Managing The New Exchange

Published Aug 09 2012 12:02 PM 35.8K Views

Last week, we announced The New Exchange. Today, we are excited to share its new, refreshed management experience.

For folks familiar with Exchange 2010, there are 3 ways to manage Exchange: the Exchange Management Console (EMC), the Exchange Control Panel (ECP), and the Exchange Management Shell (EMS).

As far as the GUI-based experience is concerned, customers are faced with an incongruous choice between EMC and ECP. While most of the management surface is exposed via EMC, some newer features such as Auditing, eDiscovery, RBAC management, Group naming policy, ActiveSync Quarantined Device management, etc., are only available in ECP. Since these features are applicable to both on-premises as well as online deployments, administrators are forced to learn multiple tools and juggle between them. Specifically for the MMC-based EMC, customers also have to bear IT overhead with respect to updates, patches and so on.

Wouldn’t it be pure bliss if you, the Exchange administrator (expert or novice), had just ONE seamless, integrated way to manage all of Exchange, be it on-premises, online, or even both?

Introducing the Exchange Administration Center (EAC)

With The New Exchange, we are proud to announce a brand new experience for the Exchange administrator: the Exchange Administration Center (EAC)! The EAC brings a completely refreshed, seamless, integrated and unified web-based experience.

(please click on thumbnails to see full size)


Figure 1: Introducing the new Exchange Administration Center (EAC).

EAC adopts some of the key tenets of the Windows 8 style. EAC is clean, light and open. While sporting a simplified look, rest assured that there is no sacrifice on functionality. Usability and visual design tests have driven best-fit functionality exposure. Frequently used elements are readily visible; everything else is available but just a little tucked away to reduce visual clutter. Significant attention has also been given to the Information Architecture model, ensuring that features are easily located across Exchange’s vast administrative surface (for instance, you won’t find oddities such as ActiveSync under Phone/Voice anymore). While designing EAC, we have constantly kept both the seasoned and the novice Exchange administrator in mind, and we believe that EAC scales well for both. Finally, the visual consistency across Office 2013, Windows 8 and Windows Phone is simply refreshing.

A quick tour

Let’s take a quick, whirlwind tour of the new EAC. Subsequent blogs will dig deeper into various key features.

To launch EAC, simply point your favorite browser to your new Exchange 2013 server. As soon as you login, the first thing you will notice is the immediate page load response – a stark difference from Exchange 2010’s EMC! Plus with EAC now relying on local PowerShell, MMC client requirements and annoying startup and WinRM issues are a thing of the past. (Note: The ToolBox still uses MMC).

EAC adopts a simple visual layout as described below:


Figure 2: Visual layout of EAC.

1. Hybrid navigation

This serves to rapidly navigate between on-premises and Office 365 Exchange deployments for customers that are running a Hybrid environment. With SSO in place, managing your complex, hybrid environment is a cinch – all it takes is a mouse-click to switch between your environments. You get the same, full-fidelity EAC experience across your entire deployment.

2. Notifications

Notifications are new in EAC. The infrastructure offers online (visual) as well as offline (email) notifications for any feature that is integrated with it. You no longer need to refresh the UI to be aware of updates. The infrastructure will notify you periodically as appropriate. Currently, the following features are plugged into the notification infrastructure, with more to come soon:

  • Import and Export of PST
  • Certificate expiration
  • Mailbox migration


Figure 3: A closer look at Notifications in EAC.

Every Notification clearly identifies status, and offers contextual links to enable you to quickly navigate and take action as needed.

3. Me tile and Help

The Me tile indicates who’s currently logged in. It also offers an entry point for the Help Desk administrator to login on behalf of another user to troubleshoot his/her settings. The Help link here is the primary Help content entry point. Help, of course, is available throughout EAC, and is context-sensitive.

