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My Baby Girls Now May 9, 2013

Posted by Doug Blankenship in Family & Friends.
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On my last post I had a few pics of my girls but check out the difference then and now.  Still a very proud Dad

Mimecast Unified Email Management May 9, 2013

Posted by Doug Blankenship in Mimecast - Email Archive.
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Mimecast is a cloud based unified email management tool that provides messaging admins with all the tools they need to be successful in managing the ever growing requirements of the organization.  The typical messaging admin needs to address security threats & vulnerabilities, archiving, message retention, HIPPA and PHI encryption, message size limits, reporting, auditing, and message tracking etc etc.  You get the drift.

So, when it comes time to implement systems that will do all of that, the next thing you know is your now spread across three, four, or even five different systems that will all provide the admin with the functionality they need but now the admin also needs to be proficient in all the various systems not to mention the cost associated with implementing and licensing all these systems.  What a time consuming nightmare!!  I’m sure those reading this are shaking there heads because you have been there too.  So what is the solution, Mimecast.

Mimecast offers all this and more in a single console that is very intuitive to learn and has an excellent knowledge base to help the admin or anyone who would like to better understand al the offerings of the product.  http://www.mimecast.com/knowledgebase/

Enough of the marketing speak.  If your like me, I just want to know how it works and what are the risks associated with cloud based archiving and filtering.  Basically, Mimecast provides a seven step approach to get customers on board, you are assigned a Mimecast technical implementation engineer and a project manager who is well versed in the product.  You will hold a kickoff meeting that outlines the steps as follows:

  • Step 1: Request for Information (RFI) – Gathers technical point of contact, sending and receiving IP addresses and email domain name(s), forwarding addresses, validation method (i.e LDAP integration or local imported accounts)
  • Step 2: Mimecast account creation – Mimecast creates your account in the cloud based on the RFI information provided.
  • Step 3: Send Messages outbound via Mimecast – Configure your firewall to send messages to a specific set of IP ranges provided by Mimecast.  These data center are geographic for Eupore, South Africa, and North America.  Outbound should flow for at least two weeks to build pairing of who users are sending messages to.
  • Step 4: Recipient Validation & Message Journaling – The step works through the AD integration for users to sign into.  A certificate must be acquired for this step or you can use self signed certificates for this step.  The self signed cert requires Mimecast to place your account in “relaxed” mode.
  • Step 5: Allow Mimecast to accept email by changing your MX records – Here you need to set the TTL to 5 minutes or what ever your comfortable with and then change your MX record pointers with the ISP to the Mimecast provided records.  You will see your mail flow change almost immediately.
  • Step 6: Firewall Lockdown – Validating firewall ports, IP ranges, certificates to avoid any denial of service attacks
  • Step 7: Confirmation and Project Close out – Everything is deployed and functioning, project closure meetings and finalize all settings.  Done!

Now that everything is implemented you can mange everything from a central console from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection :-)  I have been very happy with Mimecast from the implemtation, configuration, knowledge base, 24x7x365 support.  Mimecast is always improving on customer demands and have new offerings/enhancements every quarter it seems.  Okay, well maybe not every quarter but at least twice a year.  These are deployed with ample notification to the technical point of contact and with no downtime.

One last thing, did I mention that Mimecast offers 10 year retention and disaster recovery out of the box?  No, well that is icing on the cake I just got to eat.🙂

I’ll add more on other Mimecast offerings such as MPP (Mimecast personal portal 4.1.0.xxx) that will allow users to perform searches from Outlook, provides automatic failover to cloud in the event you loose connection to Exchange. Search, manage users allow or block, send encrypted messages via CCM etc.  Stay tuned….

How soon we forget…ADPrep, ForestPrep, and DomainPrep Revisited April 12, 2006

Posted by Doug Blankenship in AD, Windows.
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I have been working on a new lab and found myself trying to remember some of the pre-installation processes necessary for Exchange 2003 or Exchange 12 to function properly when you have the schema master on a Windows 2000 forest.  Therefore, I am posting these links for all those who could use a refresher course in AdPrep, ForestPrep, and DomainPrep as well as how to determine what server holds the Flexible Single Master Operation (FSMO) roles in your forest and domain.



Then to determine where the Flexible Single Master Operation (FSMO) roles are homed check out this link.


How to Use ExSetup.exe to modify an Exchange Installation March 30, 2006

Posted by Doug Blankenship in Exchange 12, Uncategorized.
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I added the client access role and found out some interesting things along the way. To upgrade the role you have to do it from a command line.

