Exchange 2010 Smorgasbord–Overview, Recent updates and New Features Coming

So it’s been a while since I blogged about Exchange 2010 and there’s been several notable developments, changes and updates to the Exchange ecosystem that are worth digging into a bit. 

First off, many of you who have seen me present at various industry or community events have seen me deliver a number of Exchange 2010 SP1 presentations and I believe I have been remiss in posting a copy of that deck to serve as in introduction to Exchange and cover many of the high level features of the product.  That deck can be found here.  A more detailed deck for those of you fellow Exchange geeks had been previously posted off of the NY Exchange User’s Group site and can also be found here

Next, and I’ll go in reverse chronological order, was a fairly significant change to the supported scenarios for hardware virtualization.  If you saw my tweet about this a few weeks ago back in May, this might be old news, but its significance cannot be understated as it rounds out the hardware virtualization story for Exchange quite nicely.  Since its inception, Exchange Unified Messaging was the sole Exchange Server role that was completely unsupported in a virtualized environment due to a number of potential issues including but not limited to issues with real-time voice encoding which could introduce jitter into the recording and the creation of subsequent issues with the Speech-to-Text feature.  With Exchange 2010 SP1, virtualization of the Exchange Unified Messaging Component is now supported.  In addition, support for the combining of Exchange 2010 High Availability solutions with Hypervisor-based clustering, HA and host migration solutions like Live Migration that move or failover mailbox servers that are members of a DAG is now supported.  Previously, solutions that comingled non-virtualized and virtualized DAG members was not officially supported, but now with Exchange 2010 SP1, this is no longer the case.  The blog post that references these changes explicitly can be found off the website here.

The other notable announcement I wanted to comment on and be sure people were aware of was the features and timing of Exchange 2010 Service Pack 2.  The Exchange team announced that Exchange 2010 Service Pack 2 will be RTW (Released To Web) in the second half of the calendar year 2011 and that in addition to the usual incorporation of all previous rollups and hotfixes, would include some new features.  Probably the most notable new feature (in my opinion anyway) is the oft-requested feature of GAL segmentation.  This set of Address Book Policies will allow companies to segment their address books into smaller scopes.  The Exchange Team has already posted a blog on this topic explicitly which can be found here which covers what this feature is and how it might be used.  Other features also coming in Exchange 2010 SP2 is the Hybrid Configuration Wizard for those organizations looking to have an Exchange organization with both on-premise and cloud-based resources like Office 365, as well as Outlook Web App Mini and some cool Cross-Site Silent Redirection for OWA.   A more detailed breakdown on the announcement of Exchange 2010 SP2 can be found here.


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