During my research for TechRepublic articles and possible book work, I've begun to experiment with Exchange 2007. Here are my first impressions of the new Exchange System Manager which is included in the next version of Exchange. As you may know, the Exchange System Manager has undergone a complete overhaul. If you've been managing Exchange for any length of time, you'll see the immediate benefit to the changes Microsoft has made to this management utility.
First of all, recipient and server configuration information has been better separated. In Exchange 2000 and 2003, to manage a mailbox from ESM, you need to go through the administrative group and choose the server on which the desired mailbox is housed. In Exchange 2007 ESM, the Console Root > Microsoft Exchange > Recipient Configuration branch, by default, shows you the mailboxes available in your entire AD forest. While it's possible to get a view like this is ESM 2000/2003, it's not available by default.
Server and service configuration has also been streamlined. Bear in mind that Exchange 2007 is role-based, with each role serving a specific purpose. Under the Console Root > Microsoft Exchange > Server Configuration branch of ESM are four of these roles:
- Client Access
- Unified Messaging.
Selecting one of the roles brings up a list of Exchange 2007 servers in your organization that have that particular role installed. From the list, select the server you wish to manage and then any suboptions available for that role. For example, if you select the Mailbox role, and then select one of your servers, ESM will provide you with a Database Management tab that lists all of your storage groups and stores. Further, ESM 2007 adds a right-hand context-sensitive "Actions." So, if you have selected one of your stores, ESM 2007's Action pane provides options such as "New Storage Group." "Move Database Files," "Dismount Database," etc. Yes, ESM 2007 gives you a fast way to move your Exchange databases to a different location.
The best way to see the changes for yourself is to download and install a beta of Exchange 2007. While the final product will run only on 64-bit servers, a 32-bit beta version is available for testing.