We've been hard at work on Exchange 14 (E14) for a few years now, and although we've shared a lot of details and code with customers on our TAP & Live@edu programs, we haven't been too chatty publicly. That's going to be changing over the coming months, starting with this first introductory video with myself and Jim Lucey, the product manager for Exchange Labs, to talk a little bit about some of the work we've been doing.
One of the biggest things that's different in E14 is that we started from day 1 two years ago with the goal of building a product on a single codebase that could be deployed in the way Exchange has been for over a decade in on-premise environments, as well as also be deployed in a service environment and scale to (eventually) hundreds of millions of users.
I say 'eventually' because we're not quite there yet. We have only 3.5 million users right now :) I know, chump change, right?
The service thinking really got traction at the company when Ozzie wrote his software plus services memo, and that has been our mindset from the beginning of the E14 development cycle, affecting everything we do - what features we should build, how we architect them, how we test the code, how we get customer feedback, etc. Although Exchange has always been a group that's very reliant on dogfooding, even with Microsoft's ~100,000 mailboxes, that wasn't enough for us to validate our high scale. So that's why we started using Exchange 14 in Exchange Labs back in October 2007 as part of the live@edu program.
Today, more than 3.5 million people (students, faculty, staff, alumni) in more than 1,500 schools are using E14 through Exchange Labs, and we are adding more every day. Some of the schools involved include: St John's University, The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Hinds Community College, Coos Bay Public Schools, Colorado Community College System, and many more.
We haven't lost the focus on the on-premise product, however - more to the point, deploying the service helps us understand at a very intimate level what exactly the pain points are in Exchange deployment & administration & more that we need to be improving for on-premise Exchange admins. So at the same time, we're also working with our TAP customers to test and deploy E14 in on-premise and heterogeneous IT environments. Having that first-hand experience running the service is what's letting us build the most scalable version of Exchange yet. Ferris Research just did a survey of several enterprise customers, and they found that the cost of running Exchange 2007 was roughly half that of running Exchange 2003. E14 will bring that cost down by a similar margin yet again.
At any rate, so here's the introductory video. I realize it's not much to start with, but it's what I've got for now. E14's coming, get ready to learn more & give us feedback on it over the coming months. We'll post more videos and blogs in the next couple of months with some more details.
The video is also available on TechNet in a number of different formats.
 Don’t lean back against the wall when doing a video, as you will look like you’re slouching. I hope my mother doesn’t see this video as I’ll never hear the end about my bad posture. I got about 20 seconds in and had to stop, I look like a dork.
 And compliance, and self-service administration, and mailbox search, and browser matrixes, and hardware costs, and power consumption in the datacenter, and and and… I could go on forever J
- KC Lemson