While we appreciate all the positive feedback we’ve received on Exchange Server 2010, we know you all are eager to find out what’s been going on in Redmond since November. Today, we are happy to give you a first look at what’s coming later this year in Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1 (SP1).
SP1 will include fixes and tweaks in areas you’ve helped us identify, including a roll-up of the roll-ups we’ve released to date. I also wanted to flag some of the feature enhancements we’re excited to bring to you with SP1 including: archiving and discovery enhancements, Outlook Web App (OWA) improvements, mobile user and management improvements, and some highly sought after additional UI for management tasks. This is not an all-inclusive list, so stay tuned for the detailed list coming soon!
In addition to sharing these details with you, I’m pleased to let you know that we’ll be offering a beta of SP1 for download in parallel with TechEd North America this June. This will give you a chance to test drive SP1 and prepare for its official release.
Archiving and Discovery Enhancements
With the release of Exchange Server 2010 last November, we introduced integrated archiving capabilities aimed at helping you preserve and discover e-mail data. In SP1, we’ve enhanced this archiving functionality based on the great feedback you’ve given us since our launch. This includes adding the flexibility to provision a user’s Personal Archive to a different mailbox database from their primary mailbox. This means your organization can now more easily implement separate storage strategies (or tiered storage) for less frequently accessed e-mail. And, we didn’t just stop there! We’ve also added new server side capabilities so you can import historical e-mail data from .PST files, directly into Exchange, as well as IT pro controls to enable delegate access to a user’s Personal Archive.
To help streamline the implementation of retention policies, SP1 updates the Exchange Management Console with new tools to create Retention Policy Tags, so you can automate the deletion and archiving of e-mail and other Exchange items. New optional Retention Policy Tags give you even more flexibility in defining your organizations retention management strategy.
Lastly, we’ve made several improvements to the Multi-Mailbox Search features, which can be used to conduct e-Discovery of e-mail for legal, regulatory or other reasons. A new search preview helps with, for example, early case assessment by providing you an estimate on the number of items in the result set-with keyword statistics-before e-mail located in the search are copied to the designated discovery mailbox. And, you now have a new search result de-duplication option, that when checked, only copies one instance of a message to the discovery mailbox. This can help you reduce the amount of e-mail you need to review following the search. Finally, added support for annotation of reviewed items means you can make your e-Discovery workflow even more efficient and less time consuming or costly.
For those of you that have been holding your breath for this one, we’re also happy to let you know that in SP1 timeframe, there will be an update which will enable us to support access to a user’s Personal Archive with Outlook 2007.
Watch the embedded video to hear from the Exchange team’s Ann Vu and Ian Hameroff talk about the investments we’ve made around archiving in Exchange 2010.
Learn more about our approach to archiving by reading the Archiving with Exchange 2010 whitepaper.
Outlook Web App – Better Than Ever
We didn’t stop working with archiving and discovery, OWA gets a significant facelift with SP1 as well. With new work to pre-fetch message content, the OWA reading experience becomes faster. With delete, mark as read, and categorize operations running asynchronously, these actions feel instantaneous to the user. We’ve also made sure that certain long running operations, such as attaching a very large file, will not block the rest of the OWA experience, protecting the user from irritating web UI hang-ups. You’ll see a number of other UI improvements as well to de-clutter a bit; helping make it easier to find common tasks with updated action icons and menus. The simpler UI will make OWA much friendlier to the smaller screens of ever popular Netbooks. Users will also be able to share their calendars to anonymous viewers via the web, assuming you enable this functionality as the admin.
In RTM, we delivered Information Rights Management (IRM) capabilities in OWA, allowing you to read and compose IRM-protected messages just like you’ve been able to do with Outlook in the past. In SP1, you’ll be able to add Web-Ready Document Viewing of IRM-protected documents as well and you’ll be able to do so in Safari on a Mac as well as in Firefox or IE on a PC.
Finally, for those of you who have been dying to change the look and feel of OWA, we’re bringing OWA themes back; adding several OWA themes so you can match the OWA experience to your particular style. Oh yeah, and yes, the reading pane can be placed on the bottom or the right side.
All The Mobility, All the Time
While Exchange Active Sync (EAS) has become the de facto standard for mobile communication, there is no resting on any laurels in Redmond here either. In SP1, mobile users will be treated with tether-free IRM support in EAS, enabling you to send and receive IRM-protected mail without having previously connected your device to Windows Mobile Device Center to provision IRM. Updated EAS capabilities also enable support for send-as, support for notifying the user if their device has been placed on block or quarantine by their admin, full implementation of conversation view including the ability to sync only unique parts of messages. Also, for those users who need help setting up their mobile device to access mail via POP/IMAP/SMTP, we’ve added information in OWA to provide them the server names for these services. For those of you who haven’t already seen Michael Higashi’s blog post from March, take a look to read about all the updated Outlook Mobile capabilities already delivered.
New Management UI
We know you all love PowerShell, as do we, but SP1 will bring several new management UI enhancements to enable a number of management tasks in the Exchange Management Console (EMC) and Exchange Control Panel (ECP). Here’s a taste:
- Create/configure Retention Tags + Retention Policies in EMC
- Configure Transport Rules in ECP
- Configure Journal Rules in ECP
- Configure MailTips in ECP
- Provision and configure the Personal Archive in ECP
- Configure Litigation Hold in ECP & EMC
- Configure Allow/Block/Quarantine mobile device policies in ECP
- RBAC role management in ECP
- Configure Database Availability Group (DAG) IP Addresses and Alternate Witness Server in EMC
- Recursive public folder settings management (including permissions) in EMC
Many of the improvements we are delivering in the SP1 are in direct response to the feedback you’ve provided since RTM. I am excited about how, in a very short period time, we’ve been able to quickly respond and introduce these improvements and innovation to Exchange 2010. A full list of what’s coming in SP1 will be on TechNet soon.
As always, let us know what you think!
— Michael Atalla