Book Reviews

Smart Exchange

The wisdom captured in this messaging book required time, experience, and service packs.

With the onslaught of Exchange Server books, it can be quite difficult to find one that suits your exact needs. Sybex’s 24seven Exchange Server 5.5 was written to benefit the Exchange administrator as a whole. Throughout its 622 pages, this book covers virtually every aspect of Exchange, from planning to its core functionality to troubleshooting. It assumes you have Exchange and networking experience. For those new to Exchange Server, the author actually recommends another book, from the same publisher, in the introduction.

Like most Exchange books, this text begins by discussing planning and preparation and then moves on to administration and troubleshooting. However, unlike many others, this one dives deeper into the product than most and extends beyond Exchange Server. Things like NT domain structures, password security, network monitoring, and IP/name resolution troubleshooting are often overlooked when discussing Exchange—but not in this book.

I particularly liked Part V, which includes three chapters on Exchange security. The author spends a great deal of time explaining how an e-mail message is encrypted (or not) and what can be done to protect both your users and servers. Areas such as message encryption and NT Server/physical network security are covered to show the reader what’s actually involved in maintaining confidentiality. Many of your users will consider this to be one of the most critical components of an email system.

What also makes this book stand out from the rest is the use of the “Exchange@Work” and “Case Study” sidebars, as the author calls them. These are observations and recommendations that the author makes based on years of practical Exchange Server experience. The benefit of this is that it gives someone a realistic example of how all of this information can be put to use.

It’s nice to see that someone waited for Exchange 5.5 to go through varying degrees of implementations and a couple of service packs before writing a book like this. All too often books come out claiming to be perfect for the advanced administrator and are really filled with out-of-date screenshots and incorrect information. If you’re looking for one Exchange book that will cover every aspect needed for Exchange administration, you’d be wise to invest your money here.

About the Author

Michael Tedesco, MCSE, MCT, serves as the Enterprise Messaging Specialist for Latham & Watkins,a Los Angeles-based law firm. He has taught classes on Exchange Server for the past couple of years and is now leading a conversion of 2,500 users from cc:Mail to Exchange.

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