If you've installed Exchange Server 2007, one of the first things you probably noticed was that the new Exchange Management Console is dramatically different from the Exchange System Manager that's found in Exchange Server 2003. As such, the technique for performing virtually every Exchange Server related management task has changed. In this article, I will walk you through the new procedures for some of the more common Exchange Server related management tasks.
Before I get started, I want to quickly mention that there are actually two different administrative interfaces to Exchange 2007; the Exchange Management Console, and the Exchange Management Shell. The Exchange Management Shell is a command interpreter you can use to manage Exchange 2007 from a command prompt or by using scripted commands. The Exchange Management Console is the graphical interface to Exchange 2007; it was actually built as a graphical interface to the Exchange Management Shell.
Anything you can do through the Exchange Management Console can also be done through the Exchange Management Shell. In many cases, after you complete an administrative task through the Exchange Management Console, the console will even show you the equivalent command in case you want to script the task next time. For the purposes of this article, I will be working solely within the Exchange Management Console.
Creating a mailbox
The first task I want to discuss is creating a mailbox for a user. As you probably know, creating an Exchange 2003 mailbox required you to go outside of the Exchange System manager: you had to navigate to Active Directory Users And Computers | Users, right-click on the user's account, and select Exchange Tasks from the resulting shortcut menu. Windows would then launch the Exchange Tasks wizard, which gave you the option of creating an Exchange mailbox.
Although this technique certainly got the job done, there were two problems with it. First, unless you created Exchange mailboxes at the same time that you created user accounts, the technique was inefficient because it required you to use the Active Directory Users And Computers console rather than allowing you to perform all of your Exchange related tasks from within the Exchange System Manager.
Second, the experience was inconsistent. The Active Directory Users And Computers console is a Windows Server component, not an Exchange Server component, meaning the console is not "Exchange aware" by default. The Exchange Tasks option only exists in the console after Exchange (or the Exchange management tools) has been installed. The problem is that installing a copy of Exchange on a server in your organization does not update the Active Directory Users And Computers console for all of the machines in your organization. The Active Directory Users And Computers console is only updated on the server on which Exchange is being installed, meaning you would be unable to create mailboxes or perform other Exchange related tasks from other servers in your organization unless the Exchange management tools had been installed on them.
Thankfully, Microsoft has taken care of these two problems in Exchange 2007. You can now create mailboxes directly through the Exchange Management Console. Navigate to Recipient Configuration | Mailbox, right-click on Mailbox, and select New Mailbox. Exchange will then launch the New Mailbox wizard, as shown in Figure A.
|You can now create mailboxes directly through the Exchange Management Console.|
You might have noticed that you can now create four different types of mailboxes. User mailboxes are the Exchange 2007 equivalent of the mailboxes that you created under Exchange Server 2003. Room and Equipment mailboxes are both resource mailboxes, and are typically used for scheduling conference rooms and pieces of equipment respectively. Linked mailboxes allow you to create an Exchange mailbox for a user who belongs to a trusted forest.
Create a distribution list
Another aspect of Exchange Server management that has changed considerably from the previous version is that of creating a distribution group. Exchange 2007 actually allows you to create two different types of distribution groups. You can create the standard distribution groups that you are probably already used to, or you can create dynamic distribution groups. A dynamic distribution group is a distribution group whose membership automatically changes based on the criteria you specify.
To create a distribution group, navigate to Recipient Configuration | Distribution Group. Right-click on the Distribution Group container and you will see options for creating either a normal or a dynamic distribution group.
If you choose the option to create a normal distribution group (simply called a distribution group), then Windows will launch the New Distribution Group wizard. This wizard leads you through several screens, prompting you to enter information.
The wizard's first screen asks you if you would like to create a new distribution group, or if you would like to mail enable an existing group. Assuming that you choose to create a new distribution group, the next screen you'll see prompts you to enter a name for the new group. This screen also gives you the option of creating a security group instead of a distribution group. Press Next and you will see a summary of the information that you have entered. Assuming that everything looks good, press New and the new distribution group will be created.
Creating a dynamic distribution group is a little more interesting. To do so, right-click on Recipient Configuration | Distribution Group and select New Dynamic Distribution Group. Windows will then launch the New Dynamic Distribution Group wizard. Enter a name for the new dynamic distribution group on the wizard’s first screen, and press Next.
