New Exchange Server 2000 will go beyond e-mail

New Exchange Server 2000 will go beyond e-mail

This version has triple the capacity of Version 5.5 and many security enhancements, Microsoft says

By Michael Cheek

GCN Staff

The next version of Microsoft Exchange Server will take advantage of Windows 2000's Active Directory for better overall security and more flexible configuration.

Exchange developers tout a business-class, real-time instant messaging service under Exchange Server 2000.

Expected in mid-2000, Exchange Server 2000 will triple the capacity of Version 5.5, which it succeeds, said Gytis Barzdukas, lead product manager for Exchange 2000 Server.

The new mail server software can handle up to 15,000 Messaging Application Programming Interface clients or 150,000 Post Office Protocol Version 3 clients on a single hardware server, he said.

To extend capacity, Exchange Server 2000 permits a flexible setup with a single fast, lightweight server and storage on more than one high-capacity storage box, said Bogdan Pintea, Defense Message System program manager for the Microsoft Exchange Server Group.

Manages more

A single deployment of the Exchange Administrator can manage multiple information stores, he said.

In previous versions, such stores had to remain on the same server. The new Exchange can split up the message database of .mdb files.

The massive single file contains all users' Exchange-related data, including e-mail, contacts and schedule appointments. Under Exchange Server 2000, users' information can be put into different .mdb files on different servers, Pintea said.

That lets the administrator back up some databases more often and distributes the load more evenly.

Directory decides

The Active Directory services can reside on a separate server, he said.

The directory's detailed user profiles determine how much space each user can have and the kinds of mail that can be sent and recieved.

For example, Active Directory could keep certain users from receiving e-mail with attachments.

Exchange Server 2000 will support the two-node clustering failover capability of Windows 2000 Advanced Server and the four-node support in Win 2000 Datacenter Server, set for release in mid-2000.

The new Exchange will recognize so-called server events, which can trigger specific preventive routines, Barzdukas said. A server event is, for example, a scan for malicious code in an e-mail or its attachments even before the message is written to disk or sent to its recipient.

To prevent spam, Exchange Server 2000 matches an IP address against its Domain Name System entry, Barzdukas said.

Domain names such as fbi.gov have corresponding IP addresses, such as 123.4.56.78. Exchange checks to see whether the sender's address domain matches the IP address from which the message came, Barzdukas said. If not, the mail is rejected, because those who send junk mail tend to use fake domains.

Exchange has an option to create a server-side black list to filter out known spamming domains and addresses, Pintea said. Most such preventive services are not enabled as defaults, however.

'We're in the business of delivering mail, not stopping it,' Pintea said.

Microsoft has beefed up its Outlook Web Access security. Some browsers allow plain-text passwords, meaning that sniffers could intercept them. Outlook data can be exchanged using Secure Sockets Layer 3 encryption, X.509 client certification and even Kerberos encryption as options.

Other security enhancements include an integrated public-key infrastructure, Pintea said.

DMS delay

Exchange Server 2000 users can call in and have the server read their e-mail via text-to-speech functions, Barzdukas said. A double click on a stored voice mail will play it back on the computer.

DMS users will have to wait as long as two years before upgrading, however. Microsoft just released its DMS 2.1 software based on Exchange 5.5 running under Windows NT 4.0. Neither DMS 2.2 nor DMS 3.0, now in the works, will use Exchange 2000.

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