Exchange Server 2007: Resource Scheduling

This blog deals with Auto Accept Agent in Exchange Server 2007 and how you can define, schedule and manage resources easily and reliably. Booking resources (e.g. conference room) in conjunction with a meeting frequently leads to multiple meeting updates, general confusion and lost productivity for both organizers and attendees. The system should enable organizers to reliably find […]

This blog deals with Auto Accept Agent in Exchange Server 2007 and how you can define, schedule and manage resources easily and reliably.

Booking resources (e.g. conference room) in conjunction with a meeting frequently leads to multiple meeting updates, general confusion and lost productivity for both organizers and attendees. The system should enable organizers to reliably find and book an available resource in one attempt and later confirm the reservation while minimizing attendee confusion. This is accomplished in Exchange Server 2007.

  1. Exchange Server 2007 helps the Information Worker quickly find a room at the right time and schedule it.
  2. It helps minimize the effort that resource managers must undertake to manage a resource schedule.
  3. Help resource administrators control who can schedule resources.

Existing Infrastructure: In Exchange 2003 there are two ways for customers to automate resource booking using Outlook and Exchange: Exchange 2003 Auto Accept Agent and Outlook direct booking.

The Auto Accept Agent (AAA) is a server-side store event sink available in the Exchange 2003 SP1 timeframe. It provides automatic server-side processing of meeting requests sent to resource mailboxes that have been registered with the agent. The Agent handles both requests and cancellations and sends responses to the meeting organizer. AAA uses EXOLEDB and CDOEX for notification of incoming messages and calendar item processing, respectively.

Direct booking is an Outlook-specific feature that uses the organizer's Outlook client (Outlook 2000 or later) to book an appointment directly into a resource mailbox schedule. The Outlook client of the person organizing the meeting performs all the necessary tasks, such as conflict checking and placing the reservation on the resource calendar. The resource mailbox must be manually configured with Outlook to support direct booking. It can be set up to allow automatically accept non-conflicting meeting requests and to allow/deny recurring bookings.

What is incorporated in Exchange Server 2007 Resource Booking? Resource management in Exchange 2007 provides a reliable resource management solution that maps to information worker goals and increases organizational productivity. Exchange Server 2007 introduces changes to the resource booking architecture that address many of the concerns.

Resource management improvements have been made in the following areas.

  • Booking and search services
    • Up-to-date Free/busy
    • Integration with Office Outlook 2007 meeting request process
  • Schedule management services
    • Ability to delegate management of resource policy to users using Outlook Web Access
    • Policies and rules to control who can schedule and when they can schedule
    • Support for both manual and automatic approval
  • Enterprise-wide resource management services
    • Ability to create and manage resource schema

Resource Booking Attendant: Exchange 2007 identifies meeting resources as either a room or equipment and includes special attributes for each of these types of resources. For example, a room resource includes a capacity attribute. Custom attributes, such as audio-visual capabilities can also be defined. The Resource Booking attendant provides the following features:

  • Enforces maximum meeting duration
  • Schedules meetings only during working hours
  • Forwards out-of-policy requests to delegates for approval
  • Provides conflict information for declined meetings

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Microsoft, Exchange 2007, Server, Resource Scheduling, Knowledgebase, Calendaring, Mailbox