Exchange and Outlook Blog

Exchange Connections: Office 365, Message Tracking, and More On Display

The fall tech conference season is just about upon us, and it's not too early to make your plans for the shows you plan to attend. There's nothing like getting away from the server room for a little interaction with your peers and exposure to the latest trends and technology. I've got a small teaser for thefall Microsoft Exchange Connections conference that will take place in Las Vegas, October 31 through November 3—along with a special offer for my readers. First, the special offer: Use the discount code UPDATE when you register for a $50 savings. If you register before September 1, you'll also receive the "early bird" discount for a total of $250 off. Now the teaser: I've got a preview of a couple of the Exchange Server–related sessions that will be offered at the conference.

Exchange Connections Office 365I had an email conversation with messaging and collaborations expert Siegfried Jagott, who will be presenting a couple of sessions at Connections. Jagott is a Microsoft topic manager and principal consultant at Siemens in Germany. He's been working with large implementations of Exchange since the beta release of Exchange Server 2010. He's written for Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) courses #10135 and #10165, as well as co-authored various other Windows and Exchange books. Recently, he's been working as part of the Office 365 planning and testing team for Siemens. Here's what he had to say about the sessions he'll present at Exchange Connections.

BKW: With Exchange 2010 now having been available for about 2 years, what do you see as the current major trends or themes related to implementing this version, and how have these ideas influenced the topics you'll be talking about at Connections?

SJ: The major interest is currently about messaging in the cloud, also called Office 365. I have a session on this, and will share my experiences in this area—especially for companies with 10,000 or more seats, such as Siemens, which has approximately 350,000 seats nowadays. Besides the cloud, I think many companies are in a position where they need to retire their Exchange 2003 environment and thus need to consider Exchange 2010. The most-loved features of Exchange 2010 I've seen are DAGs [database availability groups] and the possibility of getting rid of traditional backup, which are covered by other speakers at the conference.

BKW: In your opinion, what situations or what type of organizations are best suited to making the move to the cloud? And, considering the well-publicized outage of Office 365 in the US last week, what advice do you have for customers to prepare for such potential outages if they decide to make the move?

SJ: Good question, especially as I've had a lot of discussions in this area lately. Many European companies are considering moving their mailboxes to a cloud solution but are concerned about the security aspect. Currently, I see only SMBs moving to the cloud. Large companies will need a much longer timeframe to move their mailboxes to the cloud or will take a mixed approach where some mailboxes will be moved and others, such as important mailboxes from key persons, will stay on premises. I will talk in my session about what options are available and what experience we've had here at Siemens. I think co-existence is an important topic to any company that considers moving to Office 365 but cannot migrate all their mailboxes in a very short time, such as a weekend.

BKW: You're also doing a session about message tracking. In the session abstract, it says, "most people are just not practicing their skills in this important area of Exchange troubleshooting." Why do you think that is, and how will you address this problem?

SJ: I am working for many companies with very smart Exchange admins, but what I see is that the Hub Transport components are still not widely known. Message tracking is available and used, but only with the basics. When I wrote the chapter on Hub Transport for my Exchange 2010 book and the MOC 10135 as well as 10165 courses, I figured out that it is much easier to understand tracking when you understand the components. Thus I enhanced the diagram I drew for the book with queues and component information. In my session, I will use this diagram to provide an easy and effective way to do message tracking and understand how to analyze message routing issues. You will see it is quite easy once you understand the interactions in depth.

BKW: You've spoken at conferences before, but not in the US. What are you most looking forward to in coming here from Germany for the show, and do you anticipate any particular challenges?

Yes, I've only spoken at conferences in Europe. I think this will be an interesting experience, and I am looking forward to it. My challenge will be to make sure everybody understands my statements as we use different phrases sometimes in Germany. Also in Europe, the challenges and issues we see with Exchange 2010 are sometimes different. But I believe I can provide two interesting sessions that will provide many insights into the topics of Office 365 and message tracking for the attendees.

I'm already looking forward to the conference and the chance to meet in person people like Sigi J.—not to mention the potential insanity of being in Las Vegas on Halloween. Don't forget to register soon, and use the UPDATE code for your special discount. You should also check out Tony Redmond's blog about Exchange Connections sessions and keynotes if you need some further reasons to attend.

Follow B. K. Winstead on Twitter at @bkwins
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