Alpha Computer Group can assist you in installing, configuring, maintaining, backup, restoring, and upgrading any version of Microsoft Exchange Server. Email is a very important part of any business and we understand that very well. We have certified technicians that are experts with MS Exchange (Microsoft Exchange) for over ten years and are specialized in restoring and rebuilding lost or corrupt MS Exchange servers. With our specialized technicians we can help plan, deploy, optimize and manage a complex Microsoft Exchange solution. We can provide the expertise to help design and secure the best Microsoft Exchange solution for any sized company. Whether it’s a single server solution or a detailed integrated, multi-vendor, DAG solution, Alpha Computer Group is your Microsoft Exchange Specialist!
Businesses today regard e-mail servers as mission-critical systems to operate a business, because of the need to communicate with clients and employees quickly. Equally important is the heightened demand for new Microsoft Exchange email messaging features. These factors place demands on information technology (IT) managers and system architects, who are charged with designing highly reliable and consistently available messaging systems that meet users’ needs.
Microsoft Exchange Planning: Help plan and design MS Exchange Environment. Exchange is a Tier 1 application and needs proper planning before deployment is made. Planning includes required resources (hardware, software and virtual) as well as proper placement, load testing and growth analysis.
Microsoft Exchange Deployment: Hands on deployment with best practices implementation.
Microsoft Exchange Migration: Migration services from GroupWise, Domino or other mail systems to MS Exchange server.
Microsoft Exchange Administration: Day to Day MS Exchange Administration tasks. Log monitoring, health check, backups and performance tuning.
Microsoft Exchange Troubleshooting and Support: Help with common and complex problems that can be experienced with MS Exchange
Microsoft Exchange Security: Help secure and protect MS Exchange by implementing best security practices and security monitoring as well as DLP services.
Deployment Services are available for new Microsoft Exchange Server Organizations. If your organization is migrating from Gmail, Linux, Hotmail, or any other third-party vendor, we can assist in building a new, robust, highly available server farm environment for your organization. When users are ready to migrate to the new system, we will assist local network administrators and key personnel to ensure the transition is smooth and hassle free.
Migration and Upgrade assistance is available depending on which of the two options fits your scenario the best. A Migration occurs when an existing Exchange Server Organization is too old or not designed to support, an in-place upgrade p
rocess. Migrations occur between major Exchange server releases.
Microsoft Exchange Server Hosting and Management Support Services for MS Exchange Server offer businesses with limited network budgets and bandwidth a safe, affordable, and hassle-free option for deploying Microsoft Exchange by deliveringthe robustness of a state-of-the-art colocation facility and the skill of Alpha Computer Group Microsoft team of support engineers. Call us today for more information on how your business can reduce costs and management hassle and improve email reliability, protection, and recoverability.
Microsoft Exchange Server is calendaring software, a mail server and contact manager developed by Microsoft. It is a server program that runs on Windows Server and is part of the Microsoft Servers line of products. Windows Messaging, initially also called Microsoft Exchange, is an e-mail client that was included with Windows 95 (beginning with OSR2), 98 and Windows NT 4.0).
Microsoft began a preliminary planning of the Exchange 4.0 migration in April 1993. In January 1995, 500 users were running on Exchange Beta 1, 5,000+ users running on Exchange Beta 2a in September 1995, and finally all 32,000 Microsoft mailboxes successfully migrated to Exchange and Microsoft Exchange shipped in April 1996. Microsoft IT Groupactually migrated all Microsoft employees to the Exchange platform before the product had the official Release status.
It was the original version of Exchange Server sold to the public, positioned as an upgrade to Microsoft Mail 3.5. The original version of Microsoft Mail (written by Microsoft) had been replaced, several weeks after Lotus acquired cc:Mail, by a package called Network Courier, acquired during the purchase of Consumer Software Inc. in April 1991. Exchange Server was however an entirely new X.400-based client–server mail system with a single database store that also supported X.500 directory services. The directory used by Exchange Server eventually became Microsoft’s Active Directory service, an LDAP-compliant directory server. Active Directory was integrated into Windows 2000 as the foundation of Windows Server domains.
Introduced the new Exchange Administrator console, as well as opening up “integrated” access to SMTP-based networks for the first time. Unlike Microsoft Mail (which required a standalone SMTP relay), Exchange Server 5.0 could, with the help of an add-in called the Internet Mail Connector, communicate directly with servers using SMTP. Version 5.0 also introduced a new Web-based e-mail interface called Exchange Web Access, which was rebranded as Outlook Web Access in a later Service pack. Along with Exchange Server version 5.0, Microsoft released version 8.01 of Microsoft Outlook, version 5.0 of the Microsoft Exchange Client and version 7.5 of Microsoft Schedule+ to support the new features in the new version of Exchange Server.
