Inbox Rules Do Not Work on Unity Connections 8.5.1 Messages

I ran into this with a customer recently and wanted to document what I found.  The customer is using Cisco Unity Connections 9.1 for voicemail with Single Inbox and Exchange 2010 SP3.



Cisco’s Single Inbox provides a UM experience similar to Exchange Unified Messaging, where voicemails are delivered to the user’s Inbox as emails with attached WAV files.  The voicemail messages are linked by Unity Connections so that if a user deletes a voicemail in Unity, the email message is also deleted.  Likewise, if the user deletes the voicemail email message in Exchange the voicemail is deleted in Unity.



Unity Connections 8.5.x and later uses Exchange Web Services (EWS) for connectivity to Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010 mailboxes using a service account.  How Unity programmatically does this is a mystery since it is not documented anywhere in Cisco’s documentation.



The issue here is that the way Unity Connections Single Inbox creates the message in the recipient’s mailbox bypasses the rules table associated with the mailbox.  The result is that rules don’t fire for these messages.  For example, it’s common for users to create an Inbox rule that moves messages from Unity Connections to a custom folder like “Voicemails”.  If you manually run the rule it works as expected.




This issue is documented somewhat in the Cisco Community Forums here: https://supportforums.cisco.com/docs/DOC-17854.  A comment in this forum post implies this is an Exchange bug, but I’ve confirmed that Inbox rules fire correctly when messages are sent via EWS in a normal manner.  Fellow Exchange MCM, Mike Pfeiffer, has a great post on Sending Email with PowerShell and the EWS Managed API.  I used this PowerShell function to send emails using EWS and test Inbox rules, which worked perfectly.



I’ve tried every creative trick I know to work around this issue, to no avail.  In the end, there’s really nothing that can be done to fix this until Cisco changes to the way it sends Single Inbox messages using EWS.


Fix for Excessive Duplicate Contacts

If you’re running Lync in your environment you may notice that you have multiple duplicate contacts in your contacts list.






This issue also affects your ActiveSync mobile devices, such as the iPhone.






If you open one of these duplicate contacts, you will notice that the Notes field says the contact was added by Lync 2013.






This a caused by a bug in the Lync client, which adds a duplicate contact item every time you have do an IM with this contact.  The bug will be fixed in the next cumulative update (CU) for the Lync 2013 client.  In the meantime, here’s how you can fix it.



The duplicate contacts are stored in a contacts folder called Lync Contacts.  This folder is protected by Outlook so you can’t delete it from there.  You need to delete it from Outlook Web App, which does not treat it as protected.



  • Log into OWA and view your contacts.
  • Right-click the Lync Contacts folder and select Delete.



  • Click Yes to confirm you want to delete the selected folder and move all contents into the Deleted Items folder.  You can then sign out of OWA.
  • From the Outlook client you’ll need to empty your Deleted Items folder to finish getting rid of all the duplicate contacts.  You’ll then be free of them!







OWA 2013 CU1 Redirection is Broken for Legacy Mailboxes

Exchange 2013 CU1 includes a new native module for HTTP to HTTPS redirection in OWA 2013.  This means that users only need to enter the URL for the OWA 2013 server or load balancer to gain access to OWA.



For example, a user can enter webmail.contoso.com in their browser and OWA 2013 will automatically redirect the user to https://webmail.contoso.com/owa.  This all works great out of the box and does not require any extra configuration by the administrator.



User enters http://mail.domain.com in browser



OWA 2013 CAS redirects http://mail.domain.com to https://mail.domain.com/owa


However, a problem occurs when CAS 2013 CU1 is the front end for an Exchange 2010 SP3 mailbox, which would be typical during a coexistence scenario.  CAS 2013 proxies the HTTPS redirected URL that the user first entered (mail.contoso.com, without the /OWA) to CAS 2010, which results in the following experience:



OWA 2010 mailbox proxied through CAS 2013 CU1

I have not tested it, but I expect Exchange 2007 mailbox users proxied by CAS 2013 CU1 will have the same experience.



Microsoft is aware of the issue, which is expected to be fixed in Exchange 2013 CU2, due around July according to the Exchange 2013 Servicing model.



