Microsoft Exchange Server 2016: The Features, Differences and Upgrades

Microsoft Exchange Server 2016: The Features, Differences and Upgrades
Microsoft Exchange Server 2016: The Features, Differences and Upgrades


Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 is a powerful email and collaboration platform that offers a wide range of features and capabilities. Understanding the differences between the Standard and Enterprise editions, as well as the various types of Exchange Server deployments, is crucial for making informed decisions about installation, migration, and administration. In this article, we will explore the limitations of Exchange Server Standard versus Enterprise, the upgrading process, and the database size limits for each edition.

Table of Contents

In addition, we will explore the key aspects of Exchange Server 2016, including its architecture, installation, migration, deployment, administration, maintenance, troubleshooting, and updates. We will also discuss best practices, security measures, and integration options with other Microsoft products.

A) Limitations of Exchange Server Standard versus Enterprise

Exchange Server 2016 Standard edition is designed for small to medium-sized organizations, while the Enterprise edition caters to larger enterprises with more demanding requirements. The Standard edition has certain limitations compared to the Enterprise edition:

  • Standard edition supports a maximum of 5 mounted databases per server, while Enterprise edition allows up to 100 mounted databases.
  • The standard edition does not support features like Unified Messaging, Data Loss Prevention (DLP), and In-Place Hold.
  • The standard edition does not include advanced compliance features like In-Place eDiscovery and Legal Hold.

It is important to carefully evaluate your organization’s needs and requirements before choosing between the Standard and Enterprise editions of Exchange Server.

1. Upgrading from Exchange Standard to Enterprise

If your organization has outgrown the limitations of Exchange Server Standard and requires the additional features and scalability of the Enterprise edition, you can upgrade your existing deployment. The process involves the following steps:

  1. Ensure that your server meets the hardware and software requirements for Exchange Server 2016 Enterprise Edition.
  2. Obtain the necessary Exchange Server 2016 Enterprise edition licenses.
  3. Back up your existing Exchange Server Standard databases and configurations.
  4. Uninstall the Standard edition from your server.
  5. Install the Exchange Server 2016 Enterprise edition using the appropriate installation media.
  6. Restore your databases and configurations from the backup.
  7. Configure the Enterprise edition according to your organization’s requirements.

It is recommended to perform the upgrade during a maintenance window to minimize disruption to users and ensure a smooth transition.

2. Types of Exchange Server Deployments

Exchange Server can be deployed in different ways to suit the specific needs of an organization:

  1. On-Premises: In this deployment model, the Exchange Server is installed and managed on the organization’s own servers within their data center.
  2. Cloud-Based Solutions: Organizations can choose to migrate their Exchange Server to cloud-based platforms like Microsoft 365 or other third-party providers.

Each deployment option has its advantages and considerations, such as control, security, scalability, and cost. It is important to evaluate these factors and choose the deployment model that aligns with your organization’s goals and requirements.

3. Database Size Limits for Exchange Server 2016

The database size limits for Exchange Server 2016 depends on the edition:

  • Exchange Server 2016 Standard Edition has a maximum database size limit of 2 terabytes (TB).
  • Exchange Server 2016 Enterprise edition supports larger databases with a maximum limit of 100 terabytes (TB).

These limits ensure efficient storage management and performance optimization for your Exchange Server environment.

4. Active Directory and Exchange Server

Active Directory is a fundamental requirement for installing and running Exchange Server. It provides the necessary user authentication, access control, and directory services for Exchange Server to function effectively. The Exchange Server relies on Active Directory for user and mailbox management, security, and other essential operations.

5. Identifying an Exchange Server

To determine if a server is running Exchange Server, you can check for specific indicators:

  • Check the installed programs or services on the server for Exchange Server components.
  • Use PowerShell commands like “Get-ExchangeServer” to retrieve information about the Exchange Server installation.
  • Access the Exchange Admin Center (EAC) or Exchange Management Console (EMC) to manage and administer the Exchange Server environment.

These methods can help you identify whether a server is running Exchange Server or not.

B) Is Exchange Server 2016 still supported?

Yes, Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 is still supported. Organizations need to ensure they are running a supported version of Exchange Server to receive security updates and technical support from Microsoft.

1. Is Microsoft discontinuing Exchange?

No, Microsoft is not discontinuing Exchange. They continue to release new versions of Exchange Server, with the latest being Exchange Server 2019. However, they have also introduced cloud-based solutions such as Microsoft 365, which includes Exchange Online.

2. How long will Exchange 2016 be supported?

Exchange Server 2016 will be supported by Microsoft until October 14, 2025. This means that organizations have several years to plan and execute their migration to a newer version of Exchange Server.

3. Can I install Exchange 2016 on server 2022?

No, Exchange Server 2016 is not supported on Windows Server 2022. It is recommended to install Exchange Server 2019 or consider using Exchange Online as part of Microsoft 365 for the latest features and compatibility.

