Software

Upgrading to Exchange 2007? That's not such a no-brainer!

The upgrade to Exchange 2000 to 2003 may have been a no-brainer for you. It's not that simple with Exchange 2007. Here's why.

This isn't so much a tip as it is a lookout for those considering migrating to Exchange 2007. First off, I really like Exchange 2007 and, as soon as Microsoft replaces some removed functionality, I’ll probably make the switch at work. The new Outlook Web Access alone, with its ability to allow users direct access to their network-based work, makes this possible in my organization, as does really inexpensive academic pricing.

But, let me go back to the "as soon as Microsoft replaces some removed functionality" comment. In a previous article, I explained some of the formal reasons that organizations might wait to deploy Exchange 2007. Now, as I work more with the product, I find more I like and more that... doesn’t hold up. First, at the same time that Microsoft added great new features to Outlook Web Access, they removed key components, such as the ability to view public folders through the web tool. Now, I don’t know how your organizations work, but we, for now, use Public Folders pretty heavily, and have a lot of OWA-based users as well as users that work from home using OWA (I’m the CIO at Westminster College, a small private liberal arts college in Fulton, Missouri). Over time, I’m planning to migrate users to something other than public folders--probably SharePoint--but this won’t happen for a while. To be fair, there has been a statement that this functionality is to return to the product in SP1, but I can’t fathom why it was removed in the first place.

Second, the GUI-based management console is not a complete work. It’s lacking some really important functionality. For example, the existing GUI provides no means to manage the POP3 and IMAP services that are used in Exchange. I can personally attest to the fact that many colleges and universities make heavy use of these services. Further, one of the reasons that some organizations deploy Exchange over, say, SendMail is to avoid the command line.

That said, Exchange 2007 does include a powerful, and really good, command line-based management shell from which you can perform 100% of Exchange’s management tasks. (By the way, GUI management for some missing tools is slated to return with SP1 as well.)

Ok--that’s enough for now. As I said, there is a whole lot to love about Exchange 2007. The reason I wrote this tip is to encourage others to take the time to severely test Exchange 2007 in a lab environment and figure out the shortcomings. Upgrading Exchange 2000 to 2003 was a no-brainer... this one is going to take more planning, folks!

5 comments
eric
eric

Microsoft has long wanted to remove public folders from Exchange. They are basically large consumers of dead-end space and headache for administrators. I've heard that by ~2010 they won't include any support for them..

brian.kronberg
brian.kronberg

There are many features coming in SP1. These were not "left out", they just were not ready by the RTM. Everyone must remember that Exchange 2007 was mostly rebuilt from scratch. Microsoft's new delivery schedule holds firm on ship dates. So those items not ready are just included in the next ship date. SP1 includes many "new" things. Those exact items are not public yet, but I from what I am privy to the Exchange team has been really busy.

gwcarter
gwcarter

Boy! talk about timely! Two hours ago I was tasked with implementing a Windows-based IT development facility for a shop that has been a Big-Blue Big-OS shop for more than thirty years. They even outsourced their email. That will be the first to be installed. How about a book, Scott, published like yesterday, on installing Exchange 2007 from scratch? All I can find is either sales hype or gobbledegook that requires a PhD in MS Techspeak. Such a book should be simple for the CIO of a shop that once used "The Iron Curtain" as a firewall.

Scott Lowe
Scott Lowe

Actually, your timing is also impeccable. I'm currently at work with Walter Glenn on coauthoring the Exchange Server 2007 Administrator's Companion. It's due for completion next month. Scott

juan18_c
juan18_c

CBT Nuggets is excellent as well as Train Signal. as of to Reading material , I have not yet seen anything as usefull.

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