Microsoft Exchange Server Timeline, Exchange 4.0 – 2016 Features

In this article we are going to discuss about Microsoft Exchange Server Timeline. In this you will get information about the journey of Microsoft Exchange Server from its first Version 4.0 to the current version Exchange Server 2016. You will also know about improved features, working style, user interface, security etc according to version wise.
Microsoft Exchange Server Timeline
As you know that MS Exchange Server is the leading enterprise messaging server solution in the online market. It was added to Microsoft’s product in April via the release of Exchange Server 4.0. It is a merging point for the migration of MS internal messaging system and their trade PC messaging product.

Microsoft Exchange Server Timeline

Internally, Microsoft was utilizing a legacy XENIX system for their email however with Microsoft growing and requirement to migrate to homegrown solution. Therefore, Microsoft developed Exchange Server. Simultaneously, Microsoft had commercial product named as MSMail that changed from the product called Network Courier from Vancouver Company. Many issues were faced to overcome this Exchange Server 4.0 was released. Work on improving the features of product has not stopped since then, as discussed in the following section Microsoft Exchange Server Timeline.

Exchange Server 4.0

This was the first Exchange Server that was released by Microsoft in March 1996 and later five service packs were released in next two years.

Exchange Server 5.0

This is the new Exchange Administrator console and opening up integrated access to SMTP based networks for the first time. It has an add-in known as Internet Mail connector helps to communicate directly with servers by using SMTP.

  • Web-based Interface: Provides an interface between user and running software on server.
  • Outlook Web Access: It is the Outlook on web and is browser-based email client.

Exchange Server 5.5

As the last edition of Exchange Server have distinct directory, i.e. SMTP and NNTP services. There is no new edition of Exchange Client and Schedule for edition 5.5, instead of this MS Outlook 8.03 was released to support the new feature of it. It was sold in two editions, i.e.

  • Standard version: It had 16 GB of size limitation of database as earlier editions of Exchange Server. It includes the Mail connector, Site connector, Internet mail service, Internet news service as well software to interoperate with Novell GroupWise, Lotus Notes, and Mail.
  • Enterprise version: In this, the limit is increased of 16 TB. Along with this, X.400 connector and interoperability of software with SNADS and PROFS were added and two nodes of clustering capability were introduced.

Exchange Server 2000

This edition overcomes various limitations of previous version. As the size of database, storage is increased so the number of services in the cluster is also increased from two to four. It has a dependency upon Active Directory as it does not have in-built directory service. It also added a support for Instant Messaging.

Exchange Server 2003

Exchange Server 2003 has various compatibility modes that permit users to migrate slowly to new system. It is essential in large companies with the distributed Exchange Server environment that cannot afford the downtime and expense, which comes with the complete migration. It also has the latest feature that enhanced the disaster recovery and permits administrators to bring server online rapidly. This is only done when the server send and receive mail when the stored messages are recovered from backup. In addition, an improvement in the mailbox management tools permits administrators to execute common chores more rapidly. There are several filtering methods are added to Exchange Server. They are not sophisticated to eliminate spam but can protect from DoS and mailbox flooding attacks.

  • Filtering Connection: Messages are blocked from manually specified IP addresses and ranges or from DNS RBL lists.
  • Filtering Recipients: Messages are blocked while sending manually to specified recipients on server or other recipients that are not on server.
  • Intelligent Message Filtering: It is initially free MS add-on and later part of service pack 2, which utilizes heuristic message analysis to block the messages or direct it to junk in Outlook.

Exchange Server 2007

It released the roll-out wave of new products to business customers that includes new clustering option, voice mail integration, better search, support web service, new OWA interface, grater scalability, and best filtering options. It also dropped the support for migration of Exchange 5.5, admin groups, Outlook mobile access, X.400, and some API interface. It runs on x64 edition of Windows Server. Exchange 2007 had introduced many new features with the launch according to Exchange server timeline over Exchange 2003.


