Test First

Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server takes some getting used to, even if you're an experienced Exchange Server 5.5 administrator. Exchange's basic routing technology has changed radically (from an X.400 base to SMTP). The new administration model also takes some adjusting to. You must install or configure third party add-ons so that they work with the new software. Even simple things, such as the entries that Exchange 2000 writes into the Application log, are different, so you must relearn which entries you can regard as normal and which mean trouble.

The best way to approach a new Exchange 2000 deployment is to work through a comprehensive pilot project, including a trial migration of at least part of your production organization. Don't make assumptions—test every aspect of your organization, especially any network dependencies, such as DNS, that influence Windows 2000 Active Directory (AD) replication and stability. Exchange 2000 depends on AD for information about servers, configuration, routing, users, mailboxes, and optional applications such as Instant Messaging (IM). Therefore, you need to test AD replication carefully. Your AD deployment is stable and fully functional when replication is reliable and predictable. A good test is to change a user-account property, such as an email address, and determine how long the change takes to replicate to a Global Catalog (GC) server in another domain. Every network infrastructure is different, but generally speaking, replication within 10 minutes is acceptable.

Corrections to this Article:
  • The sidebar "Test First" in "Learning from Exchange 2000 Deployments" (November 2001) didn't include an InstantDoc ID. The correct InstantDoc ID is 22806. We apologize for any inconvenience this omission might have caused.
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