Introduction to Microsoft Exchange Server 2013
Exchange Server 2013 incorporates significant enhancements to the capabilities of its predecessor Exchange Server 2010 and introduces powerful new features plus a redesigned architecture. These improvements favorably impact key areas such as manageability, availability, security and compliance, operational costs, collaboration, scalability, performance, cross-version interoperability, and the user experience. Exchange Server 2013 requires at minimum Windows Server 2008 R2, but to get the full benefit of Exchange 2013's new features you need the latest releases of Windows Server 2012, SharePoint, and Lync.
Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you understand the potential benefits of upgrading to Exchange Server 2013, design an efficient test and deployment plan, and train your IT staff to manage your Exchange 2013 solution. Progent can also provide ongoing consulting and troubleshooting support both online and onsite. Whether your Exchange 2013 infrastructure is cloud-based, on premises, hosted at a third-party datacenter, or a hybrid environment, Progent has the expertise to ensure that your Exchange 2013 deployment delivers maximum business value.
New Streamlined Architecture
With Exchange 2013, the number of basic server roles has been reduced to two: the Client Access server (CAS) role and the Mailbox server (MBX) role. The optional Edge server role became available with the release of Exchange 2013 SP1. Because the CAS and MBX roles are loosely coupled, Exchange 2013 for the first time has eliminated version dependency, geo-affinity (which restricts all roles to a single location), session affinity (which requires expensive layer 7 protocol-aware load balancing), and namespace complexity.
Exchange 2013 Consolidates Server Roles to Simplify Deployment, Management, and Scale
Major benefits of the new Exchange 2013 architecture include:
- Version upgrade flexibility: You can now upgrade a Client Access server independently and in any order in relation to the Mailbox server.
- Session indifference: Session affinity is no longer required at the Client Access servers, allowing inbound connections to Client Access servers to be load balanced by lower-cost and easier to manage technology.
- Deployment simplicity: With Exchange 2013, the required number of namespaces for a resilient site design drops from eight to two, even if you are coexisting with Exchange 2010.
Centralized Management with Exchange Admin Center
Exchange 2013 introduces a new web-based management console called Exchange admin center (EAC), which replaces both the Exchange Management Console (EMC) and the Exchange Control Panel (ECP) of Exchange Server 2010. The new Exchange admin center is designed to provide unified control for all types of Exchange 2013 deployments: onsite, cloud based with Exchange Online, or hybrid. EAC simplifies common maintenance tasks, frees administrators from being tied to a specially provisioned desktop, and reduces training and operational costs.
The Exchange admin center is actually a superset of the EMC and ECP. Important functions that previously required additional tools to perform have been moved into the EAC. These include Public Folder management, the Role Based Access Control (RBAC) User Editor for managing role groups, and Unified Messaging (UM) Tools for providing UM statistics and information about specific calls for UM-enabled users.
Enhancements to functions accessible through the EAC include:
- List view: ECP was limited to displaying up to 500 objects and required you to use searching and filtering to find objects not listed in the details pane. Exchange 2013 increases the viewable limit from within the EAC list view to around 20,000 objects, which the EAC client can search and sort. Also, you can page through and export the results.
- Add/Remove columns to the Recipient list view: You can now select what columns to view and save different list views on each machine you use to access the EAC.
- Secure the ECP virtual directory: You can control whether users can access the EAC externally from the Internet and still allow access to an end-userís Outlook Web App Options.
- Notifications: A Notification viewer shows you the status of long-running processes and allows you to receive notification automatically via email message when the process finishes.
- Group enhancements: The Exchange Admin Center can now display up to 10,000 recipients in the Groups Select Members window and allows you to filter displayed recipients by city, company, country/region, department, office, and title.
Improved Database Availability Groups (DAGs)
A database availability group (DAG) is the foundation of high availability (HA) and resilience for Exchange Server 2013 Mailbox servers. Introduced in Exchange 2010, a DAG is a group of as many as 16 Mailbox servers where any server in a DAG can host a copy of a mailbox database from any other DAG server. DAG servers cooperate with one another to recover automatically from failures that impact mailbox databases. Basic functions of a DAG include mailbox database replication plus database and server switchover and failover.
DAG configured to handle scheduled downtime and server failure simultaneously
Exchange Server 2013 incorporates important enhancements in DAG functionality, manageability, and cost of ownership. These enhancements include:
- Managed availability: Integrated monitoring and recovery capability prevents failures, proactively restores services, and automatically initiates failovers or alerts administrators.
- Managed Store: The revamped Information Store processes, now called Managed Store, is integrated with the Microsoft Exchange Replication service for improved availability, faster database failover, and more efficient handling of physical disk failures. In addition, the Managed Store now uses the Search Foundation search engine, also used by SharePoint 2013.
