Online Resources for Exchange Server Optimization and Community


Topic Last Modified: 2011-01-20

Both the Web site and rest of the Internet offer many resources to help you successfully use Exchange Server. If you're an IT professional who works with Exchange Server, you might already know about the online resources devoted to helping you plan and deploy Microsoft Exchange Server 2003. Whether you are consolidating computers running Exchange Server 2003, deploying Exchange Server clients or client features such as RPC over HTTP and Exchange ActiveSync, or analyzing bandwidth requirements for Exchange Server, the Planning and Architecture and Deployment areas of the Exchange Server TechCenter provide a wealth of resources to help your Exchange Server deployment go as smoothly as possible.

For information about how to plan, deploy, and consolidate Exchange Server 2003, see the following resources on the Exchange Server TechCenter:

For information about how to deploy Exchange Server clients or client features, see the following resources on the Exchange Server TechCenter:

This information is also available in Japanese and Spanish; for more information, see International Exchange Server TechCenters.

If you're a developer who works with Exchange Server, you can find valuable developer resources, such as the Exchange Server 2003 Software Development Kit, on the Exchange Server Developer Center.

After Exchange Server is up and running in your organization, you can find many other sites and resources that are worth checking out. In the rest of this article, I'll list several resources that you may want to bookmark for later use. For ease of reference, I've grouped these resources into three categories: optimization, pain points, and community.

The goal of optimization is to improve server response time while supporting more users on the system. Besides building an Exchange server that follows the recommendations provided in Configuration and Security Update Recommendations for Exchange Server 2003, there are some obvious things that you can do to improve performance, such adding additional processors, more memory, or a faster storage system. But there are also some not-so-obvious things that you can do that can optimize the system in ways that improve performance.

Whether you have one Exchange server or one hundred Exchange servers, the first step in optimizing Exchange Server is to download and run the latest version of the Microsoft Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer Tool (ExBPA). ExBPA lets you determine the overall health of your Exchange servers and topology by evaluating data from Active Directory, the registry, the Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) metabase, the network, the file system, and the performance system. ExBPA compares the collected data against predefined best practices encoded into an XML rules file, and gives you a report on the health and configuration settings for your Exchange servers and Active Directory servers. If you're already using ExBPA, make sure that you keep it updated. We add, remove, and change rules as best practices evolve, and as new ones develop.

Besides ExBPA, online resources are available that discuss other Exchange Server components and features that can be optimized, such as:

These are just a sampling of some of the technical content related to optimization that you can find on the Exchange Server TechCenter; for more information, see the Exchange Server 2003 Technical Documentation Library.

The Exchange Insider articles are another great source of Exchange Server–related information. As the name implies, these articles give you the inside scoop on managing and troubleshooting your Exchange Server environment. All the Exchange Insider articles are based on internal technical documentation that is distributed to our internal global Exchange Server audience; therefore, you know they are packed with lots of great content.

A pain point might be something that weighs heavily on the mind of an administrator, or it might be an Exchange Server–related problem that is affecting some or all users. At Microsoft, we group pain points into pain areas, such as mail flow, performance, failure recovery, storage, public folders, permissions, and others. We analyze support calls and customer feedback from these areas as part of our overall customer experience tracking.

Pain points vary just as organizations vary; therefore, a pain point for your Exchange Server organization might not be a pain point for other Exchange Server organizations. Nevertheless, there is both practical and academic value in knowing what issues other Exchange Server administrators and information workers are dealing with. You can learn more about common pain points for Exchange Server organizations by visiting the following areas of the Exchange Server TechCenter:

  • Top Tasks   Describes the most frequently performed tasks.

  • Top Exchange Server Downloads   Lists the most frequent downloads.

  • Exchange Server Knowledge Base Articles   Lists the most frequently read Knowledge Base articles related to Exchange Server.

The Top Exchange Server Downloads and Exchange Server Knowledge Base Articles sections also include Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds that give you quick access to Exchange Server-related information that is useful, relevant, and timely. For more information about RSS feeds, see RSS Feeds on

To keep tabs on other pain point areas, you can visit the Exchange Server 2003 Support Center. This site includes links for the most recent Knowledge Base articles related to Exchange Server 2003, and the ability to search all Exchange Server 2003 Knowledge Base articles.

Cyberspace has created new opportunities for people around the world to meet and share ideas about topics they care about, such as Exchange Server. The Exchange Server community is part of a vibrant and thriving ecosystem that consists of Exchange Server administrators, developers, trainers, application service providers, partners, enthusiasts, information workers, and others; many online resources from Microsoft and community members are available at your fingertips.

A variety of types of Exchange Server communities are available, including Web sites, newsgroups, user groups, and other forums.

The revamped Exchange Server Community Web site is one of the best places to start when you are looking for Exchange Server community–related information and resources. Here you'll find a variety of links to other useful Microsoft and third-party resources, such as:

  • You Had Me at EHLO, the Exchange Server Team blog, and other Exchange Server–related blogs.

  • Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Web site, and links to Exchange Server MVPs.

  • Exchange Server Community Solutions articles, which are written by MVPs.

  • Links to communities for other Microsoft products and technologies.

  • Links to third-party communities.

The Exchange Server Community Web site will be updated continuously with the latest information about communities devoted to Exchange Server and related technologies.

A newsgroup is an Internet forum for sharing and discussing information that is related to a specific topic. For many years, Microsoft has maintained the microsoft.public newsgroup hierarchy and made it available to anyone on the Internet. Thousands of Microsoft employees, and customers at all levels of expertise, post in Microsoft newsgroups today, creating content, sharing information, and contributing ideas. A variety of newsgroups are available, covering both Exchange Server and Exchange Server–related topics.

You can access Microsoft newsgroups by using a newsreader, such as Microsoft Outlook Express, or by using your Web browser. For more information about Outlook Express, see Outlook Express: E-mail and newsgroup reader. For information about how to configure a newsreader to access the newsgroups, see Using an NNTP Newsreader. For links to newsgroups that you can access by using a Web browser, see Newsgroups.

The Microsoft Exchange Server newsgroups use a nonversioned hierarchy with a naming convention of*. These newsgroups are used for all versions of Exchange Server. You can conveniently search, access, and participate in all the Exchange Server-related newsgroups, in addition to newsgroups related to Microsoft Office Outlook. To access these newsgroups, see Newsgroups.

Similar to a newsgroup, a user group is a group of people who come together to learn and to share experiences about a specific subject, and to serve their user group community. Although newsgroups exist in cyberspace, most user groups include periodic in-person meetings. User groups are a good way to have fun and to learn more about a product or technology that you work with. If you're interested in participating in a user group, the best place to start is to find one in your area. To find a local user group, see Find a User Group near You.

Several Exchange Server-related user groups exist around the world, including:

To find more Exchange Server–related user groups, see Exchange Server and Small Business Server User Groups.

If you're interested in starting or have already started an Exchange Server–focused user group, the Exchange Server team has partnered with the Global IT Community Association (formerly known as Culminis), a non-profit user group support organization, to provide guidance on and benefits for various aspects of leading an in-person community for your area. For more information, see the Global IT Community Association.