Exchange Server becomes Outlook Server

This article was originally posted on April 1st 2018

The latest downloadable build of Exchange Server 2016 Cumulative Update 9 disclosed information that was previously shown accidentally to the public by Greg T. during his breakout session BRK3249 – Modern Authentication for Exchange Server On-Premises at Microsoft Ignite 2017.  

BRK3249 - Modern Authentication for Exchange Server On-Premises

As part of the global harmonization of the product namespace of the well-established Outlook brand, the next release of Exchange Server will be named Outlook Server 2019.

This name change was mentioned originally on this slide:

BRK3249 - Modern Authentication for Exchange Server On-Premises - Leak

Give it a thought, and you’ll realize that this change makes absolute sense, as different product names for the same software function distract customers and users. 

  • Outlook
  • Outlook for iOS
  • Outlook for Android
  • Outlook on the web
  • Outlook Server

Another reason for renaming Exchange Server is a new functionality for integrating personal mailbox files (PST). It was and still is a tedious task for administrators to get hold of all those PST files used by end users. Instead of implementing a complex and data protection safe process to import PST files to the primary users’ mailbox, the new Outlook Server 2019 offers synchronized PST folders. A functionality we’ve waited for for years.

Two new functions are introduced as part of the new modern Outlook Server 2019

  • PST Sync
    Synchronized PST files across DAG member servers
  • Linked PST Files
    New Outlook function to connect to server-based PST files advertised by AutoDiscover

How does it work?

  • The  $env:ExchangeInstallPath contains a new folder named PSTSync
    The new folder can be accessed by end users using https:///PSTSync 
  • Add a new subfolder for each user with PST files, assign Owner access to the subfolder, and inform the users to upload their PST files using that link
  • The uploaded PST files are automatically renamed and synchronized between the DAG member servers using PSTSync
  • Existing PST files are automatically advertised by AutoDiscover as LinkedPSTFile when queried by a modern Outlook version

The following diagram illustrates the new functionality in a simple Outlook Server 2019 setup:

The new Outlook Server functionality

The following screenshot illustrates the new PSTSync folder and some sample PST files for a user with SAMAccountName JohnDoe

PSTSync Sample for JohnDoe

It’s good the see that there is a future for an email server product like Exchange Server and that after so many years of cloud-only an on-premises-only feature got added.


Enjoy the day, and Happy Easter!

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