• 1. London, UK
  • 2. New York, NY
  • 3. Sydney, Australia
  • 4. Melbourne, Australia
  • 5. Moscow, Russia
  • 6. Singapore
  • 7. Paris, France
  • 8. Chicago, IL
  • 9. Hong Kong
  • 10. Houston, TX
Bharat Suneja
Exchangepedia has moved!

This blog has been moved to its new home at http://exchangepedia.com/, and is now hosted on an excellent CMS – WordPress. Most old links have been redirected to the new url.

At some point, after the remaining permanlinks are redirected, this home page will automatically redirect to the new url.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Migrating to WordPress: Code is Poetry

Posted by Bharat Suneja at 10:46 AM

Early this morning, I migrated this blog from Google's Blogger to WordPress - for the fourth time in less than a month! Luckily, the wonders of XML-based data transforms between Blogger and WordPress made the process a lot easier than I thought, compared to the few single-handed attempts at migration made in the past year or so.

The fact that the WordPress download is less than 2.5 Mb. never ceases to amaze me! For the size, it's a surprisingly efficient CMS. As a blogging platform, it's unparalleled.

More than 600 posts imported successfully, with dates, comments, trackbacks, etc. During the process, the WordPress importer gave up on it 3-4 times, but when restarting the process it was smart enough to acknowledge the list of posts that were already imported, and skipped them the next time around. After the import was completed on the 3rd or 4th attempt, all posts showed up.

Of course, the process wasn't completely without hitches. One issue I'd like to see resolved is with comments — although a post has many comments, and the WordPress version of the post displays the comments successfully, it doesn't calculate the number of comments. As a result, all posts show up claiming there are zero comments. But I'm pleased with the overall import process and willing to ignore the minor inconvenience.

The new blog isn't quite ready yet - style sheets need to be applied, and design changes need to go in — something I'll be able to do over the next few days/weeks. Until then, the work-in-progress can be found at its new "simplified" URL - http://exchangepedia.com/.

@WordPress.org: Yes, your code is indeed poetry!

New RSS Feed: Just finished creating a new RSS feed on Feedburner. It should be active any time now - grab it from feeds.feedburner.com/Exchangepedia.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Windows 7 reaches the 100 million mark

Posted by Bharat Suneja at 10:46 PM

Ten days after Windows 7's October 22 launch, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said:
Certainly we’ve seen initial sales be fantastic. The first ten days were bigger than the first ten days of XP or Vista or any other Windows launch that we have done.
All Things Digital's John Paczkowski responded with Well, What Did You Expect Him to Say? Windows 7 Is Selling Poorly?. Needless to say, similar pronouncements by Steve Jobs about iPhones/iPods/Macs/OS X would've resulted in a media frenzy of epic proportions.

During the first month, Windows 7 sprinted past the total market share of all versions of Apple's OS X according to Internet metrics vendor Net Applications.

Six months after its launch, Windows 7 has sold more than 100 million copies, becoming the fastest selling OS ever. The OS claimed a 10% share of the PC market in February (Macs included). Not surprisingly, Windows revenues have grown 28% in the last quarter, as reported by CFO Peter Klein during last week's earnings announcement.

Interestingly, Apple's clever Mac v/s PC advertising seems to have run its course. "I'm a PC" is in! Along with the laptop hunter ads, it proves clever advertising isn't the exclusive domain of one company. InfoWorld's "Save XP" campaign has faded into oblivion (along with its infamous desktop computing expert, and his alterego).

Using Windows 7 is a pleasure. The user experience is top-notch. The performance is unquestionably better than its predecessors. Nobody's having driver issues. Everything just works. And writing about Windows flaws doesn't sell any magazines or boost pageviews for tech publications.

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Friday, April 16, 2010


Office 2010 RTMs

Posted by Bharat Suneja at 5:27 PM
Office 2010, the wave 14 release of Microsoft Office, has been released to manufacturing (RTM) today. Congratulations to the Office team - using this shiny new version of Office is a pleasure! There's lot to like in all of the Office apps - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Visio, Project— and Outlook 2010 really shines!

There's a long list of new features and improvements, and the new ribbon UI is now all pervasive inside Outlook. For more on the Outlook 2010 user experience, check out The Look and Feel of Outlook 2010 on the Outlook team blog.