4. Feature panes

EAC employs an efficient Information Architecture model to surface Exchange’s administrative functions in an effective and meaningful ma nner. The model aims to collect related administrative features in a best-fit manner into each Feature pane or category. Currently, the Feature panes exposed are:

  • Recipients – this covers all recipient management such as user, linked, room, equipment, shared mailboxes, distribution, security and dynamic groups, and mail user and contacts. The center also exposes a Migration entry point and dashboard to monitor all ongoing mailbox migrations in one place
  • Permissions – this covers RBAC management functionality in addition to policies such as OWA policies
  • Compliance Management – this covers various Compliance and eDiscovery related features such as In-place Discovery & Hold, Auditing, Data Loss Prevention (DLP), Retention Policies and Tags, and Journaling
  • Organization – this covers Federation, Sharing, Apps (as described in the recent OWA blog article), and Address Lists
  • Protection – this covers Anti-Malware/Anti-Spam
  • Mail Flow – this covers Transport Rules, Delivery Reports, Accepted Domains, Email Address Policies, Receive and Send Connectors
  • Mobile – this covers Mobile Device Access control and Policies
  • Public Folders – this covers Public Folders and Public Folder Mailboxes
  • Unified Messaging – this covers all UM administrative functionality such as Dial Plans, Policies, Gateways, etc.
  • Servers – this covers Server configuration, High Availability (Databases, DAGs and DAG Networks), Virtual Directories and Certificates
  • Hybrid – this covers Hybrid Setup (based on HCW) and Configuration

Note that EAC is fully RBAC-aware. This means that if a certain Feature pane is not applicable or unavailable due to underlying RBAC permissions, EAC will respect the same and not show the respective Feature panes. Additionally, EAC fully supports multiple forest topologies.

A quick glance at the above list should put both the seasoned and the budding Exchange administrator at ease. If you are coming from Exchange 2010, EAC offers the combined feature set of both EMC and ECP, and much more. For the novice Exchange administrator, by incorporating an effective Information Architecture, ensuring key data points/actions are easily available, and reducing visual clutter, we believe that EAC will be equally attractive.

5. Tabs

Tabs represent individual features in a given Feature pane. Each Tab goes deep to expose administrative functionality for a given feature.

Tabs are also RBAC-aware, and only show up depending on your permissions.

6. List view

This represents the core working area of EAC. While the List view may appear visually light, trust us when we say it is functionally rich. The List view has received extra attention to ensure that it performs well in large scale environments. Specifically for Recipient management, EAC’s list view offers asynchronous, background loading of large data sets, paging controls, and ensures that it does not impact your overall experience. The first page of data loads instantly, while the rest is being retrieved in the background. Also available on certain list views is the ability to export data to CSV format, and customizing the views by adding/removing columns. Bulk editing of objects is also available. Finally, with integrated Search experiences, the list view offers a quick, efficient way to work with large datasets.


Figure 4: EAC's new Search experience offers hints.


Figure 5: EAC's Bulk edit experience.

7. Details pane

The Details pane goes hand-in-hand with EAC’s list view. It serves as a context-sensitive work-area surfacing frequently viewed attributes and actions, with just one mouse-click. For example, to enable Archiving for a user, all you need to do is select that user, and click on the Enable link under “Archive” in the Details pane. Without the Details pane, you would need to bring up the user’s property page, navigate to the correct section, and then find the Archiving bit – cumbersome.


Figure 6: Configure Archiving and other common attributes for your users with just one click.


We realize that customers typically have complex, mixed version deployments, spanning multiple Exchange product versions. In line with our vision of a seamless, integrated and unified administrative experience, we have raised the bar on InterOp administration. EAC offers a much better and broader coverage across the board particularly around viewing/modifying lower-version Exchange objects. A subsequent article will dig deeper into this topic.


We have made great strides in making EAC accessible. We have ensured that EAC offers mouse-free, full-keyboard access across all of EAC. For keyboard access speci fically, we have provided shortcut keys to work with navigation, forms and controls. Like the new OWA and other Office Web Apps, we also offer a navigation shortcut (CTRL+F6) to quickly navigate across EAC. We have tuned EAC to provide the best High-Contrast experience possible. Additionally, we are proud to say that we have adopted the Accessible Rich Internet Application (ARIA) industry standard to provide a great screen-reader experience for EAC, across Win8 Narrator and JAWS.

Platform support

We are aware that every user has his/her own favorite browser/OS combination, and we have worked hard to ensure that EAC works best across a broad set of popular platform combinations. We are happy to say that EAC works great on IE8, IE9, IE10, FireFox 13+ (Windows, Mac, Linux), Safari 5+ (Mac), and Chrome 20+ (Windows and Mac).

