Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Office Communications Server 2007 licensing (and pricing) - Update

Interested in how Office Communications Server 2007 licensing will be, then look at the following snippet from a presentation that was shown at the Partner Conference in Boston (Click the picture for a larger version).

Basically there are two Client licenses that are additative. You always need a Standard CAL and can on top of that buy an Enterprise CAL that deliveres all of the Conferencing (Web, Audio/Video, Application Sharing) and the VoIP & Remote Call Control features.

For the servers there's the Standard and Enterprise Edition (Scalability and Availability) and you should note that Communicator Web Access, Speech Server 2007 and Office Communicator Mobile 2007 are included in the server licensec.

Update - find more information on licensing options on the web page How to buy Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007.

For pricing information according to Michael Dunn's posting regarding Speech Server 2007 pricing it will be -

  • Standard Server - $699.00
  • Enterprise Edition Server - $3,999
  • Standard Client Access Licence - $31
  • Enterprise Client Access License - $139

No info from Dunn though on the licensing type / price (MVLS, Select etc.)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Getting EXIF Information

So you are sitting there at your desk Monday morning, trying to organize some photos. Your file dates are a mess, but - hey - you know that the photos contains the EXIF date picture taken value. Writing a small script to sort things out should be a small problem.

But how do I get to the data? Searching for Powershell exif data picture taken soon got me to the James ONeill's blog. But it was quite complicated and then I remembered that I did something similar from VBScript a while back. I looked in the script and realized, that the Shell.Application object could retrieve the information in an easier way.

I started off writing Get-ExifDatePictureTaken, refined it to Get-ExifProperty with a $property parameter with "date picture taken" as default, but realized that the right solution was to use the extensible type system (ETS). ETS makes Powershell so stong!

I created ExifDatePictureTaken.ps1xml -
trap {write-debug $error[0]}
$shell=new-object -com Shell.Application
$folder=$shell.Namespace((split-path $this))
foreach($i in 1..100) {
if ($folder.GetDetailsOf("",$i) -eq "date picture taken") {write-debug $i;break}
if ($i -lt 100) {
$folder.items() | ? { $ -eq $ } | % {
if ($date) {
# Dates are text and DD-MM-YYYY cannot be converted to datetime
# Convert DD-MM-YYYY to YYYY-MM-DD
$date=$date -replace "^(\d{2})\-(\d{2})\-(\d{4})",'$3-$2-$1'
# Cast to a datetime
[datetime] $date

and loaded it with Update-TypeData.

Hint: You cannot Update-TypeData on the same files twice (in the same Powershell sessions). Consequenly, I use something like this when testing -
PS> powershell { update-typedata Exifdatepicturetaken.ps1xml; $file=get-item 'S:\Billeder\2007\2007-03 Diverse\P1010169.JPG'; $debugpreference="continue"; $file.datepicturetaken }

Now I can simply get the DatePictureTaken property of any System.IO.File object.

The downside to this approach is speed. It is slow. I could be improved in several ways -
  • If the index is static (I do not know whether that is the case or not), it did not have to be found everytime
  • The folder object could be cached in a global variable, so multiple consequtive lookups in the same folder was faster

If you make any improvements, please post them as comments.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Problems with Exchange 2007 certificates when you're on VPN or in the Companys LAN ?

A while ago I used half a day with one of our consultants troubleshooting this and other issues and setting this up correctly and it now turns out that a KB article has been published, which handles this exact issue -

Warning message when you start Outlook 2007 and then connect to a mailbox that is hosted on an Exchange 2007-based server: "The name of the security certificate is invalid or does not match the name of the site"

This issue occurs if the following conditions are true:
  • You replace the default self-signed Exchange 2007 certificate with a different certificate.
  • Note The Exchange 2007 Setup program creates a default self-signed certificate when Exchange 2007 is installed (DLT Comment - That shouldn't be deleted!).

