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Exchange Server 2010 Prerequisites and Exchange Server 2010 System Requirements

Any wise Mail Administrator contemplating transitioning from any version of Microsoft Exchange Server, to the latest mail server version of Exchange Server 2010, would commonly be concern about the Exchange Server 2010 Prerequisites, or whatever the latest Microsoft mail server software available.

There may be later Exchange versions available, if you are reading this article several years after the published date, but the same will apply in every case. Wise administrators are developed through experience, not born with the talent to be a wise administrator.

I hope that you are not one of the few persons left in this world that are running Exchange Server 5.5.  I am just “kidding”, but really, you do need to upgrade to the latest exchange server version, so you can receive support, when you need it.

No need to feel left out, if you are still running Exchange 5.5.  I am one of those persons that refused to upgrade just because a new version of software is produced. I never like being on the cutting edge of any new software.  I love waiting until others have tried it out first. The only reason I transitioned to the latest version, was because of Industry pressure from other administrators, while attending Microsoft Tech Ed conference in June 2010.

I am sure by now, if you have been working in this field for some time, that you have heard of the term, “If it is not broken, do no fix it”.

While at the Tech Ed conference, the question was asked of participants whether they were still running Exchange 5.5, and to my surprise it was at least more than half of the attendees.  If you have never attended Microsoft annual Tech Ed conference, then you are being deprived of knowing which direction technology is headed, in reference to Microsoft products.

Another reason for upgrading to Exchange Server 2010, or later is because main line support for Exchange Server 5.5 has been discontinued, since 2005. Microsoft also has available in place extended support for Exchange Server 5.5 that began in 2006. You can imagine how expensive this can be.

Support is critical to the successful running of your exchange environment.  I am a true witness of this. Could you imagine having an email system crashed, and not having support available? Trust me; you do not want to ever be caught without some kind of support in place.  Email is a critical part of the running of any company, and any wise administrator will strive to always have support available.

AS and Exchange System Administrator you will require support at some point in your career.  No system will ever run 100% up time.  I can recall on several occasions when I needed support but was not able to received support because of no support agreements being in place. I have learned my lesson, which is one of the reasons why at the beginning of each year I would normally renew my “5 Pack Support” with Microsoft.

I have to constantly remind myself that this article is not about the day to day operation of my exchange server environment, but about Exchange Server 2010 Prerequisites.

If you are running exchange server 5.5 you must know by now that there are no direct approved upgrade paths to Exchange Server 2010.  I have used the term “approve upgrade path”, because there may be some undiscovered third party utilities available to accomplish this, but you have to be careful.

If the upgrade path that you are using is not approved by Microsoft, then they will not give you any assistance, if needed during your greatest challenge. To reduce some of the problems that you may experience during an upgrade to Exchange 2010, you should pay close attention to Microsoft representation of Exchange Server 2010 Prerequisites.

Exchange Server 2010 prerequisites require that the Active Directory Forest functional level be set to Windows Server 2003, or higher.  Whichever server is responsible for the Schema Master role within the forest, should be running Windows Server 2003 with a service pack level of at least 1.

If you are running Exchange 5.5 then you must upgrade to Exchange 2003, before you can get to Exchange 2010.  If you are running Exchange 2000, then you can easily go directly to Exchange 2010.

You should also be aware that Exchange Server 2010 will only run on Windows Server 2008 using a 64bit processor.  Exchange 2010 will not work on Server 2003 and 32bit processor.

Rather than trying to explain all of the minute details of Exchange Server 2010 Prerequisites, I want to point you in the direction of a resource that I have used when I upgraded our infrastructure to Exchange Server 2010.  Please Click Here for the document, or visit Microsoft Corporation website for more information.

Further Reading:

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What is the Best Mail Server for Windows?

Locating the best mail server for windows is an easy task, if five or less users require an email account. If five or more users require an email account then the tasks may not be as easy.  This article will briefly explain in my opinion, why I think the Microsoft Exchange Server platform is your best choice, depending on the size of your business.  

I am assuming that if you are searching for information on the best mail server for windows, that you are using the Windows Server platform operating system, and not the Windows Client operating systems like windows 7, and windows XP, or Microsoft latest client operating system. 

Running the best mail server software, using the Windows Operating system, requires the Microsoft Server platform, rather that the Microsoft Client operating system.

There are many free platforms available online, but free does not necessarily means that it is secured. Whether you are using windows server 2008, or the latest Microsoft Server Software platform, then you should consider Microsoft Exchange Server. 

I really do not want to sound as though I am being bias when I suggest the Microsoft Exchange Server platform.  I am an Industry Professional who has worked with Microsoft Exchange Server since Exchange Server 5.5 was introduced, so I am somewhat knowledgeable about this platform.

The organization where I am presently employed has approximately five hundred uses on this platform. Exchange Server is scalable, and will grow with your business and can be very easy to administrate, once the right training is received.

There are many other platforms available for use, but if you are using the windows server platform then it is best to go with the people that created the windows platform, and also the creators of the best e-mail software, Exchange Server.

Like I mentioned earlier in this article, if you have a very small office that has five or less employees, then it is best to go with one of the free platforms like G mail, or even Hotmail. Gmail offers in excess of over2 Gigabits of free storage space, and also Hotmail.   All you have to do is create accounts for each person using either platform. 

Exchange Server requires an Active Directory platform in order to be functional, and will require special skills in both areas to implement, and administrate.  On the other hand, free accounts can be setup by anyone, with minimal computer knowledge.

When using free accounts, all administrative functions are eliminated.  Administrative functions are performed by the owners of these free platforms.  One common problem that you may encounter when using these free platforms, would be not being able to recover items that were accidentally deleted by users.

Another problem may be that the security of items in your inbox, can never be guaranteed. You really get what you have paid for, when using free email server providers.

Even with five or less users, the Microsoft Exchange Server platform will work, but not recommended because of the high overhead that you may experience.  If the funds are available to setup and infrastructure, along with Active Directory, then Exchange Server would really be your best choice. Like I mentioned earlier, Active Directory is required to run Exchange Server.

Microsoft Corporation does not pay me anything for saying that their platform is the best email server for windows, but because of the assistance that they normally give me when assistant is needed, I love them.

I can recall on many occasions when my “back was against the wall” at my company, that Microsoft came through for me.  If you are an IT Professional,then you would understand what I am referring to.

Exchange Server is really the best email server for windows,but if funds are limited, and you have less than five users that require email accounts, then Hotmail, or Gmail will work for yo

By Andrew Moss