Additional reading

You can find EAC documentation here, and the EAC FAQ here.

Try EAC!

EAC is now available in the latest Exchange 2013 Preview download bits as well as via the Office 365 Customer Preview offering. We will be blogging more to drill-down on certain features. In the meantime, do try the new EAC, and give us your feedback!

The Exchange Manageability Team

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Nice work! I have read whatever information appeared about features in Exchange 2013, however I found nothing related to multi-tenant suport. I know starting with SP2 the /hosting install mode has been dropped in favor of a new aproach using address book policies. But I have some questions:

1. will there be out of the box  features regarding the creation of tenants and organizations, as well as isolating them from each other? Will Exchange 2013 make life easier for a hosting provider?

2. I have nothing seen in the presentation above regarding tenants and organizations, will the new EAC scale well for dozens of tenants and thousands of users?

Thank you,

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Same question as Marius...

What about Hosting / multi-tenant and Exchange 2013; finally a out-of-the box multitenant solution with right working internal+external OOF's, etc?

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Sorry, couldn't resist.

Not applicable

I looked that the EAC FAQ and have 1 comment:

Your FAQ question is "What's not in EAC that was in EMC?"

Your answer covers WHY you removed features, not WHAT you removed... You need to either change the question or the answer. I would prefer the answer, so I know what not to look for.

Not applicable

With ECP in 2010, I have found the administrator login times out fairly quickly and I can not find a way to extend this. OWA is fine and I can stay logged in all day, but not ECP. Will this behaviour be different in 2013? Will we be able to stay logged on all day, even if we are not active on the tool? Or at least be able to control the behaviour better?

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Until such time as MS fixes bugs such as Outlook 2010 having hundreds and thousands of Sync Errors, I won't be paying any attention to any future functionality chest-beating; fix the bugs first please!  My company will be staying on Exchange 2007 until this sync issue is fixed.  If we get to the point where we need to upgrade and it is not fixed, we will abandon MS altogether.

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         It looks as though EAC is a web browser-based interface. What a horrid mistake. I have yet to see a browser-based interface that was any good at all, much less better than an MMC equivalent. Browser-based interfaces are inherently slow, klunky, and awkward. Why is inferior stuff replacing what little good software is out there?

Not applicable

@ Marius and Arjen - There are no major changes planned to support multi-tenancy using the on-prem product in 2013 - the strategy will closely follow what we did for 2010.

So no, we will not be building in features to create tenants and organizations for those who want to use the on-prem product to provide hosted Exchange.

There are some differences in how some features work in 2013, and there are some improvments we have made which will be the subject of a future post at some point I'm sure, and the hosting guidance will be updated for 2013, but for now you should think of multi-tenancy with 2013 as similar to that with 2010 SP2 and ABP's.  


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Bad move. Here's what I read: "We didn't have time to get our act together, and we're being pressured into moving to a kludgey web-based system so we can claim integration between Lync, Exchange and SP, so we ripped out a bunch of stuff we didn't have time to do right. Go team!"

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Will there be support for MAPI in Exchange 2013

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Addionally, it seems that Exchange 2013 console (EAC) drops PowerShell learning tools and context-sensitive menus... In OWA 2013 we can find context-sensitive menus, but not in EAC... Hopefully EAC will include these features in RTM!

Not applicable

Few questions, will we be able to do the following within EAC, or will we be forced to use remote PowerShell?

- Full and/or Send As permissions?

- Mail Forwarding

- Mailbox Creation

Not applicable

Why was the decision made to use a web based interface for managing Exchange vs a MMC?

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Way to go Microsoft! You couldn't have ruined a perfectly good administrative interface (EMC) anymore than what you have done by changing to the EAC. This new interface sucks! I'm very disappointed in this Preview. I hope the decision makers take a poll and ask their consumers (us) what they want, instead of craming this crappy web based interface down our throats without at least giving us a choice or say so in the matter. Same thing with Windows 8 and Server 2012. Why the hell would you get rid of the start menu? Bill, please come back, we need you !!!!

Not applicable

EAC JUNK, Exchange 2013 JUNK, Microsoft is going down hill.

put the EMC back, why mess with a good thing, web based management sucks

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