Microsoft Exchange Server is an email server and calendaring server developed by Microsoft Corporation. It runs strictly on Windows Server operating platforms. Earlier, it was named Exchange Server 4.0; later, to positioning it as an alternative to the popular Microsoft Mail 3.5. The product has been upgraded and now it supports all the latest requirements of the modern organizations.
Microsoft Exchange Server can be classified into two main categories: centralized and local.
In case of centralized servers, all the mail servers are located in one location. On the other hand, in the case of local servers, the mail servers are physically situated at the locations. Users can access these databases from any place as they are located at their specific locations. Users can check their mails and contact others easily using these Microsoft Exchange Server products. These products support different formats of databases like the Microsoft Exchange Server offline folder, Microsoft Exchange Server MS Exchange Server Online, Microsoft Sharepoint, Microsoft Lotus Notes, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Outlook and the web based email services like the Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo!
Microsoft Sharepoint is an open source software platform that is used to provide various communication and collaboration tools to the users. These tools include Microsoft Office tools like word, Excel and PowerPoint. It enables the users to build websites, email, presentations, collaboration and shared documents. The major advantage of using Microsoft Sharepoint is that, it does not require the user to install any third party applications like the Active Directory and the Java server for running the platform.
The Microsoft Exchange Server consists of two main parts namely the transport server and the e-mail client.
The transport server enables the users to access the data from any remote location. The most commonly used transport servers are the liaison servers and the e-mail servers. The cluster networking in the network of the Microsoft Exchange Server provides a fast and optimal performance.
A server consists of many components connected together and working together. One of the components is called as Active Directory, which is responsible for the maintenance of the Active Directory database. This component connects to other servers and when a user types a query in the text box, the whole Active Directory array is checked whether it matches with the details entered by the user. If it matches, the result is sent to the client machine. There are two kinds of Active Directory protocols, the standard and the hybrid Active Directory protocols. The standard Active Directory protocol is more widely used, while the hybrid Active Directory protocol is more compatible with the Microsoft Exchange Server operating system.
An Active Directory service is necessary for Microsoft Exchange Server as it enables the users to gain access to various applications including Microsoft Outlook and the web mail service. With an Active Directory service, the mailboxes of the users are automatically synchronized to the Active Directory database on the server. Active Directory also enables the clients to gain access to various application services such as Microsoft Project, Microsoft Share Point, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint. On the other hand, the users can connect their personal computer to the exchange server and then use the local area network (LAN) to connect to the Microsoft Exchange Server. This allows the client computers to access the Exchange Server via a network printer. However, this feature is only possible if the computers are part of the same network or same domain.
Microsoft Exchange Server running on the server computer includes various tools such as Microsoft Exchange Server administrator, Microsoft Outlook Web Access and Microsoft Outlook Transport. The Microsoft Exchange Server administrator is necessary for managing the computers on the network. He controls the users, groups and applications of the organization ranging from the small business group to the larger multinational corporations. He is mainly responsible for the management of the organization’s resources, systems and information. On the other hand, the Microsoft Outlook Web Access is used by the end users to access the Exchange Server and for viewing the web pages. Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Outlook Web Access have the combined functionality to manage the organization’s emails, contacts, tasks, calendars and schedules.
- Microsoft Exchange Server also includes the Microsoft Exchange Server Role, which is an added functionality for Microsoft Exchange Server 2021.
- This role provides centralized storage, synchronization and protection for the folders of an enterprise server.
- With the Microsoft Exchange Server Role, an organization can eliminate the need for creating separate mailboxes and address lists for each individual user.
- With the Microsoft Exchange Server Role, the organization can gain control over its users’ mailbox data including address lists, auto responder and password.