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Explaining X.400.

I am in the process of re-configuring an existing SBS 2003 network.
In Exchange Server there is an Email Address Type of "X.400".

Can someone please explain what X.400 is used for?
Is there a resource/white paper explaing it?

Thanks,
Slator
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Slator
Asked:
Slator
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3 Solutions
 
stengeljCommented:
It's not a very common...

"x.400"
X.400 is the messaging (notably e-mail) standard specified by the ITU-TS (International Telecommunications Union - Telecommunication Standard Sector). It's an alternative to the more prevalent e-mail protocol, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). X.400 is common in Europe and Canada. It's actually a set of standards, each in the 400-number range.

More at: http://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid7_gci213396,00.html


Here is a very comprehensive x.400 FAQ: http://www.alvestrand.no//x400/faq-mhsnews.html
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stengeljCommented:
"It's not a very common..."

My bad, I tend to think locally and forget that other countries have different mail standards.
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marc_nivensCommented:
In Exchange terms, X.400 is the standard address type for Exchange 5.5 and previous versions.  This was changed to SMTP in Exchange 2000 and later, with support for X.400 addressing still included for backward compatibility.  While X.400 was the standard for years in Europe and still may be in some places, SMTP is quickly becoming the standard world wide.
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scdavisCommented:
Woah, woah..

> X.400 is common in Europe and Canada

You.. being a USian, obviously..  think when your email hits the Canadian border it magically starts to route via X.400 addresses instead of SMTP/MX-records..?  That's absurd.  

First, I want to ask that you stop using genericized "country" or "region" stereotypes -- especially, because you're dead wrong about 'em.

(Yup, I'm a Canadian..)

> My bad, I tend to think locally and forget that other countries have different mail standards.

This is absurd, too.  SMTP is SMTP is SMTP is SMTP.  Different mail standard?  Show it, please.  

Your claim that email magically does other routing or somehow is handled somehow other than americans do -- is not only absurd, it scares me that you're making that claim.

Different mail standards?  What?  Hunh?  I have different SMTP up here in Canada?  Hunh?


*eeysh...*   goddamned american tools.  





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marc_nivensCommented:
Whoa.... I agree with that but there is no need to start an argument.  The fact is in the US, when you are new to email you are taught that X.400 is a mainly foreign standard.  The reality is that just about everyone has gone to SMTP.  I don't think stengelj was trying to offend.
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scdavisCommented:
> I am in the process of re-configuring an existing SBS 2003 network.
> In Exchange Server there is an Email Address Type of "X.400".
> Can someone please explain what X.400 is used for?


In short, the Exchange x.400 addr's are used to define email routing.  *NEVER* tinker with them manually..

Marc_nivens implies that Exchange (vers 2000, 2003) will route email without X.400 addr's when he claims that SMTP is the defacto default in 2k/2k3.

That's contrary to my experience with the product; essentially,

Exchange (all Versions..  v.4.x through 2003) use X.400 to route.  SMTP, etc.. are nice "tack-on" addresses that get dealt with at various (smtp) gateways..

Go ahead, setup a test account and see if you can do anything with it if you remove the X.400 address.


Now -- this is not a reflection of the x.400 suite, which is a subset of the x.500 suite, to the best of my knowledge.. It's how EXCHANGE implements and uses it.  Nothing more, nothing less.  


Look for x.500 to see how x.400 evolved, eh?

-- Scott.
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scdavisCommented:
Marc>  Whoa.... I agree with that but there is no need to start an argument.  
M> The fact is in the US, when you are new to email you are
M> taught that X.400 is a mainly foreign standard.  The reality
M> is that just about everyone has gone to SMTP.  
M>  I don't think stengelj was trying to offend.


Marc, Stengelj,

Look, I'm not saying that you're trying to offend.  I'm just shocked at the ignorance you are perpetrating.  It's absurd.  You've got to cut that out, please.

I know that texts in North American presses tend to fluff off x.500/x.400 as "european" directory schemas.  International standards compliance isn't big on the US agenda, eh?

If you're aware that the x.500/x.400 suites are not only communication protocols, but also directory schemas, continuing to describe them as "european" is just silly.

Hell, from my perspective, I'd describe SMTP/DNS as "USian" and infer that it's not internationally used.  That's a valid comparison -- and equally absurd.


The reality is -- SMTP/DNS is internationally used.  x.400 is used by Exchange for a specific function.  (its internal routing..)


That's what Slator wanted to know, I think.  

Peace,
-- Scott.
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marc_nivensCommented:
>>>Exchange (all Versions..  v.4.x through 2003) use X.400 to route.  SMTP, etc.. are nice "tack-on" addresses that get dealt with at various (smtp) gateways..

