The internet is currently buzzing with snippets of information about Exchange 2010 which we can expect to see towards the end of the year (no official dates yet). Exchange is the foundation of Microsoft’s messaging and unified communications product suite and 2010 promises to be a significant jump in functionality. While the full list of features is yet to be confirmed, here is a quick overview of some of the new features we are likely to see:
Under the hood
Exchange 2010 includes improved database with lower disk I/O requirements allowing the use of lower cost disk. The database is more robust and builds on the replication capabilities already found in Exchange 2007. Exchange 2007 with Service Pack 2 (due out in the next few months) can work in a mixed environment.
Exchange 2010 introduces email archiving and cross mailbox search capabilities to assist with compliance with legal requirements around eDiscovery. Search capabilities can be delegated outside of the IT department to more appropriate locations such as Human Resources.
Federation will allow users to view “free/busy” Calendar information across organisations, a great tool for people who regularly schedule meetings with partner businesses.
Common administration tasks can be delegated to end users including the ability to create and update distribution lists. Email tracking tools can also be used allow users to check if a message has been delivered or is delayed somewhere.
Exchange 2010 will be available both as onsite and cloud based solutions. One of the most interesting capabilities is the ability to split the infrastructure between the two solutions e.g. replicating data from onsite to the cloud as a DR solution.
Outlook 2010 is still in development but we can be assured that it will be required to leverage some of Exchange 2010’s functionality. Improvements to the web client will include presence for those who have OCS and improved support for Safari and Firefox web browsers. Windows Mobile clients will also receive improvements.
Voice to Text
One of the more useful features is the ability of Exchange 2010 to convert incoming voicemail messages to text. You will be able to read your voice mail, great for mobile users.
Exchange 2010 is an extremely important part of Microsoft’s next wave of server products and sets a clear path for Microsoft’s strategy on Cloud based services and unified messaging.