Exchange Server 5.0 introduced a number of other new features including a new version of Outlook Web Access with Calendar support, support for IMAP4 and LDAP v3 clients and the Deleted Item Recovery feature.
The last version of Exchange Server to have separate directory, SMTP and NNTP services. There was no new version of Exchange Client and Schedule+ for version 5.5, instead version 8.03 of Microsoft Outlook was released to support the new features of Exchange Server 5.5.
Was sold in two editions: Standard and Enterprise. They differ in database store size, mail transport connectors and clustering capabilities.
Codenamed “Platinum” this version overcame many of the limitations of its predecessors. For example, it raised the maximum sizes of databases and increased the number of servers in a cluster from two to four. However, many customers were deterred from upgrading by the requirement for a full Microsoft Active Directory infrastructure to be in place, as unlike Exchange Server 5.5, Exchange 2000 Server had no built-in Directory Service, and had a dependency upon Active Directory. The migration process from Exchange Server 5.5 necessitated having the two systems online at the same time, with user-to-mailbox mapping and a temporary translation process between the two directories. Exchange 2000 Server also added support for instant messaging, but that capability was later spun off to Microsoft Office Live Communications Server.
Codenamed “Titanium”, this version can be run on Windows 2000 Server (only if Service Pack 4 is first installed) and 32-bit Windows Server 2003, although some new features only work with the latter. Like Windows Server 2003, Exchange Server 2003 has many compatibility modes to allow users to slowly migrate to the new system. This is useful in large companies with distributed Exchange Server environments who cannot afford the downtime and expense that comes with a complete migration.
It made the migration from pre-2000 versions of Exchange significantly easier (although still involved the same basic steps), and many users of Exchange Server 5.5 waited for the release of Exchange Server 2003 to upgrade. The upgrade process also required upgrading a company’s servers to Windows 2000. Some customers opted to stay on a combination of Exchange Server 5.5 and Windows NT 4.0, both of which are no longer supported by Microsoft.
One of the new features in Exchange Server 2003 is enhanced disaster recoverywhich allows administrators to bring the server online more quickly. This is done by allowing the server to send and receive mail while the message stores are being recovered from backup. Some features previously available in the Microsoft Mobile Information Server 2001/2002 products have been added to the core Exchange Server product, like Outlook Mobile Access and server-side Exchange ActiveSync, while the Mobile Information Server product itself has been dropped. Better anti-virus and anti-spam protection have also been added, both by providing built-in APIs that facilitate filtering software and built-in support for the basic methods of originating IP address, SPF (“Sender ID”), and DNSBL filtering which were standard on other open source and *nix-based mail servers. Also new is the ability to drop inbound e-mail before being fully processed, thus preventing delays in the message routing system. There are also improved message and mailbox management tools, which allow administrators to execute common chores more quickly. Others, such as Instant Messaging and Exchange Conferencing Server have been extracted completely in order to form separate products. Microsoft now appears to be positioning a combination of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server, Live Meeting and Sharepoint as its collaboration software of choice. Exchange Server is now to be simply e-mail and calendaring.
Exchange Server 2003 added several basic filtering methods to Exchange Server. They are not sophisticated enough to eliminate spam, but they can protect against DoS and mailbox flooding attacks. Exchange Server 2000 supported the ability to block a sender’s address, or e-mail domain by adding ‘*@domain.com’, which is still supported in Exchange Server 2003.
Added filtering methods in Exchange Server 2003 are:
It is included with both Windows Small Business Server 2003 Standard and Premium editions.
Exchange 2003 mainstream support ended on April 14, 2009. Extended support ended on April 8, 2014.
Released to business customers as part of Microsoft’s roll-out wave of new products. It includes new clustering options, x64 support for greater scalability, voice mail integration, better search and support for Web services, better filtering options, and a new Outlook Web Access interface. Exchange 2007 also dropped support for Exchange 5.5 migrations, routing groups, admin groups, Outlook Mobile Access, X.400, and some API interfaces, amongst other features.
Exchange Server 2007 (v8, code name E12, or with SP1 v8.1) runs only on x64 versions of Windows Server. This requirement applies to supported production environments only; a 32-bit trial version is available for download and testing. Hence, companies currently running Exchange Server on 32-bit hardware will be required to replace or migrate hardware if they wish to upgrade to the new version. Companies that are currently running Exchange Server on 64-bit capable hardware are still required to migrate from their existing Exchange 2000/2003 servers to a new 2007 server since in-place upgrades are not supported in 2007.
