Five Things About Exchange Server 2007 You Probably Don’t Know (part 3)

OK so my two previous posts were two items from a list of five things. Now please just continue reading here for the ongoing saga about “five things you probably don’t know about Exchange Server 2007.” You’re keeping score on how many you already know, right?

3. Advanced Scheduling

Do you have all Outlook 2007 clients? If not, there are some special adjustments you may need to make to accommodate other mail user agents. Many features of clients are emanations of the software on the client, such as Outlook. Let’s not talk about those right now.

Instead, let’s delve into a feature of Exchange Server 2007 which certainly is for the benefit of end users, but the effects of which extend beyond Outlook 2007 clients to those running older versions of Outlook, IMAP, POP, OWA, EAS, and other kinds of access to E2K7. Scheduling of appointments and meetings.

It’s true, scheduling has been supported in Exchange for many generations, however the functionality offered in E2K7 goes well beyond previous versions. First, there are officially distinct room and equipment mailboxes so that you don’t have to use an ordinary user mailbox which was designed for a person when you really wanted to use the mailbox for a conference room or a mobile piece of equipment. Of course, room and equipment mailboxes aren’t just limited for use to represent meeting rooms and portable projectors, yet we’ll not focus on that now.

What’s really exciting about scheduling is booking policies which you can configure for how meeting requests are handled. Yes, I’d like to get into the details, but I think we’d best save that for a later article, and besides Rich Luckett may have a few things to say about that. Let us know what kind of interest there is in booking policy details.

For now, the important thing I wanted to see if you knew about is how much scheduling has changed. It’s true that there are some great options in the scheduling assistant in Outlook 2007, but Exchange 2007’s Outlook Web Access-based scheduling assistant is rather nice too. The real power of the scheduling advancements lives in the guts of the Exchange scheduling services.

It’s worth taking a deeper look. Perhaps we’ll revisit this later if there’s interest.

4. Are you ready for number four out of five? It’s not really something about Exchange itself as a standalone product, but a way you can get an E2K7 Standard Edition license. Both Windows Server 2008 Small Business Server (SBS) and Essential Business Server (EBS) include a license for E2K7 Standard bundled with the Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition license(s) and other services such as SQL Server. If you’re not familiar with SBS and EBS, it’s worth taking a look to see if they’d be useful options for you. If you already have E2K7 or have a volume or enterprise license agreement, then they might not be right for your deployment. Still, it’s good to know about such licensing options for small to medium sized deployments.

I’ll save item #5 for the next post. Stay tuned.

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