4. What replaces Microsoft Exchange?

Microsoft Exchange Server continues to be the leading email and collaboration platform for businesses. However, Microsoft has introduced cloud-based alternatives such as Exchange Online and Microsoft 365, which provide similar functionality and additional benefits such as scalability and automatic updates.

5. Will there be another version of Exchange Server?

Yes, Microsoft has released Exchange Server 2019 as the latest version of the on-premises Exchange Server. They will likely continue to develop and release future versions to meet the evolving needs of organizations.

6. Why has Microsoft Exchange failed?

Microsoft Exchange has not failed. It is a widely used and trusted email and collaboration platform for businesses of all sizes. However, like any software, it may encounter issues or challenges, which can be addressed through proper administration, maintenance, and troubleshooting.

7. What are the discontinued features of Exchange Server?

Exchange Server 2016 introduced several new features and improvements compared to previous versions. However, some features were discontinued or deprecated, such as the Outlook Web App (OWA) for the Exchange Server and the Edge Transport server role. It is important to review the official documentation from Microsoft to understand the complete list of discontinued features.

8. Why upgrade Exchange 2016 to 2019?

Upgrading from Exchange Server 2016 to Exchange Server 2019 offers several benefits, including improved performance, enhanced security features, and new functionalities. Exchange Server 2019 also provides better integration with other Microsoft products and services, such as SharePoint and Teams. It is recommended to plan and execute the upgrade to take advantage of these benefits.

9. Do you need an Exchange Server with Office 365?

No, an Exchange Server is not required if you are using Office 365, as it includes Exchange Online as part of the subscription. Exchange Online offers similar functionality to Exchange Server but with the added benefits of being a cloud-based service, such as automatic updates and scalability.

10. Can Exchange Server 2016 coexist with another version of Exchange?

Yes, Exchange Server 2016 can coexist with other versions of Exchange Server, such as Exchange Server 2010 or Exchange Server 2013, in a mixed environment. This allows organizations to gradually migrate their mailboxes and services to the newer version while maintaining compatibility with older versions.

11. What services should be running for Exchange 2016?

For Exchange Server 2016 to function properly, several services need to be running, including the Microsoft Exchange Active Directory Topology service, Microsoft Exchange Information Store service, Microsoft Exchange Transport service, and Microsoft Exchange Mailbox Assistants service. It is important to ensure that these services are running and properly configured for a smooth operation of the Exchange Server.

12. How do I migrate to a new server in Exchange 2016?

Migrating to a new server in Exchange Server 2016 involves several steps, including preparing the new server, configuring the coexistence between the old and new servers, moving mailboxes and public folders, and updating DNS records. It is recommended to follow Microsoft’s official documentation and best practices for a successful migration process.

Overall, Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 continues to be a reliable and widely used email and collaboration platform. However, organizations should consider upgrading to newer versions or exploring cloud-based solutions like Exchange Online for enhanced features, security, and scalability. Proper administration, maintenance, and migration strategies are essential to ensure a smooth operation and transition.

C) What is Microsoft Exchange Server 2016?

Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 is the latest version of the on-premises email and collaboration platform offered by Microsoft. It provides organizations with a robust and secure messaging environment, allowing them to manage their email, calendars, contacts, and tasks efficiently. Exchange Server 2016 offers a range of features, including enhanced security, improved performance, and advanced compliance capabilities.

1. Is the Microsoft Exchange Server the same as Office 365?

No, Microsoft Exchange Server and Office 365 are not the same. Exchange Server is a standalone product that organizations can install and manage on their servers. On the other hand, Office 365 is a cloud-based suite of productivity tools that includes Exchange Online, a cloud-hosted version of Exchange Server. While they share some similarities, such as email and calendar functionality, Office 365 offers additional features and benefits that Exchange Server does not.

2. Why is Office 365 better than Exchange?

Office 365 offers several advantages over Exchange Server:

  • Scalability and Flexibility: Office 365 allows organizations to scale their email and collaboration needs as their business grows. It offers flexible plans that cater to different requirements, making it suitable for businesses of all sizes.
  • Cost Savings: With Office 365, organizations can avoid the upfront costs associated with purchasing and maintaining their own hardware and software infrastructure. Instead, they pay a monthly subscription fee, which includes regular updates and maintenance.
  • Accessibility: Office 365 can be accessed from anywhere, on any device, as long as there is an internet connection. This flexibility enables employees to work remotely and collaborate seamlessly.
  • Advanced Features: Office 365 provides a range of additional features and applications, such as SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams, which enhance collaboration and productivity within organizations.

3. What is the difference between Windows Server and Exchange?

Windows Server and Exchange Server are two distinct products offered by Microsoft. Windows Server is an operating system designed to run on servers, providing a platform for hosting various applications and services. Exchange Server, on the other hand, is a messaging and collaboration platform specifically designed for managing email, calendars, and contacts.

