Although I won't be covering the installation process in detail here, several prerequisites must be performed before the installation and configuration of Exchange 2003 in an organization is initiated. Completing a preinstallation checklist will help ensure a smooth, efficient, and successful installation of Exchange Server 2003 in your organization. Let's take a look at some of the items you should review before beginning an Exchange installation.
Before you start your Exchange installation, be sure that your network has a general good bill of health with a working DNS and WINS installed and configured in your domain. Double-check that your servers (domain controllers, global catalog servers in the AD topology and the domain) are running Windows 2000 SP3 or later or Windows Server 2003 and that Active Directory is healthy and is being replicated throughout your network environment without any errors. Use ExDeploy to easily verify your server health against a checklist using tools and utilities to confirm that your server and organization are ready for the Exchange 2003 installation. The Exchange Server Deployment tools and documentation are complete and easy to use and will lead you through an entire Exchange Server 2003 installation or upgrade.
Determining the proper hardware required for your Exchange 2003 server can be tricky. You must take into consideration the organization's size and number of users, bandwidth usage, daily patterns of email usage, and the organization's requirements for messaging system availability and reliability. At a minimum, select a computer with the following components:
For a single server setup or prototype/lab situation, these minimums might be fine; for large organizations they will be not be sufficient. To better gauge an organization's hardware needs, check out some of the hardware-sizing tools available for Exchange Server 2003. Unfortunately, Microsoft's Exchange Capacity Planning and Topology Calculator is no longer available, so I recommend that you use the following supported tools for help with correctly sizing your Exchange Server installation:
Network Operating System Requirements
When installing Exchange Server 2003, you have a server platform choice of Windows 2000 Server SP3 or later or Windows Server 2003. Although Exchange 2003 will operate just fine on Windows 2000, where possible, it is recommended that you install Exchange 2003 on a server running Windows Server 2003. Then you can take advantage of additional reliability and performance features available only with this server combination, such as the Volume Shadow Copy Service and the Windows Cluster Service with up to eight-node clustering capability. Other advantages of using Windows Server 2003 include a highly manageable release of IIS, Kerberos authentication, and IP Security (IPSec) for communication between front-end and back-end servers.
In addition to installing the correct version of the server software, you must make sure that certain core services components are installed and configured before initiating the installation of Exchange 2003. You can check whether they are installed in the services applet with the administrative tools on the Start menu. The core services components are as follows:
The enabling of these components is handled differently, depending on the version of server software installed. When installing Exchange 2003 on a Windows 2003 Service Pack Three (SP3) server, you must install IIS, the World Wide Web Publishing service, the SMTP service, and the NNTP service manually before starting the Exchange installation.
If you are installing Exchange 2003 on a Windows Server 2003 server, none of these are installed; they are disabled by default. Each component must be installed manually before you start the Exchange Server 2003 setup program.