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Completing the Installation of Exchange 2003

After the first Exchange 2003 server has been installed, the Exchange environment will likely need to be customized to meet the needs and requirements of the organization. The custom options include

  • Creating administrative groups

  • Creating routing groups

  • Creating storage groups

  • Creating additional mailbox databases

  • Creating a public folder store

Creating Administrative Group and Routing Group Structure

By default, the Exchange installation program will create an administrative group and routing group called first administrative group and first routing group. If your company wants to create an administrative group structure prior to installing Exchange, it can do so by installing the Exchange System Manager and creating the group structure.

Setting Administrative Views

To begin managing and administering the administrative groups and routing groups in Exchange 2003, Administrative Views needs to be configured. To enable Administrative Views, follow these steps:

  1. Start the Exchange System Manager.

  2. Right-click and select Properties on the Exchange organization.

  3. On the properties page, select Display Routing Groups and Display Administrative Groups, as shown in Figure 3.2.

  4. Click OK.

Creating Administrative Groups

For a clean installation of Exchange, the organization is set up in a single administrative group. The Exchange administrator can create additional administrative groups to delegate the administration of the organization to other administrators. To create an additional administrative group, follow these steps:

Figure 3.2

FIGURE 3.2 Enabling administrative views.

  1. Start Exchange System Manager.

  2. Right-click Administrative Groups and select New Administrative Group, as shown in Figure 3.3.

  3. Type the name of the group and click OK.

Figure 3.3

FIGURE 3.3 Adding an administrative group.

Creating Routing Groups

The default installation of administrative groups is to create a single administrative boundary; routing groups also create a single boundary for mail delivery. Routing groups are created to control message flow. A routing group connector then connects routing groups. A new routing group is usually created when there is a transition in bandwidth, such as from a LAN to a WAN. Servers separated by a WAN link or highly saturated or unstable LAN link are usually contained in separate routing groups.

In every routing group one server is identified as the routing group master (RGM). This server is responsible for propagating link state information to other servers in the routing group. The RGM is responsible for tracking which servers are up or down in their own routing group and propagating that information to the RGM servers in other routing groups on the network. Only two states are tracked for the message link, which are up or down.

Routing groups also affect a client’s connection to a public folder. When a client attempts to access a public folder, the client uses the copy of the folder on its home server if it exists. If the folder cannot be located on the home server, the client uses a copy in its home server’s routing group. If a copy is not available in the local routing group, clients attempt to locate the folder in a remote routing group. The arbitrary cost assigned to the routing group connector by the administrator determines which routing group is selected first.

If the organization has only a single location, a complicated routing structure is unnecessary. However, routing groups can enable the Exchange administrator(s) to throttle the routing of messages between servers and sites. This may be done if an organization has a very low bandwidth between sites and wants to prevent large attachments from saturating the limited bandwidth between locations. Standard messages could be sent throughout the day; however, messages with large attachments can be delayed until the evening when bandwidth is more readily available.

To create an additional routing group, follow these steps:

  1. Start Exchange System Manager.

  2. Expand the administrative groups/administrative group name.

  3. Right-click on Routing Groups, and then select New Routing Group, as shown in Figure 3.4.

  4. Type the routing group name and click OK.

Figure 3.4

FIGURE 3.4 Adding a routing group.

Creating Storage Groups

Storage groups are collections of Exchange databases that the Exchange server manages with a separate process. Each storage group shares a set of transaction logs. Log files are not purged until the entire storage group has been backed up. All databases in the storage group are also subject to the Circular Logging setting on the storage group. Exchange 2003 Standard Edition supports a single storage group on a server, and a total of four storage groups are supported on each Exchange 2003 Enterprise Edition server.

As an administrator, you should create additional storage groups when

  • You can use separate physical transaction log drives to increase performance—Putting an additional storage group on the same physical transaction log drive might actually reduce performance because of transaction log management and should be considered only if the first storage group is full.

  • You need to back up multiple databases simultaneously—Databases are backed up at the storage group level. Using multiple storage groups allows simultaneous backups of each storage group.

  • The first storage group already has the maximum number of databases supported—When another database is required on a server where the first storage group has the maximum number of supported databases, an additional storage group has to be created.

To create a new storage group, right-click the Exchange server in Exchange System Manager and select New, Storage Group. A set of options, as shown in Figure 3.5, is shown:

Figure 3.5

FIGURE 3.5 Options for creating a new storage group.