From a command prompt, proceed to the exchange install directory c:\program files\Microsoft\exchange server\bin. From here you have to run "ExSetup.exe" with the following syntax.

(Exsetup.exe /role:ClientAccess /mode:install /sourcedir:c:\support\exchange12\server\en\i386) It looks for the exchangeserver.msi from here to run.

ExSetup.exe Usage: ExSetup.EXE [roles:<roles to install>] [/mode:<setup mode>] [/?][targeted:<destination folder>] [/prepared] [/sourcedir:<source folder>] [/domaincontroller:<name of DC>][/mode, /m] = This specifies the operation to perform:

– Install: Default. Installs on or more Server roles

– Uninstall: Removes some or all installed Server roles

– Upgrade: Upgrades all existing E12 server roles

– RecoverServer: Recovers a server based on Active Directory data

Roles cannot be specified with the "Upgrade" mode.

<Addendum from help file>You must use the /mode parameter if you want to specify the RecoverServer setup mode. If you do not specify a mode, Setup.exe uses the default installation mode.

[/roles, /role, /r] = This specifies which server roles to install. Such as /role:Mailbox /roles:Mailbox, BridgeHead

The following are the list of valid role names:

– BridgeHead, BH, B

– ClientAccess, CA, C

– Gateway, GW, G

– Mailbox, MB, M

– UnifiedMessaging, UM, U

The Gateway role cannot be installed with any other role.

<Addendum from help file>You must use the /roles parameter to specify which server roles to install. Select from one or more of the following roles, in a comma-separated list:

PERSONAL NOTE: If you do not use the /roles parameter, ExSetup.exe removes all server roles from the computer and removes the Exchange installation files.

If you use the /roles parameter and specify only one role, ExSetup.exe removes the original role of the setup. (i.e. setup was performed with BH role but when attempting to modify the install with the /roles:CA option, ExSetup.exe removed the BH role and installed CA role only.

[/sourcedir, /s] = Specifies the path to the Exchange CD.

<Addendum from help file>You must use the /sourcedir parameter to specify the location of the source directory. The source directory is the directory that contains the ExchangeServer.msi file. For example, if you downloaded the Exchange installation files to C:\Exchange12, you should use /sourcedir:C:\Exchange12.

PERSONAL NOTE: spaces are not detected when source is specified (i.e c:\support\Exchange 12\Server\en\i386 will result in syntax errors due to the space in the source path.

[/targetdir, /t] = Specifies the path to install Exchange Server

<Addendum from the help file>Use the /TargetDir parameter to specify the location to install Exchange Server "12" files. This parameter is optional. The default destination folder is "%programfiles%\Microsoft\Exchange Server."

[/DomainController, /dc] =This specifies the domain controller that setup will use to read and to write to the AD

[/PrepareAD, /p] = This prepares the AD for the Exchange installation.

[/?] = This will display the helpfor parameters.

Components or Functionality Removed from Exchange Server 12 March 30, 2006

Posted by Doug Blankenship in Exchange 12, Uncategorized.

Several Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 features that have either been discontinued or moved to other product lines. The following features have been removed from Exchange Server "12":

Active-Active clustering

Routing groups

Administrative groups

Outlook Mobile Access

Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP)

Public folder access using IMAP4

Non-MAPI top-level hierarchies in a public folder store X.400 Message Transfer Agent (MTA) Microsoft Exchange Connector for Novell GroupWise and migration tools Microsoft Exchange Connector for Lotus Notes Exchange Web forms Active Directory Connector (ADC) Site Replication Service (SRS) Workflow Designer that was shipped with the Exchange Server 2003 SDK CDO for Workflow that was shipped with Exchange Server 2003 Support for legacy protocols including named pipes, SPX, AppleTalk, VINES, UDP and NetBIOS

How to Install and Configure Exchange Server 12 in a Test Environment March 30, 2006

Posted by Doug Blankenship in Exchange 12, Uncategorized.

 This topic explains how to use the setup wizard or the command prompt to install Microsoft® Exchange Server "12" in a test environment. To perform an unattended setup, you must install Exchange Server "12" from the command prompt. 

Before You Begin

  1. Before you perform the procedures in this topic, confirm the following: 
  2. Your organization meets the requirements listed in Exchange Server 12 System Requirements.

