Overview of Exchange Server 2016
Exchange Server 2016 offers incremental rather than dramatic improvements over its predecessor Exchange 2013. The most important change is the elimination of the separate Client Access server role and the incorporation of Client Access services (CAS) into the Mailbox server role, creating a single building block for on-premises deployments that scale seamlessly from a small office to a worldwide enterprise. This final level of server consolidation provides an architecture that makes Exchange 2016 easier to deploy, migrate, scale, manage, and troubleshoot. Consolidation also simplifies the design of high-availability (HA) solutions and lowers ownership costs by allowing maximum hardware utilization.
The optional Exchange 2016 Edge Transport Server, designed to provide extra security and to reside in a perimeter network outside of an organization's internal Active Directory forest, is now the only other server role besides the Mailbox server. Other enhancements in Exchange 2016 include the use of MAPI over HTTP as the default protocol for connecting to Outlook clients, improvements in data loss protection (DLP) and compliance, faster failover for database availability groups (DAGs), improved scale and performance for e-Discovery, and access to advanced cloud-based features for hybrid deployments that combine on-premises and cloud resources.
Progent's Exchange experts can provide online or onsite help with any facet of your migration to Exchange 2016 including cost/benefit analysis, determining whether an on-premises or cloud-based or hybrid deployment would work best for you, inventorying and prepping your current system, documenting a detailed migration plan designed to maximize utilization of your IT resources and minimize business disruption, configuring a pilot test to simulate your environment, implementing co-existence with your current Exchange solution if feasible, switching over to Exchange 2016, performing client remediation, and delivering as-needed training to your IT staff and users.
New Streamlined Architecture
The most celebrated new feature of Exchange 2016 is that its architecture has been streamlined so that all essential services are contained in the Mailbox server. This consolidation increases hardware utilization to the point that server virtualization may be unnecessary and even inadvisable. The remaining server role is the Edge Transport Server, which is typically deployed in your perimeter network to provide enhanced protection against spam and email-borne viruses and malware.
An Edge Transport server can provide enhanced Connection, Recipient and Attachment Filtering
The Mailbox and Edge Transport servers for Exchange 2016 require either the Standard or Datacenter versions of Windows Server 2012 R2 or later. To manage Exchange 2016 from a Windows client you need the 64-bit version of either Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 or later. Progent can help you configure these operating systems to support Exchange Server 2016 by providing Windows Server 2012 R2 integration, Windows 10 migration, and Windows 8.1 consulting and technical support.
Exchange 2016 Client Improvements
Exchange 2016 has again given the web client a new name, calling what was previously known as Outlook Web App (OWA) simply Outlook on the web. Outlook on the web has a more contemporary look, higher performance, improved support for third-party platforms, and an array of enhanced features. Outlook on the web also supports the latest versions of all major browsers. Key enhancements include:
- OS-specific user interface improvements for Apple iOS and Android smart phones and tablets
- Support for suggesting a new time for meeting invitations
- The ability to add information from a LinkedIn account directly to Contacts
- Calendar improvements including emailed event reminders, improved Calendar search, and birthday calendars
- Expanded filtering including data ranges and related senders
- 13 new graphic themes
- Rich abbreviated previews of the destinations of links pasted into messages with support for video links
- Pins to keep tagged email at the top of the Inbox
- Flags to mark items for follow-up, and the ability to find flagged items with Inbox filters or via the new Task module
- A new action pane lets you quickly select your most common commands like New, Reply all, and Delete.
- Email improvements including a single-line message display option, emojis, plus new Archive, Sweep, and Undo features
Outlook on the web's single line view provides an uncluttered, immersive reading pane
In Exchange 2016, MAPI over HTTP is the default interface for communicating to Outlook clients, replacing RPC over HTTP. If an Outlook client does not support MAPI over HTTP, Exchange 2016 will fall back to RPC over HTTP. MAPI over HTTP appeared as an option in Exchange 2013 and is the accepted HTTP model for the transport layer. The protocol allows Exchange 2016 to reconnect more rapidly after a break because there is no need to rebuild a connection following frequently encountered events like device hibernation or switching between wired and wireless networks. Exchange 2016 allows you to specify how long Exchange 2016 will retain the session context.
Some cloud features formerly restricted to the cloud are becoming available for on-premises deployments. For example, Outlook on the web clients can access and share documents stored in OneDrive for Business in a local SharePoint server. In on-premises deployments, this enables the type of collaboration previously restricted to Office 365 users.
New and Enhanced Message Policy and Compliance Features
Improvements in compliance and message policy provided in Exchange 2016 affect the areas of Data Loss Prevention (DLP), In-Place eDiscovery and Hold, and Compliance Search.
