I was interested to receive the following letter from a long-time Windows IT Pro reader the other day because I haven't heard much negative feedback about Exchange 2007 at all. In fact, most feedback I've heard has been positive. So I thought I'd pass along this message from Murat Yildirimoglu and see what other readers think of his proposal to boycott Exchange 2007.
I wrote two books on Exchange Server in Turkish. To get my MCSE certificate, my last exam was on Exchange Server 5.5 in 1997. From the first time I saw it, I loved that product. Up until now. Up until Exchange 2007. Now I boycott Exchange 2007 and invite all the people to do the same. Here's why:
1. The setup is ridiculously complex. During the setup, we have to download numerous files. Why do we have to download new components to install a new product? Can’t these components be included in the setup media? There is an example for how to that: Visual Studio 2005 DVD has all the new components it needs to have before the installation. So the installation runs without a glitch. I want the same for the Exchange Server.
2. Management is complex, cumbersome and command-prompt based. GUI console is trivial: You have to switch to command prompt (Exchange PowerShell) whenever you need to do nontrivial tasks. GUI interface is nonsense: We are accustomed to logically designed, container based management before Exchange 2007. For example, there were administrative groups. Under the administrative groups was the servers container that includes all the Exchange Servers in the administrative group. Under the server, you would see the storage groups. Under a storage group there were stores. Under a store, you would see the mailboxes container. Under the mailboxes, we could see the mailboxes with full details: number of items, size, last logon information, etc. Now, the "Mailbox" names are under three different places with different meanings. And none of them gives us detailed information about the mailboxes. If you want detailed information, you must fire a command from the Exchange PowerShell. Complete nonsense.
3. For the first time in the history of the Exchange Server, you cannot do the ordinary tasks like creating mailboxes, deleting mailboxes or establishing mail addresses through the User Management console. (In NT times, we used User Manager for Domains; in Windows 2000-2003 we used Active Directory Users and Computers console.) Exchange 2007 does not have the necessary extension. You must do all these tasks from the insufficient GUI console and Exchange Power Shell. Complete nonsense.
4. When you installed Exchange 2000 and 2003, you could immediately send email to the Internet. And SMTP server was not open to relay; that is, you were safe. In Exchange 2007 you must create a Send Connector to do that. Why? It is complete nonsense.
5. You cannot easily configure POP3 and IMAP4 protocols. All the configuration must be done through the Power shell. Again, complete nonsense.
6. Bill Gates always preaches unified communications. Unification and consolidation are two buzzwords now, but Exchange 2007 plays another tune: Diversification. It says that we have to install Edge Transport role to a different machine. It is not optional; it is mandatory. Why? Why do we have to use another machine? It is complete nonsense.
7. In general, I see a biased attitude in favor of the command prompt. Men, the name of the game is GUI. Do you still remember the name of the operating system? It is Windows, not Command Prompt. In earlier versions I used command prompt only to defrag and repair the stores offline, nothing more. Now, you force me to leave the GUI and migrate to command prompt. Microsoft betrays its roots, its philosophy.
So, I will not teach Exchange 2007. I will not support Exchange 2007. It is called a boycott, yes. And I believe that if we boycott this nonsense product, Microsoft will return to its roots. Just like the fans of the Cola boycotted the Coca Cola Company when it changed its taste in 1985. The fans of the classical taste won then. Maybe we will also.