Exchange Server 2003 Technical Overview


Topic Last Modified: 2006-07-14

As a messaging server platform, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 shares the following common features with other e-mail systems:

  • It transfers e-mail messages to intended recipients in a reliable way, whether the recipients reside on the local server, another server in the same Exchange Server 2003 organization, or another server in an external messaging environment that is connected to the organization.

  • It stores the e-mail messages in a server-based store.

  • It supports various e-mail clients that are used to access or download messages.

  • It gives users information about recipients in the organization through an address book or global address list.

Exchange Server 2003 includes these features and many more. However, Exchange Server 2003 does not provide these features by itself. Exchange Server 2003 integrates tightly with the TCP/IP infrastructure provided by Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Active Directory directory service. To understand the Exchange Server 2003 architecture, you must first understand TCP/IP-related technologies, Microsoft Windows Server 2003, and Active Directory.

Additionally, you must be familiar with the following general messaging concepts:

  • Messaging system characteristics   This includes understanding the typical components of a messaging system and basic message flow between servers.

  • Integration of Active Directory with Exchange Server 2003   This includes understanding how Exchange Server 2003 uses Active Directory to implement the required directory infrastructure.

  • Messaging connectivity   This includes understanding how Exchange Server 2003 transfers messages from senders to recipients.

  • Message store   This includes understanding the role and purpose of the message store in a messaging system.

  • Supported e-mail clients   This includes understanding the various clients and message access protocols that you can use in an Exchange Server 2003 organization.

This section gives you a foundation for later topics in this technical reference. For maximum benefit from this guide, you must be familiar with Windows Server 2003 technologies.

For more information about Windows Server 2003, see the Windows Server 2003 Technology Centers.