For me, the Sams “Unleashed” series has a reputation for comprehensive in-depth coverage of a product, and often it’s one of the first published on that product, the new Exchange Server 2010 edition continues this tradition. Like the product, it is based heavily on the Exchange 2007 edition, owners of the previous edition will recognise a lot of the chapter and section names and you may also notice that in a lot of case it’s just the product version that changes within the text. This is not a criticism; it just highlights the fact that a lot of the concepts from 2007 are just as relevant in the 2010 version.
Organised into 10 parts encompassing 35 chapters the coverage is good. Look out for the history lessons that pop up every now and then, they provide some interesting insight into how Microsoft has gotten to when it has with Exchange and some of the other products that Exchange uses.
Before diving in, first some small caveats to look out for, they in no way detract from the overall book, but are worth knowing. The book was published prior to the final releases of Forefront Identity Manager 2010 (FIM), Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) and Outlook 2010, so while still covered, they may not be as detailed as you may expect, this especially true for the ISA 2006 replacement, TMG.
For those new to the “Unleashed” series you can expect lots of useful how-to steps covering key the configuration options both in Exchange itself and in places like the deployment and upgrade sections. Each chapter starts with an introduction to the current situation; this is usually where you find the history lessons, before delving into the details.
For those of you like me who have a copy of the 2007 version, the differences are subtle, for example chapter 18 is a complete rewrite from the 2007 version, which is in-line with the changes in the product.
The organization of the book covers the core areas, Planning and Design, Installation, Migration and co-existence, security, Administration, Client services, Unified Communication and Data Protection.
The book starts with a primer for 2010, by the end of which you will have a good understanding of everything that’s new or changed since 2007. Next you’ll roll into a series of chapters on planning and architecting, these cover the project planning of an Exchange deployment, scoping and teams. This leads into looking at the Exchange environment, where do you place servers, Active Directory information, directory synchronisation and details on Windows Server 2008.
Once through the opening two parts, next we cover the actual installation. There are two chapters on installation, since the Edge server role cannot be combined with any other role, plus the other challenges around Edge placement, it has its own dedicated Chapter. The final chapter of the implementation part introduces you to the Exchange Management Shell (EMS) and Exchange Management Console (EMC). There is an entire part dedicated to administration and management later in the book, but logic dictation that here is a good place to introduce these and talk about Powershell.
After the implementation comes the security part, starting with client side security. Here you’ll find information on the client operating system and Outlook, the server security follows in the next chapter. Like the client chapter the server chapter covers a number of security areas in the underlying operating system, before looking at the server itself and then the transports. The PKI requirements for secure transmission have their own chapter, looking at Certificate Authority requirements and installation through to certificate use. The finals chapters in the security look at using ISA 2006 to protect Exchange by enabling secure publishing of services and finally how Exchange Policy Enforcement features enable organizations to adhere to various regulations.
The migration and coexistence part of the book specifically covers previous versions, Exchange 2003 and 2007, Active Directory on Windows Server 2000 and 2003. Migration from Exchange 5.5 / 2000 or other mails systems like Lotus Notes are not covered in this book. I’m sure we could have the debate about the pros and cons of that, in truth the migration of Exchange 5.5 or 2000 to a supported 2010 migration path is covered in the Exchange Server 2003 Unleashed edition.
The part on Administration and Management sees a number of changes from the previous version; it’s here that Role Based Access Control (RBAC) is covered. This is a significant change from the 2007 version, the administration model for Exchange 2010 has been revamped and it’s in this part the details of those changes appear. Required reading for all.
Cost saving is something all organizations are looking at doing, so the part on Unified Communications should be of interest here. The part covers connecting mobile devices to Exchange, integration with SharePoint and configuring Unified Messaging. There is a chapter on Office Communications Server, but I suggest looking at another book for that topic, such as The OCS 2007 R2 Resource kit from Microsoft Press, going into OCS here would double the size of the book and go beyond the book scope.
The finally three parts round off the story. There is a part on the client access side, there are changes in the 2010 version, Outlook Web Access has a new name, Outlook Web App, and RPC over HTTP is now Outlook Anywhere. The book also talks about Outlook 2007, with the imminent release of Outlook 2010 and the features in that; I’d recommend spending time looking at the version instead.
The last two parts look at protecting the Exchange data and optimisation. Just because backup and Disaster recovery are covered near the end don’t ignore them. There are changes in the product in this space, one being the replacement of Cluster Continuous Replication (CCR) and Standby Continuous Replication (SCR) with Database Availability Groups (DAG), this allows you to replicate a database to up to 16 geographically dispersed locations. The optimization part that rounds off the book covers the changes here. There is performance enhancements within the new version, some tips and tricks related to that came be found in these chapters.
Overall this version does both the product and the series justice, it is a comprehensive guide and a worthwhile investment for anyone wanting to get into the details of Exchange 2010 from planning to optimising.
For more details, other reviews and sample chapters visit the Exchange Server 2010 Unleashed page