. While Exchange 2010 is almost upon us it is still unlikely that companies will instantly move to the new version…particularly on something as important as their email infrastructure. So that meant either:

a) Customers stayed on Exchange 2007 and Server 2008

b) Customers had a mixed Server 2008/2008 R2 environment

and, aside from the technical aspect, many people viewed it as a cynical ploy by Redmond to force them to upgrade. The message alongside Windows 7 is “Deploy with Server 2008 R2, they’re better together” (which is true!) but then it seemed a little like “Gotcha! Now you’re got R2…you’ve got to buy Exchange 2010”. While that wasn’t the case, that’s how it seemed to customers and really-that’s what matters. Vista wasn’t anywhere near a terrible as a lot of people say it is…but it didn’t do very well did it…and that was because of user perception.

Now however, that’s all changed! This post on the Exchange Team Blog (You had me at EHLO) reveals that:

“In the coming calendar year we will issue an update for Exchange 2007 enabling full support of Windows Server 2008 R2”

They say that customers spoke, Microsoft listened and the change is happening…brilliant 🙂

Good work Microsoft!

Thanks to @JohnFontana for the tweet that flagged this up…

Exchange 2010 Licensing Considerations


Exchange 2010 is now in the price files so you can all go out and buy it 🙂 There is a lot of information about the technical differences, but not so much about the licensing changes…so let me change that 😉

Replication Licensing

The current “Local Continuous Replication” is being replaced by “Mailbox Resiliency” in 2010; Mailbox resiliency requires 2 active instances of Exchange 2010…and thus 2 licences.

As a one-time exception, customers with Exchange 2007 and Software Assurance (SA) on Select, Enterprise Agreement, Open, Open Value, Campus & School get:

“One complimentary Exchange Server 2010 Standard license for each datacenter where the customer has at least one server licensed for Exchange Server 2007 Standard with active Software Assurance as of November 1, 2009.”

The additional licences that you receive under this offer all included SA that expires at the same time as your originally purchased licence.

As an additional offer, if your Exchange SA expires between November 1st 2009 – November 1st 2010 you can renew just the SA for the original licence, and that will also renew the SA for the 2nd additional licence 🙂 However, after that the licences will need to be renewed separately.

The original MS post is here.

New features of Exchange 2010


Microsoft Exchange 2010 is nearly here so I’ve just been going through some of the free e-learning that’s available (here) to see what’s new.

Unified Communications:

There have been many improvements around the Unified Messaging piece including:

SMS Notification of missed calls

Message waiting indicators

Personal Auto Attendant

Users can have voicemail transcribed into their chosen language

Voice mails are now protected from unauthorised forwarding, copying and extracting

These enhancements should lead to the UC aspects of Exchange gaining more traction. Previously they’ve been seen as quite superfluous and “nice to have” rather than a “need to have” (at least in my experience); now however the user productivity gains are apparent.

Another big one is Federated Calendar Sharing, allowing you to easily share info with 3rd party organisations, using Windows Live as the trust broker. You need an internet accessible Client Access Server (CAS) as calendar sharing is done via web services – thusno special ports need opening.

Microsoft Clustering Services are no longer needed to get High Availability (HA) with Exchange 2010.

Things to know for deployment:

Can upgrade from 2003 to 2010

AD must be at least in

Windows Server 2003 forest functionality mode

Also, you must have at least one Windows 2003 Service Pack 2 Global Catalog server in every Active Directory site that will have an Exchange 2010 server.

Note that Read-only domain controllers (RODC) and read-only global catalog (ROGC) servers are not supported.

Exchange 2010 does NOT support in place upgrades.

Read-only domain controllers (RODC) and read-only global catalog (ROGC) servers are not supported

Storage:

Microsoft have made a number of changes in this area and, at least to me, they seem like great improvements. They’ve worked hard to reduce the I/O traffic and this is done via:

IOPS changed to write more data at fewer intervals

Merged I/O instances

Both of these reduce the number of operations and improving performance. Two more improvements include:

Larger cache size (32kb)

Sequential data storage reduces I/O

They have also removed the Database maintenance windows by pushing the defrag process into the background.

All that and more, along with moving diagrams and voiceovers can be found here:

http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/training/exchange-server.aspx

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