Microsoft Releases Exchange 2010 SP2

Service Pack 2 for Exchange Server 2010, which includes update rollups since SP1 and a few requested items, was released on Sunday.

The new service pack works with 64-bit versions of Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2, according to Microsoft's system requirements. It can be downloaded here.

According to Kevin Allison, general manager of the Exchange customer experience, SP2 incorporates developments that were made for Microsoft Exchange Online, which has a faster release cycle than the premises-installed product. Exchange Online has quarterly release cycles, plus six-month releases; the improvements from those releases show up in the Exchange Server 2010 service packs, Allison explained in a Microsoft-produced video.

As Microsoft promised during May's Tech-Ed conference in Atlanta, one of the customer-requested features in SP2 is a new "address book policies" feature, which is designed to help IT pros segment e-mail connections into subsets within an organization. Address book policies keeps some users from seeing other users. It might be used by schools separating out student and teacher views or by corporations that need to segment the e-mail streams of their subsidiaries, Allison explained. The concept is called "global address list segmentation," which Microsoft outlines here.

The use of address book policies in SP2 will facilitate those who wish to use premises-installed Exchange Server 2010 in hosted multitenant configurations. Microsoft introduced a "hosting mode" in SP1 for premises-installed systems, but it limited the features that were available, such as the use of Exchange Unified Messaging. SP2 apparently solves that limitation, but Microsoft warns that hosters will have to follow specific configuration guidelines to get things to work properly.

Another addition in SP2 is support for Outlook Web App Mini, which is a version of the Microsoft's Web-based e-mail client that is designed to run on devices that depend on low-bandwidth streams. Outlook Web App Mini provides a plain text user interface, allowing users to navigate to their e-mails or check a global address list.

SP2 includes a "cross-site silent redirection for Outlook Web App" feature. This feature is designed to smooth out the process when a client access server (CAS) request made by an Outlook Web App must be redirected to "CAS infrastructure located in another Active Directory site," according to Microsoft's announcement.

Microsoft added a "hybrid configuration wizard" for organizations that want to leverage both hosted and on-premises Exchange infrastructure. Mailboxes can be hosted in the Internet cloud or installed within an organization's infrastructure. The wizard is designed to ease sharing setups between cloud and premises, as well as to help with mailbox moves and online archiving.

Microsoft also improved its replication service to avoid manual configuration of web.config files on the client access server. The service pack also allows IT pros to turn off mailbox automapping to reduce performance hits. There are also new "multi-value custom attributes" that IT pros can associate with e-mail recipient objects. Better control for removing litigation holds on mailboxes was added with the addition of new cmdlets in SP2. For a list of all the features in SP2, see this Microsoft TechNet library article.

Microsoft cautioned that to use these new features in SP2, IT pros will have to "update their Active Directory schema."

About the Author

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


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