Software optimize

What's coming in Microsoft Exchange 14?

Microsoft Exchange 14, rumored to be named Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, is becoming more of a hot topic as information and rumors leak out about possible product features. Here's some of the meager information that has a high likelihood of being true regarding Exchange 14.

I'm a big fan of Microsoft Exchange and have been since the days of Exchange 5.5. I've administered other mail servers, including GroupWise and some relatively ancient systems, and find the progress that has been made with Exchange to be compelling.

As a result, I spent quite a bit of time digging around for information regarding the next version of Microsoft's enterprise messaging platform -- Exchange 14. Over the past couple of months, various sources have released tidbits here and tidbits there regarding Exchange 14. I thought I'd bring all of the various discussion points to date together into one posting.

First of all, it appears that Microsoft is making a sincere effort to make Exchange 14 more accessible to a wider user audience. Microsoft has indicated that Outlook Web Access (OWA), arguably the best Web mail product on the planet, will fully support Firefox and Safari. Until now, Microsoft has made the premium OWA experience available only to users running Internet Explorer, while users of other browsers faced limitations in the OWA Light experience.

Microsoft will also introduce Gmail-like conversation threads into OWA, helping users tame their inboxes. Finally, the new OWA will sport instant messaging capabilities with users able to see presence information for and send instant messages to other users in the organization -- all from within the new Web client.

A user on the Microsoft Exchange Team Blog has also repeated a rumor that Exchange 14's high-availability features will remove the need to use Microsoft Clustering Services. If this is true and is implemented correctly, a great level of complexity could potentially be removed from highly available configurations.

Here are some other items I've run across that are rumored to be included in Exchange 14 (I say rumored since there is no real public beta yet available for testing):

  • User-created distribution lists.
  • Users can manage some of their own information that is presented in the Global Address List.
  • Public folders. I list that here because there were questions as to whether Microsoft would jettison this legacy from the product. From most indications, public folders will remain fully supported in Exchange 14. However, an astute reader on the Exchange Team Blog did notice in the new OWA some reference to SharePoint where the Public Folder link belongs, so we'll have to wait and see what happens.
  • The next version will be named Microsoft Exchange Server 2010.

I have only listed what seems reasonably true given the information that is out there. Some people are expecting that Exchange Server 14 will move away from the Jet database to a SQL backend. Personally, I doubt this will happen, but it is another rumor out there.

Millions of people are already testing Exchange 14. Microsoft Exchange Labs, a service made freely available to colleges and universities, is already running Exchange 14 to support their users. With that kind of test base, I can see Exchange 14 being very well-vetted before release!

Do you have anything to add to the rumor list? I'll update this post with new information if you can point me to something I've missed!

About

Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive w...

9 comments
reisen55
reisen55

Why can't Microsoft just freeze something instead of endless stupid upgrades. We have enough hell with XP to Vista to Windows 7 to Server 2003 to Server 2008 to Exchange this and that. F'crissake, there is only so much us poor consultants can DO.

christop095
christop095

Exchange 2007 is pretty much a joke. It has.. horrible AD integration all advanced options are command line no black/white list Save your money and go gmail

sidekick
sidekick

So, it is possible that Microsoft may get rid of Public Folders and let us integrate Sharepoint as a replacement. I assume we will need to buy Sharepoint as well. How very Microsoft. Unfortunately, I've never used Sharepoint, so I can't speak to whether or not it would be a good substitute or what overhead it would add from an administrative standpoint.

Justin James
Justin James

I hate to play the "let's have things be hard so we stay employed" game, but considering what a collosal pain in the neck many Microsoft products are (I just did the OCS 2007 R1 to R2 move, and it was pure misery), I am glad in a weird way. No one is eager to take over this load from me! J.Ja

ozchorlton
ozchorlton

SP1 helps with the command line issues

EPanzeter
EPanzeter

A "lite" version of Sharepoint is included with Windows Server (called Sharepoint Services). You only need to purchase Sharepoint Server if Services isn't robust enough for your needs.

Master G
Master G

for the Netadmins that do the Exadmin is pure hell. But in a way it will keep you on your toes. Got Ex07 box and it's pretty picky at times. MS released Ex07 as a base to get you to Ex14 - I rate Ex07 as an unfinished product just like many previous versions of Windows. One thing they got right is that OWA is the best tool for remote users as well as corporate users. Eliminate Outlook for the simple send/receive users.

rshafiq
rshafiq

I dont think they will be able to release final release out in 2010... most of the people are still on exchange 2003 and news of Exchange 14 release will stop most of them to upgrade to 2007 and wait for 1 more year