Microsoft Exchange Server 2007

Description:

Microsoft Exchange Server is a messaging and collaborative software product developed by Microsoft. It is part of the Windows Server System line of server products and is widely used by enterprises using Microsoft infrastructure solutions. Exchange's major features consist of electronic mail, shared calendars and tasks, and support for the mobile and web-based access to information, as well as supporting data storage. (Wikipedia)

Ever since the release of Exchange 2003, Microsoft had no clue on what to do for its future plans. There were plans of a release in 2005 for Edge Serves, an add-on for the main product, but those plans never made it out. Now a new version of exchange has been released. the 2007 edition was released on DVD in the last quarter of the 2006 business cycle. It was released to business customers as part of Microsoft's line of new products. It includes voice mail integration, better search and support for Web services, better filtering options, and a new Outlook Web Access interface.

Exchange 2007 will run on 64-bit x64 version of Windows only, pointing out the substantial performance benefits that 64-bit computing brings to the product. This limitation applies to supported production environments only; a 32-bit trial version is available for download and testing. However, companies currently running Exchange on 32-bit hardware will be forced to replace or migrate hardware if they wish to upgrade to the new version. Even those companies that are currently running Exchange on 64-bit capable hardware will still need to upgrade their server operating system simultaneously with the Exchange 2007 upgrade. (Wikipedia)

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The Importance of Exchange Server 2007:

  • Protection: anti-spam, antivirus, compliance, clustering with data replication, improved security and encryption
  • Improved Information Worker Access: improved calendaring, unified messaging, improved mobility, improved web access
  • Improved IT Experience: 64-bit performance & scalability, command-line shell & simplified GUI, improved deployment, role separation, simplified routing
  • "Exchange Management Shell": a new command-line shell and scripting language for system administration (based on the Windows PowerShell scripting language -- formerly called "Monad" -- developed for Windows Vista). Shell users can perform every task that can be performed in the Exchange graphical user interface plus additional tasks, and can program often-used or complex tasks into "scripts" that can be saved, shared, and re-used.
  • "Unified Messaging" that lets users receive voice mail, e-mail, and faxes in their mailboxes, and lets them access their mailboxes from cell phones and other wireless devices. Voice commands can be given to control and listen to e-mail over the phone (and also send some basic messages, like "I'll be late")
  • Removed the database maximum size limit. Database size is now limited by hardware capability and the window for backups and maintenance.
  • Increased the maximum number of storage groups and mail databases per server, to 5 each for Standard Edition (from 1 each in Exchange 2003 Standard), and to 50 each for Enterprise Edition (from 4 groups and 20 databases in Exchange 2003 Enterprise).

Users of Exchange 2007

What used to be offered in a single Exchange 2003 product is now spread through a series of roles-based servers. The new modular architecture further reduces the load from client connections and allows for better scalability and failover reliability. The roles also simplify deployment and improve administration options for VARs.
Most server roles are optional, with the exception of Client Access, which operates as the middle tier for other server roles, especially for Exchange mailbox servers.
No doubt the big changes will introduce some complexity, so the Test Center recommends VARs attend as much training as Microsoft makes available. Because the new architecture is more expensive, it might increase overall management in the long term as administrators add more end-user functionality in a distributed environment. However, the improved traffic management might outweigh those considerations.
Exchange 2007's new Edge Transport server role, while optional, might prove crucial as a first line of defense against spammers. It is best deployed on a DMZ and can be made to filter out all incoming Internet messages. When combined with Microsoft Forefront Security, Edge Transport server provides antivirus protection. Forefront also provides content filtering to reduce spam. With Forefront installed, virus updates are automatic.

Uses in the Business World

Microsoft Exchange is used throughout the Business World. Some of the uses of Microsft Exhange in the business world include maintaining shared address lists that others can view and edit, scheduling meetings that include people and conference rooms by viewing associated free or busy schedules, the ability to grant other people, such as administrators, access to your mailbox on your behalf. You can also manage "rules" for processing messages on Exchange Server, giving you the flexibility to create auto-responses and automatic filing of incoming messages.


Positives and Negatives


Positives

Increased message protection through increased security with perimeter network, adaptive filtering, fewer false positives, lower TCO, lower administrative overhead, and multilevel virus scanning.

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Many of the other positive aspects have been covered previously in "The Importance of Exchange Server 2007"

Negatives

1) MS Exchange Server 2007 supported production environments require 64-bit capable hardware so greater cost could be introduced if a user had to upgrade or replace parts of their current setup to meet the requirements.

2) Exchange external image mag-glass_10x10.gif 2007 is priced at $699 for the Standard Edition and $3,999 for the Enterprise Edition. A client access license costs $69 per user or device for access to standard features. Access to advanced features—including unified messaging, compliance capabilities and Forefront Client Security (anti-virus and anti-spam)—costs an additional $25 per user or device.
The problem with some of Exchange Server 2007's new features is that companies that need them probably already have them. For example, the advanced compliance tools work well, but companies that need to audit e-mail likely already have e-mail auditing tools in place. (eweek.com)


Links:

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/itshowcase/content/edgetransport.mspx
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/2007/plan/hardware.mspx
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2081142,00.asp

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