Assumptions, the bitter enemy

The Public folder issue with the Exchange 2010 migration has been solved. An old lesson was reconfirmed. Then the chewing out of myself commenced.

Many years ago, when I was first learning to fix and build PC’s, I would go to the local monthly computer show. Each month would mean some new part for upgrading or replacing. It was fun to learn about these things, see what I could do with them, even cause the parts to eventually die out because of my own stupidity. It was a glorious time.

Eventually though I ran into a problem that took forever to solve. I had replaced something in my computer, and straightened up the cables connecting the PC to everything. I fired up the machine, and… no sound. Checked the settings in windows, checked the driver, pulled the card out, tried a different card, all still with no sound. 6 months I kept dealing with this problem, checked everything I could, tried new cards and still no sound. Well I checked almost everything I could. In month 6 of this issue, I went to do another cable cleanup, and that is when I found that I, for 6 months, had the microphone plugged into the speaker jack and the speakers plugged into the microphone jack. This was before they color coded everything, and for 6 months I swore that they were plugged in right. I assumed they were is more like it.

For many years I have told this tale to friends, and colleagues to exercise the point of the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) method. Always check and double check the simplest things before moving on to the more complex reasons. Sometimes though, even I need a swift kick in the rear to remember this.

I had been struggling this week with the public folder migration from Exchange 2007 to 2010. The Mailbox migration had worked fine. The public folders though had been beating me up. The hierarchy was not propagating, let alone the folders communicating. I did some research, and found that the replication was done over email, basically emailing the folders between servers. So I started checking SMTP settings, telnetting between machines, even remembered that there was a problem with mailboxes on the 2007 server sending e-mail to the mailboxes on the 2010 server, but not vice versa.

All the symptoms were there, right in my face as to the main portion of the answer. I still didn’t see the simple thing though, instead looking up every way I could think of describing the issue in Google, with no fix. Then, on day 4 of this madness, while starting to look at yet another site’s solution, the answer hit me in the face. I logged into the Domain Controller, opened up DNS, and yep, there it was. Actually, there it wasn’t. When I set up DNS for the new server, I had forgotten to put in an MX record for the new server. All they years of dealing with DNS and MX records, I had forgotten the simplest thing, yet for 3 day had assumed I had put it in. I was elated and angry with myself all at the same time, especially when I saw the hierarchy start to show up on the Exchange 2010 server (the rest of the solution was cleaning up the old security certs on the exchange 2007 server, and getting a new self signed cert on it).

So once again, I get reminded of the 6 months of no sound from the speakers, and why one really does need to double check the simplest things even more thoroughly than the complicated thing.

The Migration Continues

The Exchange 2007 server needed to be rebuilt. The BES was all migrated and ready to go. The new server was prepped. No real test environment available, but enough scenarios gone through. The time to Migrate to Exchange 2010.

Over this past weekend, I got the Exchange migration project nearly completed. Friday, I spent the afternoon making sure I had prepped the new server properly. That all the roles needed were installed, and that the system was patched. It came to be 4:30 pm and I started the procedures as I had planned. Changed the IP on the old Exchange Server to an open Internal. Changed the IP on the new Exchange server, to the old one’s IP so that I didn’t need to make any firewall changes. Changed their entries in DNS, and made sure it took. Then Migrated my Mailbox, and tested, and Outlook wouldn’t connect. Checked my settings on the Hub Transport, and found I didn’t have a few boxes checked. Checked the appropriate boxes, and Outlook worked. Tested Internal and External E-mail. External worked just fine. Internal, well, I wasn’t getting any e-mail from people that had not been migrated to the new server. Not a big deal, as I migrated the helpdesk tech’s e-mail and tested locally. That worked. So Exchange 2010 could e-mail to people on the 2007 server, but 2007 could not e-mail to the 2010 server. Still not a big deal. So I migrated all the boxes over the weekend.

While that was happening, I made my adjustments to OWA, Active Sync and made sure the Blackberry’s would still get e-mail, along with the Android phones. By Sunday afternoon, all the mailboxes had been moved over, and I had started on working on getting the Public Folders back up and running on the 2007 server so I could replicate them over and be finished with it all. The bad thing when a migration is going smooth, is that one can become complacent. Sure enough, the Public Folder Hierarchy would not populate on the 2010 server. Nothing that was on the 2007 server, none of the folders were showing. Houston we have a minor problem. I went to bed, waiting to see if it was just taking a long time to propagate.

Walk into the office on Monday, sure enough everything is working just fine, except the Public Folders had not been replicated yet. I know it is because Exchange 2007 can’t e-mail to Exchange 2010. So I continue looking for the answer to this issue, but outside of that, the migration was pretty painless.

Yay for things working right

Going from Blackberry Enterprise 4.1 to Blackberry Enterprise Express 5.0.2 looks like a daunting task, but really it is not that tough.

So there I was, ready to find the stash of nukes I hid somewhere. In anticipation of the migration from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010 coming up real soon, I had to upgrade our BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server) to the most recent version. the prior guy who had gone through 2 weeks of Blackberry training kept putting it off, coming up with excuses, and now is no longer with the company. I had done what anyone should do. I read up on the product and learned how to do the upgrade. Then the worst thing happened. Upon running Windows Update and Rebooting, the Blackberry Server came up but only enough to be pingable. I couldn’t remote into it, which meant so much for doing everything after hours.

First thing in the morning I went to our server room at the office where the BES is located, forced a hard reboot and the server came up normally. then came the task at hand. Few small things about going from BES 4.1 to BES Express 5.0.2. First you have to completely uninstall 4.1. Second, 5.0.2 is extremely slick. Once installed, and I got the users added into it, the majority of phones were found and automatically connected, as if they had always been on the 5.0.2 version of the BES. There were a couple of problem phones, but for the most part, all the planning on having to reactivate 50 Blackberrys went to the trash.

Sometimes, when things get done right, good surprises happen. Just never let it stop you from planning for the worst case scenario. Next step will be the final Exchange Migration.