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Managing Administrative Groups

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Updated : September 4, 2001

from Chapter 11, Microsoft Exchange 2000 Administrator's Pocket Consultant by William R. Stanek.

Administrative groups define the logical structure of an Exchange organization, and you use them to help you organize and manage Exchange resources. Administrative groups are also useful in managing permissions. When you first install Exchange Server, administrative group support is disabled. But if you followed the techniques discussed in Chapter 3, you probably enabled administrative group support. You can confirm this by looking in System Manager for an Administrative Groups node.

Administrative groups are best suited to large organizations or to organizations with offices in several locations. With these types of organizations, you may want to create administrative groups for each department or office location and then use the administrative group structure to help organize related servers, routing groups, system policies, chat communities, and public folder trees—all of which you can configure on a per administrative group basis.

On This Page

Creating Administrative Groups
Managing Routing Groups

Creating Administrative Groups

When you enable administrative group support as described in the section of Chapter 3 entitled "Using and Enabling Administrative Groups," a default administrative group is created. This group is called First Administrative Group. You can create additional administrative groups by completing the following steps:

  1. In System Manager, right-click Administrative Groups, point to New, and then select Administrative Group.

  2. In the General tab, type a descriptive name for the group, and then click OK.

  3. Exchange Server creates the new administrative group but doesn't assign any servers to the group or create any other containers. You'll need to add these.

Adding Containers to Administrative Groups

Administrative groups have containers for

  • Servers

  • Routing groups

  • System policies

  • Chat communities

  • Public folder trees

Containers for servers are added to an administrative group the first time you install an Exchange server and make it a member of the group. Other containers can be added to an administrative group manually. To do this, right-click the administrative group in System Manager, point to New, and then select the container you want to create.

Each administrative group can have only one container of each type.

Controlling Access to Administrative Groups

One of the key reasons for creating administrative groups is to aid in permission management. Each administrative group can have its own security permissions, and this enables you to control who accesses a particular administrative group as well as the actions users can perform. You manage permissions by granting or denying access as described in the section of Chapter 6 entitled "Setting Exchange Server Permissions" or by delegating control at the administrative group level as described in the section of Chapter 6 entitled "Delegating Exchange Server Permissions."

Renaming and Deleting Administrative Groups

You can manage administrative groups much like any other Exchange element. To rename an administrative group, complete the following steps:

  1. Start System Manager, and then expand Administrative Groups.

  2. Right-click the administrative group, choose Rename from the shortcut menu, and then type a new name for the administrative group.

  3. Keep in mind that when you change the name of an administrative group, you change the namespace for all objects in the administrative group.

Deleting an administrative group removes the group and all its contents. Before deleting an administrative group, you should either make sure that the items it contains are no longer needed or move the items to a new administrative group. You move objects in an administrative group as described in the section of this chapter entitled "Moving and Copying Among Administrative Groups."

Once you've moved items that you may need, you can delete the administrative group by completing the following steps:

  1. Start System Manager, and then expand Administrative Groups.

  2. Right-click the administrative group and choose Delete from the shortcut menu.

  3. When prompted, confirm the action by clicking Yes.

Moving and Copying Among Administrative Groups

You can move or copy some types of objects, such as policies and public folder trees, between administrative groups. You can copy or move objects only between containers of the same type, however.

To move an object between administrative groups, follow these steps:

  1. Start System Manager, and then expand Administrative Groups. As necessary, expand the administrative groups and containers you want to work with.

  2. Right-click the object you want to move, and then select Cut.

  3. Right-click the target container, and then select Paste.

To copy an object between administrative groups, follow these steps:

  1. Start System Manager, and then expand Administrative Groups. As necessary, expand the administrative groups and containers you want to work with.

  2. Right-click the object you want to move, and then select Copy.

  3. Right-click the target container, and then select Paste.

Managing Routing Groups

You use routing groups when you need to control the connectivity between geographically separated Exchange servers or when you have unreliable connections between Exchange servers in any location. For example, if your company has branch offices in Seattle and San Francisco, each office may have a separate routing group. To connect the routing groups, you must install a connector. The available connectors for communications among routing groups are the Exchange Routing Group connector, the SMTP connector, and the X.400 connector. Each connector has its advantages and disadvantages, which you'll learn more about in Chapter 12.

If you have a single geographic location or have reliable, permanent connections between servers, you don't need to create additional routing groups and you don't have to install routing group connectors. Instead, you can let Exchange Server handle the necessary connections, which are configured automatically whenever you install a new Exchange server in your organization. That said, in special circumstances you might want to create multiple routing groups. For example, if you want to manage message tracking between locations or if you want to control replication of public folders between locations, you may want to set up separate routing groups.

