Whereas Beta 1 was an engineering milestone of a work in progress, with Beta 2 we are feature complete. From here to RTM (Release to Manufacturing), our focus is on quality. Some of the high level areas we're focusing on delivering to you include:
1. IO performance - Save $$ on storage. In production we are seeing random IO reduced more than 66% on comparably loaded Exchange Server 2003 vs. Exchange Server 2007 production mailbox servers here in MSIT (even though the Exchange Server 2007 servers are doing so much more, including search, enforcing retention policies, processing meeting requests, etc). Check out this perfmon screenshot of 2 comparably equipped and loaded servers here at Microsoft (Exchange Server 2003 in red, Exchange Server 2007 in green):
2. Replication - Built-in protection from data loss with replication.
3. Compliance - Built-in enforcement of email retention and regulatory policies.
4. Security - Built-in protection from malware with Forefront anti-virus and enterprise anti-spam.
5. Unified messaging - Use Outlook Voice Access to triage your mail while commuting and save $$ on legacy voice mail maintenance.
6. Calendar concierge - Reliable end-user calendars, efficiently manage resources, and more productively book meetings.
7. Refreshed mobility - New end-user and admin experiences.
8. Refreshed Outlook Web Access - it just keeps getting better.
9. New web services and web parts - no more confusion on which API to use when.
10. Admin - with Exchange Management Shell, a refreshed console, and a series of troubleshooters built on ExBPA (for performance, mail-flow, and database recovery), administering Exchange will never be the same. With Beta 1, our GUI was incomplete - with Beta 2, I hope you will find all of the GUIs you require to productively manage Exchange.
With Beta 1, our testing in global environments was incomplete. With Beta 2, we not only have tested in diverse locales, but we have fully localized the Outlook Web Access experience in 47 languages! Our Outlook Web Access language support has nearly doubled over previous versions of Exchange, and you will have the opportunity to check all of them out with Beta 2.
4. Chinese - Simplified
5. Chinese - Traditional
6. Chinese - Hong Kong
22. Portuguese - Brazil
38. Serbian (Latin)
39. Serbian (Cyrillic)
For those of you interested in Unified Messaging in Exchange Server 2007, note that we will also be providing Unified Messaging Language Packs in 15 languages for Beta 2. So not only can you test out the Outlook Voice Access experience, you can do so in many different languages.
With Beta 2, we've begun to publish our documentation and will continue to update it on an ongoing basis.
When we released Beta 1, we had 3,000 users at Microsoft with their primary/only mailboxes on Exchange Server 2007. With Beta 2, we will be at 8,000 users by end of this week. In addition to Microsoft, we are working with 30 TAPs (customers on our Technology Adoption Program) who are already running Exchange Server 2007 in production, with more to come very soon.
As always with Beta releases, Exchange Server 2007 Beta 2 is for LAB USE ONLY; DO NOT INSTALL INTO PRODUCTION UNLESS APPROVED BY MICROSOFT.
Our goal is to finish this release between the end of year 2006 and early 2007. I, and the rest of our team, look forward to discussing your feedback with you in our Exchange forums. Your feedback so far has had a dramatic impact on the product.
Thank you for choosing Microsoft Exchange.
EDIT: As we did with Beta 1, we wanted to give you a chance to see how our Exchange 2007 "Dogfood" environment looks like at this point. Please click on the following thumbnail to see it: