DefinIT Because if IT were easy, everyone would do it…

29Jul/100

Passed Microsoft Exams 70-662 and 70-663 – Now officially MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator

Posted by Sam McGeown

MCITP(rgb)_1084_1085_thumb On Monday I took the two Exchange 2010 exams, “70-662 TS: Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, Configuring” and “70-663 PRO: Deploying Messaging Solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010” and I am pleased to say that I passed both of them, scoring an 812 on the 70-662 and 960 on the 70-663. I am especially pleased with the score on the PRO exam!

Overall, there’s quite a lot of overlap between the two exams, with the more heavily theory and design based PRO exam being a “high-level” of the more hands-on management and cmdlet based TS exam.

Study materials I used were Technet, SAMS Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Unleashed and a test installation. I used practice exams from MeasureUp and also spent time answering peoples 2010 based questions on Experts Exchange and Technet Forums.

21Jul/100

Why I’ve changed my blogging software from BlogEngine.Net to WordPress

Posted by Sam McGeown

wordpress Up until now, I’ve been using BlogEngine.Net as my blogging platform, and up until now I’ve been relatively happy with using it. One of the major drivers for me as a “Microsoft” person was to use something that is based on Microsoft technology – BlogEngine.Net is based (as the name suggests) on the .Net framework. I’m much happier these days writing limited amounts of C#.Net than I am with PHP.

The problem is, I seemed to be spending more time fixing the blog than writing on it. I’ve had all sorts of problems, ranging from incompatibility with my hosting provider, theme compatibility issues, random code issues and more. Email notifications seem to work, then stop, then work again. Simple things like adding reCAPTCHA support to cut down the enormous amount of comment spam have taken days of head scratching. Whether or not these issues are down to my ignorance or the software, the outcome is the same, I don’t want to be fixing my blogging software, I want it to just work!

Then there’s the search engines, and the existing web presence that I have. A major consideration for me when changing the software is the fact that a lot of my traffic comes from links that are embedded in forums and other blogs – and that search engines respond with the existing BlogEngine posts rather than the newer ones. I’ve considered this, and I think it’s worth the risk. I will leave the BE running for a while and block search engine traffic to it so that direct links in will still be valid. I’ll see where the traffic takes me – but the advantages of changing now outweigh the risks. I will look to do some sort of URL redirect if it becomes an issue.

So  why move to WordPress then? It’s not based on Microsoft technology and it could potentially set me back to square one with my web presence. Quite simply, it just works. It has a massive ecosystem built up around it of plug-ins, themes and widgets. It’s mature – very mature – software that is actively developed and much more widely used than BlogEngine.Net is.

The import of the BlogML from BlogEngine was pretty pain free -  the categories came in as a GUID rather than the friendly name, but that was a simple matter of updating the MySQL table using a query. I’ve decided to slim down the categories, and as such I’ve moved the existing post categories into tags (handy little plug-in that). The theme I am using is nice enough, maybe when I have some time I’ll customise it a bit further.

But, I’ve made the jump; Windows Live Writer is plugged in to WordPress and I am hoping that it all comes together nicely. Recently I’ve been studying for my MCITP: Enterprise Exchange Administrator exams which I’m taking on Monday (70-662 and 70-663), so hopefully I can push some more Exchange stuff this way.

Until then, thanks for reading!

Sam

21Jul/100

Testing access to your Exchange services with Microsoft Exchange Remote Connectivity Analyzer

Posted by Sam McGeown

The Microsoft Exchange Remote Connectivity Analyzer is perhaps the best tool I’ve used in a long time for troubleshooting Exchange external access – it just works! On the forums and websites I read, it doesn’t seem to get the coverage that I’d expect, so I thought I’d give it a mention.

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8Jul/101

Useful commands for troubleshooting Exchange 2010 routing with Exchange 2003/2007

Posted by Sam McGeown

Exchange-2010-Logo-748516 I’ve just fixed an issue with Routing for my mixed Exchange 2003/2007/2010 environment.

The environment is a single AD domain with 4 sites, Site1, Site2, Site3 and Site4. In Site1, Site2 and Site3 there are 3 Exchange 2003 servers, one per site. In Site4 there is an Exchange 2007 SP2 server (CAS, Mailbox, HT). All the connectors required worked as expected, and inter-site routing works as expected.

I introduced into the mix a 2010 Enterprise server (CAS, Mailbox, HT) to Site1 as a prelude to a full upgrade of the site to Exchange 2010. When a test mailbox from Exchange 2010 attempts to send to a mailbox in Site1 Exchange 2003, it routes via the Site4 Exchange 2007.

2Jul/100

Exchange ActiveSync fails on iPhone after upgrade to iOS4

Posted by Sam McGeown

I’ve spent a fair bit of time today trying to sort out my iPhone sync to my Exchange Server, failing miserably. It used to work, pre-upgrade to iOS4, but for some reason fails to sync.

Symptoms were:

 

The server was configured as per http://support.microsoft.com/kb/817379/en-us to allow OWA/ActiveSync with SSL on OWA.

The iPhone was configured to accept the SSL certificate on the Exchange Server.

My brother Tom sent me this Apple KB (http://support.apple.com/kb/TS3398) which he’d found from the other side – Exchange servers he was managing were under very heavy load, which is another symptom of this issue.

I installed the new configuration as per the article, restarted the phone and the issue was fixed!