March 2009 - Posts

Red Gate is a company based out of Cambridge in the UK. I ran into some of their team at TechEd last year. They are a great bunch of folks.

I've been doing tech. review for them on a number of articles since then, and I just had my first article published with them.

If you have a minute, take a look-see: Determining MS Exchange Disk Performance. It covers what's important to look at in measuring Exchange disk performance and some tools to use.

My next article with them will be Outlook/Exchange related, and then I hope to do an article on calculating the anticipated performance of a RAID subsystem. Neat techie stuff. :-)

Until next time...

As always, if there are items you would like me to talk about, please drop me a line and let me know!

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Last week I attended and spoke at "The Experts Conference" ( in Las Vegas. I spoke on using VSS with Exchange, and on designing highly available solutions and infrastructure.

This was the eighth year for this conference. In earlier years it was known as DEC (Directory Experts Conference), but over the last several years, as the organizers added more tracks, that has become less and less accurate. So they expanded the name. This year was the first year for an Exchange track.

Note: In prior years, this conference was hosted by NetPro. Last year, Quest acquired NetPro, so this conference is now hosted by Quest.

Can I hear a "wow"?! It was great. You should've been there.

TEC is famous for being in-depth. Instead of the 100-200 level presentations you get at most conferences, at TEC you get 300-400 level presentations. In-depth, technical, and very interesting...

Among Exchange MVPs, I and Ilse van Criekinge were speakers, with Lee Mackey also in attendance. But the real stars of the Exchange track were David Espinoza, Brett Shirley and Evan Dodds.

David is the man responsible at Microsoft for getting new releases of Exchange shipped. His title is "Senior Program Manager, Exchange Ship Team". Among other things, he runs the Exchange TAP. David gave a talk on the software development process for Exchange at Microsoft and answered many questions. He indicated that his talk had never been given outside of Microsoft before and I can believe it - it was very in-depth and instructive as to how "things get done" at Microsoft.

Brett Shirley calls himself "Borg #2 of 6". He is one of the six programmers of the ESE database engine. The second in seniority, which is where the #2 comes from. :-) Brett gave two deep-dive presentations. One was about the development of ESE over the last several years and the second about how ESE works. They were both pretty stellar.

Evan Dodds is "PowerShell Guy" for Exchange at Microsoft. He spoke on a panel.

Now, regardless of the presentations, the major cool factor was being able to hang with these guys and talk with them and discuss items. Hearing the inside story. Finally being able to understand why "this" happened instead of "that". That is - the truth before it got scrubbed by marketing!

And I did go to two Active Directory presentations. The Microsoft attendance on that side of the fence was just as stellar, with Nathan Muggli, Stuart Kwan, and Mark Wahl from Microsoft present. There were also many well-known Directory Services MVPs. Somewhat surprisingly, Dmitri Gavrilov, who is now on the Exchange Team, presented sessions on the Directory Services track instead of the Exchange Track.

I recommend that you put this very technical conference on your short list in years to come - if you are a technical guy or gal. Much more of a techie conference than a management conference, you get some very guru-like folks here.

Until next time...

As always, if there are items you would like me to talk about, please drop me a line and let me know!

Just a few days ago, my new book (of the subject title!) started shipping from Amazon. If it hasn't already, it should start appearing in your local bookstores this week.

If you want to order from Amazon, you can get it here.

Eight months in the making, this book was a labor of love. Including information on installing and configuring OpsMgr 2007, it also includes much information about operating a reliable Exchange environment. Even if you don't have OpsMgr in your organization, you can learn from this book the key areas of Exchange that need monitoring and how to do so.

A strong PowerShell component is provided in several chapters to assist you in the generation of synthetic transactions for testing your Exchange environment.

While the book is written toward a key audience of Exchange Server 2007 administrators, much material is also provided for the Exchange Server 2003 administrator. The book uses a virtualized environment to describe a test roll-out of an OpsMgr 2007 and Exchange 2003/2007 mixed environment.

Since Exchange Server depends on the health of Windows Server, Active Directory, DNS, and IIS; tracking the health and well-being of these key services is also covered.

Go buy it. You'll like it. :-)

 The chapter titles are:

  1. An Evolution of Server Management
  2. Monitoring Exchange Server 2007
  3. Installing and Configuring OpsMgr 2007
  4. Deplying OpsMgr 2007
  5. The First Management Pack: WIndows Server
  6. The Active Directory Management Pack
  7. The Domain Name System (DNS) Management Pack
  8. The Internet Information Services Management Pack
  9. SQL Server: An Ancillary Management Pack
  10. Exchange Server 2003
  11. Exchange Server 2007
  12. Exchange Server 2007 Redundancy
  13. Exchange Server Operations
  14. Tracking Mail Flow

Until next time...

As always, if there are items you would like me to talk about, please drop me a line and let me know!