Synchronization : Exchange Server & Outlook

Exchange Server 2003 and later versions of Exchange Server provide support for certain Outlook features, and Office Outlook 2007 works better with Exchange Server 2003 or later in several ways for other features. Several of these features were introduced in Outlook 2003—most notably for synchronization processing, user synchronization status reports, and junk e-mail filtering. Instant Search and automatic Exchange server discoverability are new in Office Outlook 2007.

Synchronization between Outlook & Exchange Server:

Synchronization processing between Outlook and Exchange is enhanced in a number of ways, starting in Outlook 2003. For example, data exchanged between the Outlook client and Exchange Server 2003 servers is compressed, and the data buffer size is larger. In addition, the buffers are packed, so more compressed data is included in each buffer. With these features, more data can be transferred with fewer server calls. This is especially beneficial when users are synchronizing across networks that charge by the byte of data that is transmitted. When large information sets are downloaded—for example, when users update their mailboxes after they have been on vacation—cost can be significantly lowered and the transaction can be shortened with these improvements.

Better status information about Cached Exchange Mode:

Another feature that users will notice is better status information about Cached Exchange Mode synchronization. With Exchange Server 2003 or later, the Outlook status bar shows detailed information about synchronization, such as:

  • How many bytes have not been downloaded for the current folder

  • How many items have not been downloaded in the current folder

  • Approximately how long it will be until the current folder is synchronized

  • Folder status, such as Up to Date and Last updated at date and time.

When used with latest Exchange Server:

When it is used with Exchange Server 2003 or later, the Headers Only mode in Outlook provides a 256-byte plain text preview that includes part of the message body, rather than showing just the message header information. This message preview can help remote users to make better decisions about whether to download a whole message—which, for example, might include a large attachment.

When used with latest Outlook & Exchange Server:

Using Outlook with Exchange Server 2003 or later also helps to provide a better experience for users in filtering junk e-mail messages. The Junk E-mail Filter in Outlook provides some support for Outlook users with Cached Exchange Mode on versions of Exchange Server earlier than Exchange Server 2003. The experience is much improved with Exchange Server 2003 or later.

New features of Outlook 2007 & Exchange Server 2007:
Several features that are new in Office Outlook 2007 also work better with Exchange 2007.

  • Instant Search works better with Exchange 2007 when you use Outlook in Online mode with a mailbox server, because Outlook can use the index on Exchange Server 2007 for searching. To enable Instant Search when you use Outlook with earlier versions of Exchange, you must configure Outlook to index user mailboxes for each Exchange client. This extra step is required because indexing in Outlook on the user's computer cannot be fully optimized, unlike the server indexing service that is implemented for Exchange Server 2007.
  • If users are configured to use Cached Exchange Mode, Office Outlook 2007 indexes the search locally, regardless of the Exchange server version.
  • In addition, Office Outlook 2007 automatically detects the user's Exchange server with Exchange Server 2007.
  • Automatic detection is also enabled under the following circumstances for earlier versions of Exchange: when the user's computer is joined to a domain and when Exchange is in the same domain as the user account.