Configuring Virtual Organizations and Address List Segregation in Exchange 2007

I first got really interested in Exchange Server when I started working on hosting the product for multiple companies (while using only a single server environment). In fact, I started this blog to talk mainly about hosted Exchange. My interests have expanded and I enjoy working with all of Exchange now.

In the "old days", getting information about putting together a platform for provisioning hosted Exchange was really difficult. The information that was available was scattered and a lot of it depended on "who you know" as to whether you could get enough technical information to resolve a problem.

By the time Exchange 2003 was released, the information was pretty widely available in various technet, knowledge base and newsgroup postings (google to the rescue!). Then, shortly before Exchange 2007 was released, many of those sources began to disappear. The reason?

Microsoft now has a specific solution for doing hosted Exchange and Windows Hosting in general and PSS (now CSS) was often having issues fixing problems caused by people following the hosting guidelines.

However, many large companies have a need for address list segregation, which is one of the very TOP issues associated with hosted Exchange. Segregation basically means that you have one set of users seeing one address book in Outlook/OWA while another set of users sees a different one. So, Microsoft relented.

Once you have address list segregation, going the extra step to configure an entire virtual organization is a small step.

So, Dave Goldman, an Enterprise CSS guy, working with Tom DiNardo, a Technical Writer (both of whom I am privileged to know) wrote a white paper on the topic. Highly recommended. You can access it here.

Now, what does this NOT do for you that you might want in a hosted solution? Well, there are a number of things. It doesn't provide you with a custom OWA URL, or a custom Outlook Anywhere URL, etc. etc. It doesn't support clustering. While it's discussed, this solution doesn't do UPN updates. It doesn't provide any self-administration. It doesn't provide (although the hooks are there) for delegated administration. And so on.

But for what most people will ever need to do, it's great. This is a good thing to add to your Exchange toolbox and it shows some great examples of how to deal with some specific problems in PowerShell. Give it a look.

Until next time...

As always, if there are topics that you would like to see me discuss, please drop me a line and let me know!

Published Monday, February 11, 2008 4:51 PM by michael

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