Monthly Archives: January 2012

Final thoughts, and a wrench in the plan for integration

Office 365: Small Business Server 2011 Essentials Integration:

Final thoughts, and a wrench in the plan for integration

Integrating Office 365 and Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials user accounts is an interesting idea and one that allows Microsoft’s latest SMB entry to compete on a more even footing with the traditional SBS offering. That said, I’m not sure what the potential audience size is here. While Office 365 is doing quite well, SBSE–like WHS 2011–seems mired in disinterest, with very few server maker offerings (SBSE is typically sold with new hardware) and little in the way of buzz.

That’s too bad, but then both of these products also suffer from the same basic problem: Configuring them is far too complicated for the intended small business audience. I wrote about the difficulty of just configuring Office 365 for a custom domain for email previously, but the truth is, I glossed over how difficult the similar custom domain configuration for SBSE remote access can be in my note above. Asking a typical SMB worker to undergo either of these tasks could be frustrating and ultimately futile.

My advice here is simple: Both Office 365 and Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials offer excellent functionality for small businesses, and integrating them in a “better together” fashion makes even more sense, but only assuming that you can get someone else to do it. This is an excellent opportunity for Microsoft’s partner ecosystem to step in and fill the gap. It’s a role these companies already play. I’m guessing most small businesses just don’t know about that option.

Dear Paul:

Here’s why SMB partners are not stepping up to the plate.

1.  The issue of who controls the client.  Office 365 does not allow the Partner to be in control of the Office 365 billing arrangement.  Clients sign up with Microsoft, Microsoft bills the client, Microsoft pays the partner a low partner fee.  The partner channel right now is seeing Microsoft as a competitor, not as a partner.  They see Microsoft as wanting to steal the clients or move them up the food chain to a Gold or Silver partner.

2.  The issue of the size of the client.  SBS Essentials max’s out at 25 years.  You yourself ragged on Microsoft regarding this upper limit for which there is no solid migration path.  Most SMB partners thusly see Essentials as for really small clients, under 10.  And then in the MSP channel they are not sure that an under 10 user client is worth their time and values a MSP.

The partner ecosystem knows about Office 365.  The partner ecosystem is not too thrilled about Office 365.

What SBS Essentials needs is OTHER hosted email vendors to plug into it.  Other vendors that are seen as Partner channel friendly.  So far there’s only been ONE vendor ( ) that has built a plug in (as far as I’m aware).  Intermedia doesn’t.  Others don’t.

SBS Essentials needs more of an ecosystem is the real problem.

For another write up on the Office 365 plug in — check out

Activesync – it should just work

On a SBS box activesync should -just-work-.

In case it doesn’t – check this out

A script to troubleshoot issues with Exchange ActiveSync – Exchange Team Blog – Site Home – TechNet Blogs:

SQL Azure and Query plans / Performance

I showed you a while ago the improved SQL Azure management portal. After having nothing in 2008, Project Houston was a great step towards a Cloud only management portal. But December 2011 they renewed the complete SQL Azure management portal. Besides a more Metro look-and-feel they added also some extreme helpful tools and utilities.


When clicking on Administration in the lower left corner, you get an overview of your Database health etc. Information about the utilization of your database, connections and users. In this case the database was fairly new and unused, so the query usage is empty.


On a database with more activities this part of the portal looks like this. Yes, my SQL Azure database are not very busy Winking smile.


As you click on the Query Performance link, you get detailed information about the queries on your database and their performance. This gives you a first impression about the overall performance of your SQL Azure instance.


Imagine you have a problem with a certain query. I am talking about the performance of course Winking smile. To get a good view of the query you need a Query plan. Previous your only tool was SQL Server Management Studio and a few SQL Azure Management views.


Ok, this was good. But the downside of this approach was, there was some latency between your client and the SQL Azure instance etc. So it wasn’t perfect.

Now with the new portal there support for query plans in the Cloud Winking smile. Via the portal you can create a new query and this query of course can be executed. But now there a two more options. So there is RUN, Actual Plan and Estimate plan.