4. What is the difference between a mail server and Exchange?

A mail server is a software or hardware component that handles the sending, receiving, and storage of email messages. Exchange, on the other hand, is a comprehensive messaging and collaboration platform that includes a mail server component. While a mail server focuses solely on email functionality, Exchange offers additional features such as calendars, contacts, tasks, and integration with other Microsoft applications.

5. What version of Outlook is used for Exchange 2016?

Exchange 2016 is compatible with various versions of Outlook, including Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, and Outlook 2010. However, it is recommended to use the latest version of Outlook to take advantage of all the features and improvements offered by Exchange 2016.

6. What server does Office 365 use?

Office 365 uses Exchange Online as its email server. Exchange Online is a cloud-hosted version of Exchange Server, providing organizations with a reliable and secure email and collaboration platform.

7. How do I know if my email is Outlook or Exchange?

If your email is hosted on an Exchange server, you can access it using the Outlook desktop client or the Outlook web app. However, if your email is not hosted on an Exchange server, you may still be able to use the Outlook client to access it, but certain features and functionalities may be limited or unavailable.

8. What is the difference between Exchange 2016 and 2019 Standard?

The main difference between Exchange 2016 and Exchange 2019 Standard is the version and the features offered. Exchange 2019 Standard includes all the features and capabilities of Exchange 2016, with some additional improvements and enhancements. These enhancements include better performance, improved search functionality, and enhanced security features. Organizations should consider their specific requirements and consult with a Microsoft expert to determine which version is most suitable for their needs.

While Microsoft Exchange Server and Office 365 share similarities, Office 365 offers additional benefits such as scalability, cost savings, accessibility, and advanced features. However, the choice between the two ultimately depends on the specific needs and preferences of the organization. Regardless of the choice, both Exchange Server and Office 365 provide reliable and efficient email and collaboration solutions for businesses of all sizes.

D) What is Microsoft Exchange Enterprise?

Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 comes in two editions: Standard and Enterprise. The Enterprise edition offers additional features and scalability options compared to the Standard edition. With Exchange Server 2016 Enterprise edition, organizations can benefit from advanced features such as advanced compliance, data loss prevention, and unified messaging.

1. Can I use Outlook without an Exchange Server?

Yes, you can use Microsoft Outlook without an Exchange Server. Outlook can be used as a standalone email client for various email services such as Gmail, Yahoo, and others. However, using Outlook with an Exchange Server provides additional features and functionality, such as centralized email management, shared calendars, and contacts.

2. What’s the difference between Microsoft Exchange and Outlook?

Microsoft Exchange is a server software that provides email, calendaring, and collaboration services, while Outlook is an email client that allows users to access their emails, calendars, and contacts. Exchange Server enables organizations to manage and control their email infrastructure, while Outlook is used by individuals to access their emails and other Exchange Server features.

3. How much does an Exchange Server cost?

The cost of Microsoft Exchange Server depends on various factors, including the edition (Standard or Enterprise), the number of user licenses required, and the deployment method (on-premises or cloud-based). It is recommended to contact Microsoft or a licensed reseller for accurate pricing information based on your specific requirements.

3. What is the difference between Office 365 and Exchange Server?

Office 365 is a cloud-based productivity suite that includes various Microsoft applications such as Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Skype for Business. Exchange Server, on the other hand, is an on-premises email server software that provides email and collaboration services. While Office 365 includes Exchange Online, Exchange Server offers more customization options and control over the email infrastructure.

3. Can I use Office 365 with my own Exchange Server?

Yes, it is possible to integrate Office 365 with your own Exchange Server. This hybrid deployment allows organizations to take advantage of the cloud-based features and scalability of Office 365 while keeping some mailboxes and data on their own Exchange Server. This provides flexibility and control over the email environment.

4. Do I need both Exchange and Outlook?

No, you do not necessarily need both Exchange Server and Outlook. Exchange Server is primarily used by organizations to manage their email infrastructure, while Outlook is an email client used by individuals to access their emails. However, using Outlook with Exchange Server provides advanced features such as shared calendars, contacts, and centralized email management.

5. Do I need a Microsoft Exchange add-in in Outlook?

While not necessary, Microsoft Exchange add-ins can enhance the functionality of Outlook when used with Exchange Server. These add-ins provide additional features and integration options with other Microsoft products, such as SharePoint and OneDrive. The decision to use Exchange add-ins depends on the specific needs and requirements of the organization.


Understanding the limitations and differences between Exchange Server Standard and Enterprise editions is crucial for making informed decisions about deployment, upgrading, and administration. By evaluating your organization’s needs and requirements, you can choose the most suitable edition and deployment model to optimize your Exchange Server environment.

Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 is a robust email and collaboration platform that offers a wide range of features and capabilities. Whether you choose the Standard or Enterprise edition, Exchange Server provides a secure and efficient way to manage your organization’s email infrastructure. By integrating with Outlook and other Microsoft products, you can enhance productivity and streamline communication within your organization.