Scheduling Elastic Block Storage (EBS) Snapshots with AWS Lambda

Traditionally, scheduling snapshots of your Elastic Block Storage (EBS) volumes required the setup and maintenance of an EC2 instance or the use of a third-party service like Skeddly. Depending on cost or security concerns (having to grant a service like Skeddly access to your AWS account) this may not be an option. Additionally, storing your access keys on an EC2 instance may not be acceptable, even if you limit the IAM role to only allow the creation and deletion of snapshots.

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Exchange Server 2013 Outlook Anywhere Issue

I recently ran into an issue during an Exchange 2010 to 2013 migration where external users could not connect with Outlook externally. Both Exchange servers did not write any errors or warnings to the application logs and the latest service packs and cumulative updates were all applied.

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Blank OWA and ECP Pages After Login On Exchange 2013

Recently I experienced an issue with a blank page loading after attempting to sign in to  the Enterprise Control Panel (ECP) and Outlook Web App (OWA) websites on an Exchange 2013 server. After troubleshooting I figured out that after updating the certificate and deleting the old expired cert IIS needed a manual change. I’m not certain if this is a bug in the script Exchange uses to update the certificates from the ECP, but it is easy enough to resolve manually.

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How to: Set up an SMTP mail relay using Amazon Simple Email Service

Whether you need an SMTP server to relay mail for a particular application like WordPress, server monitoring software, a ticketing system, or even a copy machine Amazon has a service that is much easier to configure and use than setting up an SMTP server on a spare Windows or Linux box that you may have lying around. For a few cents a month you can use their highly reliable service to meet almost any mail relay need that you may run into.

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How to: Setup and configure a Microsoft Key Management Service (KMS) Server

Microsoft offers multiple methods for activating Windows in a small to large sized business environment. While home users and businesses using retail or MAK keys activate their copies of Office and Windows directly with Microsoft (either online or by phone), businesses have the option to install the Volume Activation Management Console (VAMT) to activate from a remote system or set up a KMS host (essentially an activation server). The following guide is specifically for setting up and configuring a KMS server to allow client PCs to activate with KMS volume license keys. The major advantage of this method instead of using VAMT with MAK keys is that there is no maximum activation limit; therefore you do not need to call Microsoft when you activate 25 to 50 times to get the key re-validated. Microsoft recommends using KMS when you have at least 50 PCs in your environment and will not allow you to activate hosts until at least 25 PCs are requesting activation from your KMS server.

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Windows 8 Storage Improvements

At the end of November the Microsoft Server and Cloud Platform Team posted two articles about the upcoming storage changes in Windows 8. The highlights from the blog are as follows, the links below will take you to the original posts which have more information.

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