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Ignite Recap 2019


After months of planning, Microsoft completed another successful Ignite event in Orlando, Florida. Being that it was held the first week of November, the weather was cooler, but the news and excitement was as hot as ever.

This is my 15th year, if you count the TechEd years before Microsoft consolidated all the “specialty” conferences into their flagship technical conference, Microsoft Ignite. This year, there was added emphasis on answering business problems instead of just focusing on specific technologies, like Exchange, SharePoint, and Teams. Microsoft’s cloud-first vision makes it easier for them to focus on the new digital workplace and showing new ways to view and work with data. Most of this comes from AI and machine learning, as Satya showed is his keynote.

New this year is the fact that almost every keynote, breakout session, and theater session was recorded and should be available on-demand. This is great considering there are so many sessions that overlap and you cannot get to them all. Start by going to Ignite Technology Community, where you can browse the session catalog. You can also search by day, speaker, or keyword. Best of all, these on-demand recordings are available to everyone, not just registered attendees.


Fellow Office Servers & Services MVP, Michel de Rooij, created a PowerShell script called Get-EventSession.ps1 that you can use to download session videos for offline viewing. It’s available on the TechNet Gallery. It also can be used to download recorded sessions from the Inspire and Build conferences. Handy for those long plane rides.
There were plenty of interesting announcements and demos throughout the week. Since most of my work revolves around Exchange and Exchange Online, identity, and security. I will list a couple of my favorite sessions.


Vision Keynote – Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shares Microsoft’s vision of the future of enterprise technology. Demos include Azure Cortex, Azure Synapse Analytics, Azure Arc and Azure Quantum The keynote action was centered around several areas of the showroom floor, which made it easier for attendees to view and made for fast transitions for the demos.

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Office 365 email enhancements that makes your organization smart, safe, and secure- A great session on what’s coming to Exchange Online. Unfortunately, this session is not available on-demand at press time, so I’ll summarize the announcements here:

  •  Modern Exchange Admin Center (EAC) making it match the GUI of other O365 portals for a consistent look and feel. Try it out at https://admin.exchange.microsoft.com.
  •  Based on customer feedback, the Mail Flow Dashboard, Insights, and Reports are going to move from the Security and Compliance Center back into the modern EAC.
  •  Support for Plus Addressing in EXO will allow users to add a suffix to the local-part of your email address to create disposable email addresses. For example, kmeyer@contoso.com can use kmeyer+spammetodeath@contoso.com. Both addresses will be delivered to the same mailbox, but you can write a rule in Outlook or OWA to delete the + address emails or move them to another folder.• Send-from-proxy aliases give users greater messaging flexibility. After 23 years, this is one of the oldest customer-asks of all time. You will finally be able to send emails from one of you secondary email addresses from OWA. Outlook support will follow later.
  • New Office 365 Message Recall revamps the popular Outlook feature for the cloud.  Anyone who have tried to use this feature will attest, it doesn’t work so well because it relied on client support. Office 365 will now handle this as a transport service, assuming both the sender and recipient are in O365. Obviously, this isn’t 100%, but it’s 100% better than it was.
  •  Reply-All Storm Protection will send a special NDR back to anyone who sends a reply-all to a large distribution group if more than 10 people do the same thing in a short period of time. The NDR will say, “The conversation is too busy with too many people.”
  • Customizable recipient limits allow admins to customize this limit for all mailboxes in the organization or even specific users.

Check out the article, “Exchange Transport News from Microsoft Ignite 2019” , on the EHLO Blog for full details on these and other new features coming to Exchange Online. Don’t expect to see these improvements anytime soon or at all in Exchange on-premises. The cloud is the future and the future is now!


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