The first beta of Exchange Server 2007 (then named “Exchange 12” or E12) was released in December 2005 to a very limited number of beta testers. A wider beta was made available via TechNet Plus and MSDN subscriptions in March 2006 according to the Microsoft Exchange team blog. On April 25, 2006, Microsoft announced that the next version of Exchange Server would be called “Exchange Server 2007”.
Exchange Server 2007 is an integrated part of the Innovative Communications Alliance products.
Microsoft reached the Release to manufacturing (RTM) milestone for Exchange Server 2010 on May, 2009, and it was officially launched on November 9, 2009.
Several high-availability options have been consolidated into just one option for Exchange Server 2010 (Mailbox Resiliency), which is now offered in both the Standard and Enterprise editions. The capabilities of Local Continuous Replication, Standby Continuous Replication, and Cluster Continuous Replication are now unified into the Exchange 2010 Mailbox Resiliency capability. These capabilities enable a simplified approach to high availability and disaster recovery.
Storage group is no more in Exchange 2010 and onwards.
In January 2011, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 won InfoWorld’s 2011 Technology of the Year Award for Best Mail Server.
Microsoft reached the RTM milestone for Exchange Server 2013 on October 11, 2012. A trial version of this product is available from Microsoft website.
New features include:
Exchange Server Enterprise Edition supports clustering of up to 4 nodes when using Windows 2000 Server, and up to 8 nodes with Windows Server 2003. Exchange Server 2003 also introduced active-active clustering, but for two-node clusters only. In this setup, both servers in the cluster are allowed to be active simultaneously. This is opposed to Exchange’s more common active-passive mode in which the failover servers in any cluster node cannot be used at all while their corresponding home servers are active. They must wait, inactive, for the home servers in the node to fail. Subsequent performance issues with active-active mode have led Microsoft to recommend that it should no longer be used. In fact, support for active-active mode clustering has been discontinued with Exchange Server 2007.
Exchange’s clustering (active-active or active-passive mode) has been criticized because of its requirement for servers in the cluster nodes to share the same physical data. The clustering in Exchange Server provides redundancy for Exchange Server as an application, but not for Exchange data. In this scenario, the data can be regarded as a single point of failure, despite Microsoft’s description of this set up as a “Shared Nothing” model. This void has however been filled by ISV’s and storage manufacturers, through “site resilience” solutions, such as geo-clustering and asynchronous data replication. Exchange Server 2007 introduces new cluster terminology and configurations that address the shortcomings of the previous “shared data model”.
Exchange Server 2007 provides built-in support for asynchronous replication modeled on SQL Server’s “Log shipping” in CCR (Cluster Continuous Replication) clusters, which are built on MSCS MNS (Microsoft Cluster Service—Majority Node Set) clusters, which do not require shared storage. This type of cluster can be inexpensive and deployed in one, or “stretched” across two datacenters for protection against site-wide failures such as natural disasters. The limitation of CCR clusters is the ability to have only two nodes and the third node known as “voter node” or file share witness that prevents “split brain” scenarios, generally hosted as a file share on a Hub Transport Server. The second type of cluster is the traditional clustering that was available in previous versions, and is now being referred to as SCC (Single Copy Cluster). In Exchange Server 2007 deployment of both CCR and SCC clusters has been simplified and improved; the entire cluster install process takes place during Exchange Server installation. LCR or Local Continuous Replication has been referred to as the “poor man’s cluster”. It is designed to allow for data replication to an alternative drive attached to the same system and is intended to provide protection against local storage failures. It does not protect against the case where the server itself fails.
In November 2007, Microsoft released SP1 for Exchange Server 2007. This service pack includes an additional high-availability feature called SCR (Standby Continuous Replication). Unlike CCR which requires that both servers belong to a Windows cluster, typically residing in the same datacenter, SCR can replicate data to a non-clustered server, located in a separate datacenter.
With Exchange Server 2010, Microsoft introduced the concept of the Database Availability Group (DAG). A DAG contains Mailbox servers that become members of the DAG. Once a Mailbox server is a member of a DAG, the Mailbox Databases on that server can be copied to other members of the DAG. When you add a Mailbox server to a DAG, the Failover Clustering Windows role is installed on the server and all required clustering resources are created.