  • Name—The name of the storage group appears in Exchange System Manager and Active Directory Users and Computers when managing users.

  • Transaction log location—Put transaction logs on a different drive than the databases that will be part of this storage group; if the hard drive that the database is on crashes and you have to restore the database from tape, the logs are not affected by the database drive hardware failure. This method can improve data integrity and recoverability.

  • System path location—The system path is the location of temporary files, such as the checkpoint file and reserve logs.

  • Log file prefix—The log file prefix is assigned to each log file and is automatically assigned by the server.

  • Zero out deleted database pages—This option clears deleted data from the drive, and although that process creates additional overhead, it also increases security.

  • Enable circular logging—Never enable this setting. Make sure the backup jobs are completing successfully to prevent filling the transaction log drive.

Managing Databases

Exchange 2003 Enterprise allows five databases per storage group. The number of databases can be any combination of public and private stores. Exchange 2003 stores data in two types of databases:

  • EDB—Stores rich text messages and Internet Message headers.

  • STM—Stores all MIME content. Stores audio, voice, and video as a stream of MIME data without conversion. This reduces the amount of space for storage and reduces the overhead on the server by not converting the data. Message bodies from the Internet messages are also stored in the STM database; the message header is converted to rich text format and stored in the EDB database.

A feature in Exchange 2003 mailbox and public store databases is full-text indexing. In earlier versions of Exchange, every folder and message was searched when users initiated a search. In Exchange 2003, the administrator can configure an index that is updated and rebuilt periodically. This enables fast searches for Outlook 2003, Outlook XP, and Outlook 2000 users. The following attachment types are also included in the index: doc, xls, ppt, html, htm, asp, txt, and eml (embedded MIME messages). Binary attachments are not included in the index. To initiate a full-text index, right-click the Mail or Public store and select Create Full Text Index.

Creating Additional Mailbox Stores

New mailbox stores should be created when the size of the existing mailbox store is growing too large to manage. To create a new mailbox store, right-click the storage group and select New, Mailbox Store. When creating a new mailbox store, the options to configure appear as tabs, as shown in Figure 3.6:

Figure 3.6

FIGURE 3.6 Options for creating a new database.

  • General—Defines the database name, the offline address book to use, message archiving, whether digitally signed messages are allowed, and plain text display.

  • Database—Sets the location for the EDB and STM databases. These should be stored on a hardware RAID 5 or 0+1 drive. Also controls the online database maintenance schedule.

  • Limits—Configures the message storage limit at which users are warned that sending and receiving are prohibited. Also sets the deleted items and mailbox policy.

  • Full-Text Indexing—Configures how often the full-text index is updated and rebuilt.

  • Details—Notes any information about the configuration that is manually keyed in to this page by an administrator or Exchange Server manager.

  • Policies—Defines the system mailbox store policies that apply to the mailbox store.

Three entries are listed below the mailbox store that can provide the administrator information regarding the status of the store:

  • Logons—Last logon time, last access time, client type used to log on, and the Windows 2000 or Windows 2003 account that was used.

  • Mailboxes—Number of items in the mailbox, mailbox size, and last logon and logoff time.

  • Full-Text Indexing—Index information, such as location, size, state, number of documents, and the last build time.

Creating a Public Folder Store

Unlike the mailbox store, new public stores should be created only when there is a need for a new public folder tree, because each public folder store needs to be associated with a public folder tree. Public folder trees can be created under the folders container in each storage group. Only one public store from each Exchange server can be associated with a public folder tree. To create a new public store, right-click the storage group and select New, Public Store. The majority of the tabs are identical to those of the mailbox store. The following are tabs that contain unique public folder store settings:

  • Replication—Sets the replication schedule, interval, and size limit for public folder replication messages.

  • Limits—Includes an age limit setting for the number of days for folder content to be valid.

The entries listed below the public folder store provide the administrator information regarding the status of the store:

  • Logons—Last logon time, last access time, client type used to log on, and the Windows 2000 or Windows 2003 account that was used.

  • Public Folder Instances—Information about folders that are being replicated to other servers.

  • Public Folders—Folder size, number of items, creation date, and last access time.

  • Replication Status—Replication status of each folder in the public folder store—for example, In Sync indicates that the folder is up to date.

  • Full-Text Indexing—Index information, such as location, size, state, number of documents, and the last build time.

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