Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 spotlight

With SP1 now available, organizations are likely to pay closer attention to what the latest version of Microsoft’s popular messaging system has to offer.

Remember when Exchange Server 2010 was first released? You’re forgiven if you don’t. Somewhat overshadowed by the joint-launch of Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 in the fall of 2009, Microsoft shipped Exchange 2010 just weeks after the much-anticipated desktop and server operating systems. But with the first service pack (SP) now available, migrations to the company’s latest email and messaging server are likely to pick up steam.

As with Windows 2008 R2, Exchange Server 2010 is 64-bit only, further cementing Microsoft’s move away from 32-bit systems. Of course that’s not all that’s new, as the company made several enhancements to areas like security and availability. Email archiving was also improved with Exchange 2010 in an attempt to address email overload issues and minimize the need for costly third-party archiving tools.

Despite such feature enhancements, however, not all changes have been greeted with open arms – at least initially. One hot button issue was Microsoft’s shift away from Single Instance Storage (SIS), which left some customers fuming over storage capacity concerns. The company has also yet to provide updated support for address list segregation, a long-standing demand from Exchange server admins that some expected to be out with the first service pack.

Still, those issues alone aren’t likely to turn people against an Exchange 2010 upgrade, as the system still features some impressive cost-saving enhancements -- particularly regarding storage. Microsoft also simplified several Exchange management processes, notably with the introduction of database availability groups (DAGs) for improved reliability and updates to Outlook 2010.

A first look at Exchange Server 2010
Microsoft obviously describes Exchange Server 2010 as a major improvement over past versions, but what are actual users saying? In this Q&A, Rand Morimoto, a participant in the Exchange Server 2010 early adopter program, offers a detailed rundown of key improvements and what to watch out for.

Archiving moves in with Exchange Server 2010
Microsoft added personal archives to Exchange 2010, which are secondary user mailboxes that provide long-term storage without the threat of data loss (a major concern with the old .PST file methods). Technical author Brien M. Posey breaks down how personal archives work in this tip.

What DAGs mean to Exchange 2010 disaster recovery
High availability is the key to one of Exchange Server 2010’s most talked-about new features -- database availability groups (DAGs). While still not a perfect solution, DAGs were designed to tie HA more closely with disaster recovery. “Exchange admins who have sweated blood in the past getting backup and disaster recovery features to work ought to be intrigued, to say the least, with what Exchange Server 2010 has to offer,“ says technical writer Serdar Yegulalp.

More out-of-the-box security with Exchange Server 2010
For Exchange 2010, Microsoft integrated several built-in security tools to streamline server protection. Microsoft MVP Richard Luckett breaks down some of the challenges to Exchange Server security and explains how these new features can help.

What’s new with Outlook 2010?
Microsoft’s email client received an extensive makeover in Exchange 2010. New additions include Office ribbon integration for improved task management and social networking improvements through the Outlook Social Connector (OSC), to name a few.

OWA gets a new name, updated features
Previously dubbed Outlook Web Access (OWA), Microsoft kept the acronym but renamed its webmail service Outlook Web App. Along with the new name came new features, such as cross-browser support, message filtering and advanced message search options.

Key enhancements to unified messaging
Released with Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft’s unified messaging was designed to extend Exchange Server communications beyond simple email. The company built on these basic features in Exchange Server 2010 with new voicemail and call answering enhancements.

What to avoid with an Exchange Server 2010 migration
When it comes to moving from Exchange Server 2007 to 2010, even the smallest data migrations are bound to experience a few issues. Knowing how to perform a successful clean installation, for one, can help administrators avoid pesky upgrade headaches.

While these links provide a solid overview, there's still a lot more to learn about Exchange Server 2010. For more information, visit SearchExchange.com.

This was first published in October 2010
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