Microsoft Exchange is one of the most popular email servers on the Windows operating system. It is also a collaboration, scheduling, calendaring, and contact platform. It was released 26 years ago and has so far been pretty successful. This article will look at some of the questions you should expect in your Microsoft Exchange interview to increase your chances of landing the job. We hope that you will be able to brainstorm the questions and find excellent answers. Let’s get right into it.
1. Have You Ever Used The Microsoft Exchange 2013 Version? Mention Some Of The Features You Loved
Microsoft Office 2013 had a lot of new and useful features, making it one of the best versions to come out. Some of these include:
- Useful integrations- MS Exchange 2013 offers better integration with Lync and Microsoft SharePoint thanks to in-place eDiscovery and site mailboxes.
- Better Experience- MS 2013 offers a better user interface by enabling the touch feature and improving users’ overall experience.
- Multigenerational Workforce- The MS version allows users to merge contacts and perform smart searches to identify others on the network
- Resilient resolution- The Microsoft version was built upon the 2010 exchange server. It also offered simplicity of scale, hardware utilization, and feature isolation.
2. What’s The Importance Of The Client Access Server In Microsoft Exchange?
The client access server lets users access services such as mobile devices, outlook web apps, Microsoft Office Outlook, POP, and SMTP. It further allows handling all client requests and using layer 4 routings. Additional uses include routing requests to the right mailboxes, accepting mail from other mail hosts, and giving network security, authentication, and a unified namespace.
3. Do You Know The Role Of The Mailbox Server?
The roles of the mailbox server include hosting public folder databases, Email storage, hosting mailbox databases, performing multi-mailbox searches, calculating Email address policies, offering high availability and site resiliency, handling client connectivity, offering messaging records management and retention policies, offering all core exchange functionality and ensuring that a failed database does not have access to the mailbox.
4. Do You Understand The Roles Of The Categorizer?
The categorizer in Microsoft Exchange plays three main roles, namely:
- Content conversion- Under content conversion, the SMTP is converted into a more readable format (such as HTML), plain text, or rich text format once it reaches the right address.
- Recipient resolution- Recipient resolution means that the recipient’s email address determines whether the recipient owns an Exchange Organization mailbox or an external email address.
- Routine resolution- Routine resolution routes the destination of the mail once the recipient information is resolved and determines the next hop.
5. What Do You Understand By An Outlook Web App?
An outlook web app, popularly referred to as OWA, is a web-based email client that lets users access their Microsoft Exchange server email from several browsers. Its features are similar to that of Outlook’s desktop version. Some of its capabilities include creating and managing calendar events, sending and receiving mail, and adding contacts.
6. What Are Some Of The Most Important Features Of The Transport Pipeline According To You?
The three different services of the transport pipeline are its most important features, in my view. They include:
- Mailbox transport- This service uses remote procedure call (RPC) to facilitate the sending and receipt of SMTP from the mailbox to the transport service.
- Transport service- This service is available in all mailbox servers, where it handles the SMTP mail flow by tending to content inspection and mail categorization. It doesn’t locally queue messages but routes them between the three transport pipeline services, i.e., front-end transport service, mailbox transport- service, and the transport service.
- Front-end transport service- The front-end transport service is responsible for basic message filtering. It works with recipients, domains, senders, and connectors and doesn’t locally backlog any messages. Instead, it uses a mailbox server to connect with the transport service.
7. Do You Understand The Actions Of The Front-End Transport Service?
The transport service performs three actions, premised on the types and number of recipients. They include:
- Using the first 20 recipients to select a mailbox in a delivery group or close proximity for messages with several mailbox recipients. This is generally premised on the AD site proximity.
- Choosing a random mailbox server in the local AD site for a message with no mailbox recipient.
- Choosing a mailbox server based on AD site proximity for messages with single mailbox recipients while giving preference to the mailbox server.
8. Do You Understand The Functions Of The Mailbox Transport Submission Service?
Like the front-end transport service, the mail transport submission service performs actions based on the type and number of recipients. Such actions include:
- Selecting a mailbox server in the local delivery group if there is no mailbox recipient
- Choosing a mailbox server in the target delivery group for messages with only one mailbox recipient while prioritizing the mailbox server based on the proximity of the AD site.
- Using the first 20 recipients to select a mailbox server in the closest delivery group with several recipients. This is based on the AD site proximity.
