After working on thousands of Exchange upgrades over the past few years it has been shocking and troubling to see how many environments do not have AutoDiscover (Outlook Anywhere) configured. Yes it is true that you don’t need AutoDiscover to get email “working,” but running Exchange has always been about powerful integration with Outlook and without AutoDiscover your Outlook experience will be significantly degraded.
The reasons you need AutoDiscover for a good Outlook experience are:
- Automatic discovery of Exchange settings -> don’t force your users, or yourselves to enter Exchange server information by hand
- Automatic discovery of a new mailbox location -> when you do an Exchange upgrade Outlook can automatically discover the location of the “upgraded” mailbox without requiring any manual intervention on your (or the user’s) part
AutoDiscover is a feature that has been around since Exchange 2007 and is only getting more investment from Microsoft as companies are moving mailboxes around at a faster rate than ever before. It works on-premises, in the cloud, with your mobile phone, and with Outlook Web Access. The amount of features and server connections that rely on AutoDiscover for the right endpoint information has grown exponentially and it will be extremely difficult (if not impossible) to move forward into the future of Exchange and Office 365 without it.
AutoDiscover works with Outlook version 2007 & higher, so if you’re moving off Office or Exchange 2003 you’ll need to become familiar with this feature and all the ways it can help your migration be as smooth as possible.
There are many good resources online for understanding the technical details on how AutoDiscover works:
For the sake of your users I implore you to look into AutoDiscover and get it configured in your environment before you decide to make any Exchange upgrades, you will save yourself and your users a lot of headache in the process.
Allison Sousa – Senior Project Manager, PEI