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Exchange Server and Office 365 insight: Top quotes from MEC 2012

Matt Gervais

ORLANDO – IT pros, Exchange admins and Microsoft employees gathered at the recently revived Microsoft Exchange Conference this week to learn more about Exchange Server, Office 365 and a myriad of other Microsoft messaging-related topics. 

While Exchange 2013 was the overarching theme of MEC, lots of interesting information regarding Office 365, Exchange migrations, Outlook 2013 and more were discussed and ruminated on.

Below, you’ll find a few of the most interesting quotes from attendees and presenters. 

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Question from the audience: "Will innovation and investments for on-premises Exchange Server stop with [Microsoft’s] trend toward the cloud?" Answer: "No." - Perry Clarke, distinguished engineer at Microsoft

Clarke assured the MEC audience that despite the company’s obvious trend toward the cloud, it is still very involved in developing for, and solidifying Exchange Server on-premises.

A few examples of the cloud trend include Exchange Server 2013’s Web-based Exchange Administration Center (EAC) and the recent discontinuation of several Forefront products. There’s also the push toward PowerShell, which works well in cloud environments because it is extensible and future-proof.

"Remember, [going to] Office 365 is not only an operational decision, but a financial one." - Nicolas Blank, infrastructure architect and Exchange MVP and MCM.

This is a common oversight by many companies weighing Microsoft’s cloud-based collaboration suite. When evaluating an Office 365 move, companies consider its numerous benefits such as hands-off patch and hardware management, but fail to do the required homework when it comes to cost.

Companies contemplating Office 365 must think hard on the money they’ll pay Microsoft or another vendor to complete their Office 365 migration, as well as business productivity and opportunities lost during said period.

"From a pure cost-perspective, it makes no sense for me to go Office 365," one attendee said. Another described the Office 365 pricing model as "iffy." 

"Small mailboxes need to die" – Ross Smith IV, principal program manager for the Exchange team

Smith uttered this oft-tweeted quote while explaining that if you compare Exchange 2003 to the upcoming Exchange 2013, there has been a 99% reduction in IOPS. This will give organizations the option to use cheaper disks and grow mailboxes to as large as 100 GB.

It remains to be seen if that is a desirable option or not.

"We don’t want you to remember if you’re in Outlook or Outlook Web App" - Kristian Andaker, senior program manager at Microsoft

For years, Microsoft has been working hard to make the Outlook Web App (OWA) client experience mirror the Outlook experience and with Exchange 2013 and Outlook 2013, they may be there. Andaker offered screenshots and demos that not only showed how remarkably similar both interfaces are, but also how much the OWA experience will improve on tablets.

"Wait 90 days before installing any rollup, that’s my rule of thumb."

"Why would I install a rollup update now if it doesn’t specifically apply to my environment?" - Anonymous MEC attendees

After re-releasing two rollup updates due to problems in the original drop last year, IT pros were understandably skeptical to install subsequent Exchange Server rollups. These comments were interesting as they show that while some folks may have forgiven Microsoft’s mistakes of 2011, others have not.


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