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Features of Exchange Server 2003

Updated: 2004-05-25

Exchange Server 2003 is the Microsoft messaging and collaboration server designed to help you communicate more effectively. Along with the rich client functionality provided by Microsoft Office Outlook 2003, Exchange Server 2003 offers:

Mobile, remote, and desktop e-mail access with state-of-the-art security and privacy

Lower cost of ownership through the services provided by Microsoft Windows Server 2003

High reliability and outstanding performance

E-mail-based collaboration

Easy upgrading, deployment, and administration

Discover how you can benefit from Exchange Server 2003 with the new and enhanced abilities and features described on this page. For related information, see:

Exchange Server 2003 features in Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 Server

Compare the features in Exchange Server 5.5, Exchange 2000 Server, and Exchange Server 2003

Security and Privacy

To uphold the tenets of the Microsoft Trustworthy Computing initiative, Exchange Server 2003, along with Windows Server 2003, is committed to be secure by design, secure by default, and secure in deployment. Exchange Server 2003 protects your messaging environment as well as your privacy with:

Distribution lists restricted to authenticated users. You can allow sending only from authenticated users or specify which users can or cannot send mail to specified distribution lists.

Support of real-time Safe and Block lists. Reduce the amount of unsolicited junk e-mail messages delivered to your organization with connection filtering.

Inbound recipient filtering. Reduce unsolicited junk e-mail messages by filtering inbound messages based on the recipient. Messages that are addressed to users who are not found, or to whom the sender does not have the permissions to send, are rejected. This applies only to messages sent by anonymously authenticated users.

Kerberos authentication between a front-end and back-end server. To help ensure that credentials are secure, Exchange Server 2003 uses Kerberos delegation when sending user credentials between a front-end server, running services such as Microsoft Office Outlook Web Access or Microsoft Outlook Mobile Access, and a back-end server such as the mailbox store.

Privacy protection in Outlook and Outlook Web Access. By default, content from outside your network is blocked in Outlook 2003 and Outlook Web Access. This feature helps prevent spammers from identifying valid e-mail addresses through links to external content. You can, however, override this feature to view external content.

Antispam integration with Outlook 2003 and Outlook Web Access. You can upload the Safe and Block Senders List to Exchange Server 2003 for filtering.

Microsoft Exchange Intelligent Message Filter. Integrated in Exchange Server 2003 for server-side filtering of unsolicited junk e-mail messages and also in Outlook 2003 for client-side filtering, Exchange Intelligent Message Filter uses Microsoft SmartScreen technology to help reduce cost and boost productivity by unsolicited junk e-mail messages.

Virus Scanning API 2.5. Non-Microsoft antivirus products can run on servers running Exchange Server 2003 that do not have resident Exchange Server mailboxes and are allowed to delete and send messages to the sender.

Clustering security. Exchange Server 2003 clustering supports Kerberos authentication against an Exchange Server virtual server. Exchange Server 2003 also supports Internet Protocol security (IPSec) between front-end servers and clustered back-end servers running Exchange Server.

Administrative permissions. Cross-forest support and the ability to administer both Exchange 2000 Server and Exchange Server 2003 helps organizations that have segmented the administration of their Microsoft Windows–based environment and Exchange Server environment into two unique groups and are concerned about security.

Restricted relaying. You can restrict relaying to a limited number of security principles through the standard Windows 2000 discretionary access control list (DACL). The ability to grant relaying to an IP address is still present.

Restricted submissions. You can restrict submissions to a limited number of security principles through the standard Windows 2000 DACL. This feature helps prevent blocked senders from sending to internal-only distribution lists by spoofing, which is the practice of tricking users into providing passwords and other information to allow unauthorized access into a system.

Public folder permissions for unknown users. Folders with distinguished names in access control lists that cannot be resolved to security identifiers drop the unresolvable distinguished names.

Public folder store replication. Public folder servers replicate with local servers for updates even if the local servers do not have the full set of replication content that they need. You can use a registry key to identify the first server that is used for backfilling.

Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA). Download an easy, streamlined method of identifying common security misconfigurations for Microsoft products including Exchange Server and Windows Server 2003.

