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Overview of the Hub Transport Server Role

Applies to: Exchange Server 2010

Topic Last Modified: 2009-11-23

Deployed inside your Active Directory forest, the Hub Transport server role handles all mail flow inside the organization, applies transport rules, applies journaling policies, and delivers messages to a recipient's mailbox. Messages that are sent to the Internet are relayed by the Hub Transport server to the Edge Transport server role that's deployed in the perimeter network. Messages that are received from the Internet are processed by the Edge Transport server before they're relayed to the Hub Transport server. If you don't have an Edge Transport server, you can configure the Hub Transport server to relay Internet messages directly or utilize a third-party smart host. You can also install and configure the Edge Transport server agents on the Hub Transport server to provide anti-spam and antivirus protection inside the organization, although this isn't recommended.

You can install the Hub Transport server role on the same hardware with any other internal server role or on a server that's dedicated to the Hub Transport server role. You must deploy a Hub Transport server role in each Active Directory site that contains a Mailbox server role. Deploying more than one Hub Transport server per site provides redundancy. When you install more than one Hub Transport server in an Active Directory site, the connections are distributed.

The message-processing scenarios that you can manage on the Hub Transport server role are described in the following sections.

Looking for management tasks related to managing transport servers? See Managing Transport Servers.

The Hub Transport server role processes all messages that are sent inside the Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 organization before the messages are delivered to a recipient's Inbox or are routed to users outside the organization. There are no exceptions to this behavior; messages are always passed through a server that runs the Hub Transport server role.

Messages are submitted to the Hub Transport server in three ways: through SMTP submission, from the Pickup directory, or when a user inside the organization sends a message, which is picked up from the user's Outbox by the store driver. The store driver is a software component of the Hub Transport server that delivers inbound messages to Exchange stores, the databases that contain public folder and mailbox stores.

When messages are submitted to the Hub Transport server, they're processed by the categorizer. The categorizer is a component of Exchange transport that processes all inbound messages and determines what to do with the messages based on information about the intended recipients. In Exchange 2010, the Hub Transport server uses the categorizer to expand distribution lists and to identify alternative recipients and forwarding addresses. After the categorizer retrieves full information about the recipients, it uses that information to apply policies, route the messages, and perform content conversion. Messages are then delivered locally by the store driver to a recipient's mailbox, or they're delivered remotely by using SMTP to send messages to another transport server. Messages that are sent by users in your organization are picked up from the sender's Outbox by the store driver and are put in the Submission queue on a server that runs the Hub Transport server role. For more information, see Understanding Transport Pipeline.

With a collection of transport agents, you can configure rules and settings that are applied as messages enter and leave the mail flow components. You can create messaging policy and rule settings that are designed to meet different regulations and that can easily be changed to adapt to your organization's requirements. The transport-based messaging policy and compliance features include server-based rules that you configure to enforce your organization's compliance scenarios and the Journaling agent that acts to enforce message retention. For more information, see Planning for Compliance.

Exchange 2010 provides anti-spam and antivirus protection for messages. Although these features are designed for use in the perimeter network on the Edge Transport server role, the Edge Transport agents can also be configured on the Hub Transport server. By default, these agents aren't enabled on the Hub Transport server role. To use the anti-spam features on the Hub Transport server, you must register the agents in a configuration file and enable the features that you want to use by running a provided Exchange Management Shell script. You install and enable the antivirus agent in a separate operation. For more information, see Understanding Anti-Spam and Antivirus Functionality.

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