Importance of good backups

January 26, 2008 at 11:04 AM2102

Almost every time I'm discussing with someone (individuals, students,...) about importance of good backups, disaster recovery procedures and of course tested procedures for disaster recovery (make sure that you actually test your backups, disaster recovery procedures on regular basis) I ask a question: "If your location goes down because of natural disaster, fire,..., are you able to rebuild your whole location or infrastructure (in the case of single location) from offsite backups?"

Answers are:

  • Eventually, I guess
  • We don't have offsite backups
  • Probably, we have disaster recovery procedure but we never tested it
  • In some rare cases I actually hear that there are good disaster recovery procedures in place which is actually tested! (offsite backups, procedures for restoring every server, testing DR procedure on regular basis)

I'm really worried about that just to many people don't take backups seriously enough until it's to late. In most cases disaster recovery goes like Dilbert's one.


As a regular reader of Internet Storm Center I came across a must read link The Tao Of Backup! :)

Posted in: Disaster Recovery


Exchange 2007 SP1 Install Error on Windows Server 2008 RC1

January 20, 2008 at 12:20 PM2102

This is one "simple" error I come across when installing on Windows Server 2008 RC1.

Process MSEXCHANGEADTOPOLOGYSERVICE.EXE (PID=1976). Topology discovery failed, error 0x80040a02 (DSC_E_NO_SUITABLE_CDC). Look up the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) error code specified in the event description. To do this, use Microsoft Knowledge Base article 218185, "Microsoft LDAP Error Codes." Use the information in that article to learn more about the cause and resolution to this error. Use the Ping or PathPing command-line tools to test network connectivity to local domain controllers.


In my case solution was really simple. Between the tests I disabled IPv6 support on network card. I enable it back, re-run setup and everything was fine...

Upgrading Exchange 2007 to SP1 (Part 2)

January 4, 2008 at 2:03 PM2102

This is second part of upgrading procedure for Exchange Server 2007 SP1. In first part we looked into necessary steps for getting Windows ready, preparing Active Directory and upgrading Client Access Server (CAS) role  to Exchange Server 2007 SP1.

In this part we will look into upgrading HUB Transport Server role to SP1. Procedure is almost identical than in first part (upgrading CAS to SP1) but purpose of this part is looking into Unattended Setup.

Prior installing SP1 read carefully section with prerequisites (install necessary components and updates on Windows Server, upgrade antivirus software for Exchange Server) from my previous post Upgrading Exchange 2007 to SP1 (Part 1)!

Installing Service Pack 1 in Unattended Mode

It's time for Service Pack installation. ;-)

Run following command from location with extracted Exchange Server 2007 SP1 files:

setup /mode:upgrade

Procedure is the same as in graphical mode. First step is is Prerequisite check.


Note that I cheated just a little bit. ;-) I had other roles on this server, not just HUB role. When running setup /mode:upgrade you receive the list of roles that will be upgraded. You can use this steps (and steps for preparing Active Directory) for upgrading single server installation.

If no critical errors were found setup continue with Configuring steps (Preparing Setup, Removing Exchange Files, Preparing Files,...). In Unattended Mode you also have a progress bar just like in graphical mode.


And a final screen after successful Service Pack 1 installation.


Check Event Viewer and Exchange functionality to verify that everything is working as expected.

In following articles we will dive into cluster (Single Copy Cluster - SCC, Cluster Continuous Replication - CCR) upgrading and some new high availability features in SP1.


Posted in: Exchange | Microsoft


Planning, Deploying, and Managing Unified Messaging with Exchange Server 2007

December 28, 2007 at 10:53 AM2102

The purpose of this document is to help you plan, deploy, and manage Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging servers. The information and procedures in this document focus specifically on the Unified Messaging features of an Exchange 2007 computer that has the Unified Messaging server role installed. This document provides information about Unified Messaging features and the tasks you must perform to plan, deploy, manage, and configure them.

This document is a compilation of the Unified Messaging white papers that are available in the Exchange Server Technical Articles section of the Exchange Server 2007 Library. Each white paper is a compilation of Unified Messaging Help topics. This document is provided as a convenience for customers who want to view the topics in print format. The content in this document applies to the original release (RTM) version of Exchange Server 2007. To read the most up-to-date Unified Messaging topics, including information about Exchange 2007 Service Pack 1, visit the Exchange Server 2007 Library.

Download: Planning, Deploying, and Managing Unified Messaging with Exchange Server 2007

Windows Mobile 7 and 8

December 26, 2007 at 12:22 PM2102

We just got the scoop from Microsoft on Windows Mobile 7 and Windows Mobile 8, the two upcoming platforms that will fix what is undeniably broken about the Windows Mobile platform to date.

Continue this aticle on

Posted in: Microsoft | Windows Mobile


Some new Exchange 2007 whitepapers

December 26, 2007 at 12:18 PM2102

Exchange Server 2007 Design and Architecture at Microsoft

How the Microsoft Information Technology organization designed the corporate Exchange Server 2007 environment

Microsoft Information Technology (Microsoft IT) maintains a complex Microsoft® Exchange Server environment consisting of several geographic locations and multiple Active Directory® forests. There are 16 data centers, four of which host Exchange Mailbox servers, to support more than 515 office locations in 102 countries with 121,000 users, including managers, employees, contractors, business partners, and vendors. Site and server consolidation conducted with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and new deployment features available in Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 in combination with proven planning, design, and deployment methodologies enabled Microsoft IT to transition this environment to Exchange Server 2007 in less than eight months. Microsoft IT decommissioned the last Mailbox servers running Exchange Server 2003 in the corporate Active Directory forest shortly after Microsoft released the new Exchange Server release to manufacturing (RTM) version on December 7, 2006.

