Welcome to MEC - The Lost Conference

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I've come to MEC, the Microsoft Exchange Conference, in Orlando, FL to hear about Exchange 2013 and all things Exchange.  MEC is being called "the lost conference" since it was last held 10 years ago in Anaheim, CA.  The following year it was rolled into TechEd. 

This year it was decided to resurrect MEC to focus solely on Exchange and focus on Microsoft's new release of Exchange 2013.  While Scott Schnoll recently had some public sessions about Exchange 2013 (aka, E15) at TechEd Australia just recently, the attendees at MEC have been promised deep knowledge and hands-on learning of the new features.  MEC will feature 227 sessions about Exchange over 4 days.  126 of those will be about Exchange 2013.  Visit the MECisBack session list to see all the sessions.

MEC is being held entirely on site at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, FL.  This place is massive!  There are several restaurants, bistros, and cafes, and over 1,400 rooms all under one massive glass roof.  The resort includes a large pool area with an adult pool and a swim area, water park, and water slides for kids.

When I arrived, as was pleasantly surprised with a gift basket from the Exchange 2013 TAP Team.  It came with a nice welcome note thanking me for coming to MEC and for my assistance with the TAP/RDP program.  Very nice!

This afternoon registration opened and everyone already here began registering.  We each received a MEC satchel that contains an aluminum water bottle and the usual "stop by booth X for a chance to win" slicks.  We also got a MEC t-shirt and our valuable wristbands to the MEC attendee party, being held at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure theme park on Monday night.


It's been great meeting up with all my Exchange friends, including Squeaky Lobster!  Tonight we have a pre-reception event, hosted by my friends at F5.  We'll have an hour before heading to the MEC reception event tonight at 7pm.

I'll be tweeting from most of the sessions I attend, hightlighting important facts talked about during the sessions.  Follow @expta on Twitter to keep up on all the latest at MEC!
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Apple Customer Service #FAIL

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Argh!  It's not often I have such a bad customer service experience, but here's an example of how NOT to do things.

I decided to pre-order the Apple iPhone 5 today and had some questions about swapping SIMs, so I called 1-800-MY-APPLE.  The lady I talked to was nice enough, answered my questions, and offered to take my order.  I gave her all the information and confirmed with her that the iPhone 5 would be delivered September 21st, but when I got the confirmation email it said it will be delivered October 10 - October 16.

I called back to confirm and was told I can change the order online to pick up in an Apple store on September 21st.  The guy sent me an email with a link to change my delivery, but after following the links on the Apple.com order page, it told me I cannot change my shipping type and I must call 1-800-MY-APPLE.

Call #3.  This guy tells me that they cannot change the order to store pickup because Apple.com and the retail stores are different.  He needs to cancel the order and transfer me to the retail store order line, which he does.  The retail order lady asks, "Why do they keep doing this? You can't order it for pickup at a store.  You'll need to re-order it again from 1-800-MY-APPLE.  Sorry I can't transfer you back."

Call #4. The automated router sends me to Technical Support instead of Orders.  Apparently, those words sound alike.  I tell this guy I need to talk to someone about un-canceling an order.  No can do, but he’ll be happy to place another order for me.  I give all my information again (don’t they already have that from the first order?!?).  I wait for my confirmation email, but nothing comes.  Thankfully, I got the web order number from him.

I look up my order on Apple.com using my web order number, but I get an error saying, “The signed in account does not have access to this order.”


Call #5. I find out that email address, phone number, and spelling are all wrong on the order.  I got that fixed (after repeating myself a dozen times) and asked to have the confirmation emailed to me.  Sure enough, it shows again that it will be delivered October 10 - October 16.  I tell her that I was first told it would be delivered September 21st and I want to talk to a manager.  I was on hold through three complete songs (Chemical Brothers, “Call Me Maybe” and, I kid you not, “Crazy” by Patsy Cline) before she apologized for the wait and would transfer me to a manager.  What I got was an automated attendant that asked for the extension I was trying to reach.

At this point I’m so frustrated I’m going to cancel my order, but I just can’t put myself through another phone call with these people to do it right now. 

Now I know why people stand in long lines at the retail stores.
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How to Rename an Existing DAG in Exchange 2010

Saturday, September 15, 2012
Technically you can’t rename an existing Database Availability Group, but you can recreate it with a new name.  It's possible to do this without requiring that the databases within the DAG to reseed.

Here are the steps to recreate a DAG with a new name:
  • Suspend all backups and disable circular logging if it's enabled.  This will ensure you have all the transaction logs required to update the database copies when you're done.

  • Remove all database copies from the DAG.  This will remove them from the DAG, but doesn’t actually delete the database files on the server.
Remove-MailboxDatabaseCopy -Identity DB01\MBX3
  • Remove all nodes from the DAG using the -ConfigurationOnly switch.  The Mailbox servers will be evicted from the DAG's cluster and removed from the DAG object in Active Directory.
Remove-DatabaseAvailabilityGroupServer -Identity DAG -MailboxServer MBX3 -ConfigurationOnly
  • Remove the DAG.  Now that the DAG has no members, it can be deleted from Exchange and Active Directory.
Remove-DatabaseAvailabilityGroup -Identity DAG
  • Clean up the cluster service on each node.  This restores the configuration of the Cluster service on the specified node to its original state.
cluster node /force
  • Restart the Microsoft Exchange Replication service on each node.  Now each server is in standalone.  Databases should mount and be accessible.
Restart-Service MSExchangeRepl
  • Create the DAG with the new name.  Ensure your DAG properties and network settings are correct.
New-DatabaseAvailabilityGroup -Name DAG3 -WitnessServer EXHUB2 -DatabaseAvailabilityGroupIPAddresses,
  • Add the nodes to the new DAG.
Add-DatabaseAvailabilityGroupServer -Identity DAG3 -MailboxServer MBX3
  • Add mailbox database copies.  Exchange will see that the database copies already exist in the target file system and will resume replication.
Add-MailboxDatabaseCopy -Identity DB01 -MailboxServer MBX3 -ActivationPreference 3

As long as there wasn’t a tremendous amount of data churn (>~10%) you won’t need to reseed the databases.  Exchange will just replicate the logs generated from the time you removed the database copies.

Remember to resume your Exchange backups and reconfigure circular logging if it was previously enabled.
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