9. What Do You Understand By Exchange Admin Center?
The exchange admin center is the web-based exchange management console for exchange server 2013. It is optimized for online, hybrid, and on-premises Exchange deployments management, replacing the exchange management console and exchange control panel. Some of the new features in the Exchange admin center include:
- Notification of long-running processes in the notification bar
- Addition and removal of columns for recipients
- Ability to run the Role-Based Access Control editor from the Exchange admin center
- Public folders that can easily be managed from the exchange admin center
- List view with more than 20,000 objects that can be easily viewed in EAC
- Direct access to tools such as statistics for unified messaging
- Easy access to user call logs from the EAC.
10. Tell Us About The Enhancements Made To Batch Mailbox Move On Exchange 2013
The Exchange 2013 Batch Mailbox had five enhancements, namely:
- Ability to move both primary and personal mailboxes together or separately
- Ability to automatically retry and prioritize moves
- Several mailboxes that can move in large batches
- Manual move request finalization option, allowing users to review moves before completion
- Getting notified through email during a move
11. Mention Some Of The Discontinued Features In Microsoft 2013
The following present features in Microsoft 2010 were discontinued in Microsoft 2013:
- Connecting filtering agents
- Managed folder
- Variety of tools, such as performance troubleshooter, Exchange best practice analyzer, performance monitor, mail flow troubleshooter, and routing log viewer
- Linked connectors
- Exchange control panel
- Exchange management console
- Unified messaging server
- Hub Transport server role
- Search folders
- Spell check in OWA
- S/ MIME
- RTP over TCP method for mailbox access
- Outlook 2003 support
12. Mention The High Availability Features Introduced In Exchange Server 2010
Some of the high-availability features introduced in Exchange Server 2010 include:
- Incremental deployment, allowing the deployment of high availability or site resilience after installing Exchange
- Exchange third-party replication API allowing third-party replication of DAG
- RPC Client Access Service provides a MAPI endpoint for outlook clients
- Mailbox database copy consisting of either a passive or active copy of the mailbox database
- Database availability group made up of up to 16 mailbox servers capable of holding the set of replicated databases
- Database mobility made possible by enabling one mailbox database to be mounted and replicated in another
- Shadow redundancy, which is a transport feature offering redundancy for messages in transit
13. Mention the Main Components of the Microsoft Exchange Server
The Microsoft Exchange server is made up of four main components, namely:
- Mailbox server- The mailbox server stores all user data, such as calendar items, contacts, and emails. Every mailbox can be accessed via Outlook or different email clients
- The Edge Transport server- This server offers a gateway for both incoming and outgoing mail
- Client Access server- Enabled clients to access the data
- Hub transport server- This transport server routes emails between servers
14. How Would You Define The Microsoft Exchange Server To Someone Without Any Technical Know-How?
I would tell them that the Microsoft Exchange server is a messaging and collaboration platform/software owned by Microsoft that allows us to communicate and work together using services such as email, tasks, contacts, and calendars. I would also remember to say that the Exchange server offers a reliable and secure platform for email and other communication services management for both organizations and individuals. I would use simple language and include illustrations or examples where necessary to enhance understanding.
15. What Do You Understand By The Exchange Transport Rule?
The exchange transport rule consists of the actions and conditions governing how email messages flow in the Exchange server. The rule applies regulations and policies such as spam filtering, data loss prevention, and routing rules to email messages and can therefore be used to add message headers or footers, redirect or block messages and modify what messages entail. These rules allow administrators to manage email traffic and enforce organizational policies easily.
16. Walk Us Through How You Would Backup And Restore An Exchange Server
Two options to back up and restore an exchange server are third-party solutions and Windows Server Backup. It’s also important that any backup or restoration is performed at the server or database level. One must remember to include components such as configuration files, mailbox databases, and transport settings in the backup when backing up the Exchange server. On the other hand, restoration requires careful execution and planning as it can be quite complex.
17. Can You Walk Us Through How The Exchange Server Handles Malware And Spam?
The Exchange server has several built-in features that handle spam and malware, such as anti-virus protection, anti-spam filters, and attachment filtering. Here is how they work:
- Anti-virus protection- The Microsoft Defender offers anti-virus protection for Endpoint, which scans incoming and outgoing messages to detect any threats or malware.
- Anti-spam filters- Anti-spam filters have an array of techniques, such as heuristics, sender reputation, and constant filtering, that identify and block spam messages.
- Attachment filtering- This is an excellent feature that lets administrators block certain file types or extensions, hence reducing the risk of malware infections.