Ok I misspoke... yes even though Exchange 2000+ uses SMTP for transport it does require the user to have an X.400 address.  In fact it is not even supported to turn of the MTA in a native 2000+ environment.  The categorizer is a strange animal :-)

>>>Now -- this is not a reflection of the x.400 suite, which is a subset of the x.500 suite, to the best of my knowledge.. It's how EXCHANGE implements and uses it.  Nothing more, nothing less.  

Actually they are a bit different.  X.400 is for addressing (ADMD, PRMD, etc....).  X.500 is a directory protocol, which just simply gives the location to an object in the directory.  Bottom line is, if you're running Exchange leave the X.400 address checked.  The fact is you will probably ONLY ever use this for internal mail flow.  The world is now using the SMTP standard and you should setup your server as such.


>Look, I'm not saying that you're trying to offend.  I'm just shocked at the ignorance you are perpetrating.  It's absurd.  You've got to cut that out, please.
>I know that texts in North American presses tend to fluff off x.500/x.400 as "european" directory schemas.  International standards compliance isn't big on the US agenda, eh?
>If you're aware that the x.500/x.400 suites are not only communication protocols, but also directory schemas, continuing to describe them as "european" is just silly.



WHOA.... I think you misunderstand.  Its not the "North American Press" that fluff X.500 Directory Schemas as European (Exchange 5.5 dir and AD are x.500 compliant... how European are those?).  I've never even heard of X.500 being attached to a specific part of the world.  And plus. X.400 is not even a directory schema, its an addressing method.  I'm not saying I personally buy into the BS that "Europe still uses X.400 as its primary addressing scheme", I'm just trying to give you a reality check on what some of the books that new Email admins read.  Unfortunately a lot of these books were written years ago when this was actually fact.  I'm not saying they're right now, I'm just saying thats the way some of this literature reads.  Again, no offense NOR ignorance intended, but I do know this subject well enough to argue that I'm "Ignorant" on it.  And if you wish to argue on it, perhaps you should learn the difference in X.500 and X.400.  Google would be a good start.
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marc_nivensCommented:
aghh.... "argue that I'm "Ignorant" on it." should have read "argue that I'm NOT "Ignorant" on it."

Should have read my own post eh?  Listen, I'm not trying to start anything.  I just think that you're issuing a blanket indictment on all Americans as if we are idiots on international E-mail standards.  The fact is we're not, its just that some people who are trying to learn the technology come up through the ranks being told certain things (like Europe uses X.400).  Eventually we all figure out this isn't true and move on with our lives.   Personally I don't think its worth spending a lot of time on, especially on a question that was just about X.400.  
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scdavisCommented:
Haha, hee...  Let me explain why I'm aggravated, please.  It's nothing personal, Marc.

Marc,  I think we totally agree, at heart..  even if we're off track.  Your detailed descriptions of x.400/x.500 are greatly appreciated.  

I admit -- I am issuing a blanket indictment against anyone that claims x.400/x.500 are "european/canadian" standards.  They're international standards -- where they might be adopted is fascinating, but irrelevant to Slator's question, right?

Slator wanted to know what x.400 does in an Exchange environment.  

Stengelj seems to have fobbed those standards off as "european"..  which is not only irrelevant, but it dosen't answer Slator's question.  

Further, Stengelj's comments not only belittle x.400/x.500, but they seem to suggest that Exchange routing is handled based on DNS/SMTP, which I believe is incorrect.. outright.

Stengelj's comments belittle the role of x.400 in Exchange -- and don't answer the question Slator posed.  

I really don't like that.  

It's *VERY* rare for me to communicate with people that understand that the x.400 addr is critical.  

To run into languate that suggests the standard is less than international, in response to an honest questioning of how the product works..  isn't cool, in my shoes.  

I really just want to let Slator know that the x.400 addr is what Exchange/AD uses to route (internally) ..  and warn him/her that tinkering with it is very dangerous.

Probbably we all should have just written "what's the problem..?"  .. and gotten on with it..  but alas, I wanted to stir the pot -- in the hope that a few people would learn something.


Peace,
-- Scott.


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stengeljCommented:
Scott,
I realized that saying x.400 was not common was a mistake and I try to make that clear in my followup.  It was a stupid thing to say and I apologized if it offended anyone.

You keep quoting me and referring to the rest of my post regarding x.400.  I would like to clarify that, aside from my first regrettable line, my post included the title, introduction and URL to an article about x.400 and a link to a x.400 FAQ.  They were some resources I found that I thought would help Slator with his two questions:

>Can someone please explain what X.400 is used for?
>Is there a resource/white paper explaing it?

