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Welcome to Exchange Server 2007

 

Topic Last Modified: 2006-05-22

As we finish up this release, it’s interesting to reflect on how we got here. While we were planning this release, we were hearing from CIOs about the increasing mission- criticality of e-mail, TCO, security, and compliance. Administrators were seeking simplicity and help with diagnostics and automation, while end-users expressed their love for their phones, but sought our help with information overload.

The defining planning moment for me was in June 2003, when we were reviewing our notes from a series of customer visits. From each customer, we took away a server topology diagram of their messaging system. These diagrams contained Exchange servers and non-Exchange servers. The Exchange servers were frequently labeled or color-coded to designate the “role" the servers were playing.

We knew we really didn’t build Exchange to be deployed as server roles. We started asking ourselves, what would it mean to build Exchange as an integrated system of server roles? Would this make security lockdown easier? Would this enable cost effective capacity planning? Would this unlock innovation in more scenarios? Could Exchange fulfill all of the roles needed in a complete messaging system? Could we deliver on the CIO, admin, and end-user requirements?

After three years of hard work by the Exchange team, our answer lies in the five integrated server roles of Exchange 2007:

  • Mailbox server role – the scaled-up storage role; requiring 70 percent less I/O throughput compared to Exchange Server 2003, with built-in support for continuous replication for high-availability and e-mail retention policy enforcement.
  • Client Access server role – a middle-tier role, published to the Internet; providing the new Outlook Web Access, Outlook Mobile synchronization, Outlook Anywhere (RPC over HTTP), Internet Message Access Protocol version 4 rev1 (IMAP4), Post Office Protocol version 3 (POP3), Outlook calendar Web services, and other programmable Web services.
  • Unified Messaging server role – a middle tier role, connecting Exchange to the world of telephony; provides universal inbox support for voice mail and fax, and enables Outlook Voice Access with speech recognition.
  • Edge Transport server role – the gateway on the perimeter network, with built-in filtering of spam and viruses, and enabling breakthrough secure mail federation.
  • Hub Transport server role – routing mail throughout an enterprise, pre-licensing Information Rights Management (IRM) messages, and enforcing compliance at each stage.

To pull this together, we knew we needed to refresh our admin experience. Fortunately, the Monad team (since renamed Windows PowerShell) came through with an incredible shell for systems management that we build on. Systems management on Windows Server will never be the same.

I am confident our customers will find more business value than in any prior release of Exchange - lower costs, security, and compliance topping the list. Administrators will love managing it. End-users will love being connected to it.

By the time this article is public, we will be close to releasing Beta 2 and sharing Exchange 2007 with the world. We hope you'll love it as much as we do.

 
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