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Introduction to Exchange 2007 SP1

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J. Peter Bruzzese provides an overview of and steps to plan for deployment of Exchange Server 2007 SP1.
This chapter is from the book

IN THIS CHAPTER

  • An Overview of Exchange 2007 SP1
  • Choose Your Exchange Server Roles
  • Determine Your Server Type: Server 2003 or 2008
  • Choose Your Exchange 2007 Version
  • Choose the Right Hardware for the Role
  • Ensure the Needed Software Is Installed First
  • Ensure Components Are Installed Per Server Role
  • Plan Your Exchange Storage Architecture

An Overview of Exchange 2007 SP1

You may be new to Exchange and perhaps you are new to messaging servers in general, but one thing is certain: You are not new to email. Email has become the underlying foundation for a new civilization based upon global communication. According to estimates, more than one billion people utilize email in one form or another with that number growing to two billion by 2012. With the increase in email use comes the need for advances to the underlying messaging infrastructure—the servers behind it all—to provide additional features, as well as the necessary disaster recovery, high availability, and storage architecture solutions that people might not know they need.

What is the end result? The answer is new server applications every couple of years. This brings us to the subject of our book: Exchange 2007 SP1. Exchange 2007 SP1 is the latest in messaging servers from Microsoft. It’s new, it’s impressive, and it’s different. With those differences, messaging administrators have much to concern themselves with because the new features come with an entirely new set of interfaces. Yes, there is more than one interface. Exchange 2007 has the Exchange Management Console (EMC), shown in Figure 1.1, which is the GUI console. It also has the Exchange Management Shell (EMS), shown in Figure 1.2, which is the command-line interface (CLI). Before you say, “I’ll stick with the GUI,” it’s important to mention that there are some things that can be done only in the CLI. Not to worry, we will get you through it.

Figure 1.1

Figure 1.1 The Exchange Management Console (EMC) for Exchange 2007 SP1.

Figure 1.2

Figure 1.2 The Exchange Management Shell (EMS).

If you are new to Exchange or if you are moving from a previous version to Exchange 2007, you might be curious about what new features it has to offer.

New Features for Exchange 2007

Here is a quick list of features that Exchange 2007 offers:

  • Active Directory integration—Beginning with Exchange 2000, there has been a connection between Active Directory (AD) and Exchange in the underlying catalog of users and their details. However, with Exchange 2007, trust is put into the capability of AD to route information. So, routing groups (an important aspect in Exchange 2000/2003) are eliminated completely with the AD site topology handling the routing needs of Exchange.
  • Autodiscover—Connected to the Client Access Server role (to be discussed shortly), this new feature in Exchange assists in connecting a remote user to his mailbox server. In addition to optimizing bandwidth in assisting remote users, this feature benefits the internal client connections in that it helps to automatically configure Outlook profiles. Note: The Autodiscover service is only available for Outlook 2007 clients. Earlier versions, including Outlook 2003, do not have the ability to use the service.
  • Availability—This service helps determine the availability of your Hub Transport (HT) servers in an effort to load balance inbound and outbound connections from mailbox servers. This not only enhances the flow of mail but also prevents the failure of a single Hub Transport server from stopping your flow of mail. The best part is that this is handled automatically and requires no configuration on the part of the administrator.
  • EMC and EMS—As mentioned earlier, there are new administrative interfaces to work with in Exchange 2007. The EMC is somewhat familiar to us and mimics the feel of the System Manager, although with a more intuitive structure, and the new Actions pane helps present the options available. The EMS is based on the new scripting language PowerShell 1.0, which is a CLI that enables you to perform powerful administrative tasks with a simple set of commands called cmdlets (pronounced command-lets).
  • High availability—Exchange RTM offered three flavors of high availability, with SP1 providing an additional one. Three of these use a technique called continuous replication, which plays off Exchange storage architecture to provide secondary copies of your Exchange mailbox database. With Local Continuous Replication (LCR) and Standby Continuous Replication (SCR), you do not need clustering services, whereas Cluster Continuous Replication (CCR) does use active/passive clustering technology. Single Copy Clusters (SCC) are similar to the high availability services from Exchange 2003.
  • Performance enhancements—The required platform for Exchange 2007 is 64-bit hardware and software, which improves performance and capacity. Combined with the improved architectural features, by making the step toward 64-bit, an increase in the memory cache size, an increased number of storage groups, and an increased number of information stores per server are possible.
  • Unified Messaging—One of the server roles we discuss in this chapter is Unified Messaging, which is a feature-rich solution for many organizations that want to unify their email, voice mail, and incoming faxes. It might require the purchase of some new hardware or an effort to use older hardware. However, it might be worth the cost and effort because it doesn’t simply provide one location access for those items mentioned; it also provides multiple access solutions (such as phone, Outlook Web Access, mobile devices, and so on).

The list continues with items that relate to the new server roles (for example, antispam agents in the transport server roles), disaster recovery solutions, and with tools that adhere to best practices or troubleshoot your server. As you look through this how-to guide, note items such as transport rules and managed content settings, journaling, and so on. Exchange 2007 is a substantial and impressive release.

Additional Features with SP1

The release of SP1 includes some changes from the RTM version. None of these changes are major in the overall structure and design, but they do provide features and fixes that might make your experience with Exchange more enjoyable.

These features include the following:

  • Deployment options—Enhancements that enable Exchange 2007 SP1 to install and run better on a server that is running Server 2008.
  • ActiveSync improvements—Additional policy settings have been added to the mobile policies you can create. A remote wipe confirmation and Direct Push improvements have been added in an effort to compete more fully with BlackBerry.
  • Outlook Web access improvements—These enhancements are more for the benefit of your users in that they now have the ability to access their deleted items. A monthly calendar view has also been added. Users can create and edit server-side rules. Public folders are supported through the /owa virtual directory. S/MIME support has also been included. Additionally, several customization features have been provided.
  • POP3/IMAP4 Interface—If you worked with the RTM of Exchange 2007 and had to make adjustments to the POP or IMAP settings, you quickly learned that there was no GUI interaction available, and you had to go through the EMS. Microsoft heard its customers’ concerns about this, and now an administrative interface exists in the EMC.
  • Public folder management—As mentioned, the RTM was missing some key elements in the GUI to administer Public folders and that led you to the EMS. SP1 adds those management features into the EMC.

These are just a few of the enhancements (many are behind the scenes, such as the improvements made to transport algorithms), but there are others like the new SCR high availability option we mentioned earlier. There is also now the capability to import and export with .pst files, and there are other new enhancements to the Unified Messaging role.

Your Next Step

It might be hard to determine what you need to do next. Before you begin installation, you need to first make a few decisions, including the following:

  • What server role (or roles) should I install?
  • What hardware and software should I concern myself with, including which version of server should I use—2003 or 2008?
  • Depending on the server role and my view of Exchange architecture, how should I plan my disk configuration? Let’s begin with an understanding of roles. However, we are going to switch to the how-to format of the book so that you begin getting used to the structure.
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