Q

Using certificates with Outlook Web Access

I have a small company with two sites; each one has an Exchange 2000 server. Is it possible to get Outlook Web Access working for both servers using a single SSL certificate without a "front-end server," which would mean additional hardware and licensing costs?

It's a Windows 2000 single forest domain and all users have e-mail addresses of username@companyname.com. Apparently, this was doable with Exchange 5.5, but not with Exchange 2000. I installed a certificate on the "master" Exchange 2000 server and it works fine, but users whose mailboxes reside on the second server can't use it.

What you have described is by design. As you have determined, without a front-end server, you can not centralize the SSL access to all mailboxes. It is a give and take scenario.

There are two pieces of good news I can give you. One is that certificates for your Exchange servers do not have to cost a fortune. You can shop around for cheaper third-party certificate authorities (CA), or you can even configure one of your existing servers in your domain as a Windows CA. The other good news is that the Standard Edition of Exchange Server 2003 can be used as front-end servers. This is significantly cheaper then the Enterprise Edition that we were required to use with Exchange 2000 Server. And, front-end server hardware generally does not cost nearly has much as back-end servers, because there are virtually no disk storage requirements beyond the OS and the Exchange application. Finally, Exchange 2003 front-end servers are backwards compatible with Exchange 2000 back-end servers.


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This was first published in February 2005

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