Question the PFE: January 2013 Edition

I did get a couple of questions from users this month which hopefully I can answer. Again please feel free to contact me through “Email Blog Author” with any Exchange\Lync questions you may have. I will post these questions at the end of every month.

Question 1:

What steps should I be taking to further my career working with Exchange? I am currently an Exchange Administrator but would like to take my career to the next level (Exchange Engineer).

PFE Answer 1:

Most of us go through this level sometime throughout our careers and hopefully I can give you some tips. As an Administrator most of your responsibilities live at the User\Server level. This can include things like creating mailboxes, tracking messages, Exchange server updates, scripting, etc… To get to the next level (Engineer) you really need to focus on troubleshooting and core infrastructure.

If you have Exchange engineers above you in your current job ask questions. It is important to build a network of people that you can bounce questions and ideas off. The key here is to ask intelligent questions. Don’t go the Engineer with questions that you could have easily went to Technet or Binged the answer. If you keep doing this they are eventually going to be reluctant to discuss technical issues with you. Along with this you really need to gain deep technical knowledge of your product and in this case Exchange. This means reading things like blogs, Exchange help file, TechNet articles, and any other training you can get your hands on. But I think the single most important step in expanding this knowledge beyond the book is to build a lab.

Usually this will include some type of workstation\server with a lot of memory and disk that you can virtualize. Once you have the hardware throw Hyper-V on there and build an Exchange environment. I don’t mean just 1 or 2 Exchange servers but build out a production environment that a normal mid-sized company might deploy. This should include things like DAGs and Multiple Sites with all the different roles deployed. This way you can get the full experience. After you have the infrastructure in place deploy Exchange technologies (archiving, database copies, delegation, etc..). Run through different scenarios and troubleshoot any problems you might run into. Don’t just use Bing as a first resort to troubleshooting really try to understand what is going on and where to look for different problems. Even if you have to eventually get the answer from the internet don’t just make the change and move on but again try to understand why this fixed the problem.  

Hopefully this helps and if you have any questions please feel free to ask. Also here are some links to help get started.



Question 2:

Can we migration from OCS 2k7R2\Lync 2010 to Lync 2013? If so what are the steps involved.

PFE Answer 2:

The simple answer is Lync 2013 doesn’t support tri-existence. You can migrate from OCS 2k7R2 to Lync 2013 OR Lync 2010 to Lync2013. If you already started to migration to Lync 2010 you need to complete this before you should introduce 2013 into your environment. Here is a link to the Technet documentation about supported migration scenarios (


Question 3:

Why did Microsoft consolidate the roles in Exchange 2013 down to the CAS and MBX?

PFE Answer 3:

This was largely based on hardware specs now compared to when Exchange 2k7 and 2k10 were released. It was found that with newer hardware platforms resources were being underutilized. With the role consolidation in Exchange 2013 we will be able to take full advantage of our resources.

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