18. Walk Us Through How The Exchange Server Handles Archiving And Retention
The Microsoft Exchange server offers archiving and retention support thanks to features such as litigation hold, retention policies, and personal archives.
- Litigation hold- This feature allows administrators to preserve email messages and specific user group data during legal proceedings. It ensures that data is not modified or deleted.
- Retention policies- Administrators can apply retention settings to entire mailboxes or given email messages, retaining messages for quite some time before they are deleted.
- Personal archives- Users use separate mailboxes to store data and older email messages. They help reduce primary mailbox sizes and improve performance.
19. Differentiate Exchange Online And Exchange Server
Exchange Online is part of Office 365. It is a cloud-based email service offered by Microsoft. On the other hand, an Exchange server is a server-based email installed in a specific location. The two have similar features and functionalities, including contacts, calendaring, email, and tasks. The only difference is that Exchange online has several added benefits, such as built-in security features, scalable infrastructure, high availability, and automatic updates. However, it offers less control and customization options for administrators than the Exchange Server, which calls for more maintenance and management. Lastly, Exchange Server must be installed, configured, and regularly updated by an IT staff, which doesn’t apply to the Exchange Server.
20. Can You Walk Us Through How You Would Migrate From An Older Exchange Version To A Newer One
I would first plan carefully before migrating to a newer Exchange version owing to the potential complexity that may arise. I would then follow the following steps:
- Preparing the right environment for the migration by updating hardware and software, validating the existing settings and configurations, and then testing the new environment
- Installing and configuring the new Exchange server environment by configuring mail flow, creating new databases, and coming up with impenetrable security settings.
- Beginning the migration process by moving different items such as public folders, mailboxes, and data from the old environment to the already set up one.
- Validating the new environment after completing the migration and giving users access to mailboxes and other data.
21. Can You Tell Us How The Exchange Server Integrates With Other Microsoft Products
The exchange server Integrates with several Microsoft products such as Skype for Business, SharePoint, Office 365, and Team by offering an excellent email and calendaring experience for users of the above platforms.
- SharePoint- By integrating with SharePoint, Microsoft Exchange allows SharePoint users to share files and documents
- Teams and Skype for Business- Allows users of both platforms to communicate and collaborate in real-time
- Office 365- Allows users to access their mailboxes and data from cloud-based environments and on-premises by offering a hybrid email environment.
22. Do You Know How Microsoft Exchange Handles Disaster Recovery And High Availability?
Microsoft Exchange has several features that support disaster recovery and high availability. They include:
- Database Availability Groups- These are several mailbox servers that offer automatic database-level failover and replication, keeping mailboxes available in situations such as a server or database failure.
- Exchange Native Data Protection- This functionality offers recovery features and in-built backups such as item-level and granular recovery without any external backup software.
- Database copies- These are secondary copies of mailbox databases that offer additional redundancy and improve performance.
23. Explain What The Exchange Admin Center Is
The Exchange Admin Center manages the Exchange server. This web-based management console has a graphical user interface that manages Exchange Server configuration and settings. It can be accessed from any web browser and is generally easy to use as it does not require any PowerShell or Exchange Management Shell Knowledge.
24. Do You Know How Microsoft Exchange Handles Compliance And Discovery?
Microsoft Exchange handles compliance and eDiscovery using In-Place Hold, compliance search, and E-discovery features. Here is how they help with compliance and discovery:
- Compliance Search- This feature lets administrators search for and obtain specific email messages and a range of data to ensure regulatory requirements or compliance.
- In-Place Hold- This feature preserves specific user groups’ email messages and data, ensuring they are not modified or deleted during legal proceedings.
- eDiscovery- This feature uses sender, recipient, keywords, among other criteria, to look up specific email messages and data before exporting the search results to support legal or regulatory processes.
25. Can You Automatically Discover Settings And Configuration Emails In Microsoft Exchange?
Yes. Microsoft Exchange lets you discover settings and configuration emails using the auto-discover feature. It automatically obtains the necessary information, such as connection settings, server names, and security settings, from the Exchange server when the email client is first configured. It also simplifies the configuration process, improves user experience, and minimizes the risk of configuration errors.
This section marks the end of our article. We hope that it was insightful enough and that our suggestions will help you prepare adequately for your upcoming interview. Remember to also focus on other aspects of the interview, such as giving the interviewers an excellent first impression. We wish you all the best.