Microsoft Listens To Customers & Adds UDP Notification Support Back to Exchange 2010


Well, after almost 14 months of deploying Exchange 2010 and tweaking the Outlook 2003 settings via GPO’s to give users an acceptable experience Microsoft adds support for User Datagram Protocol (UDP) notification functionality back into Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. By doing so they recognize that a lot of businesses & organizations will be using Outlook 2003 for a while and that not all of them where happy to deal with the way Outlook 2003 functions with Exchange 2010. More information on the UDP issue can be found here http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2009942 (In Outlook 2003, e-mail messages take a long time to send and receive when you use an Exchange 2010 mailbox). Now most my customers use cached mode where possible and a GPO Setting to reduce the Maximum Polling Frequency registry entry to 5 seconds helped. But there are places where cached mode is not an option (Terminal Services) or people don’t accept this change in behavior and go with Outlook 2007 instead of 2010  or even choose to deploy Exchange 2007 over 2010. All because of this dropping of the UDP notification support.

Now this functionality will be back with in Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1 Roll-Up 3 (SP1 RU3).  Good news for people dealing with Outlook 2003 and Exchange 2010. Less good news for the people dealing with the GUI bug that Exchange 2010 SP1 introduced where the Exchange Management Console does not show all database copies after upgrading to Exchange 2010 SP1. This is set to be fixed in Roll-Up 3 but to get the UDP support back they adjusted the release schedule for the E2K10 Sp1 Roll-Up 3, which is now expect to be released in March 2011. So we’ll have to wait a bit longer for that fix. As you noted you need to be running Exchange 2010 SP1 to get this backward compatibility support for outlook 2003.

Read this announcement on the Exchange Team Blog: UDP Notification Support Re-added to Exchange 2010

The Dilbert® Life Series – White Collar Blues in Corporate Culture


It’s unbelievable how awfully bad a lot of methodologies, regulations, evaluations, and planning and audit systems are implemented and used. While this might seem to be just your average, run of the mill Kafka red tape, the outcome is often disastrous to the workplace. This is quite the opposite of what they are supposed to achieve: effective and efficient high quality results that are delivered as fast as possible without sacrificing any the above mentioned qualities. An added benefit would be a stimulating and happy work environment leading to motivated personnel thus achieving the ultimate productive workplace Walhalla. More than people and organizations like to admit unfortunately, this theory flies in the face of reality. Organizations become cesspools of demotivation, incompetence and careerism at its worst. Often the real (Machiavellian) objective seems to enslave employees by coercion, fear, passiveness and immobility in order to turn them into little mignons. Make no mistake, that’s exactly what writing vast amounts of mind numbing documents and reports achieves. In other words meet “Office Space”.

Bureaucratic red tape is one thing. Adding over the top, ill understood and badly implemented regulations & frameworks will sink any organization faster than a well-placed torpedo sinks a ship. Any hope of ever improving the results, motivate people and stimulate innovation are either killed instantly or drowned slowly. You end up with a worthless bureaucratic malfunctioning organization run by mediocre management, hiring mediocre people producing, at best, mediocre results. Your organizations agility, decisiveness, innovation and creativity are dead. You might as well have sent hit men to get it over and done with.  Are you even at least still thinking about your customers or clients needs somewhere in that situation?

Very often no one ever reads the documentation and reports that audits, evaluations and regulatory mechanisms demand. If they are being read, sometimes they are used to help an organization improve itself. But they are also read and misused to badmouth, reprimand, control and even coerce organizations and people into submission to further other less noble agendas. Look at the mess the global finance world is in. No one can deny we have more legislation, regulation, control mechanisms and audits than ever before and how are they used and what is the result? And it’s nobody’s fault or mistake; they all have tons of paperwork to document anything and everything you want.

