Learn Exchange Server 2000: Exchange System Manager

Monday Apr 22nd 2002 by ServerWatch Staff

This installment of 'Learning Exchange Server 2000 in 15 Minutes a Week' introduces the Exchange System Manager (ESM) and documents some of the differences in Exchange Server 2000 over earlier editions.

by Michael Bell

Well, the time has come to actually start administering our new Exchange server. In a moment we will take a look at the default view afforded by the ESM (Exchange System Manager), and we will begin discussing some of the issues involved in managing an Exchange 2000 implementation. I don't want anyone to think that we are done with installations, because at this point we have just begun. But for now we are going to just sit back and examine our new Exchange installation. One of the best tools to use for this task is the ESM.

The first thing that we should notice is that we won't be using the Exchange Administrator anymore, at least not in a pure Exchange 2000 implementation. Our new best friend is the ESM (see above) and it looks something like this:

This is a little different from our old Exchange Administrator, and has some "hidden views" to boot, so we want to look at this utility fairly closely. To start with, we can see at the top of the heirarchy is the Organization object, which we've elected to call "2000ExTrainers". If you remember, that was the Organization name we declared back when we ran forestprep. Below that we have Global Settings, Recipients, Servers, Connectors, Tools, and Folders. This is the default view, so we will discuss what is inside each one of these containers, and then we will explore the ESM a little further.

What we are looking at here (under Global Settings) are the Internet format settings (where we can configure our MIME types) and the Message Delivery Tab, which allows us to configure incoming and outgoing message size for all messages, as well as Filtering Options for undesireable UCE (Unsolicited Commercial Email). Next up is the Recipients container, which contains recipient policies, address lists, and templates. We will be looking at the address lists in more detail later, when we learn how to create custom address lists, as well as recipient policies, what they are used for, and where we can create and configure them from. We can't see them yet, but next up would be the Administrative Groups (if we had them set to display). By default, they are hidden, so we won't see them in our view at this point. However, later on we will see how to make them visible, and also talk about a couple different scenarios that affect your ability to either hide or view Administrative Groups.

There is also the Server container, which will contain all servers in your organization, and a System Policies container which also is not visible by default. In fact, the System Policies container has to be created to be visible, and can only be created by having the Administrative Groups view available. This container has all configured mailbox stores, public stores, and server policies defined in your Exchange Organization. Next up is the Connectors container which contains your GroupWise, Lotus Notes, X400, SMTP, cc:Mail, MS Mail, and DirSync connector objects. Keep in mind that if you also have routing groups configured and set to display, connectors will also be visible within the corresponding routing group. Finally, there is the Tools container which contains the Site Replication Services, allowing you to track messages and gather monitoring and status information.

Welcome to Exchange Server 2000

So there we have it, the new look and feel of Exchange 2000. But at this point, what we have done is comparable to walking on to a car lot and walking around the car. We are enticed by the lines, we like the colors, it seems to fit us well. But the question that is really nagging at us is, "What's under the hood?". Well, don't just do something, sit there and I will show you! One of the first things that I noticed about Exchange 2000 was its integration with Windows 2000. The two go together like peanut butter and jelly, fish and chips, pretzels and, well, you get the picture. In fact, Exchange 2000 not only requires Windows 2000, but it requires Active Directory as well. Unlike Exchange 5.5, which stored its information in its own directory, Exchange 2000 stores its directory information inside of Active Directory. This provides us as administrators with centralized object management and simplified security management to start.

Exchange 2000 can also use either Security groups or Distribution groups as Distribution Lists, so this eliminates the need to create redundant groups in Exchange 2000. Also, because the Exchange 2000 information is stored in Active Directory, replication of Exchange information occurs as part of the normal AD replication process, improving network efficiency. More on these topics a little later in the series.

Another big change from previous Exchange versions is the integration between Exchange 2000 and IIS 5.0. In previous versions, Exchange actually had its own SMTP, POP3 and NNTP services, amongst others. Not any more. In Exchange 2000, the protocols are all part of IIS, and their functionality is extended with the introduction of Exchange 2000 into the network. Exchange simply worries about the public and mailbox stores, which we will be getting to in a future article. OWA has been enhanced and is now setup by default when you install Exchange 2000. Just direct your browser to http://exchange_server_name.yourdomain.com/exchange, and you are ready to rock and roll. Some of the enhancements to OWA include the ability to place audio and video clips directly into a message and support for public folders that contain contacts and appointments. I am including a look at the interface here so that you can see how much closer OWA resembles the full blown Outlook client than its predecessor.

And while we are at it, you might notice that I have an NDR (Non-Delivery Receipt) that has been sent to the administrator. This question had come up in the newsgroups the other day (thanks Kathy!) so I thought that this might be a great chance to give you a VISUAL indication of what happens when we set up someone to receive an NDR. Normally we probably won't use OWA for this purpose, but it gives us the chance to see how versatile this product is. I open up the NDR report, and you will notice an attachment called Test:

If I open up the attachment, I can see the body of the message that was undeliverable. In this case, it was a test message that I had sent to see how OWA would handle NDR's.

As you can see, I have answered all the questions that I had in my e-mail, and Kathy should be happy to know that she can use either OWA or Outlook to receive NDR reports and view the original messages that had been sent. Outlook handles the process a little more cleanly in my opinion, and if you have questions on how that works, see the post entitled, "NDR Forwarding" from Kathy in the Exchange 2000 newsgroup here at 2000trainers.com.

I think that we will take one more look at our ESM (Exchange System Manager) and then we will call it a day. If you remember, at the beginning of the article I showed you the default view for ESM, and what it contained. But by now, if you have been working with Exchange 2000, or know of anyone who does, you have probably heard about Administrative Groups and Routing Groups. Well, I am going to show you how to set ESM to display these two groups, and this will lead us into our next article, which is going to be all about Administrative Groups and to a lesser degree, Routing Groups. As these are both new in Exchange 2000, I figured that we should get a good look at them.

As you can see, what I did was right-click on the Organization object in ESM, and there are the two check boxes for displaying Administrative Groups and Routing Groups. I will check the boxes, and you will see the following message:

Don't fall for it...it's a lie!! Once you click on OK, your screen will automatically refresh, and you will be left with something that looks like this:

I expanded out the Administrative Groups so that you could see how the Routing Groups fit into the ESM heirarchy. This should also help you if you have been trying to follow step-by-step instructions in a book but they have the Administrative Groups displayed and you don't! That can be frustrating, but now that you know how to switch back and forth between the two different views, you shouldn't have any further problems with this. Of course, we have only just scratched the surface when it comes to Administrative and Routing Groups, and as promised, next week we will delve into these two new options in more detail. We will find out what they are each for, how we set them up, and what benefits or limitations you can expect from them. We will also look at creating them, deleting them, and some issues that occur when you have multiple Administrative Groups defined in your organization. As I mentioned earlier, our main focus will be on Administrative Groups, but we will look at Routing Groups as well.

Well, it wouldn't be an article if I didn't include at least one hyperlink, and after the past two nights, I definitely don't feel like sending you anywhere productive! So if you don't have any time to waste, I recommend that you don't go to the following site. But if you are looking for some brain dead entertainment, this is the place to be. Until next week, cya!!

Michael Bell


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