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Creating transport agents for Exchange 2013

Find information about how to create custom transport agents for Exchange 2013, and the system requirements for creating a custom agent.

Last modified: February 25, 2014

Applies to: Exchange Server 2013

In this article
Prerequisites for creating a transport agent
Referencing the assemblies
Implementing a transport agent
Installing and enabling an agent
In this section
Additional resources

Exchange Server 2013 includes several transport agents that you can use to process messages. By using the assemblies that come with Exchange, you can create your own custom agents to perform specific tasks according to the needs of your organization. For example, you can use an SmtpReceiveAgent transport agent to intercept messages that are received via the SMTP protocol and process the message to convert the format of the body to contain preformatted text. You can use a RoutingAgent transport agent to log the messages that pass through the server on route to another server. You can also create more complex features that make use of more than one type of agent. For example, to create an antivirus agent, you can implement an SmtpReceiveAgent and a RoutingAgent agent. If you have a component on your network that does not support the SMTP protocol, you can use a DeliveryAgent transport agent to handle the communication between your Exchange server and your external component.

This article provides information about the prerequisites for and tasks involved in creating your own transport agent. For information about creating specific transport agents, see How to: Create a RoutingAgent transport agent for Exchange 2013, How to: Create an SmtpReceiveAgent transport agent for Exchange 2013, and How to: Create a DeliveryAgent transport agent for Exchange 2013.

The following are the prerequisites that you need in order to implement a transport agent:

  • A computer running Exchange 2013 that is running the Front End Transport service on a Client Access or Edge Transport server, or the Transport service on a Mailbox server. For information about the server role architecture in Exchange 2013, see Transport agent concepts in Exchange 2013.

  • The following assemblies for the transport agent classes:

    • Microsoft.Exchange.Data.dll

    • Microsoft.Exchange.Data.Common.dll

    • Microsoft.Exchange.Transport.dll

  • The .NET Framework 4.5

We also recommend that you install Visual Studio 2012. You can implement transport agents by using either Visual Basic .NET or C#.

Exchange 2013 provides a library of classes that support the extension of Exchange transport behavior. These classes require the .NET Framework 4.5. You can implement transport agents based on these classes by using Visual Studio 2012.

The Exchange 2013 installer installs assemblies that are used for transport agent development and registers them in the global assembly cache (GAC). To begin implementing a transport agent, create a reference to the Microsoft.Exchange.Data.Transport assembly in a class library project.

The following example shows a minimal implementation of classes that derive from the SmtpReceiveAgentFactory and SmtpReceiveAgent classes.

Caution note Caution

If multiple transport agents are installed and registered for the same event, all agents will be invoked, even if one agent removes all the recipients from a mail item.

To avoid unhandled errors or unpredictable behavior, your transport agent should handle cases in which the recipient count on a mail item is equal to zero.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Text;
using Microsoft.Exchange.Data.Transport;
using Microsoft.Exchange.Data.Transport.Smtp;

namespace MyAgents
{
    public sealed class MyAgentFactory : SmtpReceiveAgentFactory
    {
        public override SmtpReceiveAgent CreateAgent(SmtpServer server)
        {
            return new MyAgent();
        }
    }
    public class MyAgent : SmtpReceiveAgent
    {
        public MyAgent()
        {
            this.OnEndOfData += new EndOfDataEventHandler(MyEndOfDataHandler);
        }
        private void MyEndOfDataHandler (ReceiveMessageEventSource source, EndOfDataEventArgs e)

        {
            // The following line appends text to the subject of the message that caused the event.
            e.MailItem.Message.Subject += " - this text appended by MyAgent";
        }
    }
}

After you compile your agent to a DLL, you must install and enable the agent on your development Exchange server. In the Exchange Management Shell, use the Install-TransportAgent cmdlet to install your agent, and the Enable-TransportAgent cmdlet to enable your agent. For information about how to use the Exchange Management Shell, see Exchange Management Shell on TechNet.

Caution note Caution

Transport agents have full access to all email messages that they encounter. Exchange 2013 does not restrict the behavior of a transport agent. Transport agents that are unstable or that contain security flaws might affect the stability and security of Exchange 2013. Therefore, you should only install transport agents that you fully trust and that have been fully tested.

When you use the Install-TransportAgent cmdlet to install an agent, the Exchange Management Shell keeps a lock on the assembly. To release the lock on the assembly, you must close the instance of the Exchange Management Shell that you used to install the agent. You will be unable to update the assembly until you release the lock.

The following example shows how to use the Exchange Management Shell to install and enable an agent named MyAgent by using a class derived from SmtpReceiveAgentFactory named MyAgents.MyAgentFactory.

Install-TransportAgent -Name "MyCustomAgent" -TransportAgentFactory "MyAgents.MyAgentFactory" -AssemblyPath "C:\myagents\MyAgent.dll"

This example names the agent MyCustomAgent on the server on which the agent is installed. The following example shows how to enable the agent named MyCustomAgent.

Enable-TransportAgent -Name "MyCustomAgent"

To manage a transport agent in the Front End Transport service on a Client Access server, add the following value to the command: -TransportService FrontEnd. For example, to view the transport agents in the Front End Transport service, run the following command.

Get-TransportAgent -TransportService FrontEnd

For more information about installing, enabling, and managing your agent, see Manage Transport Agents.

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