Now let’s be crystal clear about this. There is a real need for regulation, evaluation, audits, policies and methodologies. And yes, that comes with its share of bureaucracy. But it has to be done right and with honesty in its purpose. Unfortunately the excessive nature of the perverse sublimations of these mechanisms on the work floor are enough to make one think tar and feathers or even guillotines did and do serve a genuine purpose. This is especially true if your job turns out to be a one where the only thing that can keep you from going insane is the fact that you’re a lunatic. Furthermore have any of those people ever caught on to the idea that creativity, flexibility and innovation needs a little chaos? Do they really think that you can put flexibility and creativity in a process that can be orderly reported on and audited? Sure they have, but the consultancies selling processes and services can’t bottle creativity, flexibility and real innovation. They deal in shrink wrapped products, so you’ll never hear them advice against their own bottom line. It’s hard enough to get any real work done in an office today as it is. Ah, the joys of landscape noise yards, and endless series of meetings, interruptions by way to many people busy filling out forms who needing input. Add to that architects and advisors who seem to suffer “idea diarrhea” and whose “easy and fast” implementations only fail because those operational employees just “don’t get it”. Middle management does all this in a vanity attempt to demonstrate their worth and avoid true responsibility. Sadly they only achieve quite the opposite and if management let’s ‘m get away with this, you now also have a good idea about the quality of your managers.

So what do all these mechanism truly achieve? Based on my observation of too many colleagues and acquaintances in their work environments I’ll report my findings. Well for one, as stated above, they are great tools for assimilation, compliance and submission to the power players. Everyone knows that many audits quickly become a mere bundle of check lists you need to have. You learn that evaluations are meaningless obligations and planning documents often seem to be more of an “after action report” than actual planning. This is truly perfect in a way. After all compliance is bliss and it’s far easier to achieve this with neatly organized forms and retroactive or revisionist “planning”. Trust me; your paperwork will look great.

Why do we go along with this crap? Because it’s easy, that’s why. That feeling of comfort we get by falling into simple routines seduces us. The path of least resistance is to become an expert paper pusher and methodology whore. No one will criticize you for making the best reports ever, with a keen eye for form and adherence to protocol. In return you get to enjoy the benefits of a predigested workload and you won’t have to work too hard. It’s so much easier to close your eyes. To me this is like freezing to death, you give up and go to sleep to be greeted by a false sense of warmth.

I also see people get demotivated and become cynical survivalists, which is the best outcome for them. Worse is the systemized destruction of productivity and ability to compete but I guess that’s far less important than it seems. That “free market” and result driven meritocracy probably isn’t as free and valuable as we are led to believe. The loss of productivity is plain to see by the way. If you have a 40 hour work week and now they add constant reporting, auditing, adherence to methodologies and policies to your workload, how much work are you actually doing? The reports and numbers become your prime concern. Sure they say that’s not how it’s supposed to be, but unfortunately it often turns out this way. Even more “cynical” is the fact that the most incompetent, underperforming, self-serving employees and managers thrive in these systems. Now this is a reality in any system but the farce here is that all this bureaucratic crap was supposed to reduce that likelihood. In that aspect it’s one big fail. Badly used audits, reports, evaluations and planning documents are not a very good indicator whether people are doing a good job. What they are excellent for is finding out who’s able to market themselves, either individually or as an organization, as impressive examples of professional excellence. They empower career hunting conformists and thus cultivate mediocrity. Some of the best people out there suck at the paperwork. Why? Well when you’re working 40 hours a week you don’t have the time to do it. If you still have to do it becomes overtime. And that’s the extra time you used to have to study and learn, to become a better professional. In other words your best people are forced to work harder and put in more time, which means that take a huge pay cut. To add injury to insult those systems “meant to help them” are psychologically harassing them. You drain your personnel’s motivation and energy away by simply abusing them. The ones who fill out the forms perfectly are the ones working 20 hours a week and then spending the rest of their time presenting those 20 hours as sublime feats of their expertise and creative endeavor. They have long recognized that when you put things on paper they come in existence without effort; far more so than if you really create them doing actual work. This is the so called “fake it until you make it” method. The system promotes underperforming, risk-free, easy work without responsibility and it attracts the kind of employees who seek to be submissive little mignons in return for a pay check and peace of mind and perhaps even a promotion. Is that what it takes to build a “state of the art” organization? Are you even at least still thinking about your customers needs?

People try to survive by threating that crap as a necessary evil. But make no mistake, in the end they will give up and will leave. The leave physically or mentally, i.e. they become under performers or cynical zombies soaking in apathy as their last line of defense. As I told my boss once: “You shouldn’t be afraid that your employees might leave. You need to be afraid when you fear your employees will stay”.

