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Preparing for Exchange Server 2000 Deployment

I need to clear up one thing before jumping into this week’s topic. In my generalizations last week about Exchange 2000 Server routing, I failed to clarify one point: In Exchange 2000, the default mechanism for connecting routing groups is the Routing Group Connector (RGC), not the SMTP connector. Exchange 2000 does have an SMTP connector, but the RGC is the recommended choice between Exchange 2000 routing groups. Thanks to David Lemson (Exchange 2000 routing god) at Microsoft for showing me the error of my ways.

Many of you have written to ask whether I have a checklist of items to address when preparing for Exchange 2000 deployment. Tony Redmond has such a list in his article "8 Steps to Prepare for Platinum" (Windows NT Magazine, September 1999). Over the next few weeks, I'll share some of the highlights of these steps.

Exchange 2000 represents more of an overhaul than an upgrade to Exchange Server. The changes in the storage architecture alone represent a major technology evolution. In addition, Exchange 2000’s dependence on Windows 2000 (Win2K) Active Directory (AD) makes deployment a big deal; you're not just rolling out new application software. To make your move to Exchange 2000 successful, you'll need to understand all of this new technology. That's where step 1 comes in.

Step 1 is the process of information accumulation. Although it might seem trivial or obvious, gathering information might be the most important step. You need to have information about more than Exchange 2000 to be successful. Win2K by itself will be challenging as well. Take time to plan what information you need to make your Exchange 2000 (and therefore Win2K) deployment successful.

You can get information from several sources. Microsoft is the obvious choice and is making a stellar effort to put out as much information as possible about Win2K and Exchange 2000. Look for white papers and conference sessions at Tech Ed and Microsoft Exchange Conference (MEC) 2000 to fill this need. Third parties who have a vested interest in Win2K and Exchange 2000 (e.g., Windows 2000 Magazine) are another great source of information. Since late last year, Windows 2000 Magazine has been running excellent articles about Win2K and Exchange 2000; its a great place to get started. Gathering information is not simple or trivial; it's the effort that makes the next steps possible. Next week, I'll continue with more steps on the preparation checklist for Exchange 2000.

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