With RUN you get the result of your query. Simple as you are used to with the Project Houston site.


But when choosing for Actual Plan, you get an extra tab: Query Plan.


On this tab you get a graphical representation of the query plan. And due to the cool Silverlight 5 environment it looks nicer then the ‘old’ SQL Server Management Studio. There are three options: Total, CPU and IO.




Besides that you can also choose for more details by selecting a Grid or tree representation.



More detail can also be in the imaged version of the query plan, if you play with the zoom level.


So how cool is that! There is almost no need for a Client tool like SQL Server Management Studio. Almost everything can be done in the cloud.

Microsoft Exchange PST Capture

Now it is available. Discover PST files on your network and import it automatically into users mailboxes On-Premise or Exchange Online.

Download here, and be able to stay compliant and follow your achiving and retention rules.


Facebook – Avoid Fake Profile reporting applications

The Facecrooks security sites warns users to avoid installing apps that report to watch user profile information (as they currently do not exist)

QUOTE:  Clicking “Allow” will give the scammer access to your Facebook data at any time and the application will be able to post to Facebook as you. This will allow them to spam their scam messages to all of your friends. This particular application is called “Pr0file Watcher”, but scams like this are known to use multiple Facebook apps. Anytime you install a third party Facebook application, you give the application developer access to your personal data. Always be very selective on the apps you install, and only install them from well-known, trusted sources.

FaceBook – Use caution in installing applications

QUOTE: We often have readers ask us questions about specific Facebook applications. Some apps generate an enormous amount of spam and can annoy your Facebook friends. Others are outright scams and should be avoided entirely. For example, any application offering to show you who has viewed your profile, who your Facebook stalkers are etc., are guaranteed to be fraudulent. Facebook doesn’t allow developers access to the data required to create apps like this.

Android.Counterclank – Update from Symantec

QUOTE: Last week, we posted a blog informing Android users of the discovery of new versions of Android.Tonclank, which we have named Android.Counterclank. The blog generated a bit of discussion over whether these new versions should be a concern to Android users. When classifying applications, our focus is on whether users want to be informed of the application’s behavior, allowing them to make a more informed choice regarding whether to install it.

Android.Counterclank – SYmantec Malware description

Zscaler – Analyzes URL safety

Zscaler analyzes the safety associated with website links as noted below:

PC Magazine: Zscaler – Analyzes URL safety

Zscaler – Analyzes URL safety (Home Page)

QUOTE: Security experts constantly warn you to avoid clicking links in tweets, emails, Facebook posts, and so on. Even if the sender is a friend, the link might have been added by a virus. So does that mean you can never check out the latest viral video? Sure, you can do that. Just check the URL with ZScaler’s free Zulu URL Risk Analyzer first.

Coming soon Win8 beta

Looking ahead to Windows 8: five big questions for Microsoft | ZDNet:
“I suspect there’s a hard core of Windows fundamentalists who will never accept Metro style, or will resist it for some period of time. They’ll just have to deal with it, because I’m told the final release will not include a “classic” option with the Windows 7-style Start menu and search behavior.”

Given that I still have a person in the office that uses the Classic menu option in Office 2010 I’m wincing a bit at this.  Heck I’m having issues finding my way around Windows server 8′s new server manager, so I can only imagine what my users will be threatening me with if what I’m seeing in the Windows 8 developer preview ends up in the final version and the metro start menu is the only menu system.

If you want to check out Windows 8 – especially the upcoming consumer beta at the end of Feb and don’t have a hyperV handy, use Oracle’s virtualbox that runs it nicely.

Fasten your seatbelt.  Lots of change ahead.

SuperBowl – Six ways to avoid online scams

This PC Magazine article share good protective approaches:

SuperBowl – Six ways to avoid online scams

QUOTE: Six methods of protection include:

1. Buy tickets from legitimate or licensed resellers 2. DON’T leave sight of the site 3. Pay using encryption (SSL) 4. Scrutinize your ticket 5. DON’T share personal information 6. 6. DON’T fall for online scams

For more, see 11 Tips for Safe Online Shopping

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