When Microsoft Ignite 2020 become a digital event we took it as an opportunity to think about the sessions and subjects people always ask us about, but which we rarely have the space for given the physical constraints of the venue.
We always get a lot of questions at events like Ignite (so many, that last year we wrote a blog about it), and we always get a lot on the subject of migrating to Exchange Online.
So this year, given there is no booth to come and ask your questions we thought we'd get ahead of the game and create a series of videos to answer many of the questions we get. We’re calling this the Setting Up for Success with Exchange Online series.
Deciding who would create them was easy. Most of the material we publish comes from Program Managers in the engineering or customer teams, or from those in marketing. But most of the expertise for how things really work in the real-world – comes from those in the field or in support roles at Microsoft. Those are the people who answer the phone when you have an issue. They need to understand the issue, figure out what to do about it, draw on their or experience of others if it’s something they’ve never seen before, and in the end, try and solve your problem.
The people we asked to create these videos are the people who get involved when things are hard. They don’t do the simple stuff, they fix the tough stuff. I used to tell the story that if you were having trouble with Exchange and you were on the phone to someone like Tim McMichael, then you’re in way more trouble than you think you are.
So, the idea of this post is to introduce the speakers for these sessions, explain a bit about what each session covers, and provide links to watch them.
You can watch them in any order, they are not dependent, but they are listed here in an order along the lines of planning, through deployment/migration, and then into troubleshooting.
Speaker: Arindam Thokder - Arindam has been working at Microsoft for more than 15 years, nearly all of it in Support and focused on mailflow issues. Arindam loves to do street photography when he is not busy moving SMTP traffic from one office to another.
Abstract: How to plan for and enable Hybrid Mail Flow. How to get SMTP emails to flow despite your overly complicated existing config. Where to look if Hybrid Mailflow is not working as expected.
Speaker: Rob Whaley – Rob is almost 10 years old (in Microsoft years working with Exchange) and one of his focuses is on Hybrid. When he is not out taking his morning walks in the Texas heat he can be found bending Exchange hybrids to his will.
Abstract: This session covers the basics of why and how you need to run the HCW.
Speaker: Smart Kamolratanapiboon – Smart has been in a customer facing role supporting Exchange since Exchange 5.5. He joined Microsoft in 2006 as a PFE and his primary focus is Messaging and Office 365. He is currently a Senior Customer Engineer dedicated to a Fortune 50 company helping to ensure successful deployment of Office 365.
Abstract: Securing your on prem Exchange Environment with modern authentication when enabling HMA. Learn how Conditional Access can be leveraged and how to lock down legacy auth and what to expect when using Outlook Mobile with HMA.
Speaker: Ben Winzenz – Ben is approaching 14 years at Microsoft and has been working with Exchange for over 20 years now. He enjoys running, playing sports (no more basketball though – don't ask) and taking road trips with his family. He maintains a personal blog here where he hopes to share tidbits to help Exchange admins fix issues.
Abstract: Lessons learned from the trenches of Support on how to perform Hybrid Mailbox migrations to Exchange Online with the best chance of success and the least amount of pain. We will also discuss the basics of how moves really work and go over common errors that are seen (and how to avoid them!).
Speaker: Bhalchandra Atre - Bhalchandra is an avid adventure traveler, spends most of his time on motorcycle rides, treks etc. And when he is not traveling, Bhalchandra also loves fixing broken Exchange servers and has been doing so for last 20 years or so. He specializes in Exchange server administration and public folders.
Abstract: Preparation is the key to successful migration and most of this session walks you through how to prepare public folders at your on-premises environment for trouble free and quick migration to Exchange Online, just like gliding!
Speaker: Jason Slaughter - Jason troubleshot his first connectivity problem when his dad picked up a phone and broke his 300 baud modem's link on his C64. The protocols and tools have changed a lot since then but his passion for connectivity hasn't, and for the last 11 years at Microsoft connectivity has been his main specialty area.
Abstract: Client connectivity cases can often be very complex. From ActiveSync to Web Services there's often confusion on where to start troubleshooting, what tools to use, and how to connect the dots. This session will use common issues to illustrate how a Microsoft engineer "follows the data" to drive case resolution.
Speaker: Tim McMichael – Tim is a senior support escalation engineer in our identity management team. His experience includes Exchange Server, Exchange Online, and Azure AD. Tim blogs his innermost thoughts and feelings and hands out guru-like advice here.
Abstract: How do you manage distribution lists when users are split between on-prem and EXO.
Speakers: Charlene Stephens and Chad Solarz - Chad Solarz is a midwest based Sr. Customer Engineer focusing on Exchange and Exchange Online. Previous MVP, MCT who now joined the mothership, he still enjoys teaching our customers to help them arrive at that ‘AH-HA!’ moment.
Charlene Stephens has been supporting Exchange for over 22 years and has a passion for client connectivity, networking and authentication. She also enjoys creating documentation and blogs about how to help our customers in various Exchange related issues.
Abstract: So you've moved all or most of your mailboxes to Exchange Online. You've been tasked with reducing or eliminating the on-prem footprint. How can we do this without causing availability issues or a support ticket? We'll cover some gotchas we've helped our customer with so you'll avoid the same pitfalls. We’ll review the process for the main portions of Exchange, such as; client access, transport, and mailbox components.
Speaker: Rob Whaley again. Back because he loves to talk and help folks out of a tight spot. Hopefully these tips will help you when you are stuck in the server room in the middle of the night running the HCW.
Abstract: Tips and tricks for bumps you might hit along the way.
That’s the line-up. And as you can see, your presenters have an awful lot of experience and background. Collectively they have almost 8,726 years of service at Microsoft and have worked on 87 billion minutes of support or customer cases. We made those numbers up, but they are good, let’s put it like that.
Enjoy the sessions, and we’d love to hear your feedback.
They don’t know it yet but we’re going to ask them to join the post-Ignite Ask Me Anything session so you can ask them questions. The AMA will take place on October 8th from 9:00 – 10:00am PST in the Exchange AMA space in the Exchange Community.