Exchange email, also known as Microsoft Exchange, is Microsoft’s email server solution. It’s composed of an email server, email client, and several groupware applications. It runs exclusively on Windows Server operating systems. Rather than the typical client/server protocol of POP3 that is designed to delete mail on the server side whenever it’s downloaded by a user, Microsoft Exchange is designed to centralize communication and keep it stored and backed up on a database running the Windows Server OS.
The first version of Exchange was Exchange Server 4.0 released in 1996. This served as the successor to Microsoft Mail 3.5. As of 2020, there have been ten releases of Microsoft Exchange, the latest being Exchange Server 2019. This email server is the technology that powers cloud-based services such as Outlook.com and Office.com.
Features of Microsoft Exchange
Microsoft Exchange was developed for corporate customers, and includes organization and communication features such as:
- Email hosting
- Collaborative calendar
- Contact management
- Collaborative task management
- Notes and files
The email server primarily uses a proprietary protocol called Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) to talk to email clients, and is licensed as both on-premises and SaaS.
Exchange Server 2019
Microsoft’s newest version of Exchange email is Exchange Server 2019, which was released in October 2018. It can only be deployed on Windows Server 2019. It provides significantly faster and more reliable failover between servers. It was designed to take advantage of the latest storage hardware such as larger disks and solid-state drives. A key feature of the new release is that it can be installed onto Windows Server Core, which is a minimalistic Windows Server installation option. Other new features include:
- 256 GB memory and 48 CPU cores support
- Enables external access to Exchange admin center
- Employs dynamic memory cache allocation to optimize memory usage for active databases
- Provides users with more Out-of-Office options
- Enables administrators to assign and delegate permissions
- Enables email addresses that contain non-English characters to be routed and delivered natively