Comparing differences between Microsoft Exchange 2013 and 2016

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Some features and functionality have been added, changed, or removed from Exchange Server 2016, when compared to Exchange Server 2013. Let’s see what has been removed:

  • The Client Access Server Role is now a service that runs on the Mailbox Server and is not a separate Exchange Server Role as it was in Exchange Server 2013.
  • The MAPI/CDO library has been replaced with functionality available in three APIs. Anything using the MAPI/CDO library will need to switch to using one of these three alternatives:
    • Exchange Web Services (EWS).
    • Exchange ActiveSync (EAS).
    • Representational State Transfer (REST) API – this is planned for inclusion in an update to Exchange 2016 in the future.

In addition to the two discontinued features listed above there are also three deprecated features that are still in Exchange Server 2016 for which use is discouraged. A future release of Exchange Server could, and likely will, remove these three items completely:

  • Third-party replication API’s should be avoided in favour of Exchange Server’s data continuity and disaster recovery features.
  • RPC over HTTP should be avoided in favour of another connection method such as MAPI over HTTP or EAS.
  • Database Availability Group support for failover cluster administrative access points should not be used.

But it is not all removal of features and functionality. There have also been additions and simplifications to Exchange Server 2016 since the last release. These make it easier to deploy and manage, and also enhance the product in many ways.

  • The number of server roles has been reduced to two: the Mailbox Server Role and the Edge Transport Server Role. The former combines all the functionality that was in the Mailbox Server role and the Client Access Server roles. The Edge Transport Server role manages messaging security and is the interface between the Mailbox servers and the Internet.
  • Outlook on the web replaces the Outlook Web App and provides an updated modern web email experience, especially for tablets and smartphones.
  • MAPI over HTTP is now the default protocol that Outlook uses to communicate with Exchange Servers. It builds on the feature set offered in Exchange Server 2013 to improve performance and reliability for connections between clients and servers. RPC over HTTP is still included for legacy clients, but is deprecated as outlined previously.
  • Exchange Server 2016 when combined with SharePoint Server 2016 allows Outlook on the web users to share documents via links to an on premise SharePoint server rather than by passing attachments.
  • If an Office Online Server is deployed as part of an Exchange Server 2016 deployment then Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents can be viewed in Outlook for the web even if the Office suite is not installed on the client.
  • There have been significant enhancements to the tools that help setup hybrid on premise and Office 365 deployments. There are also Azure based Active Directory tools to allow integrated multi-forest and Office 365 configuration.
  • The data loss prevention functionality has been improved. There are now 80 different ways to scan information and data within the Exchange Server message flow to prevent sensitive information from leaking out of an organisation.
  • Archiving, legal retention and eDiscovery of information within an Exchange Server system has been enhanced in Exchange Server 2016. The architecture of searching has been optimised greatly to make it easier to quickly find information stored in Exchange Server 2016 databases.