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Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Announced: Exchange 2010 SP1, Beta in June

Posted by Bharat Suneja at 6:15 AM
Microsoft has just announced Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1! A beta of the feature-laden SP1 is headed your way come June 2010. Some of the juicy new features in SP1 include the ability to locate the Personal Archive on a different mailbox database than the one where the user's primary mailbox is located (a much requested feature— In Exchange 2010 RTM, both the primary and the archive mailboxes need to be on the same database). Some of the other new features include:
  • Import PST Files: Import historical e-mail data from PST files directly into Exchange 2010
  • Delegate access to a user's Personal Archive
  • MRM (Retention Policies + Retention Tags) UI in EMC
  • Multi-Mailbox Search (aka Discovery): Search preview to obtain an estimate of number of items in search result-set with keyword statistics— before messages are copied to the discovery mailbox
  • Multi-Mailbox Search: Search result de-duplication— only copies one instance of a message to the discovery mailbox, reduces amount of messages you need to review following the search
  • Multi-Mailbox Search: Annotation of reviewed items
  • Support access to a user's Personal Archive in Outlook 2007
  • OWA: Pre-fetch message content
  • OWA: Delete, mark-as-read, and categorize operations run asynchronously
  • OWA: Long-running operations such as attaching a very large file will not block the rest of the OWA experience
  • OWA: Number of other UI improvements
  • Calendar Sharing: Users can share calendars with anonymous viewers via the web (provided the admin enables the capability)
  • OWA: Web-Ready Document Viewing of IRM-protected documents in Safari on a Mac, and FireFox and Internet Explorer on Windows
  • OWA: OWA themes are back!
  • OWA: Reading pane can be placed on the bottom or on the right
  • Mobility: Tether-free IRM support in EAS
  • Mobility: Support for Send-As
  • Mobility: Notifying users if their device is placed on block or quarantine
  • Mobility: Full implementation of conversation view
  • Management UI: Exchange 2010 SP1 brings plenty of new management UI in both EMC and ECP, including:

    • Create/configure Retention Tags + Retention Policies in EMC
    • Configure Transport Rules in ECP
    • Configure Journal Rules in ECP
    • Configure MailTips in ECP
    • Provision and configure Personal Archive in ECP
    • Configure Litigation Hold in ECP
    • Configure Allow/Block/Quarantie mobile device policies in ECP
    • RBAC role management in ECP
    • Configure DAG IP Addresses and Alternate Witness Server in EMC
    • Recursive public folder settings management (including permissions) in EMC

For more info and video, head over to Yes Virginia, There's An Exchange 2010 SP 1 on the Exchange team blog.

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Tuesday, April 06, 2010


Exchangepedia Blog Changes

Posted by Bharat Suneja at 12:57 PM
It's finally time to move the blog off an old, archaic platform! Back when the blog was started (~6 years ago!), Blogger seemed to be the quick and easy way to do it, while still being able to use my own domain and server.

Down the road, Google acquired Blogger, and I joined the Exchange team at Microsoft. For a while, the blog existed in a twilight zone — a blog about Exchange, Windows and other things Microsoft, published using Blogger, with RSS feeds fed by FeedBurner (another Google acquisition), Search provided by Bing (and its predecessor— Live Search), with Google AdSense ads on top!

It's time for yet another change— one I haven't had adequate time to prepare for. Blogger is shutting down its FTP service, which means blogs such as this won't be able to publish to their own servers using FTP. Moving to Blogger's new system would probably mean the loss of a lot of customization.

I have decided to move to WordPress instead— for long the platform of choice for me. I haven't had sufficient time to migrate all the posts yet, and migrating comments would certainly be very time-consuming. If you know of any ways to automate this (I'm using Google's old template-based sytem), feel free to leave a comment.

Blogger cuts off FTP support on May 1. It'll be an interesting move.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Geek Out With Perry: New Video Series and Blog

Posted by Bharat Suneja at 12:41 PM
It's been over two months since I posted here! No, I'm not taking a break, at least not an intentional one, and hopefully will get back to posting regularly soon. Meanwhile, check out the posts on the Exchange team blog.