The common name on the replacement certificate does not match the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the URL that is stored in the following objects:

  • The Service Connection Point object for the Autodiscover service
  • The InternalUrl attribute of Exchange 2007 Web Service (EWS)
  • The InternalUrl attribute of the Offline Address Book Web service
  • The InternalUrl attribute of the Exchange unified messaging (UM) Web service
By default, the URL that is stored in these objects references the NetBIOS name of the server. For example, a URL that resembles the following is stored:

This may differ from the host name that is used in the FQDN of the replacement certificate. For example, the replacement certificate may have an FQDN that resembles the following:

This issue causes a name mismatch error to occur. Therefore, you receive the security warning message when you try to connect Outlook 2007 to the mailbox.

Read more at KB940726

Speech Server (2007) Pricing Revealed - Updated

Updated - Look at Office Communications Server 2007 licensing (and pricing) for full information on pricing (Speech Server 2007 is included in OCS).

I know many are waiting for OCS 2007 pricing (Expected around Launch timeframe which October 16th), but it seems that OCS Speech Server pricing has been released. Look here for more info.

Interesting posting "Developing applications for OCS - where do I start?"

If you are looking at developing against OCS then then the right place to start is here -

Developing applications for OCS - where do I start?

Also he has a more in-depth walkthrough of the available API's here -

An overview of the APIs in Office Communications Server 2007

Joe Calev is discussing development in Speech Server and Office Communications Server. Find his excellent blog here.

Update Rollup 4 for Exchange 2007 released

FYI - you can find the KB here and download here (Although I'd much rather see SP1 in the Downloads feed ;-)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


The daugther of one of my friends had a PC that would not start. Not that I like to mess with that - had done that too often - but helpful as I am I brought the PC home.

It failed with UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_DEVICE STOP: 0x000000ED (0xaddress,0xC0000006,0x00000000,0x000000)

I searched the net. Found several articles but not really anything that seem 'correct'. Finally, I found an article on Well, I could not get to the answers as I do not have an account, but sometime Google's caching feature are very useful...

So this is how I did it based on the answers I found -

Start the recovery console. If you do not have it installed - or when that version does not work - like in this case, boot from an installation CD and select R for repair. You can easily mix languages - I used an English CD on a Danish Windows

Run these command -
chkdsk c: /r /p
exit (to reboot)

That is it.

Are you a Poshoholic?

Have run reading this. :)

Windows Mobile 6 for HTC P4350 upgrade (And TyTN)

Finally it's here (And with Danish keyboard support as well ;-).

I had the S710 for a while this summer and there just are some features that are hard to live without. I primarily missed the enhanced browsing capabilities and the Quick Search feature in e-mail where you type e.g. Helsinki and any mail with Helsinki appears (Very good for finding a travelplan/address when you're standing in some airport abroad).

Anyway find the press releases here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Limitations in upgrading from OCS 2007 Eval to Release versions

Microsoft has released a document describing the upgrade proces in details and there are some interesting limitations in upgrading your Eval installations (In line with Microsofts recommendations Eval should only be used for lab deployments)!
  • Evaluation to full release upgrades are only supported for the volume editions of Office Communications Server full released version.
  • You cannot upgrade from the MSDN® edition or to the MSDN edition of Office Communications Server 2007 full release.
  • During any particular upgrade, if you cancel the evaluation to full released version of the file installation portion of the upgrade, your server will not perform as designed.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Limited support for Exchange 2007 SP1 beta 2 in production with UM / OCS integration - Updated

UPDATE - the readme file has been updated again - check it here.

I just re-checked the SP1 KB article mentioned earlier in the posting Exchange 2007 SP1 Beta 2 information.

And noticed this in the last part of the KB article -

... Traditionally, beta support has been limited to public forums. Beta products have never been supported in a production environment. However, for this beta version, limited support is available through Microsoft Customer Service and Support for customers who want to integrate Communications Server 2007 and Exchange UM features until the release of Exchange 2007 SP1. To receive support through the Microsoft Customer Service and Support organization, you must strictly meet the following criteria:

  • Exchange 2007 UM SP1 Beta 2 role deployed to a dedicated server.
  • No additional roles deployed with SP1 Beta 2 within the environment.Warning Additional Exchange roles will start an Active Directory Schema update to the production environment when SP1 Beta 2 is installed.
  • Only 64-bit code will be supported.
  • You must be trying to integrate with Communications Server 2007.

