One of the things I like most about Microsoft’s approach to software engineering is their focus on making data-driven decisions. For example, if you remember the advent of Windows 2003, you may remember that MS spent a ton of time analyzing crash causes for Windows 2000. They found that a large percentage (I want to say ~ 60%, but I might be making that up) were caused by faulty drivers– so they introduced the concept of signed drivers, and the ability for admins to disallow unsigned drivers.
For a more recent example, take a look at the Office 2007 ribbon. Love it or hate it, the ribbon came about because we told MS that’s what we wanted, through the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP). CEIP allows you to choose to send usage data to Microsoft so they can get anonymized data about how their programs are being used.
The Exchange component teams want to start making more use of CEIP data opportunity to improve customer experience and drive E15 planning by gathering data in several high impact areas. Microsoft’s David Espinoza listed some of the data items CEIP could potentially gather:
- How many users have turned on SMS notification?
- How many NDRs are generated, for what reason?
- How much latency exists between the time a user sends an SMS message and the time the phone picks it up from the Outbox?
- What are the most frequently observed cmdlet errors?
- What Exchange Server roles are the most often installed in virtualized (VMWare, Hyper-V) environments?
As you can see, none of these are particularly sensitive (or even that interesting) for a particular site. However, in the aggregate, data items like this give Microsoft a great deal of insight into what features customers are using, how well they’re working, and where they could be improved.
Microsoft is asking everyone running Exchange 2007 or Exchange 2010 to turn on CEIP, so I thought I’d help spread the word. The actual process is simple; you can enable CEIP on individual servers or for the entire organization with a simple Exchange Management Shell cmdlet. Give it a try!