As 2016 draws to an end it's time to look back and reflect on another year, and also look forward to the future.
It's been another busy year for me here at Exchange Server Pro. Each year I like to pull some stats from the blog to see how things compare to the previous year. Here's the numbers for 2016.
- 135 new blog posts, not including posts written for other sites (such as Practical 365, which I have more news about shortly). Last year the number was 139.
- There were 3947 new comments posted, which is an increase of about 10%, not including spam and any that were blocked as false positives for any reason. 1114 of the comments were written by me.
- My contact form was used for 2820 new submissions (questions, customer service, consulting requests, etc). I'm sorry I was not able to answer everyone's questions, but as you can see I get a lot.
During the year I also co-authored:
- The Exchange Server Troubleshooting Companion
- Office 365 for IT Pros, 3rd Edition (which has just received another update this week, if you're looking for some holiday reading)
- Exam Ref 70-345 Designing and Deploying Exchange Server 2016
As well as those books, I also published seven courses with Pluralsight:
- Migrating to Exchange Server 2016
- The six-part exam 70-345 series (the last part is in final production and will release any day now)
That's on top of a steady flow of consulting and support work, and speaking at a few conferences throughout the year as well.
I'm rather looking forward to a holiday.
Last year I also shared some web traffic stats. This year, the numbers are about the same, which is the first time in several years that this site has not grown significantly in terms of traffic (although my inbox seems to have gotten busier). I suspect the main reason for the plateau is that the on-premises Exchange customer base, and therefore the community, is not growing as it once was. I have no access to secret Microsoft numbers, but it shouldn't be a great surprise to anyone that the cloud is where most of the action is happening today. I don't think we're shrinking so much as we are evolving into something different, as our careers change along with the industry itself.
In fact, as much as I love working with on-premises customers and contributing to the strong community of Exchange admins that exists today, most of the work I actually do these days is with Office 365.
Most of you probably don't know that this site had a different name when I first started it. Quite a silly name as it turned out, and in the early days I made a wise decision to re-brand to Exchange Server Pro. It was a change that reflected the type of IT professional I was at the time, working mainly with Exchange migrations and support, and riding the wave that was Exchange Server 2007.
A few months ago I launched another site, Practical 365, covering the wider world of Office 365. It was a chance to start over, avoid some of the early mistakes I made here, and see whether a different direction fit where I am today in my career. Practical 365 has worked out quite well so far, but as anyone who has written a blog knows, keeping one blog up to date is hard enough. Keeping two up to date is nearly impossible, at least not with a reasonable level of quality and consistency. There are only so many hours of the day to fit writing in with work, family, exercise, and some leisure time.
And so, after I've enjoyed a good couple of weeks of much needed vacation time, I'll be merging the two sites together into one single site. In 2017, Exchange Server Pro will become Practical 365. There's quite a lot of work involved in making that happen, but it should go ahead in January.
Such a change probably raises some questions, so I'll do my best to answer them here and keep this list up to date with anything else that comes up.
Q: Does this mean no more articles about Exchange Server?
A: No, I will definitely still be writing about Exchange. A lot of Exchange information applies equally to Office 365 after all. I envisage “Exchange Server” becoming a category of the new site, instead of the sole topic. I also plan to keep contributing to the on-premises Exchange community with things like PowerShell scripts. And of course, when Microsoft release the next version of Exchange (any bets on the name?) I'll be all over it.
Q: What if I'm not interested in reading about Office 365?
A: You are welcome to skip over any articles you're not interested in. I hope you'll still find the Exchange Server content useful, and perhaps in time the new Office 365 content will also be useful to you. If not, I thank you for your support over the years.
Q: What about newsletter subscribers?
A: The Exchange Server Pro newsletter will become the Practical 365 newsletter. There's already been a healthy amount of interest shown in the Office 365 content that has been in the newsletter previously. If you decide you no longer want to receive the newsletter you can easily unsubscribe, and I thank you for all your support over the years.
Q: What happens to people who have bought eBooks from you?
A: Nothing changes except the brand name for the site. If you have access to download your books and updates today, you'll still have it after the change. We'll continue to sell eBooks, and release new ones in future.
Q: Have you thought about selling Exchange Server Pro instead?
A: Yes. Are you offering to buy it?
Q: You're making a big mistake.
A: That's not a question.
Q: What will happen to the Exchange Server Pro Podcast?
A: For now, the podcast is on hiatus. I'm still considering what to do with it. I enjoy the conversations with experts, but it usually involves me staying up very late at night due to the differences in time zones, and that is not a healthy habit. I might re-brand it or start a new podcast. Or I might put that time to use in other ways that are more useful to the community.
If you have any other questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below.
Thank you again for all your support this past year, I couldn't do this without you. Have a safe and happy new year, and I'll see you again in 2017.