  • Protection: Antivirus, Anti-spam, clustering with data replication, compliance, improved security, and encryption.
  • Management Shell: It is a new command-line shell and scripting language for system administration. It has over 375 unique commands for management of MS Exchange 2007.
  • It Experience Improved: 64-bit performance and scalability, simplified GUI, role separation, simplified routing, command-shell.
  • Increased Database Size limitation: Database is limited to 16 TB per database.
  • Unified Messaging: Allows receiving voice email, faxes in mailbox, access mailbox via cell phones.
  • Maximum Storage Groups: Five each for standard edition and 50 for enterprise edition.
  • Outlook Anywhere configuration: Mainly, known as RPC over HTTP offers external access to MS Exchange Server 2007 for users. It offers external URLs for Exchange services.

Exchange Server 2010

This version was released on May 2009 and for general availability on November 2009. Exchange 2010 was also a drastic change in the history according to MS Exchange server timeline, which had introduced many newly features. Lets proceed to read newly added features in below features section.


  • DAG: It is database availability groups. All the SSC, LCR, CCR, and site resiliency functionalities have been replaced via DAG. It offers database-level high availability and supports various copies of every database and flexibility configuration.
  • CAS: It is client access server. Its high availability is provided by utilizing CAS arrays. It contains multiple servers of CAS in active directory site and offers single name for the end of client connections.
  • Multiple Server Role combined with CAS: In Exchange 2010 CAS may be combined with multiple server role or Hub transport roles whether mailbox server participates in Database availability group. Since database availability groups utilizes Windows Failover Clustering and Microsoft does not support it. Balancing on same server will require the utilization of third party load balancer to offers load balancing and fault tolerance for CAS role.
  • RPC Client Access: With the release of RPC client access, all Outlook clients make use of their mailbox via CAS role. Its abstraction layer permits for improved load balancing, redundancy, and minimal client impact in the event of database level event.
  • Cost Savings: It provides about 75% of cost saving of hardware from Exchange Server 2007 to 2010.
  • Personal Archive: It is implemented as secondary mailbox for achieved and enabled users and in server pack 1, personal achieve may be situated on diverse database than primary mailbox that may reside on different disk if required.
  • Recoverable Items: There is a recoverable items folder for Exchange 2010 and configured it properly so that data can be recovered. As it provides tamper proof storage area.
  • Improvement in OWA: It provides the tracking of sent messages and printable calendar view as well as premium experience is available.
  • Moderation in Distribution Groups: It allows joining at will or with other group moderator’s permission.

Exchange Server 2013

There is another release of Exchange Server 2013 on October 2012. It provides the trail edition at MS website. It was also a big change in Exchange Server according to Exchange Server timeline. Lets move forward to read its newly added features in below section.


  • Offline Support: Automatically synchronization of data after proper connectivity.
  • Client Connectivity: CAS is the main point for connectivity for all clients.
  • Public Folders: Public folders are part of mailbox now and high availability is achieved by using DAG.
  • Site Mailboxes: Brings SharePoint and Exchange emails together.
  • OWA: Provides three different UI layouts optimized for desktop, mobile, browser.
  • EAC: Replacement of Exchange Management Console with EAC (Exchange Administrative Center.
  • Support up to 8TB: It allows adding various databases per disk via availability of data group management.
  • Built-in Antimalware protection: Ability for administrators for configuration and management settings from inside EAC.
  • New DPL: Abilities for protecting and identifying sensitive data DPL policies on regulatory standards.
  • Fast search: Provides more indexing and searching experience.
  • Replication: Public folders are saved in mailbox databases and have advantage for database availability groups for high availability and replication.

Exchange Server 2016

It is the latest edition of Exchange Server released on October 2015.


  • Combine Roles: Reduce the number of availability roles – Mailbox Server and Edge Transport.
  • OWA: There are UI changes
  • Office 365 Hybrid: HCW (Hybrid Configuration Wizard), which was included with Exchange 2013, is now moving to become cloud-based application. In Exchange 2016, if the user chooses to configure hybrid then, user is encouraged to download and install the wizard as small application.
  • Messaging Policy: provides new DLP and Archiving/ Discovery/ Retention features.


In this article write up we have discussed about Microsoft Exchange Server Timeline according to version wise improved features. As you know that with the business point of view, Exchange Server plays an important role in data management. The Microsoft Exchange Server timeline has offered various beneficial features for users and keep on updating accordingly with every new edition of Exchange Server.