To learn more about how you can improve the security and privacy of your servers running Exchange Server 2003, see the Security Resources for Exchange Server 2003 page.

Reliability

Exchange Server 2003 is deeply integrated with Windows Server 2003 for enhanced reliability of the IT environment. These capabilities include:

Support for up to eight-node clusters. Get up to eight-node clustering with a minimum of one passive node on Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition.

Mailbox Recovery Center. Get bulk reconnection of mailboxes to the appropriate user in Active Directory directory service to support disaster recovery scenarios. You can scan the mailbox database and determine all disconnected mailboxes, automatically match user mailboxes to user accounts in Active Directory, recover individual or multiple mailboxes, and identify conflicts.

Automatic error reporting. Easily report errors to Microsoft to help improve future product functionality.

Cluster failover time. The dependency hierarchy of Exchange Server services has been flattened so that the Exchange Server protocol services are no longer dependent on the Microsoft Exchange Server Information Store service. You can bring the Exchange Server store online and offline in parallel with the protocols.

Virtual memory usage and monitoring. The virtual memory usage in Windows Server 2003 in conjunction with the Exchange Server Information Store service reduces fragmentation and enables higher-end servers with a large number of users to achieve greater availability.

Integration with Dr. Watson 2.0. Get error reporting for the Exchange Server System Manager, System Attendant, Directory Services Management, Exchange Server Management Service, Exchange Server Setup, and Exchange Server Information Store service.

Performance

Consolidate and centralize your messaging servers and realize a greater return on your IT investments with the performance gains in Exchange Server 2003.

Blocking Out of Office messages from distribution lists. Out of Office messages are not sent to the entire membership of a distribution list that is listed in the To or Cc boxes.

Outlook synchronization performance. Client performance is improved by reducing the number of change notifications when a client is working in the cached Exchange Server mode. In addition, the server detects and sends only the native format of messages to the client. Clients using a cached Exchange Server mode also receive the number and size of messages to be downloaded.

Distribution list member caching. The redesigned cache helps you complete lookups, insertions, and expirations more efficiently, resulting in a 60 percent reduction of Active Directory queries.

Enhanced DNS-based Internet mail delivery. Get load balancing, better performance, and better tolerance of problems associated with network or host unavailability and external Domain Name System (DNS) server responsiveness.

Administration

Save time and increase productivity with:

Volume Shadow Copy service. Exchange Server 2003 supports the Volume Shadow Copy service implemented in Windows Server 2003. The copy service functionality gives you a nearly instantaneous backup and restore because a mirrored copy of the database exists at any time and can be used for restore processes.

Dynamic distribution lists. Reduce the time you spend managing distribution lists with the new query-based distribution group. These groups achieve the same functionality as standard distribution lists, but instead of specifying static user memberships, they allow the use of a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) query to specify the members of the distribution lists (for example, "All full timers in my company").

Exchange Server System Manager. In earlier versions of Exchange Server, you had to move log files yourself with directory modification tools and with the information gained from studying Microsoft Knowledge Base articles. In Exchange Server 2003, message tracking log files, as well as X.400 message transfer agent (MTA) queue data and Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) queue data, are moved by using Exchange Server System Manager. Other Exchange Server System Manager improvements include:

A user interface (UI) that offers simplified search filter, improved sorting by columns, and the ability to select multiple queues and messages for manipulation.

Improved setup for remote procedure call/Hypertext Transfer Protocol (RPC/HTTP) access for Outlook 2003 clients.

Queues that are centralized on a per-server basis as opposed to a per-virtual server basis so that all queues on a server can be viewed in one location.

Increased performance in queue enumeration, and all queues are initially displayed in Exchange Server System Manager. Control of Exchange Server System Manager is returned to you before all queues are displayed.

All system queues are exposed to help you troubleshoot. Exchange Server System Manager includes the Enable Forms Based Authentication feature on the virtual servers so authentication cookies can be enabled or disabled easily through the UI.

More exposed cluster action. In a cluster, status can be viewed for virtual servers and failover.

The addition of Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) classes as well as many other new features.

Auto Accept Agent. This tool enables Exchange Server to automatically handle initial meeting scheduling requests, cancellations, and updates and generates responses to the meeting organizer.

