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Three Easy Pieces

A new issue in the post means that there are a batch of recent hands-on and tutorial pieces at IT Expert.

Backing up Exchange
Like any other database, Exchange needs a little TLC if you want to recover from any downtime.

There’s more to backing up Exchange than just running a server backup. For one thing, like any other database, Exchange’s databases can’t be safely copied without temporarily dismounting the Exchange Store. Installing Exchange on a Windows Server doesn’t add Exchange support to its built-in backup tools, and Exchange 2007 doesn’t have its own backup tool either – unless you’re using Exchange 2007 SP2’s new Volume Shadow Services plug-in (which backs up the entire store but doesn’t give you the granularity of specialised tools).

Finding the right Exchange backup tool can be hard. There are many different tools out there, with many different feature sets. However certain features are essential, and should be at the top of your shopping list. The first, and most important, is a tool that can back up and restore the entire Exchange mail store – including primary and secondary storage groups. Coming a close second is the ability to work with individual mailboxes, allowing selective recovery if an end user manages to completely wipe their mailbox. Then there are archive tools, which can archive individual messages, while still leaving them indexed and accessible, reducing the demand on disk space without causing compliance problems. If you’re considering Exchange backup and recovery as part of a disaster recovery plan, a continuous replication system can help keep primary and recovery mail servers in sync.
Read more.

Working with BES 5.0
A new BES brings a very different way of working with BlackBerrys, with a new Web-based administration console that makes life simpler and more complicated at the same time.
The latest version of Research in Motion’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server is a very different beast. You might think you’re installing the same old BES when you upgrade your customers’ systems, but once it’s up and running you’re going to find a lot of changes – and a lot of really useful features that will make managing your clients’ BlackBerrys a lot easier.

End users won’t see many changes at first, unless they’re using devices that have the new BlackBerry OS 5.0 (which will be new BlackBerry models and upgrades to existing handsets from the start of 2010). Once devices upgrade to OS 5.0, they’ll get significant improvements to the BlackBerry messaging tools, making them behave much more like Outlook. Where BES 5.0 excels over previous versions is the new Web console ‘administer anywhere’ capability, along with improved policies and enhanced management tools.
Read more.

Configuring and Using the 3CX Skype Gateway
Save money by connecting an IP PABX to Skype for low cost international calls from IP desk phones, not just PCs.

Skype is turning into an effective business tool, giving your clients cheap international calls, and free access to 800 numbers all over the world. But not everyone likes making calls from a PC. If you can bring Skype into a VoIP network with IP handsets, it can become just another way to make calls, only at much lower rates.

If you’re using the 3CX VoIP system, this is simple. You can treat Skype as just another gateway for VoIP calls, alongside the supported hardware and software gateways. 3CX has another advantage; unlike many other VoIP systems, it’s both simple and free. It runs on Windows Server and the management tools use the built-in IIS Web server (and run as an ASP.NET Web application). Installation is easy and the free version provides many of the telephony features that a small business will need. If your clients need more, you can add functionality with the pay-for options, which also include support. If you find 3CX popular among your clients, there’s a reseller programme.
Read more.

Don't you just love the little BlackBerry guy they used to illustrate my piece on BES?

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