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Konfigurieren von POP3-Mailboxen in Ihrem Microsoft® Small Business Server 2000

Unlike Microsoft® Exchange Server 2000, Microsoft® Small Business Server 2000 (further on 'SBS') offers users receive mail from remote mailboxes via POP3 protocol. This feature is implemented via Connector for POP3 mailboxes (further on 'CPM', has nothing to do with someday-popular operating system). We will not focus on Microsoft Exchange Server 2000 lacking this feature, as well as other third party solutions available. Instead, we will review this tool in comparison with Native POP3 Connector for Exchange 2000 (further on 'NPC').

Let us start with brief features comparison:

FeatureCPMNPC
Installing several instances of a connector per one serverNoYes
Advanced schedulerYesYes
Setting time interval for mailbox checking to less than 15 minutesNoYes
Configuring remote POP3 server portNoYes
Creating mailboxes with names other than login nameNoYes
Automatic addressee detectionNoYes
Keeping mail on POP3 server after receiving itNoYes
Setting limit of mail size received from POP3 serverNoYes
Temporary mailbox disablingNoYes
Event LoggingYesYes
Saving configuration to Active DirectoryNoYes
Centralized administering with MMCYesYes
Integration with Microsoft Exchange Server 2000 on mail delivery levelNoYes
Free service and connector service appearance namingNoYes
Managing connector service from Exchange System ManagerNoYes
Administrative mailbox supportNoYes
Non standard format for temporary storing of undelivered mailYesNo
New versions with extended functionality releasedNoYes

SBS ConnectorsBy installing CPM, bundled with SBS and NPC by our company the administrator may expand Connectors node in Exchange System Manager and see that NPC allows managing its configuration in a mode as 'native' for Exchange 2000 as CPM itself. One of the major benefits of such method of configuring is that the administrator can create a special console for each connector and delegate administration rights to other people.

Native POP3 Connector PropertiesAs you can see, not only NPC can be configured in a different way, it also allows administrator to flexibly manage mail receiving and delivery processes. The administrator can activate multithreaded incoming and outgoing messages processing (which increases overall performance, especially on multi-processor machines) as well as set the maximum number of simultaneously operating threads. Besides that, it is possible to specify one of the virtual SMTP servers (Microsoft Exchange 2000 tool) and the folder used for storing messages to be delivered. In case of SBS failure, the administrator can analyze this folder contents using any text editor as well as to backup this folder. On each launch NPC analyzes this folder for undelivered mail and delivers it prior to launching POP3 protocol mail collector subsystem.

Defined POP3 mailboxesManaging mailboxes is performed using intuitively simple method - via standard list. This list is used for adding and removing mailboxes. Editing existing mailbox properties may be accomplished both by pressing 'Edit' button and by double-clicking the mailbox name in the list. Besides that, the administrator can activate or deactivate any mailbox right from that list. This functionality is most useful when there is a need to temporarily deactivate user mailbox (when the user is out of the office and uses his handheld or notebook for receiving messages). CPM lacks the capability to temporarily disable POP3-mailboxes checking. This way, the administrator has to delete and later re-configure mailboxes manually.

Mailbox properties Advabced mailbox properties Shedule

Mailbox settings dialog window can be used by administrator to set standard POP3 server parameters such as Login, Password, Server address (as a DNS name or IP address) as well as Port of the POP3 service. Since CPM does not allow specifying remote POP3 port parameter, some servers may be unreachable for it. For example, if the corporate network uses proxy server to connect to Internet, the administrator must project required ports to local ones. In case that port 110 is taken by proxy server, CPM does not allow interacting with remote POP3 mailboxes. In order to utilize automatic recipient identification for given mailbox, the user must have one of SMTP server addresses set to Mailbox address parameter. Thus, there is no need for NPC administrator to know recipients address - to add a new mailbox it is sufficient to know its configuration. Of course, there is always a chance to specify the recipient address by selecting it from Active Directory via standard dialog.

The ability to save mail on receiving it may be very useful, when the user wants to get mail while on his workplace in the office as well as on the road, at home or in another office. This allows the user to receive the same messages from any place. NPC allows bypassing large messages during delivery (for slower connections) and delete messages without actual delivery as well. The administrator can also put notes to 'Comments' field. These comments can then be received from Active Directory making up a report. Generatively speaking, all NPC configuration parameters are stored in Active Directory and are documented, i.e. there is a way to generate flexible reports using any tool for Active Directory reports generation (scripts, Microsoft utilities and third party tools).

The scheduler is almost identical to the one used in CPM, however, the time interval for mailbox checking can be set to less than 15 minutes (this may be important for tech support service and automated services that use given mailbox as transport).

Native POP3 Connector: DetailsBesides that, NPC has a standard Details tab found in many connectors, that can be used by administrator for writing notes and memos. It also contains the time of creation of this NPC instance and the date of its last modification.

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