What a week! It was a very busy week for me in Orlando. I delivered two sessions: Exchange Server 2007 SP1 Tips & Tricks, and Advanced Troubleshooting Strategies for Exchange Server 2007. Both sessions went really well, and based on the scores and attendee comments, it looks like almost everyone was very satisified. Some folks did leave very bad scores because they were turned away due to the rooms being full. Unfortunately, we are at the mercy of the local fire marshall, such that when a room reaches capacity, we simply cannot let any more people in. If you were one of the folks who could not attend the session because the room was full, please let me know. If we have enough folks who could not get in, I'll see if I can arrange a Live Meeting Webcast repeat of the sessions so that you can still get the content.
In my previous blog post on TechEd, I mentioned I would be making a major product announcement at the end of my Tips & Tricks session. For those of you who could not attend, I announced that Microsoft will be providing a VSS-based plug-in for Windows Server Backup in Windows Server 2008 that will enable customers to take Exchange-aware, VSS backups on Windows Server 2008. I don't have a lot of details to share beyond this. For those of you who might not know what the issue is, please see http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2008/03/05/448338.aspx. In short, NT Backup was replaced with Windows Server Backup (WSB) which unlike NTbackup, did not support ESE streaming backups of exchange. While WSB supports backup/recovery of any application including 3rd party apps using VSS and a plug-in model, for reasons outside the control of the Windows or the Exchange team, the out-of-box-experience of Windows Server 2008 did not include the support for backing up and recovering Exchange. Both the Windows and the Exchange team heard a lot of feedback and criticism over a decision that neither team was responsible for. As a result of the large amount of feedback we received on this issue, we have decided to ship a plug-in for WSB created by Windows and the Small Business Server (SBS) team that enables VSS-based backups of Exchange. I would like to also publicly acknowledge the tireless and wonderful efforts of Nino Bilic, who, among several others, was responsible for driving the efforts on the Exchange team to find a solution to this issue for our customers. Nino, who constantly does amazing work for our customers, did some extra-amazing work here, and we all thank him very much for his efforts. I would also like to thank the Windows, and SBS teams for all of their dedicated hard work on the plug-in, as well as their tireless efforts to address customer requests and concerns.
I'd also like to thank Bharat Suneja, who worked with me on developing some very cool PowerShell scripts which parse the Agent logs on an Edge Transport or Hub Transport and do useful things with the data. I demonstrated these scripts in my Tips & Tricks session. Some examples of what you can do include taking malicious sender addresses and adding them to the blocked sender list. We also developed scripts that take offending IP addresses from the Agent logs and add them to the IP Block List. Finally, I demo'd our script which takes these same IP addresses and adds them to a DNS zone that is used to host an internal DNS block list. Bharat, who recently joined the Exchange UE team, will be posting these scripts on his blog soon.
Despite the thunderstorms and high humidity, TechEd IT Pro North America 2008 was a lot of fun and a great success.