Exchange 2010 Hits the Streets

Latest version of e-mail server emphasizes S+S and unified communications.

Exchange Server 2010, the newest version of Microsoft's $1-billion-per-year e-mail server, formally launched at TecháEd Europe in Berlin in November, when Microsoft executives emphasized the product's focus on Software plus Services (S+S) and unified communications.

Exchange 2010 provides a common e-mail user experience across desktop, browser and mobile devices, Stephen Elop, president of the Microsoft Business Division, said during a Tech-Ed keynote to launch the product. The common UI is made possible by the integration of Microsoft active sync technology, which is now supported by "every smartphone on the market," Elop said. Another benefit of Exchange 2010 is the ability for organizations to move to larger mailboxes, he said. He cited cost benefits based on customer trials.

In practical terms, the product's focus on S+S means that customers can use Exchange 2010 as a service through Hosted Exchange or the Business Productivity Online Suite, installed on-premises or as part of a hybrid deployment approach, Elop said.

The company considers Exchange 2010 to be part of its unified communications product line, rather than an e-mail server, according to Chris Capossela, senior vice president of the Information Worker Product Management Group.

Some of the unified communications functionality will be enabled through integration with Outlook 2010. Julia White, director of Exchange product management, described a number of features such as Outlook 2010 warning users when sending messages outside the company and letting users preview voicemails in text format.

In support of the product launch, Microsoft released two documents filled with cost-benefit data that could be useful to partners. The studies, done by Forrester Research Inc. and based on customer product trials, are "The Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Exchange 2010" and "The Total Economic Impact of Windows Server 2008 R2."

At the launch, Elop said more than 45,000 partners are trained on Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange 2010. Several vendor partners launched services and solutions around Exchange 2010 in Berlin, including Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Avanade Inc., Dell Inc., EMC Corp., Kaspersky Lab, Symantec Corp. and Unisys Corp.

The Exchange Server 2010 launch comes in the midst of a wave of releases across the Microsoft stack, from Windows 7 a few months ago to SQL Server 2008 R2 next year.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.