Exchange Server is a core component of Microsoft’s messaging and collaboration platform. It provides several services that help deliver comprehensive cross platform unified messaging and collaboration to web, desktop and mobile clients. Exchange Server can be deployed on premise, in a Private Cloud, a Public Cloud such as Azure, or can be purchased as a hosted install via Office 365 or other 3rd party hosting providers. Exchange offers:
- Email mailboxes with comprehensive security and authentication
- Contact management and synchronization with corporate user directories
- Calendar management with shared calendars and permission delegation
- Task management with reminders and deferral to future dates
- Note management for capturing snippets of information
- Desktop, Web and mobile access to all content
- Data storage, synchronization with clients, and archiving of data
The primary method for accessing Exchange Server is via the Microsoft Outlook Client. Traditionally the Outlook client was mainly focused on Microsoft Windows PC clients. Recently Microsoft has adopted a Microsoft software everywhere strategy, and as a result there are now highly regarded and popular versions of Microsoft Outlook available for Google Android, Apple iOS and OS X, and Microsoft Windows Phone. There is also a feature rich Outlook Web Client that is cross platform and browser agnostic. It works on Microsoft Edge, Microsoft IE, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari on PC, Mac and mobile devices. Exchange Email, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, and Notes can also be accessed from numerous 3rd party applications via Microsoft’s ubiquitous and widely licensed Exchange Active Sync technology. Truly Exchange can be the central hub of any organizations core messaging and collaboration strategy.
While Exchange Server provides many of the core features of a comprehensive messaging and collaboration solution, Microsoft have also enabled it to integrate with several other components of the Microsoft server stack. Namely:
- Microsoft Active Directory is used for authentication and authorization.
- Skype for Business can be integrated with Exchange to allow IM conversations and Web Conferencing sessions to be saved to Exchange users mailboxes, were they can then be archived. Presence information can also be shared between them.
- SharePoint can be integrated with Exchange, and also Outlook, to allow sharing and use of SharePoint lists, calendars, project tasks, and file libraries directly from Outlook.
Additionally, many independent software vendors have written their software to integrate with Exchange in order to get the benefits of its messaging and collaboration features without having to write them themselves.