Public folder management. Improvements in the UI for public folders include several new tabs:

Details, which shows the folder name and the date created.

Content, which shows the content that is using Outlook Web Access.

Find, for using the new search capabilities.

Status, which provides the folder's server name, the folder's public store name, folder size, the number of items in the folder, and the last time the folder was accessed.

Replication, which provides statistical data on replicas.

Link state improvements.

If no alternate path exists, there is no change in the link state. If no alternative path for the link (or route) exists, Exchange Server considers the path available.

The routing of link state code is achieved by reviewing the link state queue. If there are multiple conflicting state changes for a connector, Exchange Server 2003 considers the connector available. It is better to leave an oscillating connector available than to continually change the link state.

Public folder referral. You can specify a public folder referral through a new list in Exchange Server System Manager.

Inter-organization Replication tool. Replicate free and busy information and public folder content between Exchange Server organizations (requires Exchange Server 2003 SP1).

Move Mailbox tool. Ease mailbox movement from one server to another or to a different Exchange Server store by selecting multiple mailboxes. Make your mixed-mode, cross-site moves during site consolidation and migration easier.

Deployment

Upgrading, migrating, and deploying Exchange Server 2003 is easier and faster with:

Deployment tools and Help files. This set of new deployment tools and documentation helps you deploy Exchange Server 2003 easily into an existing Exchange Server 5.5 topology. The deployment tools provide a step-by-step approach by providing detailed information, analyzing the existing topology, checking for prerequisites, recommending a configuration setting, and validating each step.

New cross-site migration tools. These tools ease cross-site mailbox migrations from Exchange Server 5.5 to Exchange Server 2003. (Requires Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 1 [SP1]).

Public Folder Migration tool (pfMigrate). Migrate public folders from Exchange Server 5.5 to Exchange Server 2003 with ease.

Active Directory Connector tools. As an extension of the Active Directory Connector manager snap-in, the Active Directory Connector Wizard helps your deployment by analyzing an existing Exchange Server 5.5 topology, automatically preparing the Exchange Server 5.5 directory, and creating the needed connection agreements to ensure successful deployment.

Internet Mail Wizard. This wizard helps you configure Internet mail connectivity more quickly.

Active Directory Connector. Active Directory Connector is updated in Exchange Server 2003 SP1 and includes many customer-requested features.

Setup. Setup is easier with:

Outlook Mobile Access and Exchange Server ActiveSync that are installed by default on all servers running Exchange Server. Exchange Server 2003 is mobile-enabled and can support mobile phones and Windows-powered mobile devices.

Setup permission requirement changes that allow additional servers running Exchange Server to be added to an existing Administrators group without the need of a full Exchange Server administrator.

An option that enables you to specify a destination domain.

Better batch-mode support than in Exchange 2000 Server.

Active Directory Schema. Changing permissions when performing forest preparation means that only Active Directory permissions are needed. With single-schema update, regardless of the deployment path, the Active Directory Schema only needs to be updated once.

Exchange Server 2003 Connectors. Get co-existence and migration for IBM Lotus Notes R5 and R6 and Novell GroupWise 5.x (requires Exchange Server 2003 SP1).

Easier Development

The portal enhancements in Exchange Server 2003 include:

Exchange 2003 Software Development Kit (SDK). Get tools for application development.

Workflow Designer for Exchange. Use the Workflow Designer for Exchange Server to design workflow applications that run on Exchange 2000 Server, Exchange Server 2003, and Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server.

New Web Parts. Exchange Server 2003 includes specific Outlook Web Access customizations to enable Outlook Web Access Web Parts to be embedded in portals. These services enable you to embed specific mail, calendar, contact, Outlook Today, and public folder information into a Web portal. Two specific enhancements include the introduction of an Outlook Web Access Today Web Part, which summarizes your agenda, and support for cascading style sheets on the Outlook Web Access page.

Redirection support. Portal designers now have a simple way to present the special folders of an authenticated user. Outlook Web Access supports a new URL query string that sends an HTTP/1.x 302 redirect where Module is one of the special folders (Inbox, Calendar, Contacts, or Tasks).


For More Information

To find out more about what Exchange Server 2003 can do for you, see:



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