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Best Features in Exchange 2007 (Part 2 of 2)

Okay, so my last post was on the Best Features of Exchange 2007 Part 1 that covered things like OWA/2007, Remote Document Access (RDA), Safe List Aggregation, and Hub Transport Rules. I’ll continue my best features of Exchange 2007 list here:

5) Mobile Provisioning and Deprovisioning: So in Exchange 2003, Microsoft added the capability for user’s to provision themselves into Exchange, effectively allowing them the ability to acquire a Windows Mobile device (like a Motorola Q, Blackjack, MDA, or the like) and run through a series of steps to add their mobile device to Exchange 2003 to bring their email messages, calendar appointments, contacts, etc down to their mobile device.

However, with Exchange 2003, if the user lost their mobile device and needed to deprovision the device, they had to ask an Exchange Administrator to go in to the Exchange System Manager and disable the mobile device (actually it wasn’t until Exchange 2003 SP2 that this feature was added)

With Exchange 2007, Microsoft now allows the user to not only self provision themselves to sync their mobile device with Exchange 2007, but through Outlook Web Access 2007, there’s now an option tab that allows the user to self manage their mobile devices. The user has 2 deprovisioning options, one being to “wipe” their mobile device (which basically sends a poison pill to their mobile device and WIPES all the data off of it (good for a user who lost their device and wants to protect their information)), and the other function of disassociating the mobile device from Exchange (basically after you send a poison pill, you disconnect it from Exchange so no future messages are sent to the device).

I’ve found the ability for user’s to self deprovision themselves as being a HUGE improvement in security as many users are too embarrassed to notify IT they lost their device, or they think they left it somewhere and will soon find it. But several days later they give up, buy a new device, and then have IT deprovision their old device at that time, however by now, the lost device has potentially been in the hands of someone for several days. By allowing the user to wipe their device, they can easily wipe the device and then if they happen to find it in the back seat of their car or something, they can easily reprovision the device again. User’s have been more responsive to addressing their device security with this new capability

6) Site to Site and User to User Encryption: Another new capability of Exchange 2007 is the ability for messages to be automatically encrypted. Leveraging the hub transport server role and the edge transport server roles of Exchange 2007, messages can be filtered for key words or end destinations and then the Hub or Edge server encrypts the message and sends it to the recipient. In the case of Site to Site encryption, the message is encrypted using TLS at the Edge to send the message to the destination domain TLS encrypted. The message is then unencrypted at the recipient’s edge and delivered to the user.

For the case of user to user encryption, the message is encrypted at the user level, so effectively a user sends a message that is then identified as a secured message. Through org to org certificate sharing, Exchange 2007’s hub transport server automatically encrypts the message and sends the encrypted message to the recipient.

7) Local Continuous Replication (LCR) and Cluster Continuous Replication (CCR): these two technologies effectively allow an org to setup mailbox redundancy. In Exchange 2003 and prior, there was only 1 mailbox per user, and if that mailbox got lost (server crash, database corruption, etc), the Exchange Administrator would have to recover the mailbox or database or server to get the user back online with mail. There were many tricks around this like using Dialtone Exchange recovery processes, or snapshots with SANs, however with Exchange 2007, there are 2 new technologies out of the box that provide multiple mailboxes for recoverability.

Local Continuous Replication basically allows for 2 mailboxes on the same server (effectively all mailboxes of a database are replicated on a different drive volume). In the event the primary drive volume holding the user’s mailbox dies, the second volume can be mounted and the users are back up and running minutes.. However, if the server crashes, then having a secondary copy of the mailbox database doesn’t do the org any good, so that’s where Cluster Continuous Replication comes in to play.

CCR provides a primary copy of mail on one system, and a secondary copy of mail on another system. In the event that the primary database or the primary server fails, the CCR replica database can be brought online. CCR has been implemented in most of our Exchange 2007 implementations as a method of database redundancy and has proven to be EXTREMELY effectively in keeping Exchange running 24x7

So, between Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog entry, hopefully you get a glimpse of the Top 7 new features of Exchange 2007 that our clients have found to be the best things in Exchange 2007!

Don’t forget, NetworlkWorld is giving away 15 copies of my book, Exchange 2007 Unleashed, where we cover how to implement all of these technologies step by step. See Enter to Win a Free Exchange 2007 Book! on how you can enter yourself into a chance of getting one of these free books!


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