Monday, September 15, 2014

MAPI over HTTP

Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) over HTTP is a new transport protocol implemented in Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 SP1 and Microsoft Outlook 2013 SP1. MAPI over HTTP improves the reliability and stability of the Outlook and Exchange connections by moving the transport layer to the industry-standard HTTP model.

This new connection method has been gradually rolling out in Office 365 since May of 2014/

The following blog post provides great coverage of MAPI over HTTP:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2014/05/09/outlook-connectivity-with-mapi-over-http.aspx

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Let's Delve into it!

Microsoft Delve (code name Oslo) and underlying Office Graph and machine learning technologies are finally making their way into the hands of the consumers, figuratively speaking, of course. Now the users of Microsoft Office 365 cloud services can experience the awesome powers of Office Delve! Office Delve surfaces personalized content from across Office 365 (e.g. Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive, Yammer) and shows you information based on what you're working on and what's trending around you. Here are a couple of links that cover the announcement: 

To learn more about Office Delve, check out:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

WPC 2014 - 3rd day key note address

Yesterday (Wednesday, July 16th), there was another key note address at Microsoft World Partner Conference (WPC) 2014. This time, Satya Nadella was among those who took the stage and he delivered some of the coolest content. Here are some of my takeaways:
All these were wrapped nicely around “Cloud First, Mobile First” theme – none of these services would be possible without a cloud, and mobile is what puts them in the hands of millions and amplifies their utility.

IBM-Apple deal and its impact on Microsoft

IBM and Apple may seem to be the unlikeliest of partners at first, but the relationship truly is mutually beneficial – highlighting individual strengths (Apple – devices and ecosystem, IBM – enterprise capabilities and services) while avoiding competition (IBM is out of the device business, Apple is not particularly strong in the enterprise). This would not have been possible with IBM and Microsoft (both are competing in the enterprise market) or Apple and Microsoft (both are competing in mobile market). So, on the surface it appears to be a very important deal for the enterprise customers. It is also a deal that needs to be watched carefully as things develop (a somewhat similar arrangement between IBM and Palm did not generate much success). Read more on this subject here - Why the Apple-IBM deal matters

How does this impact Microsoft? To a degree, though I don't think the impact is going to be very profound (something I can't say about other enterprise mobility players, such as Blackberry). Microsoft just needs to be patient and persistent. I think that Microsoft is uniquely positioned for growth – with proven capabilities across both services and devices, strong enterprise presence, renewed focus on innovation, leaner operations, and more than enough capital to support its ambitions.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

UAG 2010, SP4

Unified Access Gateway (UAG) 2010 Service Pack 4 (SP4) has been out for a while. Another much anticipated update which brings support for Windows 8.1, IE11, etc.
  • Download the Service Pack here
  • Review release notes here
  • Read through the installation instructions here
After performing the upgrade test UAG functionality from the client side, on a number of occasions the following error has been reported - "Forbidden Directory, Listing Denied Error code 403.14". If you find yourself among the unlucky few, read through the following post; which applies, even though it references a different update. Here are the steps outlined in the post with a minor modification (steps 7-8):
  1. Open Forefront UAG management on the UAG server
  2. Open/Explore the Trunks under the HTTP and/or HTTPS connections
  3. Right click each Trunk and select Disable
  4. Save and Activate the UAG configuration
  5. Right Click the trunks again and select enable
  6. Save and Activate the Configuration again
  7. Open the command prompt window
  8. Issue iisreset command

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Office 365 What’s New: February 2014

It's been a very busy month and there's a plethora of updates, new features, and enhancements covering the entire office family. Read through and if you are a customer put them to a good use right away (and if not, you may want to consider becoming one) - http://bit.ly/1gUQQLP

Message Encryption for Office 365

Much anticipated Message Encryption for Office 365 is now generally available and is being rolled out, read the following article for more information.   

Message Encryption is replacing what was previously known as Exchange Hosted Encryption (EHE), and while the basic idea of using mail-flow rules for transparently enforcing encryption policies remains the same, there's one major change on the back-end. Specifically, there has been a move away from the Voltage Identity Based Encryption (IBE) to Microsoft's own Rights Management Services (RMS).

Why was this feature much anticipated? Because it enhances overall security and privacy controls within Office 365's Exchange Online component; it also does so in a customer friendly fashion by incorporating this useful functionality into higher-level O365 subscriptions (starting with E3/G3) at no additional charge (add-on for the lower-level subscriptions):   
“Office 365 Message Encryption is an easy-to-use service that lets email users send encrypted messages to people inside or outside their organization. Designated recipients can easily view their encrypted messages and return encrypted replies. Regardless of the destination email service - whether it’s Outlook.com, Yahoo, Gmail, or another service - email users can send confidential business communications with an added level of protection against unauthorized access.”
For more information, check out the following:
  • Blog post on the Message Encryption announcement - here
  • TechNet article that covers Message Encryption details - here
Also, since Rights Management Services (RMS) are essential to the Message Encryption functionality and are also a necessary component of the Information Rights Management (IRM) within different Office 365 components (e.g. SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, MS Office), it would be advisable to gain some familiarity with RMS/IRM. Here are a few helpful links:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Microsoft BI - 2/2014 Update

Business Intelligence is a very exiting subject and a field that is undergoing rapid transformation influenced by things such as big data, data visualization, self-service analytics, cloud and mobile computing, etc.

I have published a post titled "Business Intelligence, the Microsoft style" that covered Microsoft's renewed focus on and general strategy around Business Intelligence some time ago. Sure enough, there have been many new and exciting developments related to Microsoft BI since.

So, here are a few things I wanted to include in this update:

I would also highly recommend the following Garner article Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms, which covers the subject pretty thoroughly.

And if you are still wondering - why business intelligence? Here are some of te reasons: 

   


Monday, February 24, 2014

Windows Intune Update (January 2014)

At the end of January, 2014 Microsoft has released another set of incremental updates to the Windows Intune, further enhancing its cloud PC and mobile device management (MDM) platform's capabilities. Read more about it here - http://bit.ly/1ffgOsw

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Office Online


On Wednesday February 19, 2014 Microsoft has revealed significant enhancements it made to the Office Online platform (previously known as Office Web-Apps), including a new strategy around making it easier than ever to find, create, save, share, and collaborate on documents using Microsoft Office, online and free! 

Learn more about Office Online from the following press release, or simply visit Office.com and get started!

Want to take this further and have an added flexibility of running full versions on Office applications on your PC or Mac? Check out Office 365 Home Premium at http://bit.ly/1jgfR6t

Ready to adopt industry's leading productivity solutions for your business? Compare all Office 365 business offerings at http://bit.ly/1aGY8hv, there are plans that cover a complete spectrum - from the small businesses to the largest enterprises!

Monday, February 17, 2014

eSignature for Office 365

Microsoft and DocuSign just announced strategic partnership aimed at bringing eSignature capabilities to Office 365 customers, read more about it here

This is a welcome development and, in conjunction with upcoming Office 365 enhancements (such as email encryption, seamless document collaboration, better OneDrive integration, etc.), a good example of continuous innovation and rich ecosystem required to make any cloud service a success.

There's a definite potential here for businesses of all sizes to have a cloud-based (elastic, cost effective) infrastructure for a secure end-to-end handling of digital document focused workflows.