TechNet Magazine – August 2007


The August issue of the TechNet Magazine is now online (it’s also available as an HTML help download).


Although there’s not a single article about Exchange Server, the main topic is about management. Can you imagine your Exchange servers without monitoring them? So, there are a lot of articles about System Center in general, Operations Manager 2007 and the new System Center Essentials.


BTW, did you notice that the Exchange Server 2007 Management Pack for Operations Manager 2007 is not yet available?




8 Random Things

I’m pretty sure that since the beginning of this blog I only wrote posts strictly related to Exchange Server or to my activity as an MVP.

I keep reading on other blogs personal stuff, when someone gets tagged from this kind of chained posts. It finally reached me, thanks to Paul.

So, here are 8 completely random things about me:

  1. I live near Lisbon (a little bit to the South) in Portugal.
  2. I don’t have any pets, although my girlfriend keeps promising me one puppy.
  3. In my free time, I like to hang out with friends (who doesn’t?), go to the cinema, reading or listening to some music.
  4. I like to travel. Besides most countries in Europe, I’ve been in the USA, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and Thailand. I’d like to visit Japan and Patagonia. I would also like to go to Antarctica, Australia and take a trip on the Trans-Siberian Express.
  5. I’ve also been in Africa, since I was born in Guinea-Bissau. I would like to go there one of these days.
  6. I have an elder brother.
  7. I’m a big fan of U2 (since my teenage years), although my musical taste has evolved since that. Here’s my latest Amazon Wishlist (hey, I’m not asking you anything).
  8. I lied in the interview for my first job. I told that I was planning a career in IT, although what I really wanted was Electronics. Man, I was so wrong! Since I started working in this business 10 years ago, I can’t imagine me doing anything else.

And now, let’s not break the chain: Alberto, Andy, Henrik, Jim, João Paulo, JotaNeil and Paulo it’s your turn.

Playing around with VBScript (and PrimalScript)

Although PowerShell is becoming the de facto standard for scripting with Exchange Server, I still like to use VBScript for some tasks.

Recently I had to add a new Proxy Address to all the users in active directory and make it the primary SMTP address. This time, instead of using a text file as input, I decided to use Excel. The script is expecting 2 columns: the first one with the e-mail alias (mailNickname) and the second one with the new smtp address. The script will add a third column with the values “Found” or “Not Found”.

Here’s the code:

Const ADS_SCOPE_SUBTREE = 2
Const ADS_PROPERTY_UPDATE = 2

Set objConnection = CreateObject("ADODB.Connection")
Set objCommand = CreateObject("ADODB.Command")
objConnection.Provider = "ADsDSOObject"
objConnection.Open "Active Directory Provider"
Set objCommand.ActiveConnection = objConnection

objCommand.Properties("Page Size") = 1000
objCommand.Properties("Searchscope") = ADS_SCOPE_SUBTREE 

Set objExcel = CreateObject("Excel.Application")
Set objWorkbook = objExcel.Workbooks.Open("C:\Scripts\smtp_table.xls")
objExcel.Visible = True

i = 1

Do Until objExcel.Cells(i, 1).Value = ""
    strName = objExcel.Cells(i,1)
    objCommand.CommandText = _
        "SELECT distinguishedName FROM 'LDAP://dc=virtual,dc=com' WHERE objectCategory='user' " & _
            "AND mailNickname='" & strName & "'"
    Set objRecordSet = objCommand.Execute

    If objRecordset.RecordCount = 1 Then
        objExcel.Cells(i,3) = "Found"
        strDN = objRecordSet.Fields("distinguishedName").Value
        Set objUser = GetObject("LDAP://" & strDN)
        strMail = objExcel.Cells(i,2)

        arrProxyAddresses = objUser.GetEx("proxyAddresses")
        nArr = UBound(arrProxyAddresses)
            For n=0 To nArr
                If InStr(arrProxyAddresses(n), "SMTP:") Then
                    arrProxyAddresses(n) = "smtp:" & Mid(arrProxyAddresses(n), 6) 
                End If
            Next

        ReDim Preserve arrProxyAddresses(nArr + 1)
        arrProxyAddresses(nArr+1) = "SMTP:" & strMail
        objUser.PutEx ADS_PROPERTY_UPDATE, "proxyAddresses", arrProxyAddresses
        objUser.Put "Mail", strMail
        objUser.SetInfo
    Else
        objExcel.Cells(i,3) = "Not found"
    End If
    
    i = i + 1
    objRecordset.Close
Loop

objConnection.Close

And since we are living in modern times, I thought it was time to leave Notepad behind and start using a more professional tool for scripting. I chose PrimalScript!

PrimalScript has so many nice features that make my work easier, that I couldn’t possible enumerate them all in this post. Just give it a try and judge for yourself.

primalscript

Whitepaper: Exchange Server 2003 Performance on VMware

VMware has released a new whitepaper that discusses the performance and scalability of Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 when deployed within virtual machines running under VMware ESX Server 3.01: Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Performance on VMware ESX Server 3.

