I’ve hopefully met many of you at TechEd, IT Forum, or another Exchange community event – but if not, I hope to meet you there soon and I’ll introduce myself now to get it out of the way. I’m the General Manager of the Exchange product team. I’ve been a member of the Exchange team for 4 years now – joining after E2K SP2, and leading the product team for the past 2 years. I love working on Exchange. I love the huge positive impact we have on the productivity of the world. I love working with this Exchange team, which is genuinely a great group of people. And I love how much opportunity there is for us to do more for you, the best group of customers I’ve ever worked with.
So with that… let’s talk E2K3 SP2. Most of our team is focused on Exchange 12 now, but we remain committed to maintaining a steady investment in E2K3 to make it even better over time. SP1 was a great example of our work in this area (with the OWA admin, cross-admin-group mailbox moves, and the automatic bit flip correction in store), followed by ExBPA, and now SP2.
SP2 is imminent, and I’m very excited about this. We are currently running almost all of Microsoft (102,000 mailboxes) on SP2 (with the exception of 1400 people currently running Exchange 12…). As an end-user I couldn’t live without SP2. Likewise, as the Exchange admin for my personal mail, my wife’s and mother’s email – this is a great release.
Well’s what in it? Huge improvements to 5 areas:
Mobile device experiences
We have invested in a big way in mobility features in SP2. For end users, we are introducing direct push technology so that your devices are always up-to-date. For admins, we are introducing features that make device access more secure by enforcing policies including requiring PIN lock, local wipe, and remote wipe. Better compression will significantly cut bandwidth, costs, and latency. We have previously announced our partnerships with palmOne (Treo 650 and LifeDrive already support E2K3), Nokia, Motorola, DataViz, Symbian, and others – so that you should also have more device choices. This is an incredible step forward… of course, I can’t help myself but say – just wait for E12 :-)
I just started carrying a Blue Angel device last week – I can’t leave home without it. For an email addict like myself, this is dangerous stuff.
I hate spam -- who doesn’t? SP2 is the only anti-spam defense we run here for Microsoft’s corporate mail. We have added Sender-ID support, anti-phishing filtering, and increased the frequency of updates. This is an incredible step forward… of course, I can’t help myself but say – just wait for E12…
Outlook 2003 cached mode experiences.
We decided we needed to invest in the offline address book experience in cached mode to keep up with your requirements when consolidating servers across WANs from the clients. The new speed and efficiency of OAB is looking really promising in our early testing and I look forward to sharing more information on that as we get closer to release. I should add that cached mode was the #2 focus of E2K3 development (after security). We will continue to refine this experience in future release until it is “perfect”.
Public Folder management
I can’t say it any better than P.F. Whitney did in his posting a couple of weeks ago.
Standard edition store size limit
Today’s 16 GB limit is legacy of a decision made in 1997 for Exchange 5.5 when a standard disk drive was 5 GB in size. Today’s world is obviously very different, with large email attachments common and end-user expectations of a 1 GB mailbox. We have heard you loud and clear on this issue, and with SP2, we are increasing the limit to 75 GB. We anticipate a lot of our Standard Edition customers will be very pleased. I understand this news received a hearty applause at the TechEd event this week. Speaking of TechEd, if you’d like to take a look at Steve Ballmer’s keynote and a short video showing off some of our new mobility features, take a look at the links here: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/business/5/default.mspx
The following days and weeks will include many blog postings drilling into details of the SP2 work. We would love to have help in the final testing of this release. If you are interested in helping out, by putting SP2 into production within your environment, please let us know.