Last summer, Microsoft released the Exchange 2000 Server Operations Guide as part of an effort to increase the availability of information regarding deployment and operations of products such as Windows 2000, Exchange 2000, and SQL Server 2000. To produce the Exchange 2000 Server Operations Guide, Microsoft brought together people from Microsoft Information Technology Group (ITG), Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS), and the Exchange development team. Group members turned their knowledge and best practices into a document to benefit Microsoft customers who deploy Exchange 2000. The following discussion outlines the guide's chapter topics.

Capacity and Availability Management. This section walks you through the process of planning your server requirements based on your service level agreements (SLAs). By profiling user requirements and server roles, you can design your Exchange 2000 deployment to meet your organization's capacity and service availability requirements. Understanding concepts such as service availability, recovery requirements, and single points of failure can help you correctly design your Exchange deployments.

Change and Configuration Management. This section emphasizes the importance of change management and provides a methodology for implementing sound configuration-management techniques. Configuration management helps you identify, control, and track all versions of hardware, software, documentation, and procedures for your Exchange environment. Implementing robust change and configuration-management processes improves operational effectiveness, supportability, and overall service quality.

Enterprise Monitoring. Monitoring is an essential part of successful Exchange operations. Monitoring helps you determine whether you're meeting SLAs and identify which areas of your Exchange deployments are causing problems. This section of the Operations Guide discusses the importance of both proactive and reactive monitoring. Understanding topics such as performance, availability, and client monitoring helps you ensure continuous Exchange operations.

Protection. Protecting your Exchange 2000 environment is crucial to maintaining business-critical service capabilities. This section covers antihacking and antivirus measures and disaster-recovery procedures that you can implement to protect your Exchange environment and meet key SLAs.

Support. The final section discusses Exchange support within your IT environment and offers user-support guidelines and problem-management methodologies.

The Exchange 2000 Operations Guide concludes with an excellent set of operational checklists that will help ensure that you don't omit crucial parts of your operations procedures. I highly recommend you take a look at the guide, which you can download here.