Until CU2 is released, there are a couple of workarounds:

  1. Perform redirection on the load balancer, if available (i.e., redirect all webmail.contoso.com URLs to https://webmail.contoso.com/owa).  This will cause CAS 2013 to redirect the latter URL to CAS 2010 properly.
  2. Disable the new native redirection module and then use old-school redirection, as follows:

  • Open the %systemdrive%\inetpub\wwwroot\web.config file in Notepad and disable the native redirection module by remarking the <modules> section.
Change this section:

<system.webServer>
<modules>
<add name=”OwaUrlModule” type=”Microsoft.Exchange.HttpProxy.OwaUrlModule,Microsoft.Exchange.OwaUrlModule,Version=15.0.0.0,Culture=neutral,PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35″ preCondition=”” />
</modules>
</system.webServer>

to this:

<system.webServer>
<!– <modules>
<add name=”OwaUrlModule” type=”Microsoft.Exchange.HttpProxy.OwaUrlModule,Microsoft.Exchange.OwaUrlModule,Version=15.0.0.0,Culture=neutral,PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35″ preCondition=”” />
</modules> –>
</system.webServer>

  • Save the web.config file.
  • Create a new default.htm file in %systemdrive%\inetpub\wwwroot that contains the following:

<html><meta http-equiv=”REFRESH” content=”0;url=/owa”></HEAD></html>

  • Create a new custom error for HTTP to HTTPS redirection.  Select the Default Web Site in IIS Manager, double-click Error Pages, then click the Add button.
  • Enter 403.4 for the Status Code and select Respond with a 302 redirect.  The enter the Absolute URL as https://webmail.domain.com/owa, using your own OWA FQDN as shown above.
  • Finally, reset IIS using the command IISRESET /NOFORCE /TIMEOUT:120
  • Rinse and repeat for all CAS 2013 CU1 servers.


Tips for Families at TechEd 2013 in New Orleans




Are you bringing your family with you to TechEd in New Orleans this year?  My wife, Amy, has some tips for you!



We went to NOLA two years ago for Thanksgiving. We had a great time and I’m sorry to be missing it this year, but the kids are older and school is not out at TechEd time. However, I thought I would offer some advice for families like I’ve done in the past for TechEd Orlando.

First, you must have beignets every morning for breakfast. I believe it is a law within city limits. :) Café Du Monde is, of course, famous for their beignets and chicory coffee and definitely worth the visit.  It’s right off Jackson Square where the horse carriages gather. But there is another one, Café Beignet, on Royal St and Bienville.  It is smaller, less crowded, and arguably has better beignets.

Second, if you have kids under the age of 15, have them off Bourbon Street/area by 7pm. It’s not dangerous at all, it just gets loud and the language gets rougher when the younger crowd who started at noon come out for fresh air.

Third, go all the way down to the end of Decatur St. to the French Market Place. It’s an open air market with stalls selling all the touristy things you’ll see in the shops, but much cheaper. Things like masks, boas, beads, and more.

Places to go:
  • The Audubon Zoo was very cool. Not big or anything, just a lovely piece of land out in the garden district easily accessed from most downtown hotels by trolley.
  • At Mardi Gras World you can take a tour and see how the famous floats are made.
  • Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar is the oldest surviving building in New Orleans and dates back to the early 1700’s. It has survived numerous floods and fires. It has no internal electricity because as a historical landmark, the structure of the building must be maintained. They cannot drill and run electricity into the building so it is essentially run off extension cords. Most of the “ghost tours” start from there which are fun.
  • The WWII museum is amazing and you can easily spend the whole day there. It’s also less than a block from the Confederate Museum. Both are a “don’t miss”.
  • Take the Saint Charles Trolley and walk around the garden district to check out the beautiful houses. While you’re there, maybe visit Lafayette Cemetery #1.
  • Ride the horse carriages around the French Quarter.
  • Check out Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub (the oldest operating jazz club in NOLA). It’s on Bourbon street and great fun.
Remember to always bring water and sunscreen with you wherever you go.  It’s going to be warm this time of year.  Have fun!!!




Announcing the Sixth Annual UC Roundtable at TechEd 2013!




I’m pleased to announce the Sixth Annual UC Roundtable at Microsoft TechEd North America 2013 in New Orleans, LA!





The purpose of the UC Roundtable is to gather Exchange and Lync MCMs, MVPs, Exchange product group members, admins, architects, and experts for a free-flowing discussion about issues, questions, and experiences related to Exchange and Lync Server.  If you work with Exchange or Lync you need to be here!



This will be an after hours event within walking distance of the TechEd hotels.  Location details and dates are in the works.



Please RSVP to jeff@expta.com for event details and location.  Spread the word and I hope you can make it!