Unless you have a real low IQ or you’re blissfully ignorant, when you live the lie, you become the lie. A lot of people in the workplace are in a world of hurt. They survive thanks to their conformity and submission. Look people, you’re married, divorced, perhaps remarried and your live is complicated. You’re in debt. You have car payments, house payments, alimony payments, gas & electricity bills, insurance payments, kids to support, etc. And you really need to take a holiday to get ways from all that shit in a desperate effort to maintain your sanity. In other words you’re up shit creek. The day you start living the truth in your job you’ll become and undesired nuisance and, inevitably, an unemployed middle aged “nonproductive member of society”. Because when you’re job hunting with no real skills except for filling out paperwork and submitting to the lie what are you good for? Look, they can train 24 year olds to do that, for far less money. Sure you have a very impressive resume as an expert advisor, a senior architect, but you know what, they’re on to you. You see, they all have very impressive resumes and they all worked at the same places where people are hiding in the mass whilst pretending to be awesome and hoping desperately nothing will expose them as frauds. It’s a shared lie. Put ‘m among the real experts and see how well they can keep a rich and stimulating professional conversation going.

My advice? Start thinking! If you don’t, you’ll end up not even being allowed and capable to think and speak as you see fit. Whose fault is this? Yours. You submit and in return you get a job, an income and the illusion of security. And you are so desperately in need of that. Because you are a slave to debt and conformity, a victim of your own fears. So stop being afraid and get a grip unless you want to wind up like some humanoid battery in “The Matrix”. Be warned however, they’ll hire some consultant called Mr. Smith to get you “back on track”, but he actually thinks that you are a disease and he’s the cure.

Event ID: 11 From Microsoft-Windows-RPC-Events Are Indicating Possible Memory Leaks With MMC


After finishing putting some brand new servers in place with Windows 2008 R2, installing its rolls and leaving a happy client I’m usually very happy about a job well done. That feeling can last for a while when doing the paperwork involved with the project. It can also go away blazingly fast when you get a call that there is an “RPC memory leak or something no right” on the servers.  Not good. So you remotely access the server and start looking. Luckily for me this was to be a non issue. The event logged was the following:

Log Name:      Application

Source:        Microsoft-Windows-RPC-Events

Date:          06/01/2011 22:26:18

Event ID:      11

Task Category: None

Level:         Warning

Keywords:     

User:          BIG\BillyTheServerAdmin

Computer:      infra01.big.corp

Description:

Possible Memory Leak.  Application ("C:\Windows\system32\mmc.exe" "C:\Windows\system32\dhcpmgmt.msc" ) (PID: 5000) has passed a non-NULL pointer to RPC for an [out] parameter marked [allocate(all_nodes)].  [allocate(all_nodes)] parameters are always reallocated; if the original pointer contained the address of valid memory, that memory will be leaked.  The call originated on the interface with UUID ({6bffd098-a112-3610-9833-46c3f874532d}), Method number (2).  User Action: Contact your application vendor for an updated version of the application.

If you do a search for this you’ll find several unresolved news group and support site questions but also a Microsoft knowledge base article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/974814. It states that when you run the Server Manager Snap-in (servermanager.msc) for extended periods of time, the application event log warning as seen above is logged. It also says it only happens on DHCP servers, which is exactly a roll these servers have and the warning entry we see in the application even log. As long as the UUID is {6bffd098-a112-3610-9833-46c3f874532d} and you have no other indications of a memory leak you’re good to go. Armed with the link we quickly put the owners mind at easy and all is well again. Back to the paperwork.

Windows 2008 R2 & Windows 7 SP1 RTM Today!!!!


UPDATE: The Russian TechNet blog retracted it’s statement about SP1 being RTM. We’ll see.

A quick heads up. According to WinRumors Microsoft has confirmed the release of Windows 7 / Windows 2008 R2 SP1. http://www.winrumors.com/microsoft-confirms-windows-7-sp1-rtm-released-to-oems-today/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+WinRumors+%28WinRumors%29. My busy days just got busier. Cluster nodes with Hyper-V in the lab are being fired up already for final testing before wisely introducing it into production. My current workstation of cause is going to be updated faster than I can download the service pack Smile I’ll update this post with a download link when I get it.

