Five must-dos for Exchange Server 2007 (and 5 don'ts)
J. Peter Bruzzese, author of Exchange Server 2007 How-To, knows a thing or two about Exchange. His advice: "Get reacquainted with the command-line, my friend. It's not disappearing and any Exchange guru (or Windows guru) worth his title these days is a command-line lover."
This is part of a regular series that highlights new books and their authors. Also in this series: Raffael Marty on security visualization, Joel Scambray on exposing the hacker's advantage, Brandon Carroll on wireless networking, and Scott Hogg on IPv6 security.
"What I like best about Exchange 2007," says J. Peter Bruzzese, author of Exchange Server 2007 How-To, "is the overall ease of use thanks to two, very different, management features: the Exchange Management Console (EMC), which is a GUI interface and the Exchange Management Shell (EMS) which is a command-line interface based on Microsoft's new PowerShell.
And then with SP1 we have several new features that really made the writing of another book on the subject an absolute must. For example, there is a new high availability feature called Standby Continuous Replication (SCR). There is a new console for public folder management. There are enhancements to the ActiveSync policies for your mobile devices. And did you know that Exchange 2007 has a Unified Messaging feature that will allow you to remove your VoIP solution and pull everything into a universal Inbox (email, voice and incoming faxes)?
What can readers expect to learn? The book begins with the basics of Exchange 2007 and builds from that point. So, everything from installation of Exchange to creating mailboxes, with the later chapters handling more advance subjects like High Availability and Unified Messaging.
The book is structured according to a Scenario/Problem introduction with a Solution presented. So, at times the scenario is simply that there is a new feature that requires explanation on how it works. Other times it's a scenario that involves a specific problem that has been experienced in the field (both simple and complex) and then we provide the solution to that problem.
- Read, read, read. Everything... but especially what is found on the Microsoft Exchange Team blog.
- Look up various MVP sites for Exchange. These folks post information for free regarding their personal experiences. It's a key.
- Nothing beats experience. Work through the how-tos in my book to ensure you have more than head knowledge.
- Try and attend at least one Exchange oriented conference each year. Tech Ed is a good one, TechMentor, Windows Connections, TEC. I speak at most of these and I love attending sessions and learning from other Exchange gurus.
- Teach someone else. You never learn a subject so thoroughly as when you have to teach it to others.
- Don't install the wrong version of Server when working with high availability options. If clustering services are involved, you need the enterprise version of the Server.
- Don't install just an Exchange server. You need to see how the client side will work. Install an OS with Outlook 2003 and 2007 to really make sure you know what is going on in the user world. Don't forget to play with Outlook Web Access too.
- Don't forget to learn how to set up your true incoming and outgoing SMTP connections. Typically in a learning environment you don't worry about that because you aren't working with a live server, but it is a must if you plan on putting a real server out on the Net. DNS records and so forth... it's all important.
- If you're working with Unified Messaging, don't forget to bring in a telephony expert. Most likely, you won't fully understand the configuration for the back end without help.
- Don't think you can rely completely on the GUI. Exchange has a few PowerShell-only configuration options. Get reacquainted with the command-line, my friend. It's not disappearing and any Exchange guru (or Windows guru) worth his title these days is a command-line lover.
Can you share a favorite command?
Under the Exchange Management Shell there are several Test cmdlets that I think are just amazing. For example, if you just type in Test-ServiceHealth you will see the roles you have installed, the services necessary to run those roles and if any are not running. A very quick method of checking where a problem might be coming from. I also like the Test-SystemHealth cmdlet because it is a command-line version of the more graphical tool 'Exchange Best Practices Analyzer (ExBPA)'.
Advice for newbies I'm a huge fan of certification. Studying for a certification exam forces me to drill down into aspects of a new OS or application. I become more deeply educated because of the exam. So, I believe it is a wise endeavor to prepare for the Microsoft exams on Exchange.
Parting words Exchange is ever-evolving. First, get caught up on what Microsoft currently has to offer. Second, stay on top of the game by preparing for the next release of Exchange. Being a messaging guru isn't something that happens overnight, but I've found that we have a very happy group in the messaging family. There is always room for one more! To quote Neuman from Seinfeld ‘When you control the mail… you control INFORMATION!'