These are similar to the requirements that are imposed on OCS TAP customers - but new is of course actual public support for SP1 Beta 2 on the UM role.

Btw. if you want more info on Exchange 2007 UM and OCS integration then take a look at Introducing Unified Messaging in Office Communications Server 2007 environment.

NLB not supported in OCS 2007 production or lab environments!

As discussed earlier in LCS and Network Load Balancing, LCS 2005 didn't support Windows Server 2003 Network Load Balancing Service in production environments (But were perfectly fine to use in lab environments).

It turns out that OCS 2007 isn't even supported in lab environments as documented in -

The Windows Server 2003-based Network Load Balancing service is not supported by Communications Server 2007 in production or lab deployments

So for OCS 2007 and arrays of Front End servers or Directors Hardware Load Balancing is the only supported method.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

OCS 2007 Resource Kit Sample Chapters published

Three sample chapters on Infrastructure and Security Considerations, Basic IM and Presence Scenario and Remote Call Control Scenario has been published to the web.

I saw it yesterday but wanted to read it before I published the information (so I could say something slightly intelligent about it ;-)
The sample content is exactly what I want to see in a resource kit. There are some very detailed explanations on what happens behind the scenes. For example a good section in "Basic IM and Presence Scenario" covers "Examining the Technical Details Behind the Login Process" and has very detailed explanations on e.g. the entire auto-disovery and authentication process and spiced up with SIP snippets.

Of course it's written by some bright Microsoft guys namely mr. Dialplan (Joechen Kunert), Jeremy Buch and Rui Maximo.

Find the book on MS Press here (Can't wait to get my hands on the book and Microsoft if you need a reviewer ... then I'm right here ;-)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Step Beyond Exchange Management Shell Primer

As opposed to Per's super advanced PowerShell scripts here's a very good introduction to a bit more advanced PowerShell concepts than just the fundamentals -

There are many excellent introductory materials covering the Exchange Management Shell in Exchange Server 2007. This article aims to enforce the fundamentals with practical and useful examples. The goal is to help an Exchange administrator better his understanding and command of the EMS in performing routine messaging and related tasks, freeing up time for more important tasks.
Find the article here. Seen on the writer's blog.

Microsoft Unveils Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 in Technology Preview

Continuing on my earlier post there's a press release from Microsoft on the Technology Preview program on SP1 Beta 2. As the press release states it now includes -

Support for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista®. Exchange Server 2007 SP1 runs on Microsoft’s next-generation server platforms, including Windows Server 2003 SP2 and Windows Server 2008. The update also enables Exchange Server 2007 management tools to run on Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. Among other benefits, Windows Server 2008 clustering will make it easier for companies to deploy geographically dispersed Exchange Server clusters.

Enhanced integration with Office Communications Server 2007. Exchange Server 2007 unified messaging goes beyond e-mail to deliver faxes and voice mail to Outlook. With Exchange Server 2007 SP1, people can retrieve voice mail messages from Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 with a single click. Also, certain Office Communications Server 2007- and Office Communicator 2007-qualified devices will be able to work with Exchange Server 2007 for additional functionality, such as a new message indicator that shows when a user has a new voice mail message.

Additional Exchange ActiveSync® policies. New Exchange ActiveSync policies in SP1 build on Exchange Server 2007’s robust security and management features with new policies for synchronization, authentication and encryption. For businesses with more advanced data protection needs, Exchange Server 2007 SP1 offers device, network and application controls. These new features allow network administrators to help manage and secure Exchange ActiveSync-enabled mobile devices.

Standby Continuous Replication (SCR). This new high-availability feature helps organizations recover quickly from failures that affect an entire datacenter, such as a natural disaster or extended power outage. Mailbox data is replicated continuously to a standby server using Exchange Server’s built-in log file shipping technology. The standby server can be quickly activated if the primary server or datacenter goes offline.

Enhanced security. Microsoft also unveiled Forefront™ Security for Exchange Server SP1, which integrates with Exchange Server 2007 SP1 to provide an extra layer of security for even greater protection and control. Forefront Security for Exchange Server includes multiple scan engines from industry-leading security firms integrated in a single solution to help protect against viruses, worms and spam. The new service pack for Forefront Security for Exchange Server features improvements in content filtering and manageability as well as support for Windows Server 2008.