- Multiple databases per disk: Support for multiple databases (mixes of active and passive copies) on the same disk makes it practical to deploy economical high-capacity disks.
- AutoReseed: Automatic reseeding allows fast restoration of database redundancy. In case of a disk failure, the database copy it stored is copied from the active database copy to a spare disk on the same server. Multiple database copies can be reseeded automatically on a spare disk. With multiple servers, this means quicker reseeds due to parallel copying.
- Public folders stored in mailbox databases: Public folders can now benefit from database availability groups for replication and HA.
- Reduced IOPS: Fewer Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS) leverages larger disks, which can now be up to 8TB.
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 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.)
Other features and benefits associated with Exchange, SharePoint and Lync cross-product functionality include:
- Site mailbox: Exchange 2013 introduced the site mailbox so that authorized team members can use Outlook 2013 as a common, familiar interface to access and share Exchange emails as well as SharePoint documents. This promotes effective collaboration and streamlines information management for group projects. Exchange 2013 stores the email and handles messaging while SharePoint 2013 provides co-authoring, document storage, and versioning. Team members can also opt to access shared content directly from the SharePoint site itself rather than from Outlook.
- Unified contact store (UCS): UCS is a new feature that allows users to migrate contacts from Lync Server 2013 to Exchange 2013. Unified Contact Store provides a consistent contact experience across Microsoft Office products by enabling users to store all contact information in Exchange 2013 and make it available globally across Lync, Exchange, Outlook, and Outlook Web App (OWA).
- Lync presence in OWA: You can now configure Exchange 2013 and Lync Server 2013 so that users can see presence information in Outlook Web App. With this feature, OWA users can see IM groups and contacts in the OWA Navigation Panel, begin or respond to IM sessions from within OWA, and manage IM contacts and groups.
- In-Place eDiscovery: Compliance officers can use the new eDiscovery Center in SharePoint 2013 to identify, hold, and analyze information from Exchange 2013 mailboxes, SharePoint 2013 websites, and archived Lync 2013 content. Because the data is immutable and remains in place and since eDiscovery can be performed using a common interface, compliance management is easier, less expensive, and more effective.
- User profile photos: This new feature permits users to store high-res profile photos in Exchange 2013 so they can be utilized by client applications such as Outlook, Outlook Web App, SharePoint 2013, Lync 2013, and mobile email clients. A low-res version of each photo is also stored in Active Directory. This eliminates the requirement for each individual application to have its own user profile photos and its own interface for managing them. Users can manage their own profile photos via OWA, SharePoint 2013, or Lync 2013.
Improvements to Outlook Web App for Exchange 2013
Microsoft Outlook Web App (OWA) allows users to access their Exchange mailbox from a fully supported Web browser. With Exchange 2013, OWA offers new features as well as an updated design. Enhancements to OWA include:.
OWA apps for iPhone and for iPad support advanced calendar views
- Offline access: Offline access in Outlook Web App for Exchange 2013 allows users to use OWA even when they are not connected to a network.
- Lync presence: You can set up Exchange and Lync so OWA users can see Instant Messaging groups and contacts in the OWA Navigation Panel, conduct IM sessions from OWA, and manage IM groups and contacts.
- Interfaces for all users: OWA now offers three distinct user interfaces optimized for desktops, tablets, or smart phones. OWA also supports touchscreens
- OWA apps for iPhone and for iPad: The OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad apps makes it easier for users to sign in to their mailboxes. These apps also support offline email access.
- Contact linking: ē You can link multiple entries for the same person and view the combined information in a single contact card. Contact linking is done automatically, but users have the option to link and unlink contacts manually.
- Improved Calendar views: Users can view multiple calendars in a merged view or in separate columns. The month view now includes an agenda for the selected day, and in all calendar views users can click an item to view a pop-up of details. Controls allow you to accept or decline a meeting and edit or delete an appointment.
- Support for custom apps: You can integrate apps from the Office marketplace or create custom apps for OWA and offer them at Office.com. Administrators can use the Exchange admin center (EAC) to control which apps are available to an organization's users, after which users can manage their own apps.
- Search across primary and archive mailboxes: Users can now search across primary and archive mailboxes in Outlook Web App, eliminating the need for two separate searches.
Additional Enhancements to Exchange 2013
Exchange 2013 is packed with additional enhancements. Important new features that primarily address security and compliance issues include:
- Data Loss Prevention: Previous versions of Exchange have contributed to a growing collection of safeguards to prevent leakage or loss of sensitive information through email. These mechanisms include transport rules, rights protection, and MailTips. Exchange 2013 builds on this foundation to deliver an enterprise-class Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solution that focuses on advanced and extensible transport rules, monitoring, and policy tips for clients. Together, these enhancements facilitate the enforcement of compliance requirements and the management of DLP functions without interfering with user productivity.
