This eBook will educate Exchange administrators and systems managers on how to best approach the migration and overall management of an Exchange 2003 environment. The book will focus on core issues such as configuration management, accounting, and monitoring performance with an eye toward migration, consolidation, security and management.

Change is good. If not for change, I wouldn’t have HDTV.

Oh, sure, the considerable financial investment caused pain and suffering (not to mention the intuition that, with time, HDTV will be much cheaper than what I paid for it). But be assured of this: I was nothing short of ecstatic when our old television set finally bit the dust, justifying a "balanced and rational" decision to upgrade. Such is the paradox of change—that despite its rewards, we resist it as long as we can.

Change driven by technology is good in business as well, and for a host of reasons more compelling than my personal zeal for cutting-edge consumer electronics. But the winds of caution in business are much higher; after all, the stakes are much higher.

That's why some companies continue to cope with older technologies such as Post Office Protocol (POP, in case you are one of the many who have forgotten what this acronym dating to 1984 stands for) just because POP is available as open source. Some companies may be awaiting similar availability to MS-DOS code, which is not far off.

Not exactly a top choice for driving the software on my business systems.

Segueing to the context of Exchange 2003, our answer to this resistance to change is far from revolutionary (or even new): collaboration and the collection of "business intelligence" is what separate you from your competition.

How these functions get done is what's new about Exchange, including the ability to collect email from a SmartPhone, a Web browser, or offline access. New are the concepts of indexing mail and group calendars, resource scheduling and seamless integration with project management software, fax software, voice mail integration, and delegation of tasks and appointments.

During the 1990s WordPerfect, Lotus, and Microsoft developed email clients that could integrate with other systems, surpassing the flexibility and power of the POP client. The outcome was a category of products that became known as groupware, so named because they encouraged information sharing within organizations. Key to this change were central directories that gave users instant access to corporate directories and the ability to share calendars, meeting information, and resource scheduling within the entire company. Groupware also enabled the development of custom applications that could leverage these built-in messaging and calendaring features. This direction prompted Lotus to purchase cc:mail and to integrate messaging into the Lotus Notes client. Novell's need to compete in this new frontier of groupware married with desktop applications prompted the purchase of WordPerfect and its suite of products.

In July of 2003, Information Week reported that Microsoft Exchange led the enterprise messaging software market with a 32 percent market share. Lotus Notes and Domino had 25 percent of the market and the remaining other solutions trailed far behind. This might lead to the conclusion that the forces of change are "on a tear," but take a closer look. From those totals, approximately half of those Exchange servers are running not Exchange 2000, but rather Exchange 5.5.

Another recent study from the Ferris Research group confirmed that IBM and Microsoft customers have been slow to adopt the latest and greatest versions of their messaging software. In the case of Exchange 2000, this delay was often blamed on the slow adoption of Active Directory (AD). Several years after its introduction, we no longer are intimidated by AD, recognizing it as a stable, mature product. In fact, most companies that were running Windows NT 4.0 domains have now finally embraced AD. So once again, the stage is set for change: with our projects for AD implementation out of the way, we're ready to focus on replacing our six-year-old Exchange 5.5 environments with the HDTV of messaging products.

While this discussion clearly supports the notion that change is not easy, planning for an Exchange 2003 deployment need not be an intimidating process—so long as it is thorough and takes place well before the installation of your first server. The purpose of this eBook is to help you answer the fundamental business questions required to deploy a new Exchange (and as a supporting objective, an AD) environment. This eBook also takes on many practical issues and questions, yielding the kinds of answers you won't find anywhere else, such as how many users justify a server, in-depth considerations for determining bandwidth, and numerous scripts for automating and monitoring your solutions, all pliable enough to tailor and employ in your own scenarios. Welcome to my take on the world of Exchange, and get ready for change!

-- Steve Bryant, President and CEO of Pro Exchange, a solutions integration company that specializes in high-end messaging solutions