Exchange 2013 now has only two core server roles, CAS (Client Access server ) and MBX (Mailbox server). The optional Edge Transport server role is available for environments that require a perimeter network. The MBX incorporates Client Access protocols, Transport service, Mailbox databases, and Unified Messaging. All these functions are handled by separate server roles in Exchange 2010, which added to the complexity of deployment and management.
The Exchange 2013 Client Access server is a thin, stateless server where nothing is queued or stored and which supports HTTP, POP and IMAP, and SMTP protocols. Because the Client Access server proxies all user connections to a specified Mailbox server, session affinity is not necessary at the CAS servers. Eliminating the session affinity requirement (known as "session indifference") does away with the need for expensive and complex Layer 7 load balancing that is protocol aware. Inbound connections to CAS servers can be load balanced using inexpensive Layer 4 techniques such as least connection or round-robin. The new architecture of Exchange 2013 also provides version upgrade flexibility and, by lowering the required number of namespaces for a resilient site design from 8 to 2, dramatically simplifies deployment.
Exchange Server 2013 consolidates management tools and enhances management options through the Exchange admin center (EAC). This web-based tool combines the functions of the Exchange Management Console (EMC) and the Exchange Control Panel (ECP) introduced in Exchange 2010. The EAC also adds the functionality of various stand-alone management tools and utilities while providing additional features that were previously unavailable. Because the EAC is web based, Exchange managers are no longer limited to a dedicated desktop PC that has to be provisioned and kept up to date with specialized software. By providing centralized, site-independent control over any Exchange environment (local, cloud, or hybrid), the EAC cuts management training time and reduces management workloads.
New or enhanced features incorporated into the EAC include a vastly expanded list view, a new notification viewer for long-running processes, and improved Group management. Importantly, you can partition Internet vs. intranet access at the level of the virtual directory in IIS, allowing managers to control whether users can access the EAC via the Internet from outside your organization, while at the same time permitting end-user access to Outlook Web App Options.
Database Availability Group (DAG) Improvements
In Exchange 2013, the basic unit of high availability for mailbox servers continues to be the database availability group (DAG), which relies on Windows Server failover clustering and supports file and block mode for continuous replication. Improvements to DAG technology introduced with Exchange 2013 address availability, failover speed, fault isolation, resource utilization, and support for public folders.
Exchange 2013 DAG now supports managed availability by providing integrated monitoring and recovery features that can anticipate and ward off failures, restore services, launch failovers, and send alerts to administrators. The Exchange Store in Exchange 2010 has been renamed "Managed Store" and revamped to offer improved availability and faster failover. Exchange 2013 offers improved disk utilization by supporting multiple databases per disk, and the new AutoReseed feature improves the speed at which the contents of a failed redundant disk can be copied to a backup disk. Because public folders are now stored in mailbox databases, they benefit from the high availability provided by DAG technology.
Improved Outlook Web App
Outlook Web App (OWA) works with supported browsers to allow users to access their Exchange mailbox from virtually any computing device connected to the web. Exchange 2013 supports a new version of OWA with a redesigned set of interfaces to match the client's type of computer (desktop, smartphone, or tablet) and a variety of features that improve usability, collaboration, and productivity.
Offline access allows OWA users to get work done even without a web connection. Lync support allows OWA users to see and manage IM contacts and groups and to conduct Instant Messaging sessions. Microsoft has developed two apps, OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad, that simplify the sign-in process and support offline email access. Contact linking allows you to link, automatically or manually, multiple entries for the same person to create a single contact card that shows the combined information. Calendar views have been enhanced to show multiple calendars in a merged view, display an agenda for a selected day, and provide item details via pop ups. New controls permit you to accept/decline meetings and edit or delete appointments, and users can search simultaneously across primary and archive mailboxes. Developers can now produce OWA apps for distribution at Office.com, and users can integrate OWA apps from the Office marketplace.
Tighter Integration with SharePoint and Lync
Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 offers tight integration with SharePoint 2013 and Lync 2013. Together, these platforms can form the basis of a solid solution for collaboration and compliance. By allowing features such as eDiscovery, archiving, and in-place hold to be managed centrally and performed seamlessly on Exchange mailboxes, SharePoint web sites and documents, and Lync content, this cross-platform integration makes it easier to coordinate team projects and comply with regulatory requirements or internal standards. (For information about Progent's consulting and application development services for SharePoint 2013, see SharePoint Server 2013 Migration and Development Support.)
The new site mailbox allows project members to share Exchange emails and SharePoint documents through Outlook 2013. The new unified contact store (UCS) feature makes it possible for contact information stored in Exchange 2013 to be accessible from Lync, Exchange, Outlook, and Outlook Web App (OWA). OWA users can also see Instant Messaging groups and contacts in the OWA Navigation Panel and conduct IM sessions from within OWA. SharePoint 2013's new eDiscovery Center provides a single interface for compliance officers to locate, hold, and analyze immutable in-place data from Exchange 2013 mailboxes, SharePoint 2013 websites, and archived Lync 2013 content. Exchange 2013 can now store user profile photos for sharing via SharePoint 2013, Lync 2013, and OWA. A low-res version of each photo is also stored in Active Directory. This spares users the trouble of storing their profile photos individually in each application.