The paper presents the results of a joint study with Dell that examined the performance implications of a virtualized Exchange environment. Specifically, we looked at:

  • The performance implications of running Exchange Server 2003 on a virtual machine versus a physical system.
  • The performance of Exchange Server 2003 in virtual machine configurations when “scaling-up” (adding more processors to a machine) and “scaling-out” (adding more machines).

The details of the configurations and results of the above experiments are documented in the white paper.

To briefly summarize, the results from the study indicate that on an Dell PowerEdge 6850 server configured with four 2.66 GHz dual-core Intel Xeon 7020 processors and 16GB of RAM.

  • A uniprocessor virtual machine can support up to 1,300 Heavy Exchange users.
  • Consolidating multiple instances of these uniprocessor Exchange virtual machines can cumulatively support up to 4,000 Heavy users while still providing acceptable performance and scaling.
  • Uniprocessor virtual machines are, from a performance perspective, equivalent to half as many multiprocessor (two virtual processors) virtual machines.

Also be sure that you know the Microsoft support policy regarding VMware: Support for Microsoft Software in VMware Virtual Machines.

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Event presentations

After some major technical event, a few of the presenters offer their session PowerPoints or videos to download.

I’ve been collecting these presentations, so I thought you might like them too. Here are the links:

Microsoft Office Outlook Connector for Hotmail

With Microsoft Office Outlook Connector Beta, you can use Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 or Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 to access and manage your Microsoft Windows Live Hotmail or Microsoft Office Live Mail accounts, including e-mail messages and contacts for free!

I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m so addicted to Windows Live Mail that I can’t imagine any other way of accessing my Hotmail accounts!

Overview
With Outlook Connector Beta, you can use Outlook 2003 or Outlook 2007 to access and manage your Windows Live Hotmail or Office Live Mail accounts, including e-mail messages and contacts for free! Calendar, tasks and notes can also be accessed and managed in Outlook for accounts with a paid subscription.
Note: A older, non-Beta version of the Microsoft Office Outlook Connector is also available.
Outlook Connector Beta enables you to use your Live Hotmail accounts within Outlook:


  • Read and send your Office Live Mail/Windows Live Hotmail e-mail messages.
  • Manage your Live Mail Contacts.
  • Use advanced options for blocking junk e-mail messages.
  • Manage multiple e-mail accounts in one place.
With a paid subscription, Outlook Connector Beta enables these additional features:

  • Manage, share, and synchronize your Windows Live Calendar in Outlook.
  • Access your Tasks and Notes.

System Requirements


  • Supported Operating Systems: Windows Vista; Windows XP


  • This download works with the following Office programs:

    • Microsoft Office Outlook 2003
    • Microsoft Office Outlook 2007

Related links


HP Storage Planning Calculator

Usually, when I need to size the storage for an Exchange 2007 solution, I use the Exchange 2007 Mailbox Server Role Storage Requirements Calculator spreadsheet, provided by Microsoft.

But there are other alternatives, such as the tool I’m going to talk about (I already blogged about it in the past).

HP Storage Planning Calculator for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 is a tool provided by HP that helps you calculate the storage needs for an Exchange 2007 solution, based on some input parameters you must provide. If you use components from this vendor, the tool adjusts the output to the type of hardware you’re using and can also you give you cost analysis.

Based on a selected user (workload) profile; this tool calculates the number of hard drives (spindles); storage controllers; enclosures required to meet both performance and capacity requirements for the total user population. The tool is designed to allow for a variety of what-if scenarios and pricing; comparing RAID levels; hard drives (spindles) sizes; storage array controllers; enclosures; backup methodology/topology; tape drives; comparing Outlook client modes; and high availability options Cluster Continuous Replication (CCR) versus Local Continuous Replication(LCR).

hp_storage_calculator_2007

(Not so) new blogs

I recently added 2 Microsoft blogs to my huge RSS feeds list. The first one, the Office Outlook team blog is brand new. The second one is not so new and is about Forefront.

Here are small excerpts from their first posts:

  • Office Outlook Team Blog – Now that we’re working on our next release we’ve decided to create a team blog where we can talk about a wider range of topics. We look forward to having folks from all across the team posting about the tons of different features and functionality in Outlook. For now, we’ll be communicating mostly about the current release, Outlook 2007. When the time is right, we’ll begin to transition to discussing details of the next release of Office and Outlook so you can learn more about what will be coming in the future.
  • Forefront Server Security Blog – Hello all and welcome to the new blog for the Microsoft Forefront Server Security products. Many of you may be familiar with and/or running our products under one of our previous handles. Whether you are a long-time Sybari Antigen user, a recent Microsoft Antigen user, or a brand new user of Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server 2007 and/or SharePoint 2007, this is the place for you to get information straight from the team that delivers the product line to you.

TechNet Magazine – July 2007

Another month, another issue of TechNet Magazine. Once again, Exchange Server plays a central role on the article collection of the magazine.

If you’re already done with Weekend reading, there’s plenty of fresh technical information, written by some of the most renowned authors from the IT field.

You can read it online or offline, since the magazine is also available for download as a standalone HTML Help (.chm) file.

Here’s a short list of some of the most interesting articles (at least for the author of this blog):