New Community Formed for Exchange 2013 Users on Google+

Social networkers with an interest in Microsoft Exchange 2013 may want to check out a new community just launched on Google+.

Called Microsoft Exchange 2013 Learning, the community bills itself as a “central place for administrators and IT professionals to share new information, discoveries, experience and mistakes.”

Currently the community is organized around several areas of interest.  As might be expected, there is a general discussion area and one to alert members to events they might be interested in.

There are also discussions about Exchange PowerShell, the client access role, the mailbox role, malware filters and hosted Exchange 2013.

So far, the fledgling community has attracted some 40 members. Discussion, though, is still thin and consists of moderator Vasili Syrakis trying to stoke member comments  with some postings of his own.

He’s contributing his experience with the new Exchange as well asking his own questions about the software.

For example, he’s advising Exchange 2013 administrators to create a folder mailbox before creating a public folder in the server software.

“Public folder mailboxes contain the hierarchy information for a public folder,” he explained.

What Syrakis is referring to is the unique role assigned the first public folder mailbox created in Exchange 2013. That mailbox becomes the Public Folder Master Hierarchy Mailbox. It is the only one with a writable copy of the public folder hierarchy. All subsequent public folder mailboxes contain the hierarchy, but in read-only format.

That arrangement prevents conflicts as more public folders are created. Any hierarchal changes made by a user — such as creating or deleting a folder — are redirected to the Master Public Folder Mailbox, where the writable version of the hierarchy resides. Once the changes are made, they’re redirected to the other public folder mailboxes, thus avoiding possible conflicts.

By the way, managing public folders has also been changed in the new Exchange. The Public Folder Management console is gone and management must be done either through the Exchange Management Shell or the new Exchange Administration Center.

Syrakis is also calling on community members to share their experiences with the new Exchange, especially if they’re using it in a hosted environment, which he appears to be having some trouble with.

“Hosted Exchange 2013 has me frustrated,” he confessed.

“I have everything working except for public folders,” he continued. “I think it’s because I am using one of the older RC’s of Exchange 2013.”

In addition to Syrakis’s new community, Exchange knowledge seekers have plenty of places on the Web to acquire savvy about the software, not the least of which is Microsoft’s own forums. There you can find discussions covering every aspect of Exchange Server 2013.

Among the more popular Exchange 2013 forums are “general discussion” and “preview.” Discussions on administration, monitoring and performance; Outlook, OWA, POP and IMAP clients; and setup, deployment, updates and migration also attract a good amount of traffic.

Forums on subjects like high availability and disaster recovery; mobility and ActiveSync; extended components, tools and utilities; mail flow and secure messaging; unified messaging; and sharing and collaboration have less traffic than some of the other Exchange 2013 discussion groups.

As useful as Microsoft’s forums are, a Google+ community like Syrakis’s can bring a personal element to discussions that may be lacking in a company-sponsored forum. Of course, to become really useful, an online community has to reach a certain critical mass. It remains to be seen if Microsoft Exchange 2013 Learning can do that.

Written by John P Mello Jr

John Mello is a freelance writer who has written about business and technical subjects for more than 25 years. He is frequent contributor to the ECT News Network and his work has appeared in a number of periodicals, including Byte magazine, PC World, Computerworld, CIO magazine and the Boston Globe

4 Comments

  1. Matt · December 28, 2012

    If a job board appears targeted at Exchange admins only, this will make it a more interesting place. Otherwise, it will be just one more Exchange resource and we have plenty of them.

  2. Helen · December 31, 2012

    Hmm… this is very interesting. For someone as huge as Microsoft, it should already have its own network site for its loyal users. But anyway, I’ve already tried Google Plus, and I’m very much impressed with the many changes I have seen. The Hangouts is probably one of its best features. It allows me to communicate with the different members of the community in a jiffy, and it does work like a regular video conference minus the extra costs. The connection is usually very fluid, and the only thing that stops you from communicating well is a poor Internet connection.

  3. Jessy · January 2, 2013

    I’m very new to Microsoft Exchange 2013, so I’m very glad to know that there’s actually a support group I can check into when I need help. Though I don’t discount the fact that the technical support still remains the go-to people for troubleshooting, getting pieces of advice from the other users is also a great learning experience. Plus, you have a much higher chance of obtaining a response from the support group than from the technical support within 24 hours. I think using Google Plus is also a great idea because of Google Hangouts. It makes conferencing or discussions easier.

  4. Margaux Murilles · January 30, 2013

    You are right there, Matt. But I think Google Plus is more than just a “resource,” like a website with a bunch of articles and a message board. I’ve been using Google Plus for some time now, and it’s one of the most interactive communities I’ve ever been. I especially love the Hangouts feature where you can talk to as many Google users within the circle as you like. This allows for a more effective and faster method of communication. It’s basically like sitting in a round table discussing the one thing that you are all interested in. In fact, you can run a short course or webinar about Exchange 2013 for your IT and let one expert in the community do it in real time.

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