What Is Microsoft Exchange?

Microsoft Exchange

Microsoft Exchange is an email-based collaborative communications server for businesses. It provides reliable email communications as well as features to streamline and systematize business processes more efficiently and systematize operations.

Exchange Server’s multiple components provide resilience and high availability (HA). Mailbox servers rely on database availability groups while client access servers employ load balancing techniques.

Email

Email has long been the go-to method of communication among business users, yet its technology can be more complex than expected. An email server acts as the back end system that manages sending and receiving of email between accounts; providing users with tools that ensure reliable, secure transmission at scale.

Email servers serve two key purposes; sending and receiving email, while also protecting data securely. Malicious spam and phishing emails pose the greatest security threat, often linking to infected websites which can download malware onto a user’s device. An email server can help prevent these types of attacks by enforcing policies that require recipients to verify attachment authenticity before downloading and filter out suspicious messages.

Exchange server’s are built for scale; they can support over one million mailboxes with over 100 gigabytes of storage per user, enabling high speed email sending and receiving. A mail router allows messages to be routed based on content or destination.

Exchange servers offer businesses the capability of storing large files – something not possible with client software such as Microsoft Outlook – which enables businesses to send more complex communications such as presentations, reports or video conferences without risking delivery failure.

An Exchange server offers several advantages over most clients in terms of resilience. While email client software may be vulnerable to outages, an Exchange server has the ability to continue sending and receiving messages even when one server goes down due to using a database availability group (DAG), which automatically copies databases between servers in its cluster cluster and can take over in an emergency by activating one copy at a time if another copy becomes activated; should an outage occur another copy will become active immediately with another member in the DAG still available should something go amiss if necessary.

Calendar

Email may not be the only means of staying in touch, and calendars provide a much-needed service in tracking meetings and appointments. Microsoft Exchange provides two methods for you to interact with your calendars as well as sharing options.

Your calendars can be accessed either through an Internet browser, email client such as Microsoft Outlook or mobile device using the XML protocol, which allows programs and devices to exchange calendar data.

Once logged in, your calendar appears much like any other calendar app you may use, with a ribbon at the top offering three features – “New Item”, “Go-To”, and “New Calendar”.

Clicking “New Item” takes you to a page that resembles Microsoft Outlook’s email composition page in terms of functionality. On the left-hand side of this page is where you select which calendar to add your event into, while in the center are fields for event title and details as well as time zones and setting reminder expiration dates for events.

“Go-To,” located on the ribbon, provides quick and easy access to some popular calendar views. You can quickly move between today and any of the next seven days; and use “New Calendar” to import an ICS (iCalendar) file or create your own calendar from scratch.

Importing from the Web is an effective way of connecting your Exchange calendar to personal calendars such as iCloud or Google. Once imported, changes made on one will appear on both.

Finally, “Share Calendar” on the right side of the ribbon allows you to share your calendar with one or more individuals by creating an HTML link they can click to open your calendar in their Web browser. Non-colleagues may also subscribe online by selecting the “Subscribe From Web” option.

Contacts

As part of a migration from another email platform or following an attack like ransomware, it is vital that contact lists don’t get lost. One method to ensure they remain intact is importing them into Outlook; Outlook allows synchronizing contacts across various services such as Gmail and iCloud; you can import contacts by either using the Microsoft Online Services Administration Center (MOAC) or exporting and importing a file containing contact data into Outlook.

Contacts in Exchange are managed objects with both a display name and email address, but mail contacts provide more than that – they also display in the global address book so users can send messages directly. Mail contacts can be managed in both the Exchange Admin Center or by using PowerShell scripts.

If a mail contact created in BPOS by Directory Synchronization and then imported via MOAC into Outlook Online for migration by an end-user’s Outlook client displays incorrectly due to BPOS using a shadowed format for its proxy addresses so they may be shared between multiple tenant directories for multi-tenant environments, causing an incorrect display in their client Outlook client.

This issue doesn’t interfere with the functionality of a mail contact or its ability to receive messages, but does impact how its proxy address appears in Outlook. At this time, Microsoft has yet to make a change that will address this problem, but if migrating up to Exchange online it is something to keep in mind.

To export contacts from Microsoft Outlook into a CSV file, open the email program, click File, select Open & Export in the left pane, then Import & Export. When the Import File window opens up, browse for your CSV file before selecting and clicking Next on its Import Page to complete the wizard process. Please make sure your CSV contains UTF-8 encoding as this format is optimal when importing Outlook contacts.

Files

Files are an essential element of Microsoft products for storing and transmitting information, from text and pictures to sound and video; settings, commands and instructions used with computer programs. A file’s identity can be determined both by its name and directory in which it resides; these two elements are usually separated by special characters such as slashes (for instance: Managers in Payroll/Salaries directory is uniquely identified via path name as Managers within Payroll folder of Salaries directory).

The size of any file depends on its type and number stored on a computer, for instance a one-page text file could be 3 KB while photos or movies may take up several gigabytes. File sizes can also change when converted from one format to another.

Outlook protects both you and your recipients against computer viruses by restricting certain types of file attachments from being sent and received through its email platform. If necessary, cloud storage services like OneDrive offer convenient solutions to safely store these files before sharing the link with recipients.

Use descriptive file names when assigning files. Whenever possible, try to use names that can easily be understood by any newcomer to your organization, such as using “Word document” rather than something random like hldgrp.doc as it will aid users who may not know its significance.

Many applications utilize internal markers known as extensions to distinguish different types of information in a file. The operating system then recognizes this marker and knows which program or app corresponds to it.

A mailbox’s Files folder stores metadata related to attachments; in Exchange eDiscovery, this content can be extracted using Get-FailedContentIndexDocuments cmdlet.

When opening a service case with Microsoft Support, the Microsoft Support Professional assigned to it may need to send you files that can’t be accessed from Outlook client. In these instances, we use Secure File Exchange for fast and secure file delivery while also keeping a record of it until your service case has been closed. When accessing Secure File Exchange workspaces you must use either your work/school/personal Microsoft account that was approved by their service requester; we use Google Apps in these instances too!

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