By Chris Blackburn

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My name is Chris Blackburn and I am a Microsoft infrastructure consultant, specializing in their Unified Communications brands – Exchange, Skype for Business, Teams – as well as their Cloud brands: Office 365 and Microsoft Azure, and the Enterprise Mobility + Security suite to round out Microsoft’s security platform

I’ve been an IT consultant for over almost two decades and work hard to improve the IT environments I touch. I’m also always updating my Microsoft certifications to stay current. I’m a certified charter MCSE: Messaging on Exchange 2013, as well as a charter MCSE on Office 365 (ala Wave 15), and along with helping to write the Enterprise Mobility + Security test exam questions. I’m also active in the Microsoft beta community and help contribute to Microsoft as an subject matter expert.

During my time as an IT consultant, I have been involved with Microsoft Exchange messaging solutions in over 300+ environments, starting back in the Exchange 5.5 days. My clients have ranged from small businesses (using all versions of the now retired Microsoft Small Business Server) to large enterprises During the past 12 years of working here in the Minneapolis market, I have continued to build my Office 365 and Security experience by working with Microsoft partners in large enterprise environments.

I have performed many new deployments and version-to-version migrations of Exchange, cross forest Exchange migrations using Microsoft & Quest tools, as well as migrations from non-Microsoft platforms, such as multi-server Novell Groupwise environments. I have also had the unique opportunity of deploying Exchange in hosted environments for system integrators in several states, who have in turn become service providers and resellers email services to thousands of users. I’ve also been a part of a number of Exchange migrations and hybrid deployments into Office 365, and have helped organizations remove traditional on-premise dependencies.

Along with the traditional messaging and IM deployments, I’ve helped businesses utilize Lync and Skype for Business implementations with Enterprise Voice, including traditional PBX integration with systems like Mitel and Avaya, to 100% PBX-free deployments using SIP trunks and Polycom Lync-enabled phones. Recently I’ve helped companies adopt pure, cloud-only voice solutions with CloudPBX as well as start to dip their toes into what Teams can offer.

Unified Communications is an area I am passionate about, but Microsoft’s security stack is the preferred technologies I have come to not only intimately know, but help organizations adopt and become enthusiastic about as well.

Recently I’ve been working as a Managing Architect, overseeing the work of engineers on my team and helping them deploy solutions to complex business problems. I have tons of experience developing training documentation used by dozens of organizations for internal administration, including PowerShell scripts for automating things like management, deployment and more. You can find some of these on my Github library under thetootall.


2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Hey,

    Just wanted to drop a line to a fellow Memphian and unified communications guy. I am working on a project in Marshfield Wisconsin right now. Are you a spiceworks guy too? Is there a group of Memphis UC guys that meet? (Kinda like the .NET group)


    • Thanks for dropping the like Mack. I’m more of an SCCM guy over Spiceworks – yes, I know it’s more complex, but it’s Microsoft and they’re my passion!
      There is a UC group that meets here in Minneapolis at Avtex every now and then; I’ve personally never been but hope to soon!

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