This technical white paper discusses the Exchange Server 2007 architectures, designs, and technologies that Microsoft IT chose for the corporate environment and the strategies, procedures, successes, and practical experiences that Microsoft IT gained during the planning and design phase. In addition to common planning and design tasks typical for many Exchange Server deployment projects, such as server design, high-availability implementation, and capacity planning, transitioning a complex messaging environment to run on Exchange Server 2007 also entails specific planning considerations regarding directory integration, routing topology, Internet connectivity, client access technologies, and unified messaging (UM).

Download: Technical White Paper | PowerPoint Presentation


Operating a Global Messaging Environment by Using Exchange Server 2007

This white paper is for business decision makers, technical decision makers, and operations managers. It assumes that the reader has a working knowledge of Microsoft Windows Server® 2003, Active Directory, Exchange Server 2007, and Microsoft Operations Manager. Because many of the principles and procedures discussed in this paper are based on standard operations methodologies, a high-level understanding of the MOF, MSF, and ITIL models is also helpful.

Download: Technical White Paper | PowerPoint Presentation


Exchange Server 2007 Deployment Checklists

This technical white paper discusses the deployment checklists that the Exchange Messaging team created based on the Exchange Server 2007 architecture and design specifications for the corporate production environment.

The first two sections briefly reiterate the reasons why the Exchange Messaging team uses checklists, and the sections explain the Microsoft IT server life-cycle management process. These sections also discuss the usefulness of checklists from a decision maker's point of view and highlight the responsibilities of the Exchange Messaging team within the overall Microsoft IT organization.

The third section, "Pre-Installation Deployment Checklists," covers the tasks the Exchange Messaging team performs to prepare servers for later installation of a specific server role. In some cases, a server role requires additional configuration. These tasks are role-specific and are listed in checklist form.

The next sections provide detailed discussions of the various checklists that the Exchange Messaging team created for the individual server roles.

This technical white paper also includes an appendix titled "Deployment Worksheets," which contains a set of worksheet templates that are derived from the Exchange Messaging team checklists. These worksheet templates can serve as a starting point to create custom checklists based on the specific needs of an IT organization.

Download: Technical White Paper

Posted in: Exchange | Microsoft


Windows Essential Business Server

November 26, 2007 at 5:57 PM2102

Microsoft announced Windows Essential Business Server (previously code-named "Centro"), a new integrated multiserver solution designed for midsize businesses with sophisticated IT needs which offers integrated security, simple administration with unified management console and just like in Small Business edition integrated multiple products which are normally cheaper than if you buy separate licenses.

In Standard Edition you will get:

  • Windows Server 2008 with Active Directory Domain Services
  • Microsoft System Center Essentials
  • Microsoft Exchange Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server
  • Next version of Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server (ISA Server)

In Premium Edition you will also get Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition.

If I`m honest I never liked idea of Small Business Server. Why? On one side you have best practices which says that you should not put for example Domain Controller and Exchange Server on one box. On the other side you have product which have everything together. On one or on two servers. So I have the same opinion about Windows Essential Business Server. I sure hope that you will be able to install it to separate servers.

But it also has good side. It cost less than separate products so it`s great for small companies with low budget for IT.

Source: Windows Essential Business Server Overview (A New Server Solution for Midsize Businesses)

Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile (2007 Release)

October 18, 2007 at 3:39 PM2102

Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile is a unified communications client for Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007. Communicator Mobile runs on Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 or 6.0 software for Pocket PC and smartphone devices.

Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile (2007 Release) extends the reach of Office Communications Server 2007 to information workers who use Windows Mobile powered devices. Communicator Mobile provides presence and communication features that are similar to the desktop version of Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 when users are away from their desks.

Source: Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile (2007 Release)

Posted in: Microsoft | Unified Communications


Office Communications Server 2007 Best Practices Analyzer

October 18, 2007 at 3:37 PM2102

The Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Best Practices Analyzer is designed for administrators who want to determine the overall health of their Office Communications Server 2007 servers and topology.

The Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Best Practices Analyzer Tool is a diagnostic tool that gathers configuration information from a Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 environment and determines whether the configuration is set according to Microsoft best practices. You can install the tool on a client computer that runs Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0, or on a server that runs Office Communications Server 2007.

Note: Although you can install the Office Communications Server 2007 Best Practices Analyzer directly on the computer that runs Office Communications Server 2007 Server, we recommend that you install and run this tool on a client computer.

The tool uses set of configuration files to gather information from the Office Communications Server 2007 environment. It compares this data against a set of pre-defined rules for Office Communications Server 2007, and reports potential issues. For every issue reported, the tool provides the current configuration in the Office Communications Server 2007 environment, and the recommended configuration.
With the proper network access, the tool can examine your Active Directory and Office Communications Server 2007 servers to do the following:

  • Proactively perform health checks, verifying that the configuration is set according to recommended best practices
  • Generate a list of issues, such as suboptimal configuration settings or unsupported or not recommended options
  • Judge the general health of a system
  • Help troubleshoot specific problems
  • Prompt you to download updates if they are available
  • Provide online and local documentation about reported issues, including troubleshooting tips
  • Generate configuration information that can be captured for later review

Source: Office Communications Server 2007 Best Practices Analyzer

Posted in: Microsoft | Unified Communications


Office Communications Server and Client Documentation Rollup

October 18, 2007 at 3:16 PM2102

This documentation package contains all Office Communications Server 2007, Office Communicator 2007 and Live Meeting 2007 client for Office Communications Server documentation.


Source: Office Communications Server and Client Documentation Rollup

Posted in: Microsoft | Unified Communications