Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Microsoft ActiveSync Compatibilty Program fails on helpfulness

Ehlo All,

Curious about knowing...
  • what ActiveSync functionality is available with which version of Exchange?
  • which mobile devices have higher Active Functionality?

Well, this new Microsoft ActiveSync compatibility program for OEMs won't help, but read on about it.
Microsoft recently announced the Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) Logo Program for OEMs (think HTC, Google, Apple, Motorola, Microsoft, etc) which should have been used to identify and bring clarify to the level of EAS support a mobile device included. Sadly, it does not do this since there is 1 level for EAS Logo Program and it includes very basic functionality. So, if the device says "ActiveSync", this is pretty much equal to the EAS Logo Program. BK (author of post below) had it right that there should be multiple levels. For example, "basic", "enhanced", "ultimate". So, if an ActiveSync device said "Ultimate", you would know it supports every feature under the sun for EAS against Exchange 2010. Oh well, maybe version 2 of the program will get this improvement.

Windows IT Pro Post about new EAS Logo Program by BK Winstead


Monday, April 25, 2011

Message Dehydration isn't a good thing for Exchange!

Ehlo All,

Quote of the week: "limit is 94% before message dehydration occurs."

A normally very stable client's Exchange Server 2007 stopped processing inbound emails and this was the issue above. Client reported all internal email was working though. I logged into their Exchange Server and reviewed the normal issues inside the Exchange Management Console and nothing jumped out (e.g. databases mounted, 3GB free space on C, 700GB+ free space on database partition (D), no quota limits, receive connectors present/enabled, etc). Strange. I decided to check the email filtering solution in front of the Exchange Server. Since I always recommend clients use my company's email filtering service (SpamCop - I'll discuss this is another post) since it allows me to quickly troubleshoot issues and provide very secure email service. Reviewing SpamCop outbound queue to the client's Exchange Server illuminated the error:

Deferred: : host said: 452 4.3.1 Insufficient system resources (in reply to...

More details about this error can be found on this posting. Checking the client's Application Event Log for this error, I found it "The Microsoft Exchange Transport service is rejecting message submissions because the available disk space has dropped below the configured threshold.". Which was surprising since the C drive had a decent amount of space available (3GB+). What changed? Good old SBS's Windows Server Update Services had downloaded every update under the sun and the storage space threshold was passed and triggered back pressure. I uninstalled WSUS and that eliminated 10GB and back pressure was eased and email flow started. I plan to remove some other functionality as well and plan to do a scheduled reboot as well to free up more space. To sum up, SBS causes more problems than it's worth for Exchange deployments. I prefer clean Exchange installs over Exchange SBS installs.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Fixing ActiveSync on an Exchange 2007 Server

Ehlo All,

So, a client's iPhone with ActiveSync stopped working with their Exchange Server 2007. If rebooting and deleting and setting it back up doesn't fix it, confirm your server's AS is working. An good way to do this is to test with Microsoft Exchange test website found here. So after some investigating, it turned up that the IIS Virtual Directory for "ActiveSync" wasn't responding correctly. One can test this by "https://myservername/Microsoft-Server-ActiveSync" and make sure it prompts for a username and pwd. My client's server didn't do that. It reported 501 service unavailable error. I therefore deleted the ActiveSync virtual directory and re-created it and it fixed the issue. A great blog posting to explain this can be found here. To clarify, the "XXXXX" in his example for normal Exchange installs is "Default Web Site".

Handy URLs:
Detailed instructions on deleting and recreating virtual directories for Exchange 2007

Microsoft's Test Website for Exchange/ActiveSync/Outlook/SMTP