The road ahead… New challenges!

Over the past twelve years I’ve gone through a series of jobs, from being a support agent at a helpdesk to being an Exchange consultant at Xylos today. All of the opportunities I have had and the customers I’ve worked with allowed me to grow as a consultant and as a person. I’m very grateful for the opportunities Xylos has offered me, but after having spent a little over six years working for them, I thought it was time for me to look forward and accept a new challenge.

As such, I’m happy and excited to announce that I will be joining ENow Software as of September 1st of this year as Product Director for their Exchange Monitoring and Reporting tools: Mailscape and Mailscape for Exchange Online. I look forward to working with all of the customers and getting feedback from the community to make the software even better than it already is today. Part of the reason why I chose for ENow is their unique approach and philosophy. ENow started out as a consulting company and continues to provide professional services which allows me to stay true to my “roots”.

I’m very excited about this new adventure as it allows me to combine the things I love to do along with the ability to contribute to a great piece of software. Over the past few months I have been working closely with ENow in order to build Mailscape for Exchange Online. So far, customers are thrilled with what they see and we have plenty more to come! (Did you know that Mailscape for Exchange Online was also nominated for the The Best of TechEd awards?)

In order to keep up with the ever-changing landscape in IT, I will continue to consult for ENow’s customers, albeit that I will spend less time doing so than I currently do. I strongly believe that staying hands-on with Exchange, Office 365 and everything related, will allow me to contribute better on a technical level but also allow me to better understand how our software should work with everything Microsoft does.

Of course, I will continue to blog here, speak at various tech conferences and be part of The UC Architects podcast. As a matter of fact, I’ll be speaking at Exchange Connections in September in Vegas where I will be presenting two sessions and a one-day workshop on deploying a Hybrid Exchange environment. If you haven’t signed up, I strongly suggest you do: after all IT/DEV Connections is one of the rare conferences where you get the chance to meet with real-world experts presenting no-nonsense and hands-on topics on various Microsoft technologies. This year’s edition has everything to make it even better than last year’s, including a new location: the beautiful Aria hotel/convention center.

Although I won’t officially be starting until September, feel free to reach out to me regarding Mailscape or ENow’s software in general. I’ll be more than happy to assist you with any questions you have. As always, you can follow me on twitter (@mvanhorenbeeck) or send me an email on michael.van.horenbeeck@enowsoftware.com!

-Michael

Blog

ITPROceed as alternative to the missing TechDays in Belgium this year?

Typically, this time of the year Microsoft would organize its TechDays: a multi-day technical conference with tracks for both IT Pro’s and developers. This year, however, there’s no TechDays. This leaves a gap in the Belgian “conference market”. To my knowledge, TechDays was attended by several hundred if not thousand attendees every year. Speakers from all over the place would come over and present on the latest and the greatest of Microsoft. But in general there would be a lot of local speakers involved too.

Recently the developers community announced their “Tech-o-rama” conference which would both serve as a replacement for the Community Days and somewhat fill the gap for TechDays. This is exactly what the IT PRO Community had in mind when launching the ITPROceed initiative.

ITPROCeed is a community-driven one-day conference, to be held in Antwerp on June 12th. Although not officially organized by Microsoft, the conference has certainly the potential to reach a wide audience as TechDays did. Here’s why:

Content

As mentioned earlier, there won’t be (many) other opportunities to learn from the experts first hand in Belgium, this year. As such, it seems like the perfect opportunity to catch up: for free.

The conference itself is divided into 4 tracks: SQL, System Center, Azure and Office Servers & Services. More than enough to create a balanced schedule with, don’t you think? It’s not only a good way to learn about new technology and features, it’s also great to interact with all of the experts who will be present that day.

Speakers

The speaker-lineup is phenomenal, in my opinion. A lot of Belgian MVPs will speaking at this event and many of them have spoken at various international conferences before. To give you just a few of these names: Mike Resseler, Alexandre Verkinderen, Johan Delimon, Dieter Vanhoye, Thomas Vochten, Ruben Nauwelaers, Pieter Vanhove, Nico Sienaert, Tim De Keukelaere, Donald Hessing and many, many more. Every single one of them are experts in their field.

So, if you haven’t subscribed yet, I strongly suggest you do so soon. It doesn’t happen every day that you get the ability to witness all this for free (in case you didn’t get it the first time). I for one, know what I will be doing that day…! http://www.itproceed.be/

See you there!

Michael

Blog Events News

This was MEC 2014 (in a nutshell)

As things wind down after a week full of excitement and – yes, in some cases – emotion, MEC 2014 is coming to an end. Lots of attendees have already left Austin and those who stayed behind are sharing a few last drinks before making their way back home as well. As good as MEC 2012 in Orlando was, MEC 2014 was E-P-I-C. Although some might state that the conference had missed its start – despite the great Dell Venue Pro 8 tablet giveaway – you cannot ignore the success of the rest of the week.

With over 100 unique sessions, MEC was packed with tons and tons of quality information. To see that amount of content being delivered by the industry’s top speakers is truly an unique experience. After all, at how many conferences is the PM or lead developer presenting the content on a specific topic? Also, Microsoft did a fairly good job of keeping a balance between the different types of sessions by having a mix of Microsoft-employees presenting sessions that reflected their view on things (“How things should work / How it’s designed to be”) and MVPs and Masters presenting a more practical approach (“How it really works”).

