Thursday, March 1, 2007

Exchange 2003 DST Updates Crib Sheet

  1. Update OS patches on servers

    1. Taking care regarding security patches to Exchange and their effect on BES, or any other 3rd party email connector.

  2. Update OS patches on clients. WSUS is your friend!

  3. Use time zone edit tool (tzedit) on non-supported machines (Win NT)

    1. Tell everyone NOT to update their calendars once the patches are installed on the clients.

  4. Patch the exchange server

  5. Patch BES server with the exchange server patch (Exchange System Manager on BES server)

    1. There are no patches required for the Blackberry Enterprise Server itself.
    2. Get and install Blackberry Handheld patches.

  6. Run the Exchange Calendar Update Tool (from a client machine or virutal machine)

    1. The tool has two parts, a GUI shell msextmzcfg.exe and the command line tool MsExTmz.exe. You need to get the LegacyDSN for the Exchange server to run the tool. It was found using adsi and checking the Exchange server object in Active Directory. Ours is: ServerDN=/o=COMPANY/ou=ADMINGROUP/cn=Configuration/cn=Servers/cn=SERVERNAME

    2. Run the GUI tool, which will step you through the process of creating batch files for the command line tool. 1st extract the list of mailboxes, then create batch files to update calendar entries in each. The GUI steps you all the way through this.

    3. You have a choice of updating recurring appointments. You will want to do this if your users have scheduled all day appointments that are now starting an hour into the previous day. We said "yes".

    4. Make sure to locate the executeable for Outlook. Outlook 11 is in a different directory than Outlook 12.

    5. Download and install the Office Outlook Time Zone Data Update Tool, and specify its location.

  7. Given all of the above, the Exchange time zone update tool creates a batch file in a directory with the server's name. Run the batch file to update each mailbox using the client side Outlook update tool. This is a single threaded operation.

    1. Microsoft provides a downloadable virtual machine to facilitate multiple mailboxes to be updated at the same time. Scaling will require a serious evaluation of practical update speeds. (50 mailboxes with modest calendar usage took about 20 minutes in a single thread)

    1. Check the log files that the batch process produced.
    2. Remind everyone to check their calendar entries for the two target date ranges.
    3. Let everyone start updating their calendars.

The Microsoft Way - All Hail Vista!

Sound of trumpets...
But wait? The king is wearing no clothes?

I presented a technology vision for our modest non-profit to the Powers that Be (PTB)

The PTB were unimpressed.

I am unimpressed myself, with the Microsoft environment.
(They were just unimpressed with me, I think :-)

Vista doesn't go where I need it to go. There is a lot of smoke around manageability,but we're still talking about a system that is at its core not centrally managed. There's an Active Directory, and its a good thing its "Active" because it has to scurry around and customize a bazillion mystery settings on each desktop to make them all play nice.

The whole thing strikes me as a reactively designed house of cards.
Mega-Customer X "I want to turn menus blue on Tuesday"
Microsoft "Set the registry value adsfasdfasfdsf to 1"

The recent DST update showed exactly how kludgey the whole thing is.
Good news: Yes there is a centrally administered update for Exchange.
Bad news: How does it work? It generates a batch file that is run on a client, impersonating each user and correcting their calendar items. Total kludge. And slow as heck. Single threaded (eeeeeeeeeeeeewww!) Microsoft addressed that by releasing a Virtual machine, so you can run the kludgey batch file on more "virtual processors"

Just STOP people!

So... Where does my meandering rant go?
The new version of MS Office has a "server" vision. Yes it is no longer good enough to put files in the file system, files now need a Sharepoint server.... And perhaps we'll get there, too, but it won't happen because anyone I am trying to sell it to will "get" the vision.

More glazed eyes than an iguana convention...

Ah, well, back to looking at "open source" for document management :-)