The next screen will ask you to select some filter settings. By default, Exchange will include all recipient types in the dynamic distribution group, but you have the option of filtering by users with Exchange mailboxes, users with external e-mail addresses, resource mailboxes, and things like that. Make your selection and press Next.
You will now be prompted to select one or more conditions for the dynamic distribution group. For example, you can choose to include recipients from a specific state, department, or company; then create a dynamic distribution group of all of the employees in the state of South Carolina. The group’s membership would automatically change as employees move in or out of South Carolina. You can even include multiple conditions, such as creating a group of all of the employees who work in the IT department and live in South Carolina.
Press Next and you will see a summary of the options you have chosen. Assuming everything looks good, press New and the new dynamic distribution group will be created.
Adding recipients to a distribution group
When you create a distribution group (not a dynamic distribution group) one of the first things you'll probably want to do is add recipients to the group. To do so, navigate to Recipient Configuration | Distribution Group. When you select the Distribution Group container, the console’s details pane will display all of the existing distribution groups.
Right-click on the distribution group you want to modify and select Properties. You'll then see the distribution group’s properties sheet. Now, simply select the properties sheet’s Members tab and press Add. Add the desired members to the distribution group and press OK.
Large companies often have hundreds, or even thousands, of Exchange mailboxes. Sometimes it's necessary to perform a maintenance task on a subset of the mailboxes. You no longer have to hunt through all of those mailboxes looking for a few specific mailboxes. Instead, you can create filtered views of the mailboxes so only the mailboxes you need are displayed.
Creating a filtered view of your mailboxes is easy: navigate to Recipient Configuration | Mailbox. The console's details pane should then display a comprehensive list of all of the mailboxes in the entire Exchange organization.
To create a filtered view of those mailboxes, press Create Filter. The Create Filter button doesn’t really look like a button, so I have circled it in Figure B.
|Click the Create Filter button to create a filtered view of the recipient’s mailboxes.|
You will then see a series of drop-down lists at the top of the screen. The first drop-down list allows you to select the Active Directory attribute of your choice. For example, if you wanted to filter the list of mailboxes by city, then you would choose the City attribute.
The next drop-down list allows you to select a conditional. This is where you would select an option such as equal to, not equal to, contains, or does not contain. Finally, you would enter your criteria. For example, if you wanted to see only mailboxes of recipients residing in the city of Miami, you would choose City from the attribute list, set the conditional to Equals, and then enter Miami into the criteria field, as shown in Figure C. Now, press Apply to see the filtered view. When you're done, press Remove Filter to switch back to a normal view of the mailboxes.
|You can easily create filtered views of recipient mailboxes.|
Creating stores and storage groups
The last thing I want to show you is how to create stores and storage groups in Exchange 2007. As you may recall, Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise Edition allowed you to create up to four storage groups, each of which could contain up to five stores, for a total of up to 20 stores per server. Exchange 2007 allows you to create up to 50 storage groups, with up to 50 stores. Fifty stores is the maximum number of stores that can reside on a server, regardless of how those stores are distributed among storage groups.
Exchange Server 2007 is role based, and you can only create storage groups or stores onto servers that have the Mailbox role installed. To do so, navigate to Server Configuration | Mailbox. The server's Details pane will then display a list of the servers that stores or storage groups can be created on.
To create a new storage group, right-click on the server of choice and select New Storage Group. Windows will then display the New Storage Group wizard. This wizard consists of a single screen and asks for a name for the new storage group and for various paths, as shown in Figure D. Press New to create the new storage group.
|The New Storage Group wizard allows you to create a new storage group.|
Creating a store within a storage group is equally simple: Go to the details pane and select the server you want to create the store on. The lower portion of the screen will then display the storage groups and stores residing on that server, as shown in Figure E.
|When you select a server, its stores and storage groups are displayed on the lower half of the screen.|
Now, right-click on the storage group you want to create the store within. The resulting shortcut menu will contain options for creating mailbox stores and public folder stores. Select the option that corresponds to the appropriate store type. A very simple wizard will then ask you for the name of the new store and its path. Enter this information and press New to create the store.