And if you've been monitoring the team blog, you must have come across (and read with interest, I hope) the Top 10 Exchange Storage Myths post and the Large Mailbox Vision whitepaper posted on the Microsoft site. Yes, 'tis the season of large and very large (and low cost) mailboxes, and with features such as Exchange 2010's Personal Archive, the multitude of performance improvements and continuous lowering of disk I/O requirements in Exchange 2007 and 2010, coupled with Outlook's perf improvements (Outlook 2007 SP2 and Outlook 2010), we're seeing Exchange mailboxes get a lot larger! Interestingly, 2 Gb+ is now the norm in many organizations, and 10 Gb mailboxes on their way to the "not unusual" territory!

I myself crossed the 5 Gb. limit on my own mailbox, hosted on Exchange 2010 RTM server. Glad to say it's working very well with Outlook 2010 and OWA, and I'm allowing myself to get a little sloppier as far as filing messages in folders goes. Exchange Search (and Windows Search — used by Outlook when accessing Exchange Server in cached mode) continue to provide great search capability.

Exchange GM Perry Clarke, one of Exchange's thought leaders, has started blogging, and you'll find many of his thoughts around ever-increasing mailbox size and storage trends very interesting. Check out the new video series — Geeking Out With Perry, and Perry's first blog post— Getting the conversation started.

Perry— welcome to the blogosphere! I look forward to future episodes from the video series, and more blog posts.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010


Outlook Spy 2.15 is Outlook 2010-compatible

Posted by Bharat Suneja at 9:30 AM

Didn't notice earlier— one of my favorite Outlook/Exchange tools is now compatible with Outlook 2010. Outlook Spy is primarily a tool for Outlook/Exchange developers, but Exchange administrators also find it useful. It allows you to look under the hood of mailboxes and messages. Created by Dmitry Streblechenko, an Outlook MVP, Outlook Spy has been on my list of "must have Exchange tools" for as long as I can remember. Released in November 2009, the latest version of Outlook Spy (v2.15) adds Outlook 2010 compatibility.

You can download Outlook Spy 2.15 from Dmitry's web site. Registration for a single user license is $49.99. It's been worth every penny and more for me.

I also like the free MFCMapi tool on Codeplex - Microsoft's open source community site where you'll find a lot of useful tools and apps along with the source code. MFCMapi is a compact executable (760-873K) and doesn't require installation. It was created by Microsoft's Stephen Griffin. It's available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010


How did it feel to beat Google?

Posted by Bharat Suneja at 3:21 PM
Every time I pass the Microsoft Silicon Valley campus in Mountain View, I'm amused and amazed that a Microsoft campus is in close proximity to Yahoo, Google, and other Silicon Valley bellwethers. The talent here is amazing!

If you haven't done so already, check out BingTweets, which fuses Bing's search results and real-time content from Twitter.

The San Jose Mercury News carried an interesting story over the weekend about how Bing's Silicon Valley-based team beat search engine giant Google to real-time search. Interestingly, Microsoft engineers Chad Carson and Eric Scheel, and their boss Sean Suchter— formerly VP of Search at Yahoo, planned it all aboard Alaska Airlines Flight 321 enroute to Seattle. The new search team at the Silicon Valley campus includes heavyweights like database expert and former IBMer Ashok K. Chandra— "a professorial presence who sounds like a poet when he compares creating computer algorithms to the view from the summit of Mount Whitney", and Shubha Nabar, a "newly-minted" Ph. D. from Stanford.

By the time Flight 321 was over Oregon, the group in Row 6 had evolved from a technology klatch to a cabal of plotters who scrawled a schematic tangle of boxes on a sheet of paper to map out something no big Internet search engine had yet achieved. The three members of Microsoft's new Silicon Valley search team would try to make their company's Bing a window into America's stream of consciousness, serving up the chatter on Twitter and blog posts, with the latest updates on everything from celebrity gossip to breaking news.
Another interesting factoid many here in Silicon Valley may relate to— the plan didn't involve a PowerPoint.
The afternoon of the Seattle flight, Suchter stood before his boss in Redmond, Harry Shum, and pulled the dog-eared sheet of paper from his back pocket. This, Suchter told Shum, handing him the marked-up page, is what the team wants to do.

