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New Exchange Goes Hand-in-Hand With Active Directory

Microsoft Corp.’s update to the Exchange e-mail server extends the product to match the new demands for infrastructure. In addition to supporting Windows 2000 specific features, such as Active Directory, Exchange 2000 is positioned as a business collaboration back end, far from a simple mail server.

Some analysts believe that Exchange 2000 will be Active Directory’s “killer app” – because it will be the first widely deployed enterprise application that relies on Active Directory. The application could be the catalyst moving enterprises to Windows 2000 and forcing full scale implementations of Active Directory.

On the other hand, Exchange 2000 adoption will undoubtedly be slowed by Microsoft’s decision to build it on top of the Active Directory. Until corporations undergo the substantial planning and implementation required for the Windows 2000 Active Directory, they can’t move to Exchange 2000.

Directory services and messaging software would seem to make good partners. By its nature, an e-mail server needs some central record of users and accounts, and the integration with Active Directory is intuitive, linking user accounts with e-mail accounts, creating a comprehensive database of users.

In addition to standard e-mail, Exchange 2000 boasts enhanced collaboration features. Users can expect expanded scheduling, document sharing, and messaging from the product.

Business tends to be collaborative endeavors and Microsoft has begun labeling e-mail a “mission-critical application.” Although only ISPs may see e-mail at the core of their revenue stream, many businesses come to a grinding halt when e-mail goes down. Microsoft says that they have enhanced the stability of Exchange 2000, to reflect the new business environment.

Fat bandwidth has also change the business environment, and Exchange 2000 has adapted, adding support for bandwidth-intensive features such as Voice over IP, Video Conferencing, and other multimedia collaboration environments.

Exchange 2000 was officially announced October 1999, at the Exchange Conference in Atlanta. It was previously code-named “Platinum.” – Christopher McConnell

For Microsoft’s overview of Exchange 2000, see www.microsoft.com/exchange.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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