Cheap IT Support Requests & The Value of Time


I value my time tremendously. I also accept the fact that you don’t give a rat’s ass about my time. To you every hour I spend not working on your issues is a gigantic waste of time, but to me, it is not. And this is about my time. You cannot get time back, once used it’s gone. You cannot sell memories to get time back. You can’t produce time. You can’t save time. You have what you have and you need to use it when you have it. What does this have to do with IT? The fact than when you’re in IT people almost expect to get advice and support at no cost or on the cheap. This behavior stems from the fact that for some reason they expect that when they buy a server and software all the rest is included for free. With a car they don’t have this mind set. They expect to pay for maintenance, insurance, road taxes and gas. Partially this is the industries fault since they market everything a great, easy, fast, and cheap. Partially it’s the buyers fault for believing commercials and sales men. So how do I deal with the ever returning attempts to get me to work for free and how do I make sure they stop asking. Very simply, I price myself out of “the market”.

One day I discovered this also works outside of IT. Everyone who knows me wouldn’t think of asking me to baby sit but once a female colleague did just that. I guess she was really desperate. Really very desperate I should add. I told her I was not interested. She insisted. I told her again that I was absolutely not interested. She decided to make a case that I should help her out. That’s asking for it. I told her it would be 150 €/hour. I got a speech that babysitting isn’t that hard and worth that much, that it’s unaffordable, that kids, a house mortgage, car payments and life are already expensive enough. All true but not my problem.  You see I do not want to baby sit and my time is very valuable to me. I asked her what day and time she needed a baby sitter, trying to get my point across. She said Saturday night. Oh, on a Saturday to Sunday night in a weekend, after office hours and no retainer for my services. That makes it 300 €/hour and for watching of the most precious and loved human being in your life that’s a bargain! Needless to say I was not hired and luckily never asked again. Mission accomplished.

Think about it, time is the most limited resource the human species has. As I said, you can’t get any more of it. Gone is gone. That makes it more precious to me than anything else.  That means I want to spend it as well as I can. So when it comes to work I try to do things I enjoy and that pay well enough so that I can have enough free time to do other things I also enjoy. This means that when I do work I will not do it at 1 € /hour. Why would I? Even if I can only work 40% of my time at 5 €/hour I’m still way ahead and have more time to myself. With some luck and effort the better paying work is also the type of work I like to do. Cool, two goals achieved in one go.

So why on earth would I baby sit or fix your IT mess (which I dislike) in my spare time (time which is extremely valuable to be)  for some pocket money given the fact that it’s not my job responsibility and I have no financial pressure to do so?  Now I don’t know a thing about babies but IT can get a lot more complicated and involved that the owner of the mess realizes. It takes a lot of time and it just isn’t worth it. So there is your answer. I don’t want to and that’s why I price it so highly. To make sure no one asks or agrees to it. With these of hand support requests, changes are you’re a small shop running a couple of servers & workstations that are mediocre at best. This is probably combined with some older, hopefully legal, operating systems and applications that might suck and have their own issues. The environment was probably not designed, is most likely mismanaged for whatever reason and most of the time you won’t like the recommendations (get Adobe Acrobat and Office of your server and stop surfing on it so you don’t get spyware on the box). You complain about how expensive the hardware is, that the software costs money, that the small business IT shop is expensive and can’t get it right like you want. Perhaps the reason is that they can’t do it for the price your willing to pay, you are asking for things that can’t be done or perhaps they are not very good at their business. Whatever the reason, somehow you think that I should fix all that for a token fee since you already paid all that money to hardware vendors, software vendors, your “IT Guys” and because it won’t take me very long since I good at what I do. Well, it doesn’t work that way. My rate is not determined by how easy it might be for me. It’s determined by my knowledge, expertise and quality of my work. I don’t do the easier work as that won’t get me as much money for the same amount of time and I get bored doing it.

