Service pack 1 for Exchange 2007 is now expected to be generally available in the last quarter of 2007.

In fact, under a new technology preview program to MSDN and TechNet subscribers, Microsoft has just opened the second beta for Exchange Server 2007 SP1.

If you are still uncertain why is this significant as far as Exchange 2007 is concerned, the reason is simple. Many customers traditionally wait for the release of Service Pack 1 of Microsoft products before adopting a release of their software into production.

Keith McCall, previously a Microsoft executive and now CTO of Azaleos (a company that offers on-premise, managed services for Exchange), told eWeek in Exchange 2007 SP1 moves a step closer:

“The fact is that Exchange 2007 Service Pack 1 will be later to release than for any other version of Exchange. This has caused delay in customer adoption of Exchange 2007, which has likely impacted Exchange revenues for Microsoft,” McCall told eWEEK.

Exchange 2007 SP1 brings with it some nifty features, the most notably of which is probably what is termed Standby Continuous Replication.

Standby Continuous Replication is essentially a high-availability feature that constantly replicates mailbox data to a standby server. As you would expect, this standby server can then quickly be activated should the primary server go down.

According to eWeek:

Exchange Server 2007 SP1 also brings new policies for synchronization, authentication and encryption policies, as well as device, network and application controls. These new features allow network administrators to help manage and secure Exchange ActiveSync enabled mobile devices.

Additionally, Exchange 2007 SP1 would extend further on various device and application management aspects, such as locking down a device remotely via the management console.

Will the release of SP1 influence you to upgrade to Exchange 2007?