Exchange 2000 Release Forces IT to Begin Planning

SANFRANCISCO -- Exchange 2000 rollouts are going to be tricky.

Microsoft Corp.(www.microsoft.com) will releaseExchange 2000 this month, and it is the first application designed by Microsoftto leverage its Active Directory technology in Windows 2000.

Microsoftprogram manager Matthias Leibmann made it clear during a presentation at theMCP TechMentor conference here earlier this month that Exchange 2000deployments will require Windows 2000 and Active Directory.

“The No. 1factor to a successful Exchange 2000 deployment is a successful Windows 2000deployment,” Leibmann said.

AllExchange 2000 information about users, mailboxes, servers, sites, and customrecipients gets stored in Windows 2000's Active Directory. TheExchange-specific directory that existed up through Exchange 5.5 is gone.Microsoft will provide a tool called Active Directory Connector to migrateexisting Exchange data to Active Directory.

Exchange2000’s reliance on Active Directory will probably make the new messagingserver’s adoption slow since few Active Directory rollouts have taken place.But it also makes Exchange 2000 planning a process that should be startedalmost immediately for organizations that expect to eventually move to it.

The designchoice to drop Exchange’s directory in favor of Active Directory offers anumber of benefits. Windows 2000 users automatically become mail recipients.Unified administration of objects allows an administrator to manage users’network attributes and mailbox data in one place with one set of tools.Delegation wizards allow an IT administrator to give a business unit leaderlimited administrative rights to create new users in a department with bothnetwork passwords and e-mail accounts. Security groups in Windows 2000 can beautomatically used as Exchange 2000 distribution lists.

The entiresecurity infrastructure introduced with Windows 2000 also gets passed toExchange 2000. This means administrators use a single permissions model forWindows 2000 resources and Exchange 2000 objects, such as Public Folders. Anincreased level of granularity is possible with the new versions as well,allowing Access Control List permissions to be set for a specific mail message.

Thebenefits, however, do come with costs, mostly in the form of increasedcomplexity for messaging administrators and network administrators in settingup Exchange 2000. The Active Directory schema must be extended for Exchange2000. New Exchange 2000 objects are added to the Active Directory, meaninganything added to Exchange adds to Global Catalog replication traffic on thenetwork.

There areother networking considerations for Exchange 2000 administrators. Exchange 2000uses Windows 2000 Domain Controllers for all authentication. Global Catalogservers will be used for all message routing. Exchange 2000 uses Windows 2000Sites to determine what Domain Controllers and Global Catalog servers to hit.

To ensurethe smooth handling of all these issues, the “disconnect between messaging andnetwork people” has to be overcome, Leibmann said at the conference. Inenvironments where a migration from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2000 is expectedto coincide with or follow a migration to Windows 2000 and Active Directory,the messaging administrator must be closely involved in the network planningprocess.

Accordingto Ty Carlson, lead program manager for the Windows 2000 Rapid DeploymentProgram, the Exchange administrator is one of the key people, along with theDNS administrator, who must be included in any Windows 2000 migration planning.

“It’sreally important that you gather information about your network infrastructurewhen you plan for Exchange 2000,” Leibmann explained.