- In-Place Hold: When litigation is in process or immanent, organizations are required to preserve electronically stored information (ESI), including relevant email. In-Place Hold is a new unified hold model that lets you protect messages from deletion, modification, and tampering while complying with legal hold requirements. Common scenarios now supported include preserving the results of a query-based hold for scoped immutability across mailboxes, placing a hold for a specified time, placing a mailbox on indefinite hold, or placing a user on multiple holds.
- Archive Lync content: Exchange 2013 allows you to archive Lync Server 2013 content in a userís mailbox. You can place Lync content on hold using In-Place Hold and use In-Place eDiscovery to search Lync content that has been archived in Exchange 2013.
- Messaging records management (MRM): New MRM features in Exchange 2013 enable you to enforce the email lifecycle policies of your organization. You can specify uniform retention settings to all messages, apply a custom baseline retention setting for the mailbox, and permit users to classify messages so they can be retained for a specified length of time. Exchange 2013 retention policies now support Calendar and Tasks retention tags.
- On-premises anti-malware protection: A basic level of anti-malware protection is built into Exchange Server 2013 and uses the same anti-virus engine as System Center Endpoint Protection. Scans are conducted through the Exchange transport service. Enabled by default, the anti-malware feature is simple to configure and monitor and can easily be turned off in environments that employ alternate anti-malware technology. Center Endpoint Protection Scans through the transport service.
Progent's Online and Onsite Consulting Services for Exchange Server 2013
Progent's certified Exchange consultants can help you evaluate the business benefit of Exchange 2013 for your organization and help you design and implement a cost-effective plan for migrating from Exchange 2010, Exchange 2007, Exchange 2003, or Exchange 2000. Progent's seasoned engineers can perform an upgrade to Exchange 2013 that keeps business disruption to a minimum, improves email compliance and security, enhances availability and performance, simplifies management, cuts operating costs, and improves productivity. For complex migrations that include multiple datacenters or hybrid cloud/on-premises environments, Progent offers world-class network infrastructure and project management expertise needed to carry out a successful migration on time and on budget. Progent can also help you to upgrade efficiently to the latest version of Exchange by providing Exchange Server 2016 migration support.
Pivotal to Progent's success is the ability to deliver top-tier consulting anywhere at a cost that even small businesses can afford (refer to Progent's nationwide customer testimonials). This is due to Progent's experience delivering remote IT consulting services. Progent's expert staff of online support professionals, including one of the world's largest independent teams of Cisco-certified CCIE network engineers, can work closely with your IT managers to eliminate travel costs and complete projects quickly and successfully. When circumstances require, Progent can also provide technical experts onsite throughout the U.S.
Progent offers a comprehensive range of consulting services to ensure that you get maximum business value from your move to Exchange Server 2013. Progent can assist you to upgrade to Exchange 2013 while keeping your existing hardware or migrate to an entirely new infrastructure. Progent can help you prepare your Active Directory forest and its domains to support your Exchange 2013 system, plan and configure Database Availability Groups for site resilience and fast recovery, create and test a disaster recovery plan that incorporates Exchange 2013 technology, and provide iPhone and iPad integration, Android phone and tablet consulting, and RIM BlackBerry expertise so your mobile users can benefit fully from Exchange 2013. In addition, Progent's certified information security consultants can help you design and implement a security and compliance strategy that takes advantage of the powerful new security features built into Exchange 2013.
Office 365 Integration with On-premises Exchange
Microsoft has made a strong effort to enable seamless hybrid ecosystems that integrate Office 365 Exchange Online and on-premises installations of Exchange. This permits you to have specific Exchange mailboxes hosted on your on-premises datacenter and other mailboxes hosted by Office 365. Progent's Microsoft-certified Exchange consulting team can assist your organization with any phase of designing, integrating and troubleshooting your hybrid Office 365/Exchange solution. Progent's Exchange specialists can deliver occasional support to help you through challenging technical problems and also can provide extensive project management outsourcing to ensure your hybrid Office 365/Exchange initiative is successfully completed on schedule and on budget. For more information about Progent's online consulting support for hybrid Office 365 and on-premises Exchange systems, go to Office 365 integration solutions with on-premises Exchange.
Download Progent's Exchange 2013 Migration Support Datasheet
To download a single-page printable datasheet in PDF format describing Progent's Exchange 2013 Migration Support, click:
Progent's Exchange 2013 Migration Support Datasheet. (PDF - 101 KB)
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