Administrators use Administrative Groups to organize and manage the Exchange architecture and resources and help describe the logical structure of the Exchange organization. Unlike Exchange 5.5, Exchange 2000 and 2003 split the concept of a site into logical and physical components. Administrative groups define a logical grouping of servers and other objects.
Administrative groups can contain any Exchange objects, such as servers, routing groups, public folder trees, and policies, and are useful for managing permissions. Small- and medium-sized organizations can use administrative groups, but large organizations with several company locations are better suited to make use of such groups. In large organizations, administrators can create an administrative group for each location or department and delegate specific permissions and define system policies for the administrative groups and the objects in the group.
Displaying Administrative Groups
To simplify the initial Exchange management process, administrative groups are not automatically displayed. Administrators must configure the Exchange organization to display administrative groups. When the Administrative Groups container is visible, additional administrative groups can be created. Administrative groups can be enabled using the following steps:
Management of Administrative Groups depends on whether Exchange 2003 is running in mixed mode, supporting pre-Exchange 2000 server installations, or running in native mode, supporting only Exchange 2000 Server and Exchange Server 2003. By default, Exchange 2003 is installed with the operation mode set to mixed mode to support interoperability with Exchange 5.0 and Exchange 5.5. This configuration limits the administrative group management capabilities of Exchange 2003 to those of Exchange 5.5 Server's management of sites, with each administrative group having only one functional routing group, even if additional routing groups are installed. Another limiting factor is the inability to move mailboxes from a server in one administrative group to a server in another administrative group. Moreover, additional limitations exist when Exchange 2003 is installed in an Exchange 5.5 sitesuch as limited ESM capability of the Exchange 5.5 Server, the inability to edit Exchange 5.5 objects directly through Active Directory, and the inability to use query-based distribution groups that require Windows 2003 domains and the native mode operation of Exchange with at least Exchange 2000 and SP3 or later.
Switching Operational Modes
A new Exchange 2003 organization runs in mixed mode until it is promoted to native mode. An Exchange organization can be promoted to native mode only if no servers are running Exchange 5.5 (or earlier) and the Site Replication Service (SRS) is not running. Administrators must upgrade all servers and any connectors before switching to native mode. Moreover, switching an organization to native mode is a one-way operation; the operational mode cannot be switched back to mixed mode and Exchange 2003 will not work with any Exchange 5.5 or 5.0 sites that are part of the organization. To switch the operational mode, use the following steps:
Adding Administrative Groups
Let's look at some of the administrative tasks, such as creating new groups, moving and copying between groups, and deleting and renaming administrative groups. Exchange 2003 creates a default administrative group called the First Administrative Group during the first installation of Exchange. Additional groups can be created by using the following steps:
Exchange creates the new group but doesn't assign any containers or servers to the new group. Servers, routing groups, system policies, and public folders can be added manually to an administrative group in System Manager by right-clicking the administrative group, pointing to New, and then selecting the new container type to add. Remember, only one of each container type can exist in an administrative group.
Moving and Copying Objects Between Groups
Moving and copying among administrative groups involves objects such as public folders and system policies; servers and containers cannot be moved. By default, objects can be moved only between containers of the same type. Moving a system policy from one system policy container to another system policy container in a different administrative group is allowed, but moving a system policy into a public folder container is prohibited. To copy objects between groups, follow these steps:
Moving an object is just as easy:
Renaming and Deleting Administrative Groups
Administrators may need to delete or rename administrative groups as part of their management task. Perform the following steps to rename an administrative group:
Deleting administrative groups can be performed after the containers are empty. It is good practice to move items to a new administrative group and make sure the items are no longer needed before deleting the administrative group. To delete an administrative group, use these steps: