Together with Windows Server 2003, Microsoft also introduced Exchange Server 2003. This is a solid incremental upgrade to its market-leading enterprise messaging platform -- and a major improvement over Exchange Server 5.5, which still accounts for 60% of all Exchange deployments. Successfully deploying and managing Exchange Server 2003 will require a good deal of expert, independent guidance. Here it is: Barry Gerber’s Mastering Microsoft Exchange Server 2003.
Gerber’s been working with Exchange almost since its introduction, and this is his fourth edition of Mastering Exchange Server. Since there’s much common functionality between Exchange Server 2003 and its predecessor, Gerber could’ve rested on his laurels. Instead, he worked hard to reorganize the book and deepen its coverage. (In fact, there’s a good deal of new information that applies to both Exchange Servers 2000 and 2003.) He’s made a very good book even better.
Gerber begins with in-depth information for planning. He reviews the increasingly intimate relationship between Exchange and Windows Server, outlining the ways in which Exchange depends on Windows directory services, security, storage and so forth. In fact, there’s a full chapter on the architectural issues you’d better really understand right from the outset: integration with Active Directory, and Windows Server network architecture. You’ll walk through Exchange system architecture and design; then plan for upgrades from either Exchange 5.5 or 2000.
Since Exchange and Windows Server are so intimately related, Gerber’s installation chapters cover both. The goal: to create a networked foundation for Exchange that’s as robust as possible.
He next turns to the client side -- especially Microsoft Outlook 200x. (A bit later on, he introduces one of Exchange 2003’s most significant innovations, Outlook Web Access -- a new browser-based client that looks remarkably like ordinary desktop Outlook.)
Once you’re up and running, Gerber shifts to day-to-day Exchange Server management and operation, via the Microsoft Management Console. You’ll walk through administering users, distribution groups, and contacts. The help is welcome because these tasks aren’t always intuitive. For example, notes Gerber, it’s easy to create a mailbox-enabled user, but “the management interface for such a user is full of mind-boggling and sometimes diverting detail.” There’s a full chapter on managing the Exchange Server hierarchy (administrative groups, servers, recipients, et cetera) and its core components (information store, routing engine, and so forth).
In the second half of the book, Gerber walks through building a global messaging infrastructure: integrating Exchange Server 2003 with the Internet, other mail servers and directories, and other Exchange servers. There’s a full chapter on maximizing reliability and availability, and another on security. Gerber introduces Exchange Server 2003’s significantly improved wireless networking support, then wraps up with a chapter on building custom Outlook forms to streamline your business processes. Simply put, if you’re evaluating, deploying, or managing Exchange Server 2003, he covers all the bases. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.