Is Your Organization Prepared for the Wave?

The Office suite of products is one of, if not the most, widely used document creation and communication platforms on the desktop in the world. In fact, during the first year of availability, Office 2010 sold more than 100 million copies. Over 750 million users have a version of the Office suite in use on their desktop or laptop pc. As of June 2012, the internet usage statics site estimates that about 2.4 billion users are on the internet. With just over 7 billion people on our planet, that is about 34% of the humans on earth using the internet. If an estimated 750 million copies of Office are installed, that equates to about one third of the users on the internet. With that being said, think about how many copies of the Office suite are installed across the enterprise where Windows and Office have reigned supreme for so long!

With a new flood of social networking, cloud storage and the shift to BYOD, those 2.4 billion internet users are sharing information in ways that have never been done before. Things like SkyDrive, Dropbox and other cloud storage platforms make it very easy for consumers to save and share data in the cloud making it accessible to other users and various other personal devices very easily. Networking tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are making it easier for people to find and connect with one another easier and faster than ever.

So how does the enterprise IT departments bring these, what seem to be now expected, methods of communication and collaboration to the corporate environment? Enter Wave15 or what may be better known as the 2013 release of the Office suite of products including: Exchange 2013, SharePoint 2013, Lync 2013 and Office 2013. The latest release of the suite brings many new features that are available to the internet population into the enterprise in a secure, stable, scalable, compliant and integrated solution. Coupled with the already largely installed desktop suite of Office in the new 2013 version, Wave15 promises to change collaboration and bring together the seasoned corporate professional who may be familiar with a few, or all, of the products and the new workforce of users who expect that these forms of communication and collaboration are available to them. Below are just a few of the new features that are available in the next “Wave” of the Office suite which is available today.

  • Site Mailboxes
  • SkyDrive Pro
  • Follow Me, Blogging, Communities and Profile enhancements
  • Unified Search
  • Unified eDiscovery
  • Apps for Office 2013 – including and integrated into SharePoint and Exchange 2013
  • Public instant message connectivity
  • Web conferencing with full audio and video support
  • Persistent or “group chat”
  • Unified user experience across multiple device types and browser experiences

What are your thoughts? Experiences? Complaints? Gripes?

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Site Mailboxes in Exchange 2013 & SharePoint 2013 – Part 6

User Experience with Site Mailboxes in Exchange 2013 and SharePoint 2013

Part 1 started with installing the EWS API on the SharePoint 2013 WFE and Part 5 finished of the server side configuration with adding a site mailbox to a demo site in SharePoint 2013. In the final post, we’ll take a look at how two end user can leverage the features setup in the previous articles. For the sake of demonstration I have created two users that will be collaborating.

Amy Reynolds will be leveraging her Outlook client so we’ll start by launching Outlook 2013 which is a requirement for site mailboxes. On the Windows 8 device we’ll hit the Windows key to navigate to the start menu and select Outlook 2013 as shown below.


In Outlook 2013, you’ll notice that Amy has a new message from the Demo SharePoint site letting her know (and any other site members) that a new site mailbox has been created. You’ll also notice that in the navigation pane of outlook a new “mailbox” has been added with the name, “Demo”. The inbox contains 1 item and the documents folder contains 2 items.


Clicking on the “Documents” folder, we can see a list of documents that are a part of the document library setup on the demo site. We also can see that the demo.docx is currently checked out to Franklin. As you can see in this simple example, I can get real time information on the documents that he and I are collaborating on without leaving my Outlook client and launching another client.


I want to make some changes to the document so I’ll send an email out to the site mailbox letting Franklin know about my ideas and that I want to modify the document when he is finished with his edits. Still in the Outlook 2013 client, I’ll draft a new email as shown below.


Although I was directing my email to Franklin, he won’t see it in his primary mailbox, but will notice a new message has been posted to the Inbox of the “Demo” site mailbox in his Outlook 2013 client as shown below.


While this final post has only scratched the surface on the benefits of site mailboxes in Wave15, there are many benefits to this new feature for both end users and IT admins as it relates to collaboration, unified search, archiving, compliance, dlp, etc…

What are your thoughts? As I continue to dig into Wave15, I’ll be certainly revisiting this new feature as it has a lot promise in the enterprise.

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Site Mailboxes in Exchange 2013 & SharePoint 2013 – Part 5

Enabling Site Mailboxes App in SharePoint Site and Connecting to Outlook Profile

In the next post of the series, we’ll enable the site mailbox feature in a demo SharePoint site that two users are members of and are collaborating both via email and a document library in the demo site.

