Exchange 2003 Design Considerations
Topic Last Modified: 2005-04-22
Before you begin planning a Microsoft® Exchange Server 2003 messaging system, you need to gather a large amount of business and technical information. Many companies have their own system development methodologies to guide them through the process of designing or upgrading systems. Such methodologies generally begin with gathering requirements and assessing the current environment. Even if your company does not follow a formal methodology, the proper approach to the planning phase begins with these first steps.
Planning your Exchange Server 2003 messaging system typically progresses as follows:
- Assessing Your Exchange Server 2003 Design Requirements First, evaluate your business, administrative, user, and security requirements, and conduct a technical assessment of the environment in which you plan to deploy the messaging system.
- Understanding Your Current Network Environment Next, assess your technical solutions, and determine the target Exchange messaging system design.
- Planning Active Directory with Exchange Server in Mind Along with assessing your current environment from a physical standpoint, you should understand how Windows Server and Active Directory are deployed in your organization.
- Understanding Versions of Exchange, Windows, and Outlook Finally, perform a gap analysis to determine what you need to accomplish to move from your existing environment to your target design.
When planning the placement of Exchange servers and the administration of directories and servers, it is usually recommended that you start with a centralized model and add servers, routing groups, and administrative groups only when necessary. With the features available in Exchange 2003, Windows Server 2003, and Outlook 2003, businesses may be encouraged to adopt more centralized messaging systems than have been possible in the past. In addition, with the proliferation of higher speed and higher bandwidth connections, companies made up of geographically dispersed offices can consider centralizing their hardware and administration so that they can reduce the number of servers required in remote locations. The factors that drive centralization break down into three main categories:
- Centralizing the hardware that serves remote offices Communication between the client computer and server is compressed, and traffic is significantly reduced due to improvements in Outlook RPC communication and Outlook Web Access 2003 compression. Exchange 2003 has a number of features that help you consolidate your sites and administrative groups. In addition, Cached Exchange Mode in Outlook 2003 helps you reduce the number of servers located in remote locations that are connected with high latency.
- Reducing the number of servers To reduce total cost of ownership, it is common for companies to try to reduce the number of servers needed to sustain the messaging needs of their users. Your company may decide to reduce the number of servers needed by investing in high-end servers, including high performance processors and servers with multiple processors. Windows Server 2003 and Exchange 2003 also support hyperthreading technology, in which a single processor is able to run multiple threads (and appears as two processors instead of one). The processor must be hyperthreading-enabled and you must use Windows Server 2003 and Exchange 2003.
- Centralizing server and directory administration Companies may want to combine and centralize their administrative workforce to reduce administrative costs. One feature that simplifies administration is the improved method for moving mailboxes in Exchange System Manager. Administrators can move mailboxes more efficiently and can recover from failures more easily when corrupt items are encountered. In addition, administrators can schedule mailbox moves to begin and end at a certain time.