Just when you’re trying to get used to Office 2000, Windows 2000 debuts. Now Windows 2000 is out, and Exchange 2000 is coming soon, and it will change the way you administer your Exchange servers.

Microsoft Management Console (MMC) functionality plays a major role in the administration of Exchange 2000 servers. The MMC, and its corresponding snap-ins, enable systems engineers to create and save customized consoles. These consoles can then be used to administer all facets of Exchange 2000 from a single interface.

System Manager, launched from the Start Menu, is the most significant MMC snap-in for Exchange administration. It provides a simplified interface for organizing administrative objects and configuring permissions.

Pick one
Unlike with Exchange 5.5, administrators have two choices for organizing objects in Exchange 2000. They can either select a logical administrative grouping of objects or a grouping organized by routing topology.

The administrative group
Microsoft defines an administrative group as “a collection of Exchange servers and configuration objects that are grouped together for a common administrative purpose.” So, for example, systems engineers might choose to create an administrative group to define access control.

An easier way to think of administrative groups is to view them as “folders” for organizing Exchange system management tools, just as folders are used to manage files in Explorer. The only difference is that your administrative groups, or “folders,” contain things like user policies, routing groups, and conferencing services instead of files.

The routing group
A routing group, according to Microsoft, is “a collection of Exchange servers that have high bandwidth, reliable connections.” Routing groups are used to organize Exchange servers based on physical network properties.

Administrative models
Microsoft Exchange 2000 supports three models of administration:

  • Distributed Exchange management
  • Centralized Exchange management
  • Mixed distributed and centralized Exchange management

Distributed Exchange management
As in Exchange 5.5, Exchange 2000 supports the distribution of server administration to outlying offices. Large organizations generally incorporate this model for the management of independent offices.

Under distributed Exchange management, a central IT department manages standards, but the actual administration of Exchange servers occurs at each site or location. Distributed Exchange management necessitates that there be a minimum of one administrative group per location.

Centralized Exchange management
Under centralized Exchange management, a centrally located IT department manages standards and administration of Exchange servers. Typically, such a model is most often adopted among small and medium businesses.

Mixed distributed and centralized Exchange management
A mixed model is the most common implementation for managing and administering Exchange servers. Under such an implementation, many IT professionals may restrict routing management to one group of administrators. This forms a centralized routing management model, and it is typical for a centralized IT department that owns the messaging backbones while delegating responsibilities for administrative operations to offsite locations.

Under centralized policy management, as opposed to centralized routing management, a centralized IT department sets standard configuration policies organization-wide but delegates daily administrative tasks to offsite locations.

Permissions & policies
Permissions applied in Exchange 2000 are based upon the Windows 2000 permission model. Since an object inherits permissions from parent objects in Windows 2000, administrators can assign permissions that users or groups have on an object and upon the children of the object by class. Such a permissions model simplifies administration by:

  • Eliminating the need to manually apply permissions to child objects when they are created
  • Ensuring that permissions attached to parent objects are applied consistently to child objects
  • Requiring that only permissions on parent objects be changed when permissions on all objects in a container must be changed

New to Exchange 2000 is the use of policies, which simplify the administration of objects within Exchange. There are two types of Exchange policies—system and recipient. System policies are applied to servers, whereas recipient policies are applied to objects possessing an e-mail address.

Policies can be used in Exchange 2000 to create new objects, add new objects to existing policies, add existing objects to existing policies, create new policies, and add new policies to existing objects.

For more information on Exchange 2000 Beta 3, check out the support documents. You can find them on the November Exchange 2000 Beta 3 TechNet CD-ROM under the DOCS folder.

Erik Eckel MCP+I, MCSE is Community Editor for AdminRepublic. He can often be found testing new software in a darkened office filled with the smooth sounds of a Miles Davis CD.

If you’d like to share your opinion, please post a comment below or send the editor an e-mail.