First a site collection administration will need to enable the site mailboxes app which is now available as shown below after select the settings cog in the top right corner of the site and selecting “Site Content


After navigating to the site contents section as a site collection administrator, click “Add an App


Select “Site Mailbox” highlighted in the image below.


After selection of the Site Mailbox sharepoint app, you’ll notice a new option in the left hierarchy labeled as “Mailbox


A redirect to will take place and prompt for authentication as shown below.


After successful authentication you will be prompted with a message stating that your site mailbox is being created.


And finally when completed in the background, you are presented with the following messages signifying that the site mailbox has been successfully created.


We’ll give the environment some time to create the site mailbox and return in part 6 with the client side experience….

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Site Mailboxes in Exchange 2013 & SharePoint 2013 – Part 4

Configuring SharePoint 2013 and Exchange 2013 to support Site Mailboxes

The next post in this multi-part series will outline the remaining steps required to prepare our environment for Site Mailboxes in Wave15.

Establish OAuth Trust and Service Permissions on SharePoint Server 2013

The next step is to copy the two scripts that are accessible here and save each as a .ps1 file to be executed. The first script should be named, “Set-SiteMailboxConfig.ps1” and the second named, “Check-SiteMailboxConfig.ps1”. These files should be stored in the same directory on the web front end server as the first script will call and execute the second script. The second script, “Check-SiteMailboxConfig.ps1” can also be run independently to validate the setup of site mailboxes in an existing environment.

The scripts will allow for the following:

  • Retrieve and install the Exchange metadata, giving the Exchange service principal full control permissions to the SharePoint site subscription
  • Enable the site mailbox feature in the SharePoint environment
  • (optional) Set the Exchange site mailbox target domain, if DNS for the domain has not been configured for AutoDiscover

Navigate to the location where the two powershell scripts have been stored (my example is c:\scripts\) and execute the following command to execute the scripts. Ensure that you launch the SharePoint shell as an administrator.

.\Set-SiteMailboxConfig.ps1 -ExchangeSiteMailboxDomain <Domain> -ExchangeAutodiscoverDomain [Exchange Server] -WebApplicationUrl [URL]

For the sake of demo purposes, my screenshot has environment specific information removed. A sample cmdlet with optional parameters is shown below.

.\Set-SiteMailboxConfig.ps1 -ExchangeSiteMailboxDomain -ExchangeAutodiscoverDomain -WebApplicationUrl


After executing the above command, I was presented with the error and explanation shown below.


After some certificate cleanup and ensuring that there were no self-signed certificates in use on either the Exchange or SharePoint server by leveraging the internal certificate authority, I was able to rerun the scripts and produce the following success results.


After successful execution of the above scripts on the SharePoint 2013, the below script must be executed on the Exchange 2013 server. The script is present in the scripts directory on Exchange located at C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\v15\Scripts. A sample of executing this script with parameters is shown below. Ensure that <SP_FQDN> is replaced with the proper values for your environment.

.\Configure-EnterprisePartnerApplication.ps1 -ApplicationType Sharepoint -AuthMetadataUrl https://<SP_FQDN>/_layouts/15/metadata/json/1

Part 5 will walk through enabling the site mailbox app on the SharePoint site that will be leveraged for demonstration purposes.

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Site Mailboxes in Exchange 2013 & SharePoint 2013 – Part 3

Configuring the App Management Service Application on the SharePoint 2013 farm

In part 3 of this series, we will investigate the requirements and implementation procedures related to the app management service application which is a prerequisites for the new Site Mailboxes feature in SharePoint2013 and Exchange 2013. The process is quite simple and can be configured in Central Administration as shown in the below steps:

1. In Central Administration, in Application Management, select “Manage Service Applications


2. Click “New” and select “App Management Service“.


3. Populate the values as required in your organization with a name, application pool and any other required modifications. My configuration is shown below.


To summarize we need to create an new app management service application in SharePoint to support the Site Mailbox feature in Wave15. Part 4 will continue to walkthrough the configuration of SharePoint and Exchange 2013 to support Site Mailboxes.

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Site Mailboxes in Exchange 2013 & SharePoint 2013 – Part 1

Site Mailboxes in SharePoint & Exchange 2013

In this multi-part post, I will be exploring and configuring a new and very promising feature that comes with the Wave15 release of the 2013 suite of collaboration products which are Site Mailboxes. Site Mailboxes bring together email and SharePoint document libraries / team sites to enhance collaboration of documents and communications in the enterprise. Traditionally, users in the enterprise collaborate via two mediums, documents and email.  While both SharePoint and Exchange/Outlook are great products on their own, this approach requires the user to leverage multiple client connectivity methods such as the browser and/or Outlook/OWA, or even a combination of the two. Site Mailboxes attempt to change how users collaborate by bringing these two back end systems together in the same client interface, Outlook.  For more information on how Site Mailboxes are used in the new Office, please see an excellent overview here.

