Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition--Things to Be Thankful For--November 30, 2006

-------| Exchange & Outlook UPDATE |-------

*Commentary: Things to Be Thankful For
*Exchanging Ideas: Which Antiphishing Solution Is Best?
*New and Improved: Individual Exchange Server Mailbox Backup



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***COMMENTARY: Things to Be Thankful For
by Paul Robichaux, Exchange Editor, [email protected]

Last week, most people in the United States celebrated Thanksgiving, a holiday with the ostensible purpose of giving us a time to reflect on all the things we're thankful for. I always enjoy asking my kids what they're thankful for, because the answers tend to swing wildly from day to day. My oldest, for example, sometimes says he's thankful for our family but at other times says he's thankful for video games. (Note to self: Move the Xbox 360 into my office immediately!)

Exchange administrators have lots of things to be thankful for, of course. Because there was no UPDATE published last week, I thought it would be fun to list a few things to be thankful for in this week's column. So, in no particular order, here they are:

  • I'm thankful for free troubleshooting tools. I'm thankful that Microsoft has invested in tools such as the Microsoft Exchange Best Practices Analyzer and the Microsoft Exchange Server User Monitor and made them available to users for free. I'm even more thankful that Exchange Server 2007 includes these tools' functions natively.
  • I'm thankful for spam-filtering solutions. For some of the testing we do at 3Sharp, we subscribe to a feed of pure spam gathered by a large number of honeypots. The average daily volume of messages to that feed from April through August was about 35,000 messages per day. In October and November, it's been about 120,000 messages per day. During recent months, you've probably noticed a bit of an upsurge in your own spam counts—now imagine what it would be like without filtering!
  • I'm thankful for Lotus Domino, Zimbra, Scalix, and other Exchange competitors. This might seem an odd thing to be thankful for. Over the years, though, I've learned that every product team at Microsoft thrives on competition. If you look at products where the market is stable and has a small number of competitors—such as, say, Microsoft Money or Microsoft Flight Simulator—you'll see a largely stagnant product cycle. In markets where there's strong competition—such as communications and collaboration services—the product teams get fired up and work hard to beat their competitors. That's good for all of us.
  • I'm thankful for the work that computer security researchers all over the world have done to identify, investigate, and fix security flaws in the systems we use every day. We still have a long way to go on the security front, but overall, things are significantly better than they were four or five years ago.
  • I'm thankful for the huge expansion in the availability of cheap, reliable mobile and remote access solutions. Tools such as Windows' built-in remote desktop protocol, RRAS, and (relatively) inexpensive cellular data connections have made it possible for many messaging administrators to work when and where they want and to fix things when necessary without a long commute to the office. (Of course, the flip side of these tools is that sometimes you might be tempted to work when you shouldn't, such as when you're on vacation!)

There are many other things to be thankful for, of course; I don't mean to suggest that work-related things are the only ones to consider during this holiday season. I'm definitely thankful to you, the reader, for subscribing to the UPDATE newsletter and for sharing your comments and feedback with me. I wish you a continued spirit of thanksgiving throughout the year to come.


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Focus: Which Antiphishing Solution Is Best?

Two reports, one commissioned by Microsoft and one commissioned by Mozilla, compare popular antiphishing tools and come to different conclusions.

Have a question? Got answers? Join your peers in the Exchange discussion forums:
Current Threads:
Help--Exchange Mail Migration Wizard
Exchange 2003 online defrag
Custom Form-- Trouble Updating a Form

The voting has ended in the Windows IT Pro Exchange & Outlook nonscientific Instant Poll for the question "Which topic will be most important to you in 2007?" Here are the results from the 32 votes:
- 16% Exchange security
- 16% Exchange migration
- 28% Exchange backup and recovery/disaster recovery
- 16% Mobile/remote client support
- 25% Exchange 2007

Tell us what you think in this month's Instant Poll:
"What tool do you currently use to assist in Exchange capacity planning?"
a. Microsoft System Center Capacity Planner
b. Another Microsoft tool (e.g., EPA, LoadSim)
c. Third-party product
d. None

~~~~ Hot Spot: ~~~~

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by Blake Eno, [email protected]

Individual Exchange Server Mailbox Backup
Cortex I.T. announced an Exchange Server Mailbox Add-on to its BackupAssist Backup Software, which allows for restoration of individual mailboxes and individual mail messages. Compared to traditional Exchange Server backup that requires you to restore the entire Information Store, BackupAssist extracts mail data to separate PST files, which lets you restore individual mailboxes and drag-and-drop individual emails, calendars, tasks, notes, and contacts from Outlook. Mail can be grouped by date and burned to DVD for offsite archiving. A free, 30-day trial of BackupAssist is available at Cortex I.T.'s Web site. For more information, contact Cortex I.T. at [email protected] or [email protected]

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These Windows-related events, papers, and resources will help you keep your knowledge and skills up to date and help you deploy, secure, and maintain the latest Exchange- and Windows-related technologies. For more Exchange related resources, visit

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