Exchange 12 Has Something for All

By Peter Galli  |  Print this article Print


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News Analysis: Microsoft is working hard to make sure the latest version of its e-mail, calendaring and messaging server, Exchange 12, appeals to both enterprise IT administrators and end users.

Microsoft Corp. is working hard to make sure the latest version of its e-mail, calendaring and messaging server, Exchange 12, appeals to both enterprise IT administrators and end users.

The first beta of the product, released earlier this month, offers enhanced administrative controls as well as a unified messaging feature that will deliver fax, voice mail, e-mail and speech recognition.

Due for release in late 2006 or early 2007, Exchange 12 follows Microsoft's push to make its products more componentized and role-based. As such, it will be based on five server roles, including unified messaging, edge transport and client access, according to Jeff Ressler, director of product planning for Exchange, in Redmond, Wash.

The modularization of Exchange 12 will simplify installation for IT administrators by allowing them to choose which of these roles to install on which server.

Exchange 12 will also have a rewritten graphical management console, known as Exchange System Manager, which makes better use of the white space, panes and windows in that console, Ressler said.

For power-user administrators, Exchange 12 will have a new component known as the Exchange Management Shell, a command-line shell that is based on Windows "Monad" technology. This is fully scriptable and can be used for real-time management or for scripted operations such as provisioning a server, Ressler said.

Microsoft is still looking at plans to unify the SQL Server and Exchange Server database stores, but this will not happen in Exchange 12, which is based on the Extensible Storage Engine, a derivative of the Jet database store, Ressler said.

Click here to read more about unified messaging in Exchange 12.

"A lot of the original advantages that we were going to get from going to a SQL-type store we already have in Exchange now," Ressler said. "While this was very attractive five years ago, the bar has been set higher today as we will have 64-bit in Exchange 12, we will have better failover and disaster recovery, and we have a Web services API."

Julie Hanna Farris, founder and chief strategy officer of Scalix Corp., an Exchange competitor based in San Mateo, Calif., noted that features and functions are only one aspect of what makes a messaging platform superior. "The fact remains that the underlying architecture of Exchange suffers from more than its fair share of reliability and security problems," Farris said. "The fundamental cause of these issues has not been addressed in Exchange 12."

The Outlook 12 client also will bring big changes for users, including a unified messaging feature that will deliver fax, voice mail and e-mail. Users will then be able to send and receive messages with a fax or voice attachment that can be opened or played from Outlook, Outlook Web Access or a mobile device.

Check out eWEEK.com's for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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