Am I a money hungry capitalist pig? No. I will and do work for free for a good cause, a close friend or a sport club I sympathize with. It’s called voluntarism and you can beat that as a motivation. I will not spend my valuable spare time fixing a mess that I did not create for free or cheaply. Actually I rather have my time to myself even when the money is good. You see, you’re in that mess because you don’t know what you’re doing; you’ve had very bad counseling or services and perhaps want things you can’t afford or are willing to pay for. The effort and cost of fixing all this is probably going to make you shout at me in anger. The impact that will have on your business processes and culture is something you’ll find unacceptable. The cost and needs of a professional IT environment are beyond what you can grasp, are willing or capable to pay. So the best thing for you is use free, cloud based services and make due with what you have or can get from those services. You cannot expect people to feel obligated to fix your problems because you already spent so much money on it. My free time at night and weekends is for studying, reading, hobbies, and friends. Not for fixing other peoples problems. So if you need a good environment hire one or more good IT partners to take care of your infrastructure needs in a professional manner. That’s the only sustainable and workable way of doing it.

The Dilbert® Life Series: Enterprise Architecture Revisited One Year Later


The Dilbert® Life series is a string of post on corporate culture from hell and dysfunctional organizations running wild. This can be quite shocking and sobering. The amount of damage that can be done by "merely" taking solid technology, methodologies, people and organizations, which you then abuse the hell out of, is amazing. A sense of humor will help when reading this. If you need to live in a sugar coated world were all is well and bliss and think all you do is close to godliness, stop reading right now and forget about the blog entries. It’s going to be dark. Pitch black at times actually, with a twist of humor, if you can laugh at yourself that is. And no, there is no light to shine on things, not even when you lite it. You see, pointing a beam in to the vast empty darkness of human nature doesn’t make you see anything. You do realize there is an endless, vast and cold emptiness out there. This is not unlike the cerebral content of way to many people I come across by in this crazy twilight zone called “the workplace”. I believe some US colleagues refer to those bio carbon life forms as “sheeple”.

Last year my very first blog post (http://workinghardinit.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/hello-world/) was about the one and only meeting I ever had with the Enterprise Architecture consultants that came in to help out at place where I do some IT Infrastructure Fu. Now one year, lots of time, money, training and Power Point slide decks after that meeting, the results on the terrain are nowhere to be seen. Sure there were lots of meetings, almost none of which I attended unless they dragged enterprise architecture into an IT related meeting on some other also vague action items like the IT strategy that was never heard of again. They’ve also created some new jobs specifications and lots of lip service and they’ll probably hire some more consultants to help out in 2011. But for now the interaction with and impact of any Enterprise Architecture on their IT infrastructure is nowhere to be found.

We put a good infrastructure plan in place for them. It’s pretty solid for 2011, pretty decent for 2012 and more like a road map for the time span 2013-2014. Meaning it’s flexible as in IT the world can change fast, very fast. But none of all this has come to be due to insights, needs, demands or guidance of any enterprise architecture, IT strategy or business plan.  No, it’s past experience and gut feeling, knowing the culture of the organization etc.  Creating strategies, building architectures is difficult enough in the best of circumstances. Combine this with fact that there is a bunch of higher pay grade roles up for grabs and the politics become very dominant. Higher pay grades baby? What do I need to get one? Skills and expertise in a very critical business area of cause!  Marketing yourself as a trusted business advisor, taught leader and architect becomes extremely important. As you can imagine getting the job done becomes a lot more difficult and not because of technical reasons. My predictions for 2011 are that by the end the year those pay grades will have been assigned. Together with a boatload of freshly minted middle management, who’ll be proud as hell and will need to assert their new found status, they’ll start handing out work to their staff.  Will that extra work materialize into results or only hold them back from making real progress? Well, we’ll need to wait for 2012 to know as 2011 will be about politics.

Basically from the IT infrastructure point of view and experience we have not yet seen an Enterprise Architecture and I don’t think they’ll have one in the next 12 months. Perhaps in 24 to 36 months but by then the game plan in IT infrastructure will be up and running. So realistically, I expect, if it leads anywhere against expectations, the impact of an Enterprise Architecture will be for 2014 and beyond. Which means an entirely new ball game and that will need a revised architecture. The success of the effort will no doubt be that they detected the need to change. This sounds uncomfortable similar to the IT strategy plan they had made. So for now we’ll do for them what’ we’ve always done. We’ll work with one year plans, two to three year roadmaps combined with a vision on how to improve the IT infrastructure. The most important thing is to stay clear of ambition and politics. Too much of that makes for bad technical decisions.