Creating Routing Group Containers

Routing groups aren't enabled by default in Exchange Server. So before you can create a routing group, you must enable routing group support and create a routing group container. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the organization node in System Manager, and then select Properties.

  2. In the General tab of the Properties dialog box, select Display Routing Groups.

  3. When you click OK, Exchange Server enables routing groups and configures them for the current operations mode.

    Note: Routing groups behave differently when Exchange is in mixed mode operations. For details, see the section of Chapter 3 entitled "Understanding Exchange Server Organizations."

Creating Routing Groups

Routing group configuration is a three-part process. First, you create a routing group, then you add member servers to the routing group, and finally you connect the routing group using a messaging connector.

You create a routing group by completing the following steps:

  1. Start System Manager.

  2. Expand Administrative Groups and then select the administrative group in which you want to create the routing group.

  3. Right-click Routing Groups, point to New, and then choose Routing Group.

  4. In the General tab, type a descriptive name for the group, and then click OK.

  5. Exchange Server creates the new routing group but doesn't assign any servers to the group or create connector links. You'll need to add these.

Moving Exchange Servers Among Routing Groups

By default, every Exchange 2000 server in your organization is a member of a routing group. The routing group assignment is normally made during the installation of Exchange 2000 Server. After installation, you can move servers among routing groups to place servers with reliable connections within the same routing group. However, the servers must be in the same administrative group. You can't move servers among routing groups in different administrative groups.

You can move a server to a different routing group by completing the following steps:

  1. Start System Manager. Expand Administrative Groups, and then select the administrative group that contains the routing groups you want to work with.

  2. Expand Routing Groups, and then expand the routing groups you want to work with.

  3. Right-click the server in the Members folder of the source routing group, and then select Cut.

  4. Right-click the Members folder in the target routing group, and then select Paste.

Connecting Routing Groups

You must configure and actively manage connections between routing groups using Routing Group, SMTP, or X.400 connectors. These connectors are discussed in Chapter 12.

Designating Routing Group Masters

Each Exchange routing group has a routing group master. The master server is responsible for distributing link state information among the routing group's member servers. Only two states exist for any link. The link is either up or down. If a link is up, Exchange Server can establish a connection over the link and then use the connection to deliver mail. If a link is down, Exchange 2000 Server can't use the link and routing group servers must find an alternate route to the destination.

When a link is down, the server that identified the outage notifies the master server of the condition. The master server in turn notifies the other member servers within the routing group. The master server checks the link every 60 seconds until the link can be reestablished. Once the link is reestablished, the master server notifies the member servers that the link is up.

Normally, the routing group master is the first server installed in the routing group, but you can designate any server in the group as the master. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Start System Manager. Expand Administrative Groups, and then select the administrative group that contains the routing group you want to work with.

  2. Expand Routing Groups, and then expand the routing group you want to work with.

  3. In the Members folder, right-click the server you want to designate as the master server, and then select Set As Master.

Link state information helps Exchange 2000 Server determine the best route to take to deliver messages. In a well-connected Exchange organization, there should be redundant communication paths to ensure that messages can be delivered. One way to create redundant communication paths is to install multiple connectors between routing groups.

Caution: If the routing group master is unavailable, the link state information can't be updated and servers in the routing group will continue using old routing information unless they discover the problem on their own through failed mail transfers. Typically, you'll see poor performance until you restore the routing group master.

Renaming and Deleting Routing Groups

You can change the name of a routing group at any time in System Manager. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Start System Manager. Expand Administrative Groups, and then select the administrative group that contains the routing group you want to work with.

  2. Expand Routing Groups, right-click the routing group you want to rename, and then select Rename.

  3. Type a new name for the routing group, and then press Enter.

Deleting a routing group removes the group and all its contents. Before deleting an administrative group, you must move its member servers to another routing group as described in the section of this chapter entitled "Moving Exchange Servers Among Routing Groups." Once you've moved the member servers, you can delete the routing group by completing the following steps:

  1. Start System Manager. Expand Administrative Groups, and then select the administrative group that contains the routing group you want to work with.

  2. Expand Routing Groups, right-click the routing group you want to rename, and then select Delete.

  3. When prompted, confirm the action by clicking Yes.

from Microsoft Exchange 2000 Administrator's Pocket Consultant by William R. Stanek. Copyright © 1999 Microsoft Corporation.

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