I also like the format of the “unplugged” sessions where you could interact with members of the Product Team to discuss a variety of topics. I believe that these sessions are not only very interesting (tons of great information), but they are also an excellent way for Microsoft to connect with the audience and receive immediate feedback on what is going out “out there”. For example, I’m sure that the need for some better guidance or maybe a GUI for Managed Availability is a message that was well conveyed and that Microsoft should use this feedback to maybe prioritize some of the efforts going into development. Whether that will happen, only time will tell..

This edition wasn’t only a success because of the content, but also because of the interactions. It was good to see some old friends and make many new ones. To  me, conferences like this aren’t only about learning but also about connecting with other people and networking. There were tons of great talks – some of which have given me food for thought and blog posts.

Although none of them might seem earth-shattering, MEC had a few announcements and key messages; some of which I’m very happy to see:

  • Multi-Factor Authentication and SSO are coming to Outlook before the end of the year. On-premises deployments can expect support for it next calendar year.
  • Exchange Sizing Guidance has been updated to reflect some of the new features in Exchange 2013 SP1:
    • The recommended page file size is now 32778 MB if your Exchange server has more than 32GB of memory. It should still be a fixed size and not managed by the OS.
    • CAS CPU requirements have increased with 50% to accommodate for MAPI/HTTP. It’s still lower than Exchange 2010
  • If you didn’t know it before, you will now: NFS is not supported for hosting Exchange data.
  • The recommended Exchange deployment uses 4 database copies, 3 regular 1 lagged. FSW preferably in a 3rd datacenter.
  • Increased emphasis on using a lagged copy.
  • OWA app for Android is coming
  • OWA in Office 365 will get a few new features including Clutter, People-view and Groups. No word if and when this will be made available for on-premises customers.

By now, it’s clear that Microsoft’s development cycle is based on a cloud-first model which – depending on what your take on things is – makes a lot of sense. This topic was also discussed during the Live recording of The UC Architects, I recommend you have a listen at it (as soon as it’s available) to hear how The UC Architects, Microsoft and the audience feels about this. Great stuff!

It’s also interesting to see some trends developing/happening. “Enterprise Social” is probably one of the biggest trends at the moment. With Office Graph being recently announced, I am curious to see how Exchange will evolve to embrace the so-called “Social Enterprise”. Features like Clutter, People View and Groups are already good examples of this.

Of course, MEC wasn’t all about work. There’s also time for fun. Lots of it. The format of the attendee party was a little atypical for a conference. Usually all attendees gather at a fairly large location. This time, however, the crowd was shattered across several bars in Rainey Street which Microsoft had rented off. Although I was a little skeptical at first, it rather worked really well and had tons of fun.

Then there was the UC Architects party which ENow graciously offered to host for us. The Speakeasy rooftop was really amazing and the turnout even more so. The party was a real success and I’m pretty confident there will be more in the future!

I’m sure that in the course of the next few weeks, more information will become available through the various blogs and websites as MVPs, Masters and other enthusiasts have digested the vast amount of information distributed at MEC.

I look forward to returning home, get some rest and start over again!

Au revoir, Microsoft Exchange Conference. I hope to see you soon!

Blog Events Exchange Exchange 2013 Microsoft Exchange Conference 2014 Office 365

Announcing Microsoft Exchange 2013 Cookbook

I’m happy (and proud) to announce the soon-to-be-released “Microsoft Exchange 2013 Cookbook” which I’m co-authoring with Peter De Tender.

Microsoft Exchange 2013 Cookbook

We are currently working hard to finish editing the last chapters and if all goes well, the book should be available somewhere in the course of August.

When we first started writing on the book, we committed ourselves to keeping things as practical as possible. While you will find plenty of information on how things work under the cover, we try to stay away from technical deep dives and work based of practical examples that should help you getting things done!

As you will notice, the book is targeted to what I like to call the “accidental admin” who needs to master Exchange 2013, yet at the same time has his hands full implementing and managing plenty of other things! However, this doesn’t mean that the seasoned Exchange admin or Exchange enthusiast won’t find any value in it as it contains plenty of facts on Exchange 2013 to keep you going! Smile

I personally believe the book goes great along with PACKTs other title “Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 PowerShell Cookbook- Second Edition” which will further enhance your skills in executing certain tasks – leveraging the power in PowerShell.

For me this is my first “big” writing project and I’m very excited about it!  I do hope that you enjoy the book and look forward to the feedback.

Michael

Exchange 2013

The UC Architects Episode 2: Corruption, Poison and Ethiopia

Today, the second podcast from “The UC Architects” was released.

In this episode Pat Richard, John A. Cook, Tom Arbuthnot, Andrew J. Price and  Johan Veldhuis talk about various topics including: Lync CU6, Microsoft buying Yammer, Exchange Poison Mailboxes and Mailbox Corruption. They also reveal the Lync “tip of the day” and take a look into the future with some interesting events coming up!

Take a look at The UC Architects for more information or subscribe via RSS. If you’re using iTunes, click here to subscribe.

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