Like Windows Server products, Exchange Server requires client access licenses, which are different from Windows CALs. Corporate license agreements, such as the Enterprise Agreement, or EA, include Exchange Server CALs. It also comes as part of the Core CAL. Just like Windows Server and other server products from Microsoft, you can choose to use User or Device CALs. Device CALs are assigned to a device (workstation, laptop or PDA). User CALs, are assigned to a user or employee (not a mailbox). User CALs allow a user to access Exchange e-mail from any device. User and Device CALs are the same price, however cannot be used interchangeably. For Service Providers looking to host Microsoft Exchange, there is an SPLA (Service Provider License Agreement) available whereby Microsoft receives a monthly service fee in the place of the traditional Client Access Licenses. Two types of Exchange CAL are available: Exchange CAL Standard and Exchange CAL Enterprise. The Enterprise CAL is an add-on license to the Standard CAL.
Microsoft Exchange Server can also be purchased as a hosted service from a number of providers. Though Exchange hosting has been around for more than 10 years, it is only recently that many providers have been marketing the service as “Cloud Computing” or Software-as-a-Service. Exchange hosting allows for Microsoft Exchange Server to be running in the Internet, also referred to as the Cloud, and managed by a “Hosted Exchange Server provider” instead of building and deploying the system in-house.
Microsoft Exchange Online is an email, calendar and contacts solution delivered as a cloud service, hosted by Microsoft. It is essentially the same service offered by hosted Exchange providers and it is built on the same technologies as Microsoft Exchange Server. Exchange Online provides end users with a familiar email experience across PCs, the Web and mobile devices, while giving IT administrators or small businesses and professionals web-based tools for managing their online deployment.
Microsoft Exchange is available both as on-premises software and as a hosted service with Exchange Online. Customers can also choose to combine both on-premises and online options in a hybrid deployment.
Exchange Online was first provided as a hosted service in dedicated customer environments in 2005 to select pilot customers. Microsoft launched a multi-tenant version of Exchange Online as part of the Business Productivity Online Standard Suite in November 2008. In June 2011, as part of the commercial release of Microsoft Office 365, Exchange Online was updated with the capabilities of Exchange Server 2010.
Exchange Server 2010 was developed concurrently as a server product and for the Exchange Online service.
Microsoft Exchange Server uses a proprietary RPC protocol, MAPI/RPC, that was designed to be used by Microsoft Outlook. Clients capable of using the proprietary features of Exchange Server include Evolution and Microsoft Outlook. Exchange Web Services (EWS), an alternative to the MAPI protocol, is a documented SOAP based protocol introduced with Exchange Server 2007 which significantly reduces synchronization time between the server vs. WebDAV, which is used by Exchange Server 2003. Exchange Web Services is used by the latest version of Microsoft Entourage for Mac and Microsoft Outlook for Mac. Also, since the release of Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Mac computers running OS X include some support for this technology via Apple’s Mail application. Built-in support with Mac OS X 10.6 requires the Exchange organization to be running Exchange Server 2007 SP1/SP2 or Exchange Server 2010.
E-mail hosted on an Exchange Server can also be accessed using SMTP, POP3 and IMAP4 protocols, using clients such as Windows Live Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Lotus Notes. These protocols must be enabled on the server. Exchange Server mailboxes can also be accessed through a web browser, using Outlook Web App (OWA). Exchange Server 2003 also featured a version of OWA for mobile devices, called Outlook Mobile Access (OMA).
Support for Exchange ActiveSync was added to Microsoft Exchange Server 2003. Exchange ActiveSync, in the context of Exchange Server, allows a compliant device such as a Windows Mobile device to securely synchronize mail, contacts and other data directly with an Exchange server. Since its inception, ActiveSync has become a popular mobile access standard for businesses due to cross-platform support from companies like Nokia and Apple Inc. as well as its advanced device security and compliance features.
Support for Push E-mail was added to Exchange Server 2003 with Service Pack 2. Windows Mobile 5.0 requires the “Messaging and Security Feature Pack (MSFP)”, later versions of the mobile operating system, such as Windows Phone 7, have the capability built in. Many other devices now support ActiveSync push e-mail, such as the iPhone and Android Phones. Exchange Server 2007 and Exchange Server 2010 support the use of Exchange ActiveSync Policies. By using Exchange ActiveSync Policies, administrators can secure the devices that connect to the organization or remotely deactivate features on the devices. Administrators or users can also remotely wipe a lost mobile device.
Exchange Server 2013 supports the use of Mobile Exchange ActiveSync Policies.
Call Alpha Computer Group today for all of your Microsoft Exchange Server needs @ (877) 608 – 8647