Exchange Server 2007: What To Expect

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Exchange Server 2007: What To Expect

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Just ask anybody who knows me. I was never a huge fan of Microsoft’s ® Exchange Server—that is until Exchange 2003. Exchange Server 2003 introduced many of the features that I was looking for to be able to consider Exchange a good, rock-solid environment for a corporate email solution. Now, with the introduction of Exchange Server 2007 just around the corner, Microsoft is stepping up to the plate with their best offering to date.

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  1. Expert Reference Series of White Papers Exchange Server 2007: What To Expect 1-800-COURSES www.globalknowledge.com
  2. Exchange Server 2007: What To Expect Mark Weinstein, Global Knowledge Instructor, MCP, MCSA, MCSE+Security, MCSA+Messaging, MCSE, MCSE+Security, MCSE+Messaging Introduction Just ask anybody who knows me. I was never a huge fan of Microsoft’s® Exchange Server—that is until Exchange 2003. Exchange Server 2003 introduced many of the features that I was looking for to be able to consider Exchange a good, rock-solid environment for a corporate email solution. Now, with the introduction of Exchange Server 2007 just around the corner, Microsoft is stepping up to the plate with their best offering to date. Microsoft recently released a public preview of Exchange Server 2007 Beta 2 (previously called Exchange 12) in June 2006 and is shooting for a general availability date of late 2006 or early 2007. Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 has been designed to meet the tough challenges for a corporate communication solution and pro- vides a rich feature set that users can access through a variety of different interfaces and devices. What’s the Difference? Yes, it is true that Exchange 2007 has kept most of the functionality of its predecessors; however, the imple- mentation of this functionality has been greatly improved and many new features have been added. While some of the changes may be obvious to many administrators, others are not quite as easy to spot with the naked eye. 1. 64-Bit: It’s Time Has Come Since Exchange Server 4.0, over 10 years ago, Exchange has been operating within the same 32-bit architecture. The messaging environment has evolved into a mission-critical application and demands placed on messaging systems will continue to grow. Sixty-four-bit servers provide the system architecture to meet these increased demands while reducing costs within organizations through server and disk storage consolidations. Exchange Server 2007 has been completely rewritten from the ground up as a 64-bit enhanced application. With the larger addressable memory space, Exchange Server 2007 can utilize more memory, thereby reducing the required input/output per user (IOPS). This also enables the use of larger disks, as well as lower cost stor- age solutions such as SATA2 drives. Sixty-four-bit should eliminate many of the bottlenecks that have been seen with previous versions of Exchange Server. 2. New Server Role Model Exchange Server 2007 introduces Server Roles, a new concept to organize Exchange services. While Exchange 2003 provided a primitive type of server roles called BackEnd and FrontEnd servers, Exchange 2007 breaks these into smaller, more identifiable roles. Exchange Server 2007 will make the following roles available: Copyright ©2006 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. Page 2
  3. • Mailbox Server – Used for hosting user mailbox and public folder stores, as well as providing MAPI access for thick-client access • Client Access Server – Provides user mailbox access through IMAP, POP, Outlook Web Access, and ActiveSync protocols • Hub Transport Server – Handles mail routing and controls mail flow by utilizing Active Directory site information • Unified Messaging Server – Enables user mailbox access through a telephone, as well as enables teleph- ony services such as voicemail, fax, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) capabilities • Edge Transport Server – Provides increased security by placing SMTP services, mail quarantine, and smarthost capabilities on a perimeter network By carefully analyzing their organization’s needs, Exchange administrators can now tune their Exchange infra- structures to provide the services where they need them most. Have a lot of Outlook Web Access (OWA) users? Install additional Client Access Servers and use network load balancing. Is SPAM out of control? Install a new Edge Transport Server. You get the idea. 3. New and Improved Administration Tools Microsoft Windows Applications have always been known for their easy-to-use graphical tools for administra- tion. Exchange Server 2007 takes administration to the next level by offering not only a graphical user interface, but also an extremely powerful command line administration console. The Exchange Management Console (formerly known as the Exchange System Manager) has a new and improved look and feel, and is based on the newer MMC version 3.0. In addition, the new command line interface, called the Exchange Management Shell, provides administrators with a new interface for system management and can perform every task that can be performed by using Exchange Management Console, plus some. In fact, when a task is performed in the Exchange Management Console, the same command is made available to the Exchange Management Shell and called to process the request. 4. Cluster Continuous Replication Now things really get exciting. In my opinion, Exchange Server’s implementation of clustering has always left a little to be desired. Yes, it worked, but it required shared storage solutions that usually would collapse under the pressure of multiple Exchange databases being written concurrently. Exchange Server 2007 really shines in its new clustering technologies. Cluster Continuous Replication (CCR) is a new, high-availability feature of Exchange Server 2007. Combining the asynchronous log shipping and replay features that are built into Exchange 2007, and the failover and management capabilities of the Microsoft Clustering Service, CCR can be deployed within a single location or between two data centers to provide a high-availability mailbox solution. Yes, you heard that right. Supporting multiple physical locations makes Exchange Server 2007 a viable solution for geographical clustering without requiring expensive hardware or software add-ons. 5. Business Continuity Exchange administrators who have had the unfortunate experience of attempting to diagnose and repair a corrupted information store can tell you that it’s not exactly an enjoyable experience. Running a close second would be the painful process of recovering from a tape backup. Copyright ©2006 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. Page 3
