Deciding Where to Manage Exchange


Topic Last Modified: 2005-04-21

Knowing the basics of how to use Exchange System Manager and Active Directory Users and Computers is just the beginning of managing Exchange 2003. The next step is to decide whether to use these tools at a particular location in your Exchange environment.

During a typical installation of an Exchange 2003 server, the setup wizard installs Exchange System Manager and extends Active Directory Users and Computers directly on the server. To use these tools, you log on to the server itself. However, it is a good idea to limit direct interaction with the server to avoid exposure to unwanted practices. For example, you may have to directly log on to a server to move log files, but in doing so, you may accidentally delete system files or inadvertently introduce viruses.

To minimize directly logging on to the server, you can use Remote Desktop, Terminal Server, or a dedicated management station. The following table outlines some of the inherent advantages and disadvantages of these various approaches to Exchange management.

Administration scenarios

Management scenario Advantages Disadvantages

Logging directly on to the server (Console session)

  • No extra setup required.

  • No extra hardware required.

  • Increased risk. Administrators can inadvertently delete files or introduce viruses.

Using Remote Desktop or Terminal Server

  • No extra setup required.

  • Can manage from outside the data center.

  • Administrators can perform most tasks without leaving their desks.

  • Increased risk. Administrators can inadvertently delete files or introduce viruses.

  • Number of remote connections is limited to the number of Terminal Server licenses purchased.

Using a dedicated management station

  • Decreased risk.

  • Can put management station in convenient location.

  • Extra setup required.

  • Extra hardware required.

For more information about using a dedicated management station, see Setting Up a Management Station Using Windows XP Professional SP1 or Later. Directly logging on to the server requires no special setup. If you decide to use Remote Desktop or Terminal Server, the best source for setup information is the documentation that came with your copy of Windows.