Exchange Management Tools

Exchange Management Tools

The integration of on-premises and cloud environments offers a lot of benefits. But in terms of Exchange management administration, it also adds some confusion.

This article will show you how to manage Exchange in the most efficient way possible when running a hybrid Office 365 installation.

Exchange Management Consoles

To manage Office 365 mailboxes using standard tools, you’re facing a mixed bag of tools:

  • Active Directory Users & Computers is needed to manage a lot of synchronized attributes
  • On-premises Exchange Admin Center is necessary to manage mail attributes in your AD
  • Exchange Online Admin Center is required to manage some of the Office 365 mailbox properties
  • Microsoft 365 Admin Center (or the Azure Portal) is needed to manage Office 365 licenses (enable/disable mailboxes)
  • And even PowerShell is needed to manage some settings (like quotas and calendar delegation)

With third-party tools like Easy365Manager, you can simplify your Office 365 Exchange management a great deal. 

Exchange Administration with Easy365Manager

Easy365Manager is a snap-in for Active Directory Users & Computers.

With Easy365Manager, Exchange management becomes an integrated part of your standard AD user management.

Once Easy365Manager is installed, you’ll see two new tabs in user properties in AD:

Easy365Manager Office 365 user properties
The new "Office 365" tab in user properties
The new "Mailbox" tab in user properties

With these new tabs, you can assign Office 365 licenses, manage mail addresses (proxyAddresses), configure mailbox delegation, synchronize Azure AD Connect, and much more.

As an example, with Easy365Manager, it only takes a few seconds to create a synchronized Office 365 user:

How to create a synchronized Office 365 user with Easy365Manager

The synchronized user is available in Office 365 immediately without synchronizing Azure AD Connect.

Review all Easy365Manager features here.

To try this simplistic approach to Exchange management, download the fully-functional 30-day trial of Easy365Manager here.

Exchange Administration Using Standard Tools

Without Easy365Manager, you need to navigate a significant number of tools to manage your hybrid Office 365.

The following sections will list the tools needed when using the standard approach to Exchange Online management.

Exchange Management – Active Directory Users & Computers

AD Users & Computers is needed to manage your on-premises users and groups.

In a hybrid environment, many Exchange Online related attributes are synchronized from your on-premises AD.

Your local AD is said to be “authoritative” for these attributes, and therefore you need to manage the attributes in your local AD.

You can manage many attributes directly (like proxyAddresses), but it’s not recommended, as mistakes can be hard to troubleshoot.

With Easy365Manager, you get proper GUI access to modify the proxyAddresses attribute, and Easy365Manager will check that values entered are valid and unique across your domain.

Active Directory Users & Computers

Exchange Management  – Exchange On-Premises Admin Center

The Exchange on-premises Admin Center provides a more friendly way to manage your Exchange-related attributes in your local AD.

However, many admins consider it a huge drawback that you have to maintain an on-premises Exchange Server after having migrated all mailboxes to Office 365.

Also, Exchange on-premises continues to be a popular target for zero-day exploits and ransomware attacks, as seen in the huge Hafnium attack in early 2021.

With Easy365Manager, you can save money and reduce risk by removing your on-premises Exchange Server.

Exchange Admin Center (EAC)

Exchange Management – Exchange Online Admin Center

With the Exchange Online Admin Center, you can manage some of the mailbox settings like delegation, size restrictions, and more.

In a hybrid environment, you need to remain conscious of whether attributes are authoritative in your local AD or Office 365.

If you try to configure settings in the wrong place, you’ll be met with error messages like this: 

The operation on mailbox failed because it's out of the current user's write scope. The action Set-Mailbox EmailAddresses can't be performed on the object because the object is being synchronized from your on-premises organization. This action should be performed on the object in your on-premises organization.

With Easy365Manager, you don’t have to worry about attribute authority, as Easy365Manager will always update attributes in the proper place and keep your hybrid environment properly synchronized.

Exchange Admin Center Online

Exchange Management – Microsoft 365 Admin Center

The Microsoft 365 Admin Center allows you to manage Office 365 licenses.

User mailboxes are provisioned by assigning an Exchange Online license to the user, so this is the tool you need to enable or disable mailboxes.

With Easy365Manager, you can easily manage Office 365 licenses as part of your AD user management: 

Create an Office 365 mailbox using Easy365Manager
Microsoft 365 Admin Center user and mailbox management

Exchange Management – The Azure Portal

The Azure Portal is another web console that can be used to manage Office 365 licenses.

Like the other Office 365 web consoles, it shows a lot of attributes that are synchronized from your local AD. These are greyed out and can only be edited in your on-premises AD:

With Easy365Manager, you never have to worry about which tool you need to manage which attributes. Everything is done via AD Users & Computers.

Exchange Management – PowerShell

In some cases, you even need PowerShell to manage mailbox properties.

One example of this is the configuration of calendar delegation.

To configure calendar delegation, you first need to identify the localized unique identifier of the calendar folder in the user mailbox. This may look like this:

tycho.brahe@azure.skrubbeltrang.com:\Calendar

You also have to remember to use one command to add new permissions (Add-MailboxFolderPermission) and another command to configure existing permissions (Set-MailboxFolderPermission).

With Easy365Manager, you get easy GUI access to manage calendar delegation for your users:

How to delegate calendar permissions with Easy365Manager
Easy365Manager Powershell Scripting Automation

Summary

In a hybrid environment, Exchange management is a puzzle made up of several web consoles, your local AD, and PowerShell.

If you want to manage your hybrid environment easily or remove your on-premises Exchange Server, you should consider third-party tools like Easy365Manager.

Easy365Manager will save you and your colleagues a lot of time on a daily basis.

Easy365Manager is available as a fully-functional 30-day trial that you can download here.

The easy installation will have you up and running in just a couple of minutes:

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