Data loss prevention (DLP) is concerned with avoiding the inadvertent transmission of sensitive data such as social security or bank account numbers, which are categorized as personally identifiable information (PII). Exchange Server 2016 includes new transport rules, actions and exceptions that allow you to create a DLP policy to detect, track, and secure scores of different types of information so that it is not accidentally leaked outside your organization via email. You can create and manage DLP policy packages in the Exchange Administration Center (EAC) or by using Exchange Management Shell cmdlets.
In Exchange 2016, the In-Place eDiscovery and In-Place Hold workflow incorporates public folders, not just mailboxes, and allows you to place both a query-based and a time-based hold on public folders. The ability to search for content in public folders and place content in public folders on In-Place Hold makes it easier to respond promptly and accurately to litigation, regulatory review, or audits.
- A new condition available in Exchange 2016, Any attachment has these properties, including any of these words, allows you to create a transport rule able to detect email messages with an Office document attachment that includes the words you specify. You can combine your Exchange 2016 transport rules and DLP policies with SharePoint Server and Windows Server 2012 R2 FCI to build an end-to-end DLP solution across the enterprise.
- Exchange 2016's new action Notify the recipient with a message allows you to create a transport rule to send the recipient an alert that includes your specified text. For example, you could notify the intended recipient that a message was sent to Junk Mail or blocked altogether by a transport rule.
- The existing action Generate incident report and send it to has been expanded in Exchange 2016 to allow the associated incident report to be sent to multiple distribution lists..
Compliance Search in Exchange 2016 is a fast, high-capacity eDiscovery search tool, available via the Exchange Management Shell, that allows you to search an unlimited number of mailboxes in one search and perform an unlimited number of concurrent searches. In comparison, In-Place eDiscovery supports a maximum of 10,000 mailboxes per search and up to two simultaneous searches.
In Exchange 2016, the search architecture has been decentralized and redesigned to be asynchronous, allowing the search workload to be distributed across multiple servers for improved speed and reliability. Scale has also been improved. The number of mailboxes you can search at once via the console has doubled from 5,000 to 10,000. If you use the Exchange Management Shell, there is no limit to the number of mailboxes that can be searched at one time.
How Progent Can Help You Migrate to Exchange Server 2016
Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can assist organizations of all sizes with any aspect of migrating to Exchange 2016. Progent can provide as-needed Exchange 2016 expertise for limited tasks to supplement your in-house resources, or you can outsource or co-source project management services to Progent. Examples of Exchange 2016 migration services available from Progent include designing a cost-effective topology that delivers high uptime and fast recovery by utilizing Exchange 2016's built-in high-availability technology; helping you understand and comply with CAL licensing requirements; setting up Windows Server 2012 R2 or a later version of Windows Server to host Exchange 2016; providing Windows Hyper-V consulting for planning and implementing virtualization where and if appropriate; estimating the storage you will need for handling Exchange 2016 databases and log files; resolving any issues related to migrating mailboxes to Exchange 2016; setting up firewalls and load balancing; and integrating Exchange 2016 client apps including Office 2010 SP2 or later or Office 365. To learn more about the Exchange 2016 migration consulting services available from Progent, refer to Exchange 2016 Migration Planning and Support Services
To help you create a productive BYOD environment for Exchange 2016 that features security, collaboration, and centralized management of smartphones and tablets, Progent offers iPhone and iPad integration, Android phone and tablet consulting, and RIM BlackBerry expertise. To help you get back on line quickly after a catastrophic event, Progent's disaster recovery planning experts can help you design, document and test a disaster recovery plan for Exchange 2016 that follows industry best practices and makes efficient use of physical and cloud-based resources. Progent's team of CISA, CISSP, GIAC, CISM, and ISSAP certified data security experts can help you create and verify a security strategy that complies with government and industry standards. Progent's Cisco CCIE certified network consultants can help you plan and deploy a modern network infrastructure that is affordable, secure, fast and easy to manage and that supports physical and cloud-based data centers as well as stationary and mobile users.
Office 365 Integration with On-premises Exchange
Microsoft has made a strong effort to enable transparent hybrid ecosystems that combine Office 365 and on-premises Exchange deployments. This allows you to have some Exchange mailboxes hosted on 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 phase of planning, implementing and debugging your hybrid Office 365/Exchange solution. Progent's Exchange consultants can deliver occasional support to help you through stubborn technical issues and also can provide extensive project management outsourcing or co-sourcing to ensure your hybrid Office 365 initiative is carried out on time and within budget. For details about Progent's consulting expertise for hybrid Office 365 and on-premises Exchange environments, go to Office 365 integration with on-premises Exchange.
Download Progent's Exchange 2016 Migration Support Datasheet
To download Progent's Exchange 2013 Migration Support, click:
Progent's Exchange 2016 Migration Support Datasheet. (PDF - 101 KB)
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