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Exchange 2010 SP3 released, Exchange 2013 migrations still on hold

Despite being told that Exchange 2010 SP3 would allow for coexistence with Exchange 2013, administrators must still wait on planned migrations.

After months of anticipation, the long-awaited Exchange 2010 Service Pack 3 release was met with mixed results from antsy Exchange administrators and IT pros.

Exchange 2010 SP3 was originally expected to allow for Exchange 2010 coexistence with Exchange Server 2013 upon release. A coexistence period is necessary before completely migrating to any version of Exchange.

Unfortunately, a major piece of the puzzle is still missing.

The first cumulative update (CU) for Exchange 2013 is also necessary for coexistence between Exchange 2010 SP3 and Exchange 2013. The change to the cumulative update model, from the past rollup update model, was just announced last Friday.

Note: All fixes released in rollup updates prior to Exchange 2010 SP3 are included in the service pack.

"[Exchange 2010] SP3 is out, but [Exchange 2013] CU1 isn’t… It's frustrating," said Nicolas Blank, an Exchange MCM and infrastructure architect with NB Consult in Cape Town, South Africa.

Another Exchange MVP was also disappointed, but had a different spin. 

"It's fair to characterize this as disappointment because [we're] such an eager community; it's not really about business goals though," said Steve Goodman, an Exchange MVP and technical architect with U.K.-based Phoenix IT Group.

It's fair to characterize this as disappointment because [we're] such an eager community.

Steve Goodman, Exchange MVP

Exchange 2007 SP3 rollup 10 also hit the Microsoft Download Center yesterday. This update allows for Exchange 2007 coexistence with Exchange Server 2013. Exchange 2013 CU1 is necessary here as well.

Cumulative updates are, however, released quarterly, and the update should come in the next six weeks, if not sooner.

Though many are disappointed that the Exchange 2013 CU1 requirement was announced at the same time as the Service Pack, waiting may actually be a good thing.

"I've already encountered some [Exchange] 2013 bugs that I hope will be resolved by CU1," said Dave Stork, an IT architect based in the Netherlands.  "Making CU1 a new prerequisite for coexistence could be a blessing in disguise; most organizations won't even encounter those bugs."

Not just coexistence

While the focal point of the release is coexistence, there are other important facets in Exchange 2010 SP3:

  • There is support for Windows Server 2012. Exchange 2010 can now be installed on computers running Windows Server 2012. This is sure to be a popular setup for organizations that run Exchange 2013 and is necessary for hybrid Office 365 environments when the cloud-based suite is updated with the Wave 15 products.

One analyst called this part of the release a hidden gem. "Server 2012 is so solid and offers so many benefits; if your budget, time and resources permit, it's a no brainer,” said Rob Sanfilippo, an analyst with Kirkland, Wash.-based Directions on Microsoft, an independent consulting firm.

  • Companies can now use Internet Explorer 10 to connect to Exchange Server 2010.
  • The issue of delayed email message delivery on Blackberry devices after installing RU4 for Exchange Server 2010 SP2 has been remedied as well.
  • There was also a problem where application pools would consume excessive CPU and memory resources on an Exchange client access server after applying RU5 v2 for Exchange 2010 SP2 that has been fixed.

Test, test, test

As with any Exchange Service Pack, it's critical to test before installing.

"Never underestimate the importance of testing," Goodman said. "If you need to disable an antivirus product prior to installing the Service Pack, you'll find that out. Make sure everything checks out before upgrading."

Microsoft's website has more information about all the Exchange 2010 SP3 updates and fixes, and the update is available for download from the Microsoft Download Center.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Site Editor Matt Gervais.

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