Why upgrade from Microsoft Exchange 2003 servers – Productivity for Administrators

Many of our customers are still running their messaging system on Microsoft Exchange 2003 servers. In this blog post, I will focus on customers who are still running Microsoft Exchange 2003 servers and why they should upgrade from administrative productivity perspective.

The following features are identified by many companies as the features that are helping their administrators to be more productive, after upgrading their infrastructure from Microsoft Exchange 2003 to Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. 

1)      Exchange Management Console (EMC) --The Exchange Management Console, one of two new administrative interfaces for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and 2010, is based on MMC, and is required to install and manage Exchange 2007 and 2010. This provides unified administrative approach and the look and feel is also consistent to other Microsoft applications.

2)      Exchange Management Shell (EMS) -- The Exchange Management Shell provides a robust and flexible scripting platform that can reduce the complexity of current Microsoft Visual Basic scripts. What previously took hundreds of lines in Visual Basic scripts can now be done by using as little as one line of code in the Exchange Management Shell.

3)      New Messaging Policy and Compliance Features: One of the features used by many customers in new Exchange 2007 & Exchange 2010 system is “Disclaimer”. All the emails going out of organization to Internet, Exchange server will automatically append a disclaimer to each email message. Moreover, Exchange 2010 provides features like Archiving and Litigation hold that can hold certain or all emails for extended period of time. Litigation hold is specifically for legal reasons.

4)      Backup less solution: Exchange Server 2010 provides a backup less solution once you have three or more copies of your Exchange mailbox databases. This result is huge operations saving and less administrative effort.

5)      New Anti-Spam Functionality: Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Exchange Server 2010 include several improvements to the suite of anti-spam and antivirus features that was introduced in Exchange Server 2003.

Management of these features has improved in Exchange 2007/2010. For example, you implement all anti-spam and antivirus features as transport-level agents, and you can manage and script the anti-spam and antivirus features by using the Exchange Management Shell.

The following are some anti-spam features provided by Exchange Server 2007/2010:

Connection filtering: The configuration and management of IP Block lists, IP Allow lists, IP Block List providers, and IP Allow List providers have been improved by displaying each of these elements in the Exchange Management Console.

Content filtering:   Exchange Intelligent Message Filter, which uses Microsoft SmartScreen patented machine-learning technology, is the underlying technology of the content filter that evaluates inbound messages and determines the probability of whether the messages are legitimate, fraudulent, or spam.
In addition to scanning message content, Intelligent Message Filter consolidates data that is collected from connection filtering, sender filtering, recipient filtering, sender reputation, Sender ID verification, and Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 E-mail Postmark validation to apply a spam confidence level (SCL) rating to a given message. You can configure actions on the message based on this SCL rating. These actions may include the following:

ü  Delivery to an Outlook user Inbox or Junk E-mail folder

ü  Delivery to the spam quarantine mailbox

ü  Rejection of the message and no delivery

ü  Acceptance and deletion of the message. The server accepts the message and deletes it instead of forwarding it to the recipient mailbox.

Outlook 2007 supports Outlook E-mail Postmark validation, which involves the creation of pre-solved computational puzzles. When you use Outlook E-mail Postmark validation together with Exchange 2007 content filtering, you can help improve the deliverability of messages from senders about which you have little information.
Finally, Exchange 2007 now offers additional services to help keep anti-spam components up to date. The following update services are available:

ü  Microsoft Exchange 2007 Standard Anti-spam Filter Updates: Filter updates every two weeks

ü  Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server: Filter updates every 24 hours

ü  Microsoft Update

Spam quarantine: Spam quarantine provides a temporary storage location for messages that are identified as spam and that should not be delivered to a user mailbox inside the organization. Spam quarantine functionality is available during the content filtering process. Messages that are identified as spam are wrapped in a non-delivery report (NDR) and are delivered to a spam quarantine mailbox inside the organization. Exchange administrators can manage messages that are delivered to the spam quarantine mailbox and can take appropriate actions, such as deleting messages or letting messages that are flagged as false positives in anti-spam filtering be routed to their intended recipients.
The Exchange 2007 environment enables two-tiered spam quarantine functionality. First, administrators can access the spam quarantine mailbox. By using Outlook, administrators can access the spam quarantine mailbox to search for messages, release messages to the intended recipients, or reject and delete messages. Messages that have an SCL rating that the administrator has defined as borderline can be released to the user's Junk E-mail folder in Outlook. The borderline messages are converted to plain text for additional protection before they are sent to the user's Junk E-mail folder. For more information, see
Spam Quarantine.

Sender reputation: Sender reputation uses patented Microsoft technology to calculate the trustworthiness of unknown senders. Sender reputation gathers analytical data from Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) sessions, message content, Sender ID verification, and general sender behavior and creates a history of sender characteristics. Sender reputation uses this knowledge to determine whether a sender should be temporarily added to the Blocked Senders list. For more information, see Sender Reputation.

IP Reputation Service: This service, which is provided by Microsoft, is an IP Block list that is offered exclusively to Exchange 2007 customers. Administrators can choose to implement and use IP Reputation Service in addition to other real-time block list services.


6)      Improvements in Antivirus Protection: Exchange 2007 & Exchange 2010 include many improvements to antivirus protection. In addition to continued support of the Virus Scanning API (VSAPI), Microsoft has made a significant investment in more effective, efficient, and programmable virus scanning at the transport level.

Exchange 2007 introduces the concept of transport agents which are further enhanced in Exchange Server 2010. Agents are managed software components that perform a task in response to an application event.

Exchange 2007 and 2010 also provides antivirus stamping, which helps reduce the volume of antivirus scanning across an organization by stamping messages that were scanned for viruses with the version of the antivirus software that performed the scan and the result of the scan. This antivirus stamp travels with the message as the message is routed through the organization. The stamp is used to determine whether additional antivirus scanning must be performed on the message.

Another Exchange 2007/2010 antivirus improvement is the implementation of attachment filtering by a transport agent. By running attachment filtering on the Edge Transport server role in your organization, you can reduce the spread of malware attachments before they enter your organization.


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