UW Holidays in Exchange

Anyone else annoyed that your Exchange calendar doesn’t show the UW holidays?

According to David Norton, our local Exchange expert, this is because for Exchange, calendaring is really just a system of decentralized email messages under the hood. This allows Exchange to be amazingly flexible (what other calendaring solution allows one person to use Gregorian while another uses Hebrew Lunar?), but it also makes centralized calendaring tasks like adding the UW Holidays to everyone’s calendar hard.

I hear the Exchange service roadmap is looking at a future feature to address this, but in the meantime, I went out and created a solution for myself which just happens to be re-usable.

Exchange has a concept of being able to adding holidays to your calendar. You choose from a lengthy pre-defined set, and they are imported onto your calendar. Via Outlook, you can get there via Tools, Options, Calendar Options, Add Holidays. Hint: uncheck “United States” so you don’t accidentally import the wrong set of holidays. Of course, Microsoft didn’t come and ask the UW about when our holidays are, so we’re not in the list.

But you can change the list.

Both http://www.slipstick.net/calendar/holidays.htm and
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/HP012304061033.aspx describe how to create a custom list of holidays. This involves editing your local outlook.hol file at c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office 12\1033\outlook.hol and adding the holidays in the right format.

I’ve gone ahead and done that for the 2008, 2009, and 2010 holidays (collected from http://www.washington.edu/admin/hr/holidays/holidays.html), and it works fine.

If you’d like to use the same solution, download my outlook.hol file, exit outlook, make a copy of your outlook.hol file (in case something goes wrong), copy in my version, then open outlook. Afterward, go back to the holidays, uncheck “United States” again (it’s a persistently annoying item, isn’t it?), and check the 3 new holiday items: UW Holidays 2008, UW Holidays 2009, UW Holidays 2010 and hit OK. Now your calendar should show the UW holidays.

It’s not ideal, but it gets the job done, and I imagine the Exchange roadmap feature’s solution will be very similar to this.

MS Campus Agreement: Core CAL or Enterprise CAL?

As many of you know, we’re rapidly approaching the time to renew our Microsoft Campus Agreement.  With the release of Exchange Server 2007, Office 2007, Office SharePoint Server 2007, and the forthcoming release of Office Communications Server 2007 and the System Center family of products, Microsoft has added a new twist to the licensing story: Enter the Enterprise CAL Suite.

Traditionally, Microsoft has offered the “Campus Desktop”, which includes Windows upgrades, Office Enterprise, and the Core CAL Suite.  The Core CAL suite has traditionally given you licensing for Windows Server, Exchange, and SharePoint.

So, what’s the difference between the Enterprise CAL suite and the Core CAL suite, and why would I be interested in it?

Let’s start by comparing the two:

Core CAL Suite

Enterprise CAL Suite

Windows Server CAL

Windows Server CAL

Exchange Server 2007 Standard CAL

Exchange Server 2007 Standard and Enterprise CAL

Office SharePoint Server 2007 Standard CAL

Office SharePoint Server 2007 Standard and Enterprise CAL

System Center Configuration Manager (SMSv4) Configuration Management License (CML)

System Center Configuration Manager (SMSv4) Configuration Management License (CML)

Office Communications Server 2007 Standard and Enterprise CAL
Windows Rights Management Services CAL
System Center Operations Manager Client Operations Management License (OML)
Microsoft Forefront Security Suite

“Yeah, so, the Core CAL suite gives me everything I care about?  Why should I shell out the extra money for the Enterprise CAL suite?”

Let’s look at Exchange Server 2007, for example:  As we continue down the path of deploying Exchange Server 2007 and its feature set, departments wanting to take advantage of the advanced features (like Unified Messaging) when we release ’em will need to ensure that they hold the Exchange Enterprise CAL in addition to the Standard CAL.  The Enterprise CAL suite gives you the full feature set for each of the server products listed above, in addition to the Forefront Security Suite when it becomes available later this year.

“How much extra per user is the Enterprise CAL suite versus the Core CAL suite?”

While I don’t know exact pricing, and you shouldn’t quote me on anything related to pricing, I heard today that the Enterprise CAL suite is ~$1/FTE more than the current Campus Desktop with Core CAL offering is today.  Considering the standalone costs of the Enterprise CALs plus the Forefront suite, it’s well worth the investment to unlock the additional features in these products.

If you are the licensing administrator for your department, I’d encourage you to consider bumping up to the Enterprise CAL suite on your renewal this year.  As your department looks at taking advantage of the central Microsoft services C&C is rolling out, it’ll save you truck loads[1] on licensing.

For more information on the Microsoft CAL suites, check out http://www.microsoft.com/calsuites/default.mspx.

To renew your department’s participation in the UW’s Campus Agreement, get a hold of Dave McCone at mccone at u dot washington dot edu.  Do it fast — the prices are going up after June 15th!

For information on what the Exchange Enterprise CAL license gets you, check out http://go.cac.washington.edu/go/?LinkID=19

Enjoy your weekend!


[1] Unfortunately, the size of the truck was undefined, so depending on your organization and your organization’s participation in C&C’s Microsoft services, you may save anywhere from a small Tonka truck’s worth of cash to upwards of that semi that nearly ran you off the road last weekend.

Exchange: E-mail Addresses

Good afternoon!  I’m starting to work on some initial designs around e-mail address spaces and how we can manage them in our centrally managed Exchange environment (codename “Everest”).

Specifically, the scenario I’m looking at right now is the case where a inpidual user has more than one department relationship — as an example, consider a user Joe Blow.  Joe Blow is an associate professor for the College of Pottery, but he’s also the Vice President of the Department of Redundancy Department.

In today’s world, he has two separate mailboxes – one that’s joeblow@cop.washington.edu, and another at joeblow@washington.edu.washington.edu, respectively.

My question to the masses is two-fold:  Do you have users like this today, and if so, how do they (or how do you recommend) handle this scenario?  Forward one to the other?  Configure both in their e-mail client?  Ignore both?

In a central messaging system, would you expect that Joe would be able to keep both of his departmental e-mail addresses?  Which one would be his “primary” e-mail address, or should his @u address be his primary?

Food for your Thursday afternoon thoughts.  Let me know.  Post your comments here, or send them to me at dzazzo at cac dot washington dot edu.

Exchange Diagrams

We’ve been a little quiet here lately — we’ll try to get better at that.  I did want to sneak in a Friday afternoon post mentioning that I’ve uploaded two Exchange-related pictures today:

The first is a high-level diagram showing a version of the inbound message flow coming in from the outside world, and also shows the relationship between clients, the Client Access and BES servers, and the mailbox servers.  There’s a bit of detail missing, but it should give you an idea of where we’re going with this and what the new world looks like in Exchange Server 2007 (for those used to Exchange 2003’s topology.)

The second image is a mockup image and is related to our work and discussions about mailbox provisioning and management – something I’ll write more about here soon.  We’re looking to the central subscription service for handling provisioning and de-provisioning.  This gives the end user a nice one-stop shopping experience for managing their Exchange mailbox services as well as the rest of their central C&C services (like homer, dante, web publishing, etc.) The image is an example of what a “Manage My Exchange” page might look like as its tied into the rest of the manage pages (at https://uwnetid.washington.edu/manage.)

It’s about time for lunch… enjoy your Friday afternoon and your weekend!

– dzazzo