Exchange 2010 has been released and available for a few weeks now and a lot of people are looking to deploy. I was chatting with Rick Shire, Senior Messaging Consultant at CMS Consulting, who has compiled a list of gotchas, things to look out for, as well as resources for you to be aware of when planning and Exchange 2010 deployment and/or upgrade.
Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 was released in early November of this year with a lot of positive reviews. One of the biggest deployment blockers for some customers has been RIM’s lack of a compatible and supported version of BES for Exchange 2010. Thankfully, RIM recently announced a new version of its popular BES software that has full support for Exchange 2010. While this is fantastic news from RIM, there are some other deployment “Gotchas” to consider.
Outlook XP is no longer a supported version with Exchange 2010. Customers will need to factor in an Office refresh into their deployment plans. Another interesting twist is that Microsoft has deprecated the WEBDav API from Exchange 2010. While this may not seem that important at first glance, Microsoft’s client for the MAC, “Entourage”, has leveraged this API over MAPI for several years. Developers have been urged to rewrite WEBDav applications using Microsoft’s latest Exchange API - Exchange Web Services – for some time. And that is exactly what Microsoft has done for the Entourage client. Entourage 2008, Web Services Edition was released in August of this year.
Another important note from the client perspective, is that Exchange 2010 requires RPC encryption to be enabled in Outlook. RPC encryption in Outlook 2007 is enabled by default. But what about Outlook 2003? As you guessed, it is disabled by default. If you migrate mailboxes to Exchange 2010 and RPC encryption is disabled in Outlook, Outlook simply will not be able to connect. Fortunately there are a couple of simple fixes. Firstly, you can disable the requirement for RPC encryption on the Exchange server, or simply deploy a GPO that enforces this setting in Outlook. My recommendation is to deploy a GPO and enjoy the benefits of secure messaging.
The streaming backup API in Exchange 2010 has been deprecated. The only backup API available for Exchange 2010 is VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service). What this means is that customers will need to upgrade to a VSS aware backup application. That is not the only requirement though. The backup application must also be Exchange 2010 aware and should have full support from your backup vendor. Microsoft DPM 2007 (Data Protection Manager) is a VSS based backup application, but DPM 2007 does not support Exchange 2010. DPM 2010 (currently in Beta) has support for Exchange 2010, but the question becomes, do you want to back up your critical messaging data with Beta software? There are backup vendors that have support for Exchange 2010 today. Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery 2010 is one notable example. Check with your current backup vendor to ensure support and compatibility.
Inbound FAX capability is available in Exchange 2007 if you have the Unified Messaging role deployed. If you are using this capability in Exchange 2007, you must look for a 3rd party solution for Exchange 2010. Inbound FAX has been deprecated from Exchange 2010. Exchange 2010 will still detect a fax tone and will simply hand off the call to the 3rd party fax application.
Other 3rd Party Applications
3rd party applications (or custom in-house applications) that integrate with Exchange should be tested for compatibility and have full support by the application vendor. Take an inventory of these applications and consult with the appropriate application vendors. There have been several APIs deprecated from Exchange 2010, so this step is critically important. Any application written to one of these APIs will simply break in Exchange 2010. The list of deprecated APIs includes a) ExOLEDB, b) WebDAV, c) CDOEx and d) Store Events
Some 3rd party vendors are ahead of the curve and have support for Exchange 2010 today. Mimosa, a 3rd party archiving vendor, has support for Exchange 2010 with its NearPoint product. NetApp has updated its SnapManager for Exchange to support Exchange 2010. The list of products goes on, but check with your vendors to ensure there are no other deployment blockers.
Proper planning is vital to a successful Exchange 2010 deployment. Please reference the following links for helpful planning guidance.
General Planning Guidance
Exchange 2010 Backup