Q

Defining the relationship between Outlook, AD and Exchange Server

Find out how Outlook, AD and Exchange are connected and the roles each play for users.

I am new to Exchange Server and am using Exchange Server 2007 with Microsoft Outlook 2007. I'm having difficulty understanding the relationship between Outlook, Active Directory and Exchange. How is AD connected to Outlook and what is Exchange's role?
A user's identity is stored in Active Directory. A user's mailbox resides in Exchange. When the user authenticates, they authenticate against Active Directory and Exchange then determines what rights the user has within the messaging environment.

The address lists (GALs and ALs) are all managed by Exchange by querying Active Directory attributes. Outlook is simply a client that handles the authentication against Active Directory and manages the data returned by Exchange.

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This was first published in February 2010

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