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Microsoft fortifies Exchange Server 2010 with new service pack

Due out later this year, Exchange Server 2010 SP2 includes Outlook Web App "Mini" and GAL segmentation.

Microsoft shared details about its second service pack for Exchange Server 2010 this week.

Exchange Server Service Pack 2 is expected to help Exchange administrators to better tailor individual global address list views. It includes Outlook Web App (OWA) Mini, cross-site silent redirection for OWA 2010, a hybrid configuration wizard and address book policies. It also addresses hundreds of bug fixes requested by customers.

Cross-site silent redirection improves the single sign-on experience. Users will be able to open a browser, enter their credentials, click a link and be redirected by the client access server.

The hybrid configuration wizard is intended to help enterprises that may find themselves managing both on-premises Exchange and Office 365. "Migrating content to the cloud is not easy,” said Tom Phillips, an Exchange Server consultant at Wadeware LLC in Kirkland, Wash. “The [hybrid] wizard shows the thought and effort Microsoft has put into Office 365.”

But the feature anticipated by most administrators is address book policies -- also known as global address list (GAL) segmentation. This will let admins designate which parts of the GAL specific users can access. GAL segmentation was not available in Exchange 2010 RTM or SP1, and list segregation could only be accomplished with workarounds.

"This feature is especially important for schools because their user population is cyclic,” Phillips said. “With hundreds of students coming and going every year, you don’t want them to be able to access faculty info, etc."

Many IT pros have lauded Exchange 2010 RTM and SP1 for its stability. With further improvements to SP2, 2011 looks to be the year when many more organizations move to Exchange Server 2010.

Exchange Server 2010 SP2 is due out later this year.

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