Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Exchange Server 2010 Reaches Public Beta

I can't believe it is finally time for me to openly (well sort of) announce and discuss the Exchange Server 2010 product which has now gone into its first public Beta as of today (04/14/2009). You can now download the public beta at this site! So, let's get down to a few of the features coming in Exchange 2010 (at least those I can opening discuss so far J ).

  • Exchange 2010 should be in full release mode by the end of the year (according to this PCWorld article)
  • Rumors have also been floating around the Internet recently that the forthcoming Office 14 (most likely will be Office 2010) will not ship until sometime in calendar year 2010.
    • Both product names would seem to be accurate since Microsoft typically names its products after the fiscal year in which they ship, not the calendar year. Microsoft begins its fiscal year each July 1st.
  • Microsoft's stated direction for new server products is to release both an On-Promise server solution as well as a hosted service based solution (currently known as BPOS).
  • It appears that for those existing BPOS customers, they will be given the option of upgrading to the new Exchange 2010 capabilities online starting in the first half of 2010.
  • When Exchange 2010 ships, it is expected that organizations will be able to support both an On-Premise and a Service or hosted solution seamlessly within the same company. This provides many companies I have worked with in the past the ability to support year round employees "On-Premise" and yet offer a Hosted solution for temporary or seasonal workers. This could very well benefit organizations that have large seasonal work forces that didn't or couldn't move to Exchange because of the cost involved in ramping up servers for the seasonal workers. It will be interesting to see the eventual licensing model that Microsoft chooses to use for this…

With this new version of Exchange, there are a large number of significant changes to the product that I will be discussing in some detail over the next few weeks/months. For now, I will focus on one new feature that enables organizations to create and easily support a more granular administration model. With Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft published White Papers such as Configuring Permissions in Exchange Server 2007 and Exchange 2007 Permissions: Frequently Asked Questions. With Exchange 2010, although no White Papers are yet available, the permission model is much simpler and is based upon the Roles (not the Exchange permission set as it has been in all previous versions of Exchange). For example, an organization might need to grant specific permissions to search and access specific mailboxes if they are a Compliance Officer or Human Resources Manager in the company (according to Julia White, director of the Exchange product management team). What took a great deal of effort in Exchange 2007 and often with only limited success will be done in Exchange 2010 with relative ease.

I am very excited about this Exchange version, more so than I remember being about any other version in the history of Exchange. And yes, for those of you who don't know me, I have been working with and implementing Exchange since the Early Adopter program for Exchange 4.0 (the very first version) and also worked with MS Mail, CC:Mail, and others before that. The Exchange Product Group has come a long way with this product and has really listened to customers with regard to some of the key pain points they experienced in earlier versions of Exchange. The Product Group, in my opinion, has worked hard to resolve these pain points in Exchange 2010, often in very creative ways that I think will "Just work".

In future posts, I will be covering these topics related to Exchange 2010:

  • Storage goals and design changes
  • OWA Feature Updates
  • Management and Permission Changes for users and administrators
  • Compliance with Exchange 2010
  • High Availability and Disaster Recovery
  • Unified Messaging Improvements
  • Migration to Exchange 2010
  • Developer API Changes

Stay tuned…

No comments: