Server Roles in Microsoft Exchange Server 2010

Microsoft Exchange Server 2010Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 has implemented functionality called server roles which allows a small business to assign various roles to different Exchange servers in their environment. The benefits of server roles are increased security and scalability.

Increased Security

Prior to server roles, every Exchange service on every port had to be open to the public, but now, only one server in one role requires one port to be open to the public. The rest of the services can be secured behind the network firewall and only available internally.

Increased Scalability

Exchange Server 2010 allows a network administrator to distribute different server roles across different hardware, making an Exchange environment highly flexible. In the past, all server roles needed to be hosted on a single piece of hardware, which meant the hardware needed to be robust enough to handle it all. Distributing roles across different hardware is a cost-effective option as it allows the Exchange environment to be installed where the different pieces (or roles) fit.

Server Roles

  • Client Access (CAS)–The CAS role is the only role that needs to be public-facing as it handles all the protocols necessary for a client to access Exchange services, such as POP, IMAP, Outlook Web App (OWA) and ActiveSync.
  • Mailbox–The Mailbox role handles all of Exchange’s content and storage items like mailboxes, public folders, contacts and calendars.
  • Hub Transport–Like its name suggests, the Hub Transport role routes all mail and content sent through Exchange Server 2010. It also handles message filters, journaling and formatting.
  • Unified Messaging–The Unified Messaging role is an optional server that allows for integration of a company’s PBX system with Exchange and will allow Exchange to handle company voicemail and faxes.
  • Edge Transport–Edge Transport, another optional server, acts as an extra layer of protection between the public internet and the Mailbox server. It checks messages and data entering and leaving the private network for viruses and SPAM.

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