Additional Enhancements to Exchange 2013
Exchange 2013 features important additional enhancements, many of which concern security and compliance. Exchange 2013's improved Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solution includes advanced and extensible transport rules, monitoring, and policy tips for clients. These enhancements help enforce compliance policies and prevent sensitive data contained in email from being leaked or lost. In-Place Hold is a new unified hold model that allows you to comply with legal hold requirements by protecting email messages from deletion, alteration, and tampering.
Exchange 2013 also lets you archive Lync 2013 content in a userís mailbox and use In-Place eDiscovery to search archived Lync content. New Messaging records management (MRM) features in Exchange 2013 help you to enforce your organization's email lifecycle policies. Retention policies now support Calendar and Tasks retention tags. Another new feature is a basic level of anti-malware protection incorporated into Exchange 2013. This uses the same anti-virus engine as System Center Endpoint Protection and is easy to configure and monitor. You can also disable Exchange 2013 anti-malware protection if you prefer to use another solution.
Progent's Consulting Services for Microsoft Exchange Server 2013
Progent's Microsoft-certified Exchange consultants can help you assess the business advantages and technical risks associated with moving to Exchange 2013 from your current messaging environment. Progent can assist you to upgrade to Exchange 2013 while keeping your current hardware or migrate to Exchange 2013 on a new networking infrastructure. Progent can help you to plan and carry out an efficient upgrade or migration from Exchange 2010, Exchange 2007, Exchange 2003, or Exchange 2000. Progent's Exchange experts have the experience to design and manage an upgrade or migration plan that avoids business disruption, facilitates security and compliance, provides high availability and throughput, cuts management time and costs, lowers operating expense, and increases worker productivity. For complicated Exchange environments that may involve multiple datacenters or hybrid cloud and on-site deployments, Progent offers the network infrastructure skills required to execute a successful upgrade on schedule and within budget.
Progent can provide a broad array of consulting and support services to make sure you extract the greatest possible business value from your Exchange 2013 migration. Progent can help you set up Exchange 2013 in conjunction with Active Directory following industry best practices, design and implement a DAG solution for high availability and fast failover, design and validate a disaster recovery plan that takes advantage of Exchange 2013's HA technology, and provide services such as iPhone and iPad integration, Android phone and tablet consulting, and RIM BlackBerry expertise in order to integrate smartphone and tablets with Exchange 2013 to enhance the productivity of your mobile workforce. Progent can also provide the help of certified network security engineers to help you plan and implement an organization-wide strategy for security and compliance.
Microsoft Office 365 Exchange Online Integration with On-premises Exchange
Microsoft supports seamless hybrid environments that combine Office 365 and on-premises Exchange deployments. This permits you to have certain mailboxes hosted at your on-premises datacenter or private cloud and other mailboxes resident on Office 365. Progent's certified Exchange consulting team can help your organization with any facet of designing, integrating and debugging your hybrid Exchange solution. Progent's Exchange consultants can provide occasional expertise to help you through challenging technical issues and also offer extensive project management outsourcing to ensure your hybrid Office 365/Exchange solution is successfully completed on schedule and within budget. For more information about Progent's online consulting expertise for integrating Office 365 and on-premises Exchange environments, go to Office 365 integration with on-premises Exchange.
Download Progent's Exchange 2013 Migration Support Datasheet
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Progent's Exchange 2013 Migration Support Datasheet. (PDF - 101 KB)
Progent's World-class Online Consulting and Technical Support Services
Progent's consulting team has more than a decade of experience delivering online high-level consulting and technical support to businesses of all sizes in every state in the U.S. (Refer to Progent's testimonials from customers nationwide.) By combining world-class expertise with online delivery, Progent is able to provide enterprise-class network support services at a price that fits small business budgets. Online consulting eliminates travel expenses and delays and preserves productivity by resolving problems quickly, before they can seriously disrupt business. For projects that require it, Progent can also provide prompt onsite service in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States.
Another key to Progent's effectiveness is breadth of expertise. Progent is not only a Microsoft Certified consulting firm, but has also put together one of the world's largest independent group of Cisco-certified CCIE network engineers. This networking expertise makes it possible for Progent to fix even the most stubborn issues associated with network infrastructure. In addition, Progent's team of CISA, CISSP, GIAC, CISM, and ISSAP certified network security consultants offer a comprehensive array of online services including affordably priced security audit packages to assess the vulnerability of networks of any size to external and internal threats.
Progent's Support Services for Microsoft Server Technology
For small businesses throughout the U.S., Progent's Microsoft-certified experts can provide computer help and professional consulting support for the entire array of Microsoft .NET Enterprise Servers, Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 2008 R2 Server, and Windows Server 2003. Progent's planning, integration, optimization, and support services include network architecture, configuration, and management help for project management and documentation, local and remote technical support and system diagnosis, Help Desk Outsourcing Services, comprehensive security expertise, turn-key outsourcing, and ProSight Virtual Hosting services.
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