Microsoft Exchange and Blackberry Server Specialists

SEMblog

Microsoft Exchange Server and
Blackberry Enterprise Server news, views and fixes.

Got a Blackberry on BIS - Got Exchange/SBS - You Need a BES Express

 

If you were affected by the Blackberry Internet Service outage today (10th October 2001) and your Blackberry connects to an in-house email server running Exchange server (2003 or higher), then you really should be running a BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server) or BES Express (BESX).

A Blackberry connected to a BES/BESX gives you the full functionality of the Blackberry with true two way synchronisation of Email, Contacts, Calendar and Tasks. It is an extension of your Inbox. No need to maintain two sets of data that kind of synchronises. 

If you use BESX, then the software is free and you do not have to change your device subscription/tariff. For smaller installations the software can be installed on your server in  a few hours and give you complete control over the devices that connect. 

If you are in an industry where the email traffic is sensitive, the data exchange between your Blackberry and the BES/BESX cannot be intercepted as the encryption is managed by your server, not the one at RIM. This provides a more secure mobile email solution. 

Through my company Sembee Ltd, I can install and configure a BES Express for you for just £250 plus VAT if installed on to an existing server (other terms and conditions apply). That includes post installation configuration and guidance on maintenance, handset setup etc. 

For more information, contact me through the company web site at http://www.sembee.co.uk/ 

 

Future Version of Exchange Error When Removing Public Folder Database

During a recent migration from Exchange 2007 to 2010 I found I was unable to remove the public folder store from the Exchange 2007 server. 

It was returning the following error when using remove-publicfolderdatabase or using EMC on Exchange 2007. 

Remove-PublicFolderDatabase : Object is read only because it was created by a future version of Exchange: 0.10 (14.0.100.0). Current supported version is 0.1 (8.0.535.0).

Obviously the Exchange 2010 server had touched the database in some way, probably due to the Offline Address Book migration. 

The fix was quite simple - remove it using the Exchange 2010 Exchange Management Shell. Can't use the GUI as the Exchange 2007 public folders do not appear in there.

Get-PublicFolderDatabase -Server EXCH2007 | Remove-PublicFolderDatabase

Where "Exch2007" is the name of the Exchange 2007 server. 

After removing the database I refreshed the GUI and was then able to drop the Storage Group and complete the removal of Exchange 2007. 

Odd SBS 2011 Receiving Email Issue

 

Recently deployed an SBS 2011 server for a client down in the New Forest. Shortly after going live with this server, we experienced one of the oddest issues I have experienced. The fix was very simple, but the symptoms left us scratching our head. 

The server was intermittently receiving email. I could send it messages, but other accounts could not. Sometimes email from Google Mail would come through, other times they wouldn't. Same for Hotmail and other services. 

As it was intermittent, I was confidently ruling out the Exchange part as I said I could send it email. It was responding to telnet commands quite happily. 

Therefore we started to consider issues such as the router (it was something odd), the ISP as it was one that I hadn't used before and wasn't quite the same as others in the UK. Things were changed around and still the problem continued. 

The major symptom was the "Service Unavailable" was received by the clients, but it was on a 4.x.x error code, so email wasn't failing immediately. That error message usually means the anti-spam filtering it blocking the email. As the anti-spam agents are installed by default on SBS 2011, they were removed, no change. We had also installed AV on to the server, so that was checked and removed to ensure it wasn't affecting anything. 

This went on for a few days.

Then clutching at straws I started to go through the entire setup comparing it to my reference SBS 2011 server here in my home office. This reference server is basically an SBS 2011 installation that has had the wizards run, is kept patched, but isn't used or touched in any other way. It is an out of the box install. No third party software installed, and it isn't exposed to the internet. I have them for all three versions of SBS (2003, 2007 and 2011) that I work with. 

When I got to the Receive Connectors, I immediately noticed something was wrong, and I had overlooked something. 

This is a screenshot of the Receive Connector as I saw:

 
The key bit is at the bottom. 
It appears that the SBS setup wizards configure the receive connector to not receive email from the internal subnet. However for some reason the third line to allow IP addresses above 192.168.x.x had not been written. 
 
This is a screenshot of the correctly configured connector:

 

What this meant was that any email server with an IP address of below 192.168 was able to send email to the server, but anything above that couldn't. It would appear that some of the major email providers like Google Mail are routing their email out through high number IP addresses!

Furthermore, this wasn't being corrected by the fix my network wizard, which I had run a number of times to ensure that I hadn't missed something. 

As soon as I corrected the setting and restarted the Microsoft Exchange Transport Service for good measure, the email started to flood in. 

 

Relocation

 

The blog has been very quiet for a few months, and even my forum posting level has dropped, and that is because I have moved house. 

I am now located in the Thames Valley, midway between Newbury (home of Vodafone) and Reading (home of Microsoft UK). It took me a little while to settle in, as I moved from a very small one bedroom flat (apartment) in to a three bedroom detached house. Although oddly my stuff appears to have grown to fill the space!

I now have a real office instead of the corner of the lounge, a real kitchen instead of the corner of the lounge and a lounge without a kitchen and my office in it. I also have a garden, which is somewhat of a shock as I am so not green fingered. 

Anyway all good fun and I am now back up to speed with client work.