Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition, December 20, 2002

Exchange and Outlook UPDATE, Outlook Edition—brought to you by Exchange & Outlook Administrator, a print newsletter from Windows & .NET Magazine that contains practical advice, how-to articles, tips, and techniques to help you do your job today.
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December 20, 2002—In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY

  • The Little Things Mean a Lot

2. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Planning on Getting Certified? Make Sure to Pick Up Our New eBook!
  • New! News, Tips, and More to Keep Your Network Humming

3. RESOURCES

  • XADM: White Paper - In-Place Upgrade from Microsoft Exchange 5.5 to Microsoft Exchange 2000
  • Featured Thread: Exchange Performance Monitor Values

4. NEW AND IMPROVED

  • Programming Outlook
  • Submit Top Product Ideas

5. CONTACT US

See this section for a list of ways to contact us.


1. COMMENTARY
(contributed by Paul Robichaux, News Editor, [email protected])

  • THE LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT

  • "For want of a nail" is the beginning line of a well-known children's poem (sometimes attributed to Benjamin Franklin) that explores the consequences of a small failure—neglecting to carry a spare horseshoe nail, which eventually leads to the downfall of a kingdom. Overlooking little things can also make the life of an Exchange administrator difficult.

    Consider something so basic that you've probably never given it a second thought: the mass of cables and wires attached to your servers. Do you know what all those cables and wires do? Do you have spares on hand? Does everyone who might need to work on the server know which connections go where and what each connection is for? A friend of mine recently spent an entire Saturday trying to figure out why his Exchange services wouldn't fail over from one cluster node to another after routine hardware maintenance. The culprit turned out to be an improperly reconnected Storage Area Network (SAN) cable that kept the second node from reserving the cluster's disks. If he'd only double-checked the cable connections before doing anything else, he might have had a more enjoyable weekend.

    What about passwords? I'm not talking about your account passwords—no doubt you know those (and you'd better not have them written on a sticky note stuck to the side of your monitor, either!). Think about the other passwords: for your routers, switches, SAN equipment, and so on. Chances are excellent that you haven't thought about those passwords in a while, which greatly increases the odds that you won't be able to remember them when you need them. Take a moment to list all the password-protected devices you have, record the passwords, then store the password list in a secure place. DON'T use the same passwords for all devices, and don't use your Windows account password for any other device.

    Do you have manuals for all your hardware? Heaven knows, I don't. That's OK, as long as your hardware vendor makes documentation available online. But you might want to take time now to make sure that documentation for your prized 1993-vintage DHCP server, for example, is still available somewhere. Just in case, you understand.

    If you have service contracts, do you keep a copy of all the relevant paperwork in your machine room? If you do, you don't have to waste time hunting for the documents—especially if you're at a remote site—when you call the vendor for support. For critical pieces of hardware, keeping a list of service ID numbers and contact information on your handheld is a good idea.

    Product license keys round out my list of small-but-critical things you need to be able to find in a hurry. These obnoxious critters can spell the difference between a successful installation or recovery and a frenzied hunt for an orange sticker with an optical character recognition (OCR)-printed string of gibberish. For products that have license keys, I use a Sharpie pen to write the key on the product (e.g., on the CD-ROM). Then, as long as I don't lose the CD-ROM itself (hey, another thing to keep track of!), I'm in good shape.

    If my wife were writing this, she would digress into a lengthy set of instructions for keeping your office or server room so neat that you could always find what you're looking for and you wouldn't need to remember all this stuff. I'd write more, but I think she's calling me to go clean out the garage.


    2. ANNOUNCEMENTS
    (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

  • Planning on Getting Certified? Make Sure to Pick Up Our New eBook!

  • "The Insider's Guide to IT Certification" eBook is hot off the presses and contains everything you need to know to help you save time and money while preparing for certification exams from Microsoft, Cisco Systems, and CompTIA and have a successful career in IT. Get your copy of the Insider's Guide today!

  • New! News, Tips, and More to Keep Your Network Humming

  • Networking UPDATE brings you the how-to tips and news you need to implement and maintain a rock-solid networking infrastructure. We'll explore interoperability solutions, hardware (including servers, routers, and switches), network architecture, network management, network security, installation technology, network training, and WAN disaster recovery. Subscribe (at no cost!).

    3. RESOURCES

  • XADM: WHITE PAPER - IN-PLACE UPGRADE FROM MICROSOFT EXCHANGE 5.5 TO MICROSOFT EXCHANGE 2000

  • Each week, Microsoft posts several Exchange Server how-to articles to its Knowledge Base. This week, learn how to do an in-place upgrade to Exchange 2000 Server in a single-server, single-site environment.
    http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=326234

  • FEATURED THREAD: EXCHANGE PERFORMANCE MONITOR VALUES

  • A forum member uses the Exchange performance monitors to monitor Exchange Server 5.5 resources, but the resulting metrics don't contain any units of measure. For example, the "average local delivery time" value might be 200, but the unit of time isn't indicated. The forum member knows the number doesn't represent seconds, but what does it represent? If you know or can suggest a way to find out, go to the following URL:
    http://www.winnetmag.com/forums/rd.cfm?cid=40&tid=51542

    4. NEW AND IMPROVED
    (contributed by Carolyn Mader, [email protected])

  • PROGRAMMING OUTLOOK

  • Butterworth-Heinemann released Sue Mosher's "Microsoft Outlook Programming," a book that explains how to program Outlook. The book also covers new Outlook 2002 features, including Outlook View Control and Search. Topics include Outlook VBA Design, Adding VBA Code, Special Outlook Techniques, and Outlook Form Design. The 619-page book costs $44.99. Contact Butterworth-Heinemann at 800-545-2522 or [email protected].
    http://www.bhusa.com

  • SUBMIT TOP PRODUCT IDEAS

  • Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected].

    5. CONTACT US
    Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

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