In this post we’ll explore the requirements to bring this new feature to use for users and the requirements associated with both Exchange and SharePoint 2013. To start, lets take a look at the requirements on the SharePoint side of things. I will be following the official documentation on TechNet which can be found here.  We will step through each one of the requirements in more detail as we progress through the series of posts.

SharePoint 2013 Requirements Overview:

  1. Must be a member of the SharePoint administrators group.
  2. Site Mailboxes require Exchange 2013.
  3. EWS API installed on SharePoint WFE should be version 15.0.516.25 or above. More information on how to confirm is located here.
  4. User Profile Synchronization must be configured in the SharePoint 2013 farm.
  5. App Management Service Application be configured in the SharePoint 2013 farm.
  6. SSL configured for the Default Zone in web applications that are setup in a server to server authentication scenario.

Site Mailboxes require Exchange 2013

This should be a very obvious prerequisite and does not require any more detail. Exchange 2013 is required for this integration to work.

Install EWS API on SharePoint 2013 WFE server(s)

The first step in configuring integration between SharePoint 2013 and Exchange 2013 is to install Exchange Web Services API on the SharePoint 2013 web front end server. To do this, navigate to the following url and download the EWSManagedAPI.msi.

Once downloaded, open a command prompt with elevated privileges and execute the following command after navigating to the directory where the EWSManagedAPI.msi file was saved. In my example, it is saved to C:\installs\

msiexec /i EwsManagedApi.msi addlocal=”ExchangeWebServicesApi_Feature,ExchangeWebServicesApi_Gac”


The installer will launch and present the below welcome screen, click “Next” to proceed.


Select the “I Accept the terms in the License Agreement” radio button and click next to continue.


Modify the installation folder if necessary and click “Next” to proceed.


Finally, click “Next” to confirm the installation and to begin the install process.


After the installation is complete (should be very quick), click “Close” to complete the installation process.


In Part 2. We will take a look at how to configure the User Profile Synchronization service in SharePoint 2013 to synchronize with Active Directory Domain Services as its source directory.

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Grant user local logon rights via group policy.

To grant a user local logon rights for various different services, first launch the group policy management editor and right click to edit the Default Domain Controllers Policy as shown below.


Expand the computer configuration tree as shown below to expose the “Allow logon locally” policy.


Double-click “Allow logon locally” to open the properties and add the user in scope. Image shown below.


Click apply and ok, then close all windows to apply the policy changes. Replication may take some time, however the user and/or group added should now be granted the right to log on locally when replication is complete.

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How to migrate a vSphere 5.0 virtual machine to Hyper-V 2012 with System Center 2012 SP1

Now that Hyper-V 3.0/Windows Server 2012  is released and System Center 2012 SP1 is right around the corner I decided to put myself in the position of many organizations out there today that may have an extensive VMware environment but might be looking to move some of the virtual servers over to the Hyper-V platform for a various number of reasons, but how do I accomplish this task? Let’s run through it……

My configuration..

1. VMware vCenter Server 5.0

2. VMware vSphere ESXi 5.0 hosts

3. Server 2012 Hyper-v 3.0 cluster

4 System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 Sp1 (beta)

So first and foremost, SCVMM2012 SP1 (beta) is required to support my 2012 hyper-v hosts. Outside of that requirement, the same should still apply to non-sp1 environments that do not include the following products…

1. Windows Server 2012

2. vCenter 5.X / ESXi 5.X

At this point I have installed and configured my hyper-v 3.0 cluster, SCVMM 2012 SP1 Beta, vCenter 5.0, and ESXi 5.0 hosts. I also have a virtual server running on ESXi 5.0 that I want to move over to my newly formed hyper-v / system center environment. The virtual server is shown below running in a VMware environment and is labeled with “scom-1” at the end of its server name.

For the sake of understating what has already been completed and what is required to perform this operation, we’ll jump over to the MS SCVMM platform and lay out what has been configured prior to converting the virtual server from VMware to Hyper-V.

1. I have already added my vCenter 5.0 server into the SCVMM 2012 Sp1 Beta environment.

2. After I have added my vCenter 5.0 server, I’m able to add VMware hosts and clusters that may be managed by that vCenter instance in SCVMM2012. After adding the hosts, I can see the hosts and VMs in the views shown below.