"I know I've got to get worried when you're giving me your plans drawn on a piece of paper and not in PowerPoint," Shum said. But he approved the effort.
When asked how it felt to beat Google, Suchter responds:
That was fun— retroactively. We didn't know we were going to catch them. We kind of though we would, but who knew?
More in Microsoft's Challenge: 90 days to beat Google on mercurynews.com.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010


More Browsers, More Browser Woes

Posted by Bharat Suneja at 6:05 AM
In an increasingly web-centric world where cloud services are supposed to replace all our desktop apps, the web browser has become an important tool. Although new browsers have been introduced and old ones mature, the browser experience continues to degrade, alarmingly so!

Browsers, including the "smaller", "faster", "nimbler" ones, increasingly consume large amounts of system resources. I'm alarmed by the memory consumption record of FireFox (and although I haven't done any strictly comparative tests, it seems IE 8 is more well-behaved in this respect). More importantly, browser crashes are up to annoying levels, and again - I see these happening with FireFox more often than IE or Chrome.

InfoWorld's J. Peter Buzzese beat me to this post, and he echoes my thoughts very closely on the subject. So, rather than repeat what he's already written, let me simply point to his latest— Enough! What to do about browser piggishness.


Sunday, January 17, 2010


Gmail discovers benefits of SSL, defaults to HTTPS

Posted by Bharat Suneja at 12:07 PM
Google seems to have discovered the benefits of using SSL to encrypt HTTP traffic. In a blog post on the Gmail blog, Engineering Director Sam Schillace explains that Google has finally started valuing security over latency, and enabled HTTPS by default.

Gmail has always been using SSL to encrypt the authentication credentials sent from the login page. However, past the login page and accessing messages, all communication has been in the clear. Users have been accessing their messages over an unencrypted session. Users could choose to use SSL for the entire session, but since encryption would make Gmail slower, Gmail did not use it by default.

The latest change means the entire session will be encrypted by default.

If you haven't enabled SSL for the entire session before, you may see more latency when accessing Gmail. Encrypting data requires more resources. As Schillace comments in the post:
Over the last few months, we've been researching the security/latency tradeoff and decided that turning https on for everyone was the right thing to do.
To Gmail's credit, it's the only free web email provider that appears to be offering the use of SSL for the entire session. Microsoft's Live Mail and Yahoo Mail offer SSL-encrypted login pages, but there's no option to use SSL for the entire session. It's about time they follow suit.

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Friday, December 18, 2009


Connected, as never before

Posted by Bharat Suneja at 11:25 PM
I spent last week thinking about couple of blog posts I wanted to finish, but it seems this year the holiday spirit took over a little sooner than it normally does (for me). It's been a busy year with Exchange 2010, and now that it's released and getting rave reviews, it's time to take a break.

Seth Godin has put together What Matters Now - a collection of thoughts strung together in an ebook that's available as a free download on his blog. I found parts of the book echoed my thoughts closely as 2009 makes an exit. Interesting passage from Howard Mann:

There are tens of thousands of businesses making many millions a year in profits and still haven't ever heard of twitter, blogs, or facebook. Are they all wrong? Have they missed out or is the joke on us? They do business through personal relationships, by delivering great customer service and it's working for them. They're more successful than most of those businesses who spend hours pontificating about how others lose out by missing social media and the latest wave. And yet they're doing business. Great business. Not writing about it. Doing it.

I'm continually amazed by the number of people on Twitter and blogs , and the growth of people (and brands) on facebook. But I'm also amazed by how so many of us are spending our time. The echo chamber we're building is getting larger and louder.

More megaphones don't equal a better dialogue. We've become slaves to our mobile devices and the glow of our screens. It used to be much more simple and, somewhere, simple turned into slow.

We walk the streets with our heads down staring into 3-inch screens while the world whisks by doing the same. And yet we're convinced we are more connected to each other than ever before. Multi-tasking has become a badge of honor. I want to know why.

I don't have all the answers to these questions but I find myself thinking about them more and more. In between tweets, blog posts and facebook updates.

Howard Mann is a speaker, entrepreneur, and the author of Your Business Brickyard.
What Matters Now is completely worth reading, and the above passage makes one think about the changes 2009 brought and accelerated. The number of Facebook users is higher than the U.S. population. YouTube has served more than a billion videos. And an ever-increasing mass of mankind is forever tied to 3-inch screens. Blogging, tweeting, and Facebooking.

For the first time in a long while my holiday reading list doesn't include anything about Exchange Server or security or technology in general.