Outlook Web Access (OWA) in Windows Small Business Server 2003 (SBS)

Call it a case of tomorrow’s new today!

I am posting up my Outlook Web Access (OWA) introduction in the SBS 2003 realm today (Friday) because tomorrow (Saturday) I will be jammed with my niece’s wedding here in San Francisco. What is interesting about this wedding is that it is an openly gay wedding which is now legal in the State of California and I am thrilled and excitred to see how this all plays out! I will post up a blog on my first experience at this type of wedding.

Back to the business at hand. I am the author of the Window Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices book (purple book) and I live on Bainbridge Island, WA. I am posting up a few pages of this SBS 2003 bok each and every day until SBS 2008 ships on November 12th (worldwide, multiple languages). Today – as I mentioned – we meet OWA.


Harry Brelsford, CEO at smb nation, www.smbnation.com

Microsoft Small Business Specialist – SBSC

did u know we have a gr8t fall conference in sEattle in early October?!?! 🙂


Outlook Web Access

Meanwhile, back at the BBQ where the steaks are sizzling, another compelling SBS 2003 feature that “sizzles” in front of business decision makers (BDMs) is the massively improved Outlook Web Access (OWA). My infamous SBS customer, Bob in real estate, did back flips when I showed him the new OWA in SBS 2003. Why? For these reasons.

          Look and feel. The new OWA just looks more like “real” Outlook. That has been a major sticking point with Bob and other BDMs. It wasn’t so much like reading an e-mail message in past OWA releases

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was that bothersome. Rather, things like calendar entries and contact records were downright rude!

                      Feature creature. OWA, when compared to past OWA versions (apples to apples) and not compared to “real” Outlook (apples to oranges), is much richer. An example of improved features is the stronger integra­tion with Outlook and its rules and options (such as Privacy and Junk E-mail Prevention options now accessible via OWA).

                      Sir Speedy. This OWA version boogies. Older OWA releases were slow and seconds of delay felt like hours to Type-A businessmen like Bob. It was so bad in the past that I set up Outlook Express with IMAP as per Chapter 6 to workaround the OWA slowness.

                      Security improvements. I felt honor-bound to show my customers, such as Bob the BDM, some improvements to security. As an SBSer in the early 21st century, I’m trying to use every opportunity to talk up security (and no, this isn’t make-work or a self-employment act, but advice offered in a sincere way). See the security section below for details, but I’ll share one now: OWA natively runs under HTTPS when you configure the default configuration of SBS.


BEST PRACTICE: So are there any limitations with the new OWA? Yes, there are a few. A bright student in Mumbai/Bombay India SBS 2003 hands-on lab correctly taught me (the instructor) that OWA doesn’t display multiple mailboxes at the same time while real Outlook can. This is bothersome if you’re a BDM that uses multiple e-mail aliases to look larger than life in the business community and you travel extensively and need to use OWA from Internet cafés or your laptop in a hotel room. With OWA and multiple mailboxes, you’d need to log on multiple times (as the different e-mail account) and view each mailbox separately (e.g., jobs@springersltd.com).

Another student at the San Francisco, California, SBS 2003 hands-

on lab (October 2003) correctly pointed out that, when viewing a

 Visit http://www.smbnation.com for additional SMB and SBS book, newsletter and conference resources.

contact record in a public folder in the new OWA, the New Message to Contact toolbar button is disabled. Translation: You can’t send an e-mail to a contact in a public folder with a single click using OWA. Rather, you have to manually copy and paste the SMTP e-mail address into a new message. He seemed really bothered by this (must have been having a bad SBS day).

Beatrice Mulzer from Cocoa Florida informs me that the search folder feature isn’t available in OWA.

I personally noticed that, when entering a contact record in OWA in the SBS 2003 time frame, that the Address, City, State, Zip fields (ACSZ) are divided in the UI for OWA (you have separate fields for ACSZ). But, in real Outlook 2003, ACSZ is entered into a single field and then parsed in the background.


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