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Choose Your Exchange Server Roles

  • Solution: The choice might be easy if you are dealing with a small environment where you plan to use one Exchange Server. In that case, you need to install the Typical server roles, which include the Mailbox role, the Client Access Server role, and the Hub Transport role. We discuss the step-by-step installation of roles in Chapter 3, “Install Exchange 2007.”

If you need to install roles one at a time, which role is designed to handle which responsibilities? Consider the following five server roles:

  • Mailbox (MB)—Hosts mailbox databases and public folder databases. Ordinarily, you can install the MB role with other roles on a single server (with the exception of the Edge Transport) unless you plan to use cluster services to provide CCR or SCC high availability options within Exchange.
  • Client Access Server (CAS)—This role is similar to the front-end server for the Exchange 2000/2003 infrastructure and provides connections to a mailbox through Outlook Web Access (OWA), ActiveSync for Mobile devices, Outlook Anywhere, POP, and IMAP support. It also provides free/busy data through the availability service and supports the autodiscover services.
  • Hub Transport (HT)—This role is similar to the Bridgehead server of Exchange 2000/2003. All mail coming in and out of your organization goes through the HT role. This means transport rules established on the HT role enable you to control mail while in transit. It relies completely on Active Directory to have a logical infrastructure in place to support the flow of mail.
  • Unified Messaging (UM)—Provides Voice over IP (VoIP) with your mailbox. Email, voicemail, and incoming faxes can all come in to your Inbox. You can check the messages and calendar through multiple access interfaces (phone, email, or web browser). For this to work, you need a telephony expert for the installation and configuration of the telephony infrastructure (or the reconfiguration of your existing infrastructure). You might have a legacy Private Branch Exchange (PBX) that will work with a VoIP Gateway, or you can purchase a new IP-PBX.
  • Edge Transport (ET)—This role is not a part of the Active Directory (and cannot be installed with any other role) but resides on the perimeter of the network using Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM) and synchronizes with the HT servers on the internal network. Its purpose is to provide additional security, antivirus, and antispam to your messaging organization. It’s a recommended but not required role.
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