For those of you that are feeling the need to see a whole lot of links....
Do you remember those American Express® credit card commercials from a few years ago called the "Do you know me?®” commercials? Before the advent of 24x7 cable and satellite TV, famous people were known more by their names than their faces. To capitalize on this, the American Express "Do you know me” commercials typically began by reviewing the many accomplishments of a familiar or famous person. At the beginning of the commercial, chances are you knew the person’s name, but probably not their face. The end of the commercial closed with the sound over, “That’s why I carry the American Express card,” and then you would see the person's name being typed out on an American Express card. This enabled viewers to finally put a face to a famous name.
The Exchange Server TechCenter reminds me of those old "Do you know me” commercials. In the American Express commercials, you knew the celebrity’s name but not necessarily their face. In the case of the Exchange Server TechCenter, you likely know its face (that is, you’ve visited the site before), but you probably didn’t know its name. Perhaps this commercial, (I mean blog entry), will fix that.
Microsoft has several Web properties that are dedicated to Exchange Server, including:
- Exchange Server Product Home Page - This site is the primary portal for Exchange product information. It includes product information, details on how to purchase Exchange Server, and links to partners, downloads, support resources, technical information, and Exchange communities.
- Exchange Server TechCenter - This site is the primary portal for technical information about Exchange Server that is oriented toward IT professionals. The purpose of the Exchange Server TechCenter is to help connect you with Exchange Server-related resources from Microsoft and the broader Exchange Server community. The Exchange Server TechCenter includes monthly feature articles, links to top tasks, downloads and Knowledge Base articles, and the core Exchange product documentation. For ease of use, the core product documentation has been organized into areas that are consistent across the Windows Server System platform. This includes, among other areas, Planning and Architecture, Deployment, Security, etc.
- Exchange Server Developer Center - The Exchange Server Developer Center is the primary portal for partners, ISVs, and other application developers that create solutions that leverage the Exchange Server platform. Exchange Server provides a rich environment for developing messaging and collaborative applications. Exchange Server supports a wide variety of programming technologies, including XML, WebDAV, ASP, OLE DB, ADO, CDO, and others.
- Exchange Server 2003 Support Center - This site provides a plethora of support resources, including newly released and recently updated Knowledge Base articles, downloads, hotfixes, security bulletins, and contact options. The Exchange Server 2003 Support Center is also available via a Real Simple Syndication (RSS) feed that can provide you with daily lists of all new Knowledge Base content on a per-product basis.
The Exchange Server TechCenter is one of three product portals that have been implemented as a TechCenter:
The idea behind the TechCenter brand is to give customers a consistent look and feel across Windows Server System products. This consistent look and feel includes top issue and resource links, and feature articles written by subject matter experts. In addition, TechCenters provide consistent navigation through the use of standardized task areas, such as Getting Started, Planning and Architecture, and Deployment.
Prior to the launch of the Exchange Server TechCenter in September 2004, there was technical content for Exchange Server on the TechNet Web site. If you’re interested, you can use the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to travel back in time and track the evolution of this Web site.
Since its release in September 2004, the Exchange Server TechCenter has released several pieces of content around monthly site themes. For example, the Exchange Server TechCenter debuted along with the Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer Tool, so the first theme was best practices. Other themes have included disaster recovery, public folders, performance, geographically dispersed clusters and multi-site data replication, and upgrading and migrating.
As I said before, you’ve probably visited the Exchange Server TechCenter, but you may not have realized that you were visiting a Microsoft TechNet branded portal. For example, if you have read the Exchange Server 2003 Deployment Guide, the Exchange Server 2003 Operations Guide, the Exchange Server 2003 Security Hardening Guide, or any of the other core Exchange product content, you’ve been to the Exchange Server TechCenter. If you have read the Optimizing Storage Guide for Exchange Server 2003, the Exchange Server 2003 Client Access Guide, or the Exchange Server 2003 High Availability Guide, you’ve been to the Exchange Server TechCenter. And if you’ve used the Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer Tool, JetStress, or LoadSimulator 2003, you’ve been to the Exchange Server TechCenter.
Much of the content you’ll find at the Exchange Server TechCenter is authored by the Exchange User Education (UE) team at Microsoft. Exchange UE works closely with many teams at Microsoft, such as the Exchange product group, Product Support Services, the Exchange Center of Excellence, the Exchange Customer Experience team, Exchange Marketing, and in some form or another, just about everyone else inside Microsoft that works on Exchange.
So if you haven’t already done so, have a look at the Exchange Server TechCenter. Heck, even if you have looked at it before, look again. You just might find something new and interesting you didn’t see before. And while you’re there, if you have any feedback for us, please do send it along. We welcome and read all of it.
- Scott Schnoll