You got to love corporate bull. They don’t lie, no sir, they just sell bull crap. Which is worse, truth or lies don’t even matter, just the personal agendas. Liars at least, by the very fact of lying, acknowledge the value of truth, so much in fact, they’d rather have you not knowing it. Most consultancy firms send out kids that are naïve enough to believe the scripts and don’t even realize they are talking crap. They are told over and over again they are right, the best and they like to believe this so much they really do. It’s a bit like civil servants at the EU. Pay people double their market value, sweet talk their ego’s all day long and they will become prophets for the religion of the day. No, I’m not saying Enterprise Architecture is bull crap. I’m saying that way too many people & companies claiming to do enterprise architecture are turning it into exactly that. IT strategies, architectures that are so empty and void of content that all those binders are thrown in a drawer never to be seen again. A fool with a tool is still but a fool. Agile methodologies or tools don’t make your programmers agile gurus just like owning a race car doesn’t make you a race car pilot. All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again. Every new, innovative process, methodology or concept falls victim to this. The money grabbing sales crowd gets there paws on it and starts selling it as competitive advantage or even innovation in a bottle to the corporate sheeple & management failures that should know better. They end with less money, loads of wasted time and a shitload of dead trees. As a side node, this whole “* Architect” thing  has runs it’s inflationary course. We need a new professional status currency once more. Take care and keep laughing clip_image001!

DCDIAG.EXE Problem On Windows 2008(R2): VerifyEnterpriseReferences indicates problem “Missing Expected Value” & points to Knowledge Base Article: Q312862


I was preparing to replace some 5 year old DELL PE1850 servers running Active Directory with new DELL R610 servers when the DCDIAG.exe output showed a possible issue with SYSVOL FRS and some missing expected value.

Starting test: VerifyEnterpriseReferences

The following problems were found while verifying various important DN

references.  Note, that  these problems can be reported because of

latency in replication.  So follow up to resolve the following

problems, only if the same problem is reported on all DCs for a given

domain or if  the problem persists after replication has hadreasonable time to replicate changes.

[1] Problem: Missing Expected Value

Base Object: CN=DC1,OU=CITY,OU=Domain Controllers,DC=corp,DC=com

Base Object Description: "DC Account Object"

Value Object Attribute Name: msDFSR-ComputerReferenceBL

Value Object Description: "SYSVOL FRS Member Object"

Recommended Action: See Knowledge Base Article: Q312862

The log points to a knowledge base article at  but that has no relevance here.This is a phantom error when found under following circumstances. It occurs on Windows 2008 or Windows 2008 R2 when you are running in Windows 2008 or Windows 2008 R2 domain functional level. Since Windows 2008 the File Replication Service (FRS) that sysvol uses has been replaced with the  Distributed File Replication service (DFRS) as used by DFS. If you’re not yet running DFRS when you can (which is highly recommend  http://blogs.technet.com/b/askds/archive/2010/04/22/the-case-for-migrating-sysvol-to-dfsr.aspx but not required), you’ll see this error show up when running DCDIAG.exe, so no real issue at all.

There are lots of posts on the internet pointing to various possible issues or causes: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winserverDS/thread/2ce07c3f-9956-4bec-ae46-055f311c5d96/  & http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-IE/winserverDS/thread/3062d40a-b73e-42ea-b27a-e817ee29abc1. But before you worry to much I suggest you check that everything that has to do with replication is running well. Is so and you’re running in Windows 2008 or Windows 2008 R2 domain functional level you’ll see this error go way once you complete your migration to DFRS.

So, to recapture, if you have a well maintained & working Active Directory, do not panic when you see some warning or failures in diagnostic test results. Make sure things are indeed fine and if you conclude that you don’t have any lingering problems, do some further research on what the real reason might . This pahnatom error is a fine example of this.

There is an absolute brilliant step by step guide to get the move from FRS to DFRS completed without a problem in a series by the storage team at Microsoft . You can find the first of a 5 part blog series over here http://blogs.technet.com/b/filecab/archive/2008/02/08/sysvol-migration-series-part-1-introduction-to-the-sysvol-migration-process.aspx.

While you are at it. If your still running DFS in Windows 2000 native mode, you might want to upgrade that as well. More on that later Smile