  4. Exchange Server 2007 introduces Local Continuous Replication (LCR), a new technology to improve system availability. LCR replicates Exchange data across multiple disks in a single server and establishes a second copy of the production database that is kept up-to-date automatically. In the event of a disk failure or data corrup- tion, switching over to the replica of the database is an immediate solution to ensure less downtime of Exchange Services. Daily backups can be run against the replica of the database to lessen the performance impact on a production server. In plain English, this represents a huge breakthrough in the recovery process for a local server. Corrupt infor- mation stores can now be back online within minutes instead of the hours that it took with previous versions. 6. Improved Outlook Web Access Outlook Web Access (OWA) has improved with every version of Exchange Server, and the newest version is no different. One of the unfortunate side effects of using OWA has always been the lack of functionality for users, as opposed to using the full version of Outlook. Exchange Server 2007 addresses quite a few of these issues. Users may utilize the Scheduling Assistant to book meetings, search the Global Address List, and access their voicemail or fax messages through its unified messenger integration. OWA 2007 can also transcode many doc- ument types, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF files, into HTML so they may be viewed from any computer without having specific applications installed. Users of public computers and kiosk machines can now be productive without the fear of leaving documents on the machine once they log off, since all HTML documents are purged by OWA at logoff. With all of the new improvements in OWA, it won’t be long before it catches up with its Outlook counterpart with the exception of local storage. 7. Auto-Configuration of Outlook Clients No administrator can claim that he or she enjoys configuring hundreds or thousands of Outlook clients to com- municate with their Exchange server. When working with Outlook 2007 clients, Exchange Server 2007 will ease the load of configuration by completing automatically all user input that is required to initiate the connection. Even for users not logged on to the network, connecting Outlook 2007 to Exchange Server 2007 using Outlook Anywhere (formerly known as RPC over HTTP) requires only the user name, e-mail address, and password. In the event of a mailbox move, migration, or disaster, Exchange’s auto discover technology eliminates the need for users to change their settings by automatically detecting the new server and reconfiguring the connection. 8. Unified Messaging Some people say that e-mail replaced the telephone, but in the changing business world, things always seem to come full circle. Exchange Server 2007 is the first version of Exchange to introduce unified messaging technolo- gies that will seamlessly integrate a user’s voicemail and faxes into their personal inbox. Exchange Server 2007 can be connected to many legacy PBX infrastructures or IP gateways, and it has the ability to provide additional services, such as auto-attendants and telephone access to a user’s mailboxes, contacts, and calendars. 9. Improved Mobility Functionality Remember the good ole days when “Out of the Office” meant that you were actually out of the office? Well, with the rapid acceptance of mobile devices, be prepared to make yourself accessible all of the time. Copyright ©2006 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. Page 4
  5. Exchange Server 2007 comes out of the box providing “Direct Push” technologies to allow ActiveSync-based mobile devices to stay up-to-date with the server. Additional features that enhance mobile security allow administrators to enforce policies on mobile devices, including the remote wiping of a device in case it is lost or stolen. To top it off, mobile users now have access to Windows SharePoint Services sites or file shares with- out having to initialize a VPN or tunneled connection. So now there is no excuse not to be productive when you are away from the office. 10. Improved Scheduling and Calendar Features The calendaring functionality of Exchange Server 2007 has been enhanced with a new set of tools that make users more productive and assists with resolving scheduling and resource conflicts. The new Calendar Attendant limits calendar items to the latest version received in the user’s inbox and will automatically respond to a meeting request as “tentative” until the user can either accept or deny the request. Remember resource mailboxes that were available in Exchange 5.5? Well, apparently they are back and with the new “Resource Booking Attendant.” The management of resources such as meeting rooms or company equipment becomes automated and is less subject to user error. The Scheduling Assistant helps tie these new features together by providing visual guidance to users on the best and worst times to meet based on meeting invitees and required resources. Conclusion This is just a short list of the new or improved features of Exchange Server 2007. There are quite a few others that would comprise a much longer document. But allow this to serve as a teaser for what’s to come. Believe me, there is much more. In my opinion, Microsoft’s Exchange Server 2007 is the most exciting product I have seen to come out of Redmond in quite a few years. If the features listed above are just a sample of what’s to come with the final release, I can’t wait to see what other surprises the Exchange team has up their sleeves. It seems that Exchange has not only caught up to, but also possibly surpassed the competition by taking full advantage of the advanced 64-bit architecture and by offering a feature set that is a huge step forward for a product that has market dominance in the corporate sector. About the Author Mark Weinstein has over 25 years of experience in the technology industry. In addition to writing and teach- ing, he serves as a Senior Consultant for SYSTMS of NY, Inc. Mark holds certifications as an MCP, MCSA, MCSA+Security, MCSA+Messaging, MCSE, MCSE+Security, and MCSE+Messaging. When he is not basking in the glow of his widescreen monitor, Mark usually can be found catering to his artistic side by enjoying photog- raphy or playing a guitar. Learn More Learn more about how you can improve productivity, enhance efficiency, and sharpen your competitive edge. Check out the following Global Knowledge course: Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Copyright ©2006 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. Page 5
  6. For more information or to register, visit www.globalknowledge.com or call 1-800-COURSES to speak with a sales representative. Our courses and enhanced, hands-on labs offer practical skills and tips that you can immediately put to use. Our expert instructors draw upon their experiences to help you understand key concepts and how to apply them to your specific work situation. Choose from our more than 700 courses, delivered through Classrooms, e-Learning, and On-site sessions, to meet your IT and management training needs. Copyright ©2006 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. Page 6
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