A busy week this week, a large Windows Intune pilot kicks off today, primarily addressing the remote, mostly disconnected PC scenario. Unfortunately they are a Blackberry house, so we won’t get a chance to do any mobile device management, but I’m sure we can coax an iPad into the mix, even if I finally break down and purchase one myself

Final stages of planning for TechEd North America travel are taking place, and I’ve been attempting to whittle down my session list to something manageable without too much success. Not a bad problem to have at an event. Hopefully more details of the Azure Active Directory Services emerge, especially relating to Windows Intune and Office 365, hopefully to shed light on whether you get a shared namespace if you happen to be running both online services from Microsoft

Other projects keeping me busy this week include an on-premise Lync deployment, yes, not something I expected to be doing, but thankfully it’s just a small pilot. The rest of this project includes attempting to use as many Microsoft client and server technologies as possible to reduce the network bandwidth impact of the company’s Exchange infrastructure being centralised. It’s great when the client has no concerns about licensing costs if an effective solution is delivered thanks to the way they are already licensed.

So far the project includes…

  • All remote employee mailboxes being moved to HQ, hosted on Exchange 2010, with an eye to private cloud hosting once the initial network upgrade is complete
  • Reliance upon Exchange archiving to limit mailbox size growth over time, rather than the traditional approaches of file size restrictions or mailbox size restrictions that don’t suit their environment (so far the winner in the mailbox size stakes is 60GB, thankfully the old branch servers are Exchange 2003 so the old faithful ExMerge is getting some loe)
  • A Lync pilot eventually growing into a full deployment with Enterprise Voice enabled
  • A move from DCs to RODCs in the branches to reduce replication
    Distributed File System
  • Hosted BrancheCache (all clients are Windows 7 Enterprise, all servers will be Windows Server 2008 R2)
  • Threat Management Gateway servers in each branch for URL and traffic restrictions, and a large serving of caching
  • An ever growing Hyper-V cluster which is being managed by Virtual Machine Manager
  • Configuration Manager 2012 – the Pre-Day at TechEd is one that I will need to be awake for, as I’ll need to provide lots of input afterwards.

There’s more to the project than this, but it gives you an idea that it’s a pretty big overhaul, with several of these projects happening simultaneusly with a small IT staff. I have made them a promise that after TechEd North American I won’t be coming back with new ideas to replace the current ones, we really need to get the current projects finished before refining or updating. I do not believe I will be able to resist making suggestions, but they will be moving into the medium term plans, not into the short term priorities.