If you think my resources suck, then please direct your comments in that direction or, maybe you could provide better ones.

I concede my first resource is perhaps a little shallow and biased, but it gives a quick overview of what x.400 is.  I think my second is more in depth an provides bibliographies that would be very useful should Slator wish to learn about x.400 on a more technical level.
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scdavisCommented:
Stengelj,

I'm just having a whiney-rant.  It's nothing personal towards you, please understand.  Please accept my apologies for any inappropriate behaviour.

Your references and resources are just fine - I'm not taking issue with them.  Providing them for Slator is a nice thing to do.  In fact, providing links to documentation is better than nice -- it's great.

I'm going to try to communicate my concern one last time..  and I'll attempt to restrain the abusive tone.





I think that in the context that Slator is asking about x.400, the best response to his/her query is to characterize x.400 as the core, or internal addressing and routing system that Exchange uses.

"other" email address types (such as SMTP) are used by Exchange at its gateways.

Paraphrased, Marc claims that SMTP is now the default address type used by Exchange (v2000 and v2003).  That may be factually correct -- but it does not describe what Exchange does with x.400.

Further, describing SMTP as the "default" may lead Slator to believe that SMTP is all that Exchange requires to operate.  I know, I know -- that's Marc's quote, not yours.



x.400 is what Exchange really uses; SMTP (and others) are add-on tools that are facilitated by gateways.

I can remove all the SMTP addresses from my mailboxes, retain the x.400 addr's and still deliver email within my Exchange organization, yeah?  

If I remove the x.400 addresses from my mailboxes and retain their SMTP addresses, I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that my email will not be delivered.. heck, I bet users won't even be able to open their mailboxes with Outlook.



The above two statements are probbably factual.. and I admit I'm too lazy to test it.  They highlight the importance of x.400 in all existing versions of Exchange.  

x.400 is the core of the product -- writing about the prevelance of other protocols (such as SMTP) distracts from what I think is the best answer to to Slaters question.

You've done well, Stengelj -- providing links to techie x.400 documentation.  

Y'all don't seem to be hearing my claim that x.400 is the guts of Exchange -- and not acknowledging that does a disservice to Slater, in my ranting, whining and abrasive opinion.


I'm sorry that we seem to be at odds here.  I guess what I'm looking for is an acknowledgement that exchange depends on x.400.

I could be entirely misinterpreting Slater's query..  I dunno.

Heck, best wishes to all you folks.

Peace,
Scotty.
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stengeljCommented:
Scotty, thank you.

"Y'all don't seem to be hearing my claim that x.400 is the guts of Exchange."
"They highlight the importance of x.400 in all existing versions of Exchange."
"I guess what I'm looking for is an acknowledgement that exchange depends on x.400."

The fact that the x.400 connector is not even included with Exchange 2003 Standard Edition goes against your statements.  Maybe there are localized versions of Exchange that always include it, but, just I was was too quick with my comment, perhaps you have also made an incorrect assumption?

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;822440

I have never installed an x.400 connector.  I have always used x.500 and I have installed many Exchange servers (haven't done a 2003 server yet though).
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scdavisCommented:
Stengelj,

Sorry for the delay.  Busy week.

x.400 connector is not included in E2k3 std?  I'm sorry for being rude -- but enough is enough.  Your claim that an x.400 connector isn't installed by default in either E2k or E2k3 is simply incorrect.  You are WRONG.  

Here is my evidence:  http://www.esctech.ca/Exchx400.jpg  

That is a screen cap of one of my clients running W2k3/E2k3 on a default installation.  Most of my deployments are SBS/2003..  which are the same.  

Both have x.400 protocols "running" from the default installations.

Because you haven't had to manually install the x.400 connector dosen't mean it isn't there.

I swear, x.400 is there.  

And if it isn't there as a connector/protocol..  it still works as I described in my last post.

I suggest you make a mailbox.. remove the SMTP addr's, access it successfully with Outlook.  Remove the x.400 addr from that mailbox, and see if Outlook can function.

You don't understand that x.400 is the core.  

I've now shown you pictures and given you an exercise to experiment with the protocol.

I don't think I can do anything more.

-- Scott.  


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SlatorAuthor Commented:
Sorry for the delay in responding and/or interacting.
At first, and since the question was out of my area of expertise, I was content to just read.
I forgot about the question for a few days and then became unavailable and could not respond.

Thanks for the comments.
It was probably more information than needed to know, but I was able to get the information I needed.
Since everyone contributed something useful, I am splitting the points as best I can.

Thanks again,
Slator
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