Find the rest here.

Exchange 2007 SP1 Beta 2 information

I stumbled over this on Google -

What's New in Exchange Server 2007 SP1 Beta 2 Extensibility
Ch-ch-changes! They are a comin'. Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Beta 2 includes some changes that affect developers, including updates to transport extensibility and additions to Exchange Web Services. To help you prepare to develop for Exchange Server 2007 SP1, this article provides a brief overview of these changes.

Furthermore the UM / OCS part of SP1 is available publicly now -

Requirements for Exchange Unified Messaging integration
If you want to deploy Communications Server 2007 in order to use the Exchange UM voice capabilities and in order to integrate with the Exchange UM service, you have to install the Exchange UM role to Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Beta 2. Based on the SP1 release notes, Exchange 2007 SP1 Beta 2 introduces the following features that are required to integrate Communications Server 2007 with the Exchange UM service...

And of course there are the original Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 SP1 Release Notes that eventually will be updated for Beta 2

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Inceptio is finally running OCS 2007 RTM ;-)

Due to my vacation I haven't had time to upgrade until now. Basically the upgrade process went pretty smoothly and didn't last more than a 3-4 hours in total.

For my Front End (a.k.a. Home) server I used the option to export all my users (actually only their settings/contacts etc.), deactivate/uninstall and then install RTM of OCS 2007. For the other servers I also deactivated and uninstalled RC versions and reinstalled the RTM versions. There were a few gotchas but luckily nothing major.

I ran into a documentation error in the dbexpimp.exe suppport tool/help file included with OCS 2007. It states that the syntax for import is dbimpexp.exe /hrxmlfile:"c:\SavedUserData.xml". It's obviously "dmpimpexp.exe /import /hrxml...."

The other issue was a bit more quirky. After reinstalling the OCS 2007 Front End I reassigned all users from ADUC to the new RTM server (With the same name as the old). After that I imported the user data using dbimpexp.exe and everything worked fine (Presence, IM, voice and conferencing). While upgrading the Mediation Server I noticed that all users where disabled, but since all users worked and I was running a RC version of the MMC from the Mediation Server I concluded it was a co-existence issue.
Later I was testing PIC connectivity. I created a new Live account and from Live Messenger added Nothing happened on the OC side. I then added my messenger test account from OC and presence and IM was now working, while this was good it still wasn't OK - I should receive a pop-up in OC. Then I took a look at my user from the OCS MMC and immediately noticed that all users still were marked as "disabled" (Even though they were fully functional). I then ran through all users and enabled them one-by-one. After a Sign Out and Sign In in OC I finally recieved my pop-up (Although I'm not quite sure why and if this has anything to do with PIC not popping up requests, it's still a fact that the users were both disabled from the MMC GUI and functional at the same time). This problem is most likely due to a fault on my side or only related to migrations to RTM.

The last issue was federation with Microsoft (other partners worked fine) after troubleshooting and debugging a bit I suddenly remembered that I had seen a mail a few days ago

All OCS services will be down for the RTM upgrade.

Scheduled Downtime: Friday 8:00am – Saturday 9:00pm services will be down intermittently during the OCS upgrade.

So I guess Inceptio reached RTM before Microsoft ;-)

Office 2007 hotfix that improves presence, IM and UM integration (And Search)

In the release notes for Office Communicator 2007 there's a reference to a Hotfix for Outlook 2o07 that also may be of interest to Live Communications Server 2005 users (A.k.a. legacy users ;-).
It provides "Consistency of presence data between the presence provider application and Office and improvement of other integration points, including voice mail".

