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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Professional Windows Powershell for Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 » User review

Some Good Information, But Like Most Computer Books, It Does Not Go Far Enough

  • May 20, 2008
Rating:
+3
Pros: Some very useful information at the beginning of the book.

Cons: Not as in-depth as I would have liked; some key command syntax missing.

The Bottom Line: All and all Windows PowerShell for Exchange 2007 Server 2007 SP1 is a good general reference book on the form and functionality of the Exchange 2007 Management Shell.

Anyone who has been a Microsoft Exchange 2000, and or Exchange 2003 administrator and now has to deal with Exchange 2007 knows that the administrative game has changed and not necessarily for the better. Not content with the rather convoluted but, somewhat easy to master administrative model they developed for Exchange 2000/2003, Microsoft decided to go in different direction and move many of the administrative functions off the familiar Graphic User Interface (GUI) and into the command-line world via Windows PowerShell and the Exchange Management Shell.

Yes I said command-line! Anyone else feel as though we are going backwards in time. While many in my profession—mostly notably those who claim UNIX and its many variants their Operating System master—love the command line, I loath it. Why type a slew of letters, numbers, and commands when I can just click, drag & drop, etc. in a user friendly GUI? My motto is work smarter not harder, and command-line syntax is hard; make on mistake in a complex line of code and command will not work! And troubleshooting can take precious minutes to complete.

But, Microsoft in relying more on the command–line than GUI to administer Exchange 2007, claiming that the Exchange 2007 “Management Shell” environment (which sits on top of Windows PowerShell 1.0) is more powerful that the GUI and gives the administrator more suasion over the environment.

Predictably there was a backlash from Exchange administrators like myself who continue to enjoy the ease and simplicity of the GUI, so Microsoft did move some commands back to a multicolored interface with the release of Exchange 2007 Service Pack 1, but there is still a fair amount of administrative work that must be accomplished via the Exchange Management Shell environment. The problem is there is scant little Microsoft sponsored documentation—outside of the Microsoft Knowledgebase—on how the Exchange Management Shell is supposed to work. That is where the Windows PowerShell for Exchange 2007 Server 2007 SP1 is supposed to step in and fill the gap, but as with most books geared towards the IT community, this tome falls short of really delivering the information I need to work effectively in the command-line environment with Exchange 2007.

Inside the Book (Chapter Listing):

Part I: PowerShell for Exchange Fundamentals.
Chapter 1: Getting Started with Windows PowerShell.
Chapter 2: Using Exchange Management Shell.
Chapter 3: Using PowerShell to Deploy Exchange Server 2007.
Chapter 4: Working with User and Group Objects.
Chapter 5: Public Folders.

Part II: Working with Server Roles.
Chapter 6: Configuring the Client Access Server Role.
Chapter 7: Configuring the Hub Transport Role.
Chapter 8: Configuring the Mailbox Server Role.
Chapter 9: Configuring the Edge Transport Server Role.
Chapter 10: Unified Messaging.

Part III: Working with PowerShell in a Production Environment.
Chapter 11: Exchange Server 2007 Routing.
Chapter 12: Working with Continuous Replication.
Chapter 13: Single Copy Clusters.
Chapter 14: Troubleshooting Exchange Issues.

Part IV: Automating Administration.
Chapter 15: User, Group, and Public Folder Administration.
Chapter 16: Reporting, Maintenance, and Administration.
Chapter 17: Using the .NET Framework to Automate Exchange PowerShell Tasks.

Useful Information

I have mixed felling about the usefulness of this book. On the one hand Windows PowerShell for Exchange 2007 Server 2007 SP1 contains a lot of very useful information, especially in the front half of the book wherein the authors go into great details about the inner workings of Windows PowerShell and how to use the Exchange Management Shell.

Even more useful information is to be found in Chapter 3: Using PowerShell to Deploy Exchange Server 2007, wherein command-line buffs can install Exchange 2007 completely via command-line, though why one would want to is beyond me. Nonetheless the command-line syntax is there ready for use, but be aware that one can also install Exchange 2007 via the GUI.

On the other hand some of the commands that I was specifically looking for are not in the book, most notably the Set-Address command used to convert Exchange 2003 address lists to Exchange 2007 address lists. This is one function that cannot be carried out in the GUI and the functionality has become vital to the users in my company. Since Windows PowerShell for Exchange 2007 Server 2007 SP1 could not answer the question I’ll have to search Google or the MS Knowledgebase.

These kinds of missteps are endemic with books like this that cater to the IT community; they are hit and miss; i.e. sometimes they have the information you seek, other times, not so much.

Another case is the Set-EmailAddressPolicy cmdlet (Command Applet) used set the global email address policy for the Exchange 2007 environment. When Installing Exchange 2007 in the "co-existent" mode with Exchange 2003, this Policy is copied over, but will not function until the Set-EmailAddressPolicy cmdlet is run against it, which converts it to Exchange 2007 format. You cannot convert the Policy in the GUI, therefore only the command-line can be used. Again, an example of this key command-line applet was not in the book, nor was the syntax readily available on-line, so I ended up creating a new Email Address Policy. Not a lot of work, but it would have been nice to have an example of the syntax either in the program or in the book.

All and all Windows PowerShell for Exchange 2007 Server 2007 SP1 is a good general reference book on the form and functionality of the Exchange 2007 Management Shell, but it is a little thin on all of the command applets that can be utilized within. That is what I was looking for and thought I had with this 520 page book, but I was wrong. Not that Windows PowerShell for Exchange 2007 Server 2007 SP1 is totally useless; indeed the book would be quite a find for a beginner Exchange administrator who has not been exposed to either Exchange 2000, or Exchange 2003, and is not used to the messaging software’s GUI functionality.

Recommended:
Yes

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About the reviewer
Vincent Martin ()
Ranked #194
I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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ISBN-13: 978-0470226445
Author: Jonathan Runyon
Genre: Computers
Publisher: Wrox Pr Inc
Date Published: January 22, 2008
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