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What is An Exchange Server? The Best Email Server, In my Opinion

What is an Exchange Server? Many questions similar to this question have flooded the minds of many aspiring system administrators. The fact that you are searching for information on this software, lets me know that you are probably new to electronic email servers, but not new to the field of Information technology.

Whatever your reasons for finding out more about exchange server, I can assure you that once you have mastered this technology your value to any establishment would tremendously be increased. You would be envied by many of your peers, working in the same department.

Exchange servers are normally managed by exchange system administrators.  Exchange administrators are generally trusted by upper management because of the confidentially, and nature of the systems that are being managed.

Exchange administrators are also called upon by executives to perform many confidential tasks that the normal employee would never be asked to perform.

You do not need a degree in computers to learn exchange server technology, but specialized training is more often required.  All you need to do is have the willingness to learn, and an open mind. Aspiring exchange administrators normally learn about exchange by attending evening institution, or using a self-study guide.

Exchange Server was designed specifically for the purposes of email.  This technology has been used extensively for many years by many large and medium size corporations. I can assure you that this technology is here to stay, and should only get better as time progresses.

Exchange, at times is referred to as Microsoft Exchange Server. This software was developed specifically for the purpose of business electronic email in an enterprise environment. The product is client server in nature.  This means that a client is required to collect email from the server.  It also means that most of the heavy processing of the email is done by the client. The server product works in collaboration with other Microsoft products like Outlook, and Eudora.

Even though exchange was designed as an enterprise solution, if you have between five and ten employees, you would still be able to benefit from this software.

Exchange server also includes a calendaring feature to organize meeting, and contacts.  Wireless synchronization of contacts, and email functionalities are available using mobile phones, and other technical gadgets.

Exchange also has a feature that allows employees to read their voice mail directly within their outlook, or compatible email client. The software is so smart that it translates voice to text. There are so many other valuable features available in this software, to mention here in this article.

Many companies are presently using other email technologies like Lotus Notes, and other email programs, but exchange server is used by more companies around the world than any other mail technology software.

Exchange Server has evolved from many versions, to the present version of Exchange Server 2010, as of the writing of this article. I can assure you that there will be many other versions in the future. Other older versions of this software included Exchange Server 2003, and Exchange Server 2007.

The earlier version of Exchange 5.5, even though it was introduced over ten years ago still exist at many companies today, because of their stubbornness to upgrade to the latest version of this server software. Exchange 2007 is also widely used today by many companies.

Cautious system administrators will never upgrade, or install any new software unless the old was broken.  Maybe you have heard the term, “If it is not broken, you should never try to fix it”. In other words, as long as a program or a system was doing the job that you intended it to do; there should be no need to change it. This is a common term that is used on many occasions in the field of Information technology.

The only time an exchange administrator, or system administrator would move to new software platform would be when their software had reached its end of life.

End of life is a term that had been used to let users know that they would no longer be able to receive support, for a particular version of software.

Many software developers would announce the end of life for different versions of their software in an attempt to forced users to purchase a newer version of their software. If no technical support for any particular software was available, then it makes no sense using that software.

Exchange software had to be installed, along with the windows operating system to work. This operating system was also created by the same company that created Exchange.

Operating systems are installed on personal computers, and servers alike to assist in the communication of hardware to software. Without an operating system, a personal computer would be considered a, “dead piece of equipment”.

Exchange software is also used by Internet Service providers to give free email accounts to their subscribers. If you have a hot mail, or even a G mail account, then you may be attached to an Exchange Server, on the back-end.

When I used the term back-end, I am referring to the computer infrastructure that had been setup by a company, to offer services to their clients.

While I am on the topic of computer infrastructure, I would like to make you aware that Exchange Server does not run entirely on its own, as a separate system.  Another program known as Active Directory has to be installed first, for Exchange Server to work.  The topic of Active Directory is out of the scope of this topic, but since it is an integral of the functioning of exchange server, I have to briefly mention it.

Active Directory was developed for the sharing of computer resources like printers, fax machines, and any other devices that needed to be shared amounts employees.

Active Directory is also known as the security boundary of a company’s network. No user would receive access to resources, including access to Exchange Server, unless they were authorized by Active Directory.

When Active directory is installed on computers at a company, a domain is created to form the basis of a company’s network.

Active Directory and Exchange Server may be installed on the same computer, if resources are limited. Best practices dictates that you would experience better performance of your email environment, if all installed software has its own dedicated computer, or server.

Many companies around the world have dedicated Exchange Server administrators employed. So, learning Exchange Server will give you an advantage, over other administrators. That is what makes Exchange Server software a good option to learn, by aspiring administrators.

In fact the company that developed the software has many annual seminars dedicated to this technology alone.

Some persons might disagree that exchange server is not the best email server, but everyone has an opinion based on their experiences with a product. I am presently employed as an Information Technology Manager, working with Active Directory, and Exchange Server on a daily basis.

I can tell you for sure, that you can never learn exchange server without understanding Active Directory. These two technologies complement each other.  In fact, they are depending on each other.

I have also written many other articles on the topic like, exchange server prerequisites, and what is hosted exchange, along with many other articles. Please see other articles on this website.

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