Following are the fixes for presence and IM -

  • The presence information that is provided by a presence application is now accurate in all scenarios.
  • Instant messaging to distribution lists is no longer supported in Microsoft Outlook.
  • The presence icon does not flicker when many people appear at the same time.
  • Presence requests from Office applications to presence applications are now handled correctly in all scenarios. For example, a Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Web page now shows current presence information.
  • The icons that are used to display presence data are modified. Users who are red-green colorblind can now determine the status of other users.
Furthermore it fixes the following Outlook features -

  • In Outlook Search folders, the count for unread items that are hidden is now accurate.
  • When you start an Outlook Search folder from a separate application programmatically, the operation now works as expected.
  • You do not have to start Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 to discover a server that is running Microsoft Exchange Server. Outlook 2007 now provides an API to discover Exchange Server servers.

It's a 35 MB download and contains updates to a lot of files including scanpst and update to the API to discover Exchange servers. Find KB936864 here that includes link to the download site.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Wainhouse Research Survey Shows That Microsoft Leads the UC Race

Wainhouse research has released the results of a survey that shows Microsoft leads the Unified Communications race at small and large customers (160 end users where asked) -

Survey responses indicate that Microsoft has a commanding lead in the enterprise unified communications space with 48% of those surveyed stating that they are currently using or considering to use Microsoft OCS within their organization as compared to 35% currently using or considering to use Cisco UPC and 24% currently using or considering to use IBM Lotus Sametime.

In line with what we see at customers and partners it also states that "One surprising statistic is the huge mindshare Microsoft has generated over all other unified communications solutions."

Microsoft is not only a genius at marketing, personally I think that Office Communications Server 2007 and the accompanying line of products (See Just how big is the OCS release?) is the most interesting release of products from Microsoft since Exchange 4.0 was shipped more than 11 years ago back in March 1996 (See my blog Microsoft Exchange's 10 year anniversary).

See the full Press release here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

OCS Quality of Experience Whitepaper

IMHO one of the strongest features of OCS is its adaptive Audio codecs and the Quality of Experience (QoE) approach to sound quality.

The QoE whitepaper available for TAP's, MVP's and others has now been RTW'ed -

This document introduces Microsoft UC Quality of Experience, an innovative approach that aims to provide all users with the best possible quality anytime anywhere. It combines a comprehensive, user-focused quality program incorporating all significant influencing parameters; the use of intelligent, adaptive end-points that have the real-time capability to monitor, pilot, optimize, and deliver the Microsoft UC Quality of Experience; real-time metrics of user’s perceived quality of the actual call experience for all calls, collected in Metrics CDR and processed by a UC Monitoring Server; and a new media stack optimized for unmanaged IP networks, capable of real-time adaptive and corrective actions to continuously optimize the user’s subjective experience

It's a very good whitepaper, a bit marketing oriented but still contains a lot of good info on the QoE approach and especially the Audio Codecs and also the actual network bandwidth usage (IMO there could have been more info on Video - but you gotta stop somewhere).

Find it here (Seen on Tom's blog).

HMC 4.0 Migration toolkit

Microsoft has released the HMC 4.0 Migration toolkit.

This migration kit is a collection of tools and white paper to guide system integrator and service provider through migrating to Microsoft® Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration version 4.0 from previous Hosted Messaging and Collaboration version 3.5. This migration is mainly about upgrading Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 to Microsoft Exchange 2007 and Microsoft Windows® SharePoint® Services version 2.0 to Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services version 3.0. It also includes provisioning data migration from Hosted Messaging and Collaboration version 3.5 Microsoft Provisioning System (MPS) to Hosted Messaging and Collaboration version 4.0 MPS.

So hopefully they can start on working on HMC 4.5 now (Which includes Office Communications Server 2007 ;-)

Free Clinic - Introduction to Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging

In this online clinic, you are introduced to the new Unified Messaging features and functionalities in Exchange Server 2007. In addition, you learn how telephony and Unified Messaging can be integrated in Exchange Server 2007. This online clinic is composed of a rich multimedia experience. It is intended for IT Professionals who are interested in telephony or Unified Messaging.

Find it here

Seen on

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Deleting an eventlog

On my old XP PC I had a couple of extra eventlogs like MonadLog (yes, it is that old) I wanted to get rid of.

It is very easy from PowerShell -

PS> [System.Diagnostics.EventLog]::Delete("MonadLog")

A warning: You can also delete logs like System (this was tested on XP). After two reboots, the log works again - but naturally it was flushed.