  3. The user account that you use to install Exchange Server "12" meets the permission requirements. Make sure that you are logged on by using an account that has the following group memberships:
  4. Local Administrator on the server

  5. Active Directory® Schema Administrator if you are installing the first Exchange Server "12" server in the organization
  6. Active Directory
    Enterprise Administrator
  7. Active Directory Domain Administrator


To use the setup wizard to install Exchange Server "12" 

  1. Log on to the server on which you want to install Exchange Server "12".

  2. Create a directory called Exchange12 on the drive where you want to download the Exchange installation files. For example, C:\Exchange12.
  3. Go to the Microsoft Connect Web site. If you are installing Exchange on a server with 64-bit architecture, select the 64-bit download from the Exchange Server "12" page on the Microsoft Connect Web site.
  4. If you are installing Exchange on a server with 32-bit architecture, select the 32-bit download from the Exchange page at the Microsoft Connect Web site.
  5. Note:  Installing Exchange Server "12" on 32-bit architecture is supported in testing or training environments, but not in production environments. In production environments, you must install Exchange Server "12" on 64-bit architecture.
  6. When prompted for the location to download the files, navigate to the Exchange12 directory that you created in step 2.
  7. After the download is complete, on the Start menu, click Run and then type C:\Exchange12\Setup.EXE, where C is the drive where you downloaded the Exchange installation files.
  8. On the Start page, click Install Microsoft Exchange Server.
  9. Setup.exe checks if you have the Microsoft .NET Framework version 2.0 installed. If you do not, Setup.exe starts the setup wizard for the ..NET Framework version 2.0, and the Welcome to Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Setup page appears. If you already have the .NET Framework 2.0 installed, go to step 10.
  10. On the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Setup End-User License Agreement page, click I accept the terms of the License Agreement, and then click Install.
  11. On the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Setup Complete page, click Finish.
  12. Setup.exe checks if you have Microsoft Management Console (MMC) version 3.0 installed. If you do not, Setup.exe starts the setup wizard for MMC, and the Microsoft Management Console 3.0 Pre-Release Installation Wizard page appears. If you already have MMC version 3.0 installed, go to step 14.
  13. Note:  Before you install MMC version 3.0, it is recommended that you close any open MMC windows. If you install MMC version 3.0 while an MMC window is open, you must restart your computer after the installation.
  14. On the Software Update Installation Wizard page, click Next.
  15. On the Software Update Installation Wizard License Agreement page, click I Agree, and then click Next.
  16. On the Completing the Microsoft Management Console 3.0 Pre-Release Installation Wizard page, click Finish.
  17. Setup.exe copies the setup files locally to the computer on which you are installing Exchange.
  18. In the Microsoft Exchange Server Installation wizard, on the Introduction page, click Next.
  19. On the End-User License Agreement page, click I Accept, and then click Next.
  20. On the Server Role Selection page, select the server roles that you want to install on the computer. If you want to change the path for the Exchange installation, click Browse, locate the appropriate folder in the directory tree, and then click OK.
  21. On the Server Role Selection page, click Next.
  22. On the Installation Pre-Checks page, if the organization and server role prerequisite checks complete successfully, click Install to install Exchange.
  23. Note:  After you click Install, you cannot cancel the installation.
  24. On the Completion page, click Finish.

Exchange 12…First Impressions…Prerequisites March 30, 2006

Posted by Doug Blankenship in Exchange 12, Uncategorized.
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We have recently installed a global lab environment to begin testing Exchange 12 and evaluate what Microsoft has in store for us next year.  Thus far it has been an interesting ride.  Anthony Drewery (www.drewery.net/blog) has some excellent write ups on the test topology, naming schemes, and initial installation of the product.

As most of us do, we try to find any information pertaining to the product to better understand new enhancements, features, and functionality but not much is available other than the obvious resources such as Microsoft documented help on the product, help on specific command line queries (/?), recent Microsoft wecasts and blog postings much like this one, therefore, when testing a new products functionality things can be a bit more interesting.

My first impression is that E12 is somewhat similar to Exchange 2003 in its basic functions (i.e. moving mailboxes, creating SG's, and MS's, but it's also very different in the GUI screens, wizards, server roles and what they support, various logs created for setup, and specific logs for and monad shell commands.  I think Microsoft has done a excellent job in delivering what administrators have requested and have tried to provide a simpler administrative system for GUI and command line administrators alike.

Prerequisites for Exchange 12: 

My first question was what kind of hardware to use.  Microsoft Exchange blog has a excellent post regarding this very subject http://blogs.technet.com/exchange/archive/2006/03/13/421914.aspx for reusing reclaimed equipment. We were able to reuse some decommissioned equipment that has worked out very well.  We are using the following:

(one) Compaq Proliant ML370 PIII 1.3Ghz with 3Gb RAM, – Exchange 12 MB Server role

(two) HP NetServer LC2000r PIII 1Ghx, 1GB RAM,  – Exchange 12 BH, CA Server roles

(one) HP DL360 Xeon 2.8Ghz, 1GB RAM – To be determined.

