In addition, you talked about deploying a new machine in your infrastructure. Deciding between a front-end and a back-end server has more to do with the objectives you are attempting to accomplish.
Back-end servers are inside the corporate firewall, and provide a platform to house mailboxes. These servers are used through storage groups and databases.
Front-end servers are on the perimeter of the network, and optimize the configuration of Exchange by offering:
- Single External Namespace
- Offloads Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption and decryption for Outlook Web Access
- Enhanced security
- Improved public folder access and features
- Increased IMAP access to public folders
- Multiple protocol support
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Dig Deeper on Microsoft Exchange Server 2003
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