At this point my SCVMM 2012 SP1 Beta machine is able to see the virtual server running on ESXi via the vCenter APIs which will allow me to “convert the virtual machine”.  How do we do this?

1. The virtual server running in VMware must first have its “VMware Tools” removed from the running virtual guest operating system. In the “Programs and Features” section it will be displayed as shown below.

Once removed and the virtual server has been restarted. Shut down the virtual machine so it resides in a “powered off” state in VMware vCenter. The image below shows the “-scom-1” virtual sever powered off.

In SCVMM 2012 we will select “Create Virtual Machine” and then “Convert Virtual Machine” from the list of options.

The convert virtual machine wizard will open and prompt for the source virtual machine. Clicking browse will allow for me to select the scom-1 virtual server that is running on the esxi host machine.

Proceeding through the wizard I am then able to give the machine a name and description.

Clicking next will bring me to the VM configuration page where I have the ability to modify the number of cpus and amount of memory that is currently configured for the virtual server.

The wizard will then bring me to the host selection page and allow for me to pick a destination host in my hyper-v cluster.

Next requirement and page in the wizard will allow for me to pick the destination path of where I want the virtual machine files to reside. I’ve selected a cluster shared volume named “Volume 1”

I am then able to set my virtual network that I want this machine to use on the destination host.

Lastly I am able to add some additional settings for the guest virtual server to determine automatic actions in the event of a host failure.

The summary page is the final section of the convert virtual machine wizard and once all settings have been reviewed, clicking “Create” will start the process.

During conversion of the virtual server, the process can be monitored via the jobs pane in the SCVMM 2012 as shown below.

Once completed, the migrated virtual machine will be placed on the destination host and running on Hyper-V as shown in the below screen shot.

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Exchange 2013 Tech Preview – Public Folders

In the past two version of Exchange, public folders were thought to be excluded from release bits but this time around it not only seems as though they are
here to stay but changes have been made to not only the structure but also enhancements to high availability. In both Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010, public folders were available for use, but were administered via a separate management tool in the toolbox and not a participant of new clustering technologies including both high availability solutions in 2007 and 2010. At first glance, it looks like public folders are now stored inside of the same mailbox database that stores user data in what Microsoft is calling a “specially designed mailboxes to store both the hierarchy and the public folder content”. This limited information can be found here in the sharing and collaboration section.

Onto setup and configuration of this specially designed mailbox for public folders in Exchange 2013. In the EAC, you’ll notice on the left hand side that public folder administration is now integrated into the admin console (EAC).

It’s also worth noting that by default when logged into OWA as an end-user there is no public folder section. No public folder mailbox has been created at this point so we’ll check back after creation of the public folder mailbox and we add some content.

Selecting public folders in the EAC for the first time produces the below error.

After clicking ok to the error and selecting public folder mailboxes in the admin center, Exchange tells us that every public folder must reside in a public folder mailbox and before we can create a new public folder, we’ll need to provision a new public folder mailbox.

Clicking the plus in the admin center presents us with a dialog box asking for a name, organizational unit and mailbox database.

I have chosen to name the public folder mailbox pf_mbx and have placed it in the public folder mailboxes organizational unit that was created in Active Directory Domain Services and in the DB1 database that has been created in Exchange 2013.

After clicking, “save”, which is a change from “ok” or “apply”, the public folder mailbox is created and shown in the list.

Now selecting “Public Folders” in the EAC and clicking the plus we can create a new public folder. For the sake of testing I will name this public folder Test1 and leave the default path top level path of \. After selecting save the new public folder is created in Exchange 2013 with the details provided below.

But now can we see this public folder in OWA? A refresh in OWA does not show any public folder access nor and the default OWA policy enables public folder access so what gives? Sign out and in to OWA also shows nothing new so lets mail enable the new public folder and try to email a message to it. To do this, we will head back to public folders in the EAC and select the Test1 folder. On the right hand side of the EAC in the details section we can select “enable”, under the mail settings section which defaults to disabled.

A warning appears confirming that we are certain we want to mail enable this public folder. Select “yes” to proceed.

After the public folder has been mail enabled, a test message was drafted in OWA and the Test1 address was pulled from the GAL and validated in OWA as show below.

Successfully deliver to the public folder takes place so we know that the public folder mailbox and public folder creation process worked as designed but how to view the public folder and content via OWA? OWA options shows no enable or disable check box for public folder viewing.

For now it looks as though there is no public folder access via the OWA client. I’ll revisit this when I stand up a Windows 8 client OS with the 2013 Outlook Tech Preview. Until then…

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