My second question was regarding what prerequisites will Exchange 12 need in order to successfully install and use the product. I am breaking this down into two sections (Network Prep and Exchange 12 Prep)

Network Prep Consist of the following: (this information is from the MS documentation for E12 Beta1)

The domain controller that is the schema master must have Microsoft Windows Server™ 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) installed. (By default, the schema master runs on the first Windows® domain controller installed in a forest.)

Global catalog servers are running Windows Server 2003 SP1. It is recommended that you have at least one global catalog server in every domain where you plan to install Exchange Server "12". 

All domain controllers and global catalog servers in the Exchange Server "12" site are running Windows Server 2003. 

Active Directory® directory service domain functional level must be Windows 2000 Server-native or higher for all domains in the Active Directory forest where you will install Exchange Server "12". If your topology includes multiple forests, or if you must establish a forest-to-forest trust, the minimum forest functional level must be Windows Server 2003. 

You must not have any Microsoft Exchange Server version 5.5 servers in your Exchange organization and your Exchange organization must be in native mode. For more information about converting an Exchange organization to native mode, see How to Convert from Mixed Mode to Native Mode in Exchange in the Exchange Server 2003 Deployment Guide. 

Domain Name System (DNS) is configured correctly in your Active Directory forest.

Exchange 12 Prep: (this information is from MS documentation for E12 Beta1)

File Format RequirementsTo install Exchange Server "12", disk partitions must be formatted as NTFS file systems. This requirement applies to the following partitions:  

System partitionPartition that stores Exchange binariesPartitions containing transaction log filesPartitions containing database filesPartitions containing other Exchange files 

Operating System RequirementsFor details about Exchange Server "12" operating system requirements, see Exchange Server 12 Compatibility with Windows Server Operating Systems. 

Mailbox Server Role RequirementsThe Mailbox Server Role requires some components from Internet Information Services (IIS). Although the server roles that require these components have been separated from the Mailbox Server Role, the pre-requisites have not yet been removed from the Mailbox Server Role. To install the Mailbox Server Role, the following IIS components must be installed: 

Enable network COM+ accessInternet Information ServicesWorld Wide Web Service 

To install the above components, use Add or Remove Programs in the Windows® Control Panel. 

Note:  In this pre-release version of Exchange Server "12", if you use any applications that rely on the Recipient Update Service (RUS), such as Exchange Server Load Simulator (LoadSim), you must have an Exchange Server 2003 RUS installed in the same forest in which you are running Exchange Server "12". The RUS in Exchange Server "12" will not stamp mail-enabled objects in the background in the same way that the RUS in Exchange Server 2003 stamps mail-enabled objects. 

Client Access Server Role RequirementsThe Client Access Server Role requires that you install the following IIS component: 

World Wide Web Service 

The Client Access Server Role also requires that you install ASP.NET. 

To install these components, use Add or Remove Programs in the Windows Control Panel. 

Unified Messaging Server Role RequirementsExchange servers with the Unified Messaging Server Role require Speechify to be installed. If you run Setup.exe to install the Unified Messaging Server Role, and you do not have Speechify installed, Setup.exe will install it automatically. 

Bridgehead Server Role RequirementsThe Bridgehead Server Role does not have any unique software requirements. 

Gateway Server Role RequirementsThe Gateway Server Role does not have any unique software requirements.

Here are my baby girls! I’m a proud Dad! January 6, 2006

Posted by Doug Blankenship in Family & Friends.

These are my girls and the joy of my life.  Im sure I will eat these words when they are teenagers but I am enjoying them now.

Abbey Rose     Christmas 2005 116.jpg     Christmas 2005 176.jpg

Abby Rose (5 years old)

Christmas 2005 168.jpg     Christmas 2005 170.jpg     Christmas 2005 183.jpg

Izabella Kathrine (3 years old)

Christmas 2005 013.jpg     Christmas 2005 190.jpg     Christmas 2005 002.jpg

Emma Grace (2 years old)

My First Post January 6, 2006

Posted by Doug Blankenship in Uncategorized.
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Hello everyone.  I am writing my first post in my totally new blog site https://blankenship.wordpress.com that a colleage turned me on to, thanks Ant.  The intention for this blog site is to provide comment on things of interest and provide technical insight into areas that can be potential problem areas.  I hope you enjoy the site and any comments or suggestions are welcome.