Exchange Admins: Save Your Tears

If you thought your Exchange deployment ever made your life miserable, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. If you’re the Exchange admin of a small business deployment, you’re likely to strut around your office and just tell people to get over it.

If you’re an admin of a large enterprise, March is your Month of Suffering. Prepare to sob like a baby.

Congress enacted this little thing called Daylight Saving Time, right? Well, then they decided to make it happen three weeks sooner in the year 2007. They passed this law in 2005.

Well, it seems that someone at the Microsoft New Year’s party for 2007 was sitting around on a couch, sipping a Strongbow Cider and thinking to their self… (self… oh shit… dst hits this year and we’ve not done jack shit about it!)

That’s right gang. Microsoft has basically acted like they were caught completely unaware of the DST ramifications on Exchange 2003 SP2 and Windows XP. Oh sure, there’s some updates to this issue in Outlook 2007… but 2003 products are in for a world of hurt.

Unfortunately, 7 weeks or so away from the actual change taking place, Microsoft is still basically working on figuring out what to do. Yeah, they’re programming away and stuff – but to make a long story short, the basis of our telecons have informed us that they’re just not prepared. The tools aren’t released, the server-side CDO patch isn’t released… all of which are coming “any day now… end of January or so”… okie… January ends in 4 days, guys.

First of all, I encourage you to go to this link and read about this bowel-loosener. Then come back here and you’ll see my bullets… they’ll make a little more sense.

Here’s the link. Go read.

Now that you’re back here, here’s my favorite items about this whole thing:

  • Timing of your client OS desktop deployment is critical because – well, if your servers aren’t patched, meetings are likely to be an hour off.
  • Timing of the Mac patches are also critical and… wait… wait for it… yeah! That’s right! Entourage 11.3.3 is out to address this problem… but if you haven’t patched CDO on your Exchange server (remember kids, the patch isn’t released yet for CDO!) your users are going to miss meetings. Period.
  • You cannot run the server-side rebasing tool if you have clients scattered around in different time zones without MANUALLY telling the server which mailbox to manipulate… from a CSV file. When managing 30,000 mailboxes or so, good f’ing luck.
  • Here’s my ABSOLUTE favorite. When running the rebasing tool and the tool runs across a single-instance meeting you originated, it resends every invitation to meeting invitees again!

And all of this madness ends… three weeks later… on April 1st. Oh, the irony.

Update: to be fair, I should point out that this DST fun affects more than Windows admins.  If you run other operating systems, you owe it to yourself to investigate what’s going to happen.  The same thing goes for applications.