Microsoft recommends setting up a test Exchange Server environment and starting with a controlled set of variables. I always use this approach anywaybut I like seeing a vendor recommend it. Modifying the setup after the initial installation is relatively easy with Exchange.
My test Exchange server is a midrange Intel system: a Pentium 75 with 32MB of RAM and a 1GB disk drive. To install Exchange, you must have NT 3.51 Service Pack 4, which is on the Exchange Server CD in the PATCHES directory, or you can download it at ftp.microsoft.com/bussys/winnt/winnt-public/fixes/usa/NT351/ussp4. Exchange Server is available for Intel, Alpha, PowerPC, and MIPS. You can choose between two versions: Exchange Server Enterprise, which includes all the connectors, and Exchange Server Standard, which includes none.
The Exchange documentation includes Installation Guide, Administrator's Guide, Concepts and Planning Guide, Application Designer's Guide, and a video, "Microsoft Exchange Server Version 4.0 Concepts and Planning." The documentation does a pretty good job of stepping you through setup and configuration.
You initially use the Exchange Administrator for most of the setup-related tasks. I'm sure you're familiar with NT Server administration and its domain structure. Exchange's four-tier hierarchy of organization, site, servers, and users means an organization can have many sites, a site can have many servers, and a server can have many users. Be prepared to answer the installation's licensing questions and to specify whether you're adding a server to an existing site. As you do with other NT products, you'll continue to set up and configure components after Exchange is running. After you install it, you'll have a fully populated Exchange program group that includes many performance-monitoring icons. The Exchange Server CD includes a program, LoadSim, that lets you simulate message and user load on your Exchange Server hardware.
Here's a tip: Turn on message tracking when you see that option when setting up the Information Store Site Configuration, the MTA Site Configuration, and all the connectors you install. (The main article discusses message tracking and its benefits.)
In my organization, I needed to configure five client platforms: Windows NT, Windows 95, Windows 3.11, DOS, and Macintosh. Here's the bad news: The Mac client was still in beta at press time and is not on the Exchange client's CD. (Service Pack 2 will include Mac client.) A minor note: The installation guide refers to a clients directory that isn't on my Exchange Client CD. I found the clients in the eng directory.
Client installation is simple. You create a client installation point to install clients directly from the server. During client installation, you determine the client setup options. Don't worry, you can easily change all the options later. Several screens require you to apply (i.e., click the Apply button) the changes you make. Pay close attention to the word "apply." Many changes are not registered until you click Apply, even if you click OK.