First look: Exchange 2010 beta shines

Flexibility, reliability, client-side improvements, and ease of administration mark this major upgrade

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My No. 2 pick is the improved storage reliability. This lumps together several discrete enhancements, but the short story is that you can now run Exchange reliably without dealing with Windows clustering, RAID arrays, or fancy Enterprise-class disks. It'll be cheaper to store mailbox databases and faster to recover mailboxes in the event of failures.

My No. 3 pick is MailTips. Are you about to accidentally send a personal e-mail to the whole company? A a time-sensitive e-mail to someone who is on maternity leave for six months? A 30MB attachment to people who have 20MB attachment size limits on their mailboxes? MailTips tells you before you send the message.

[ See Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 highlights. ]

And my No. 4 pick is conversation view. Have the arrangements for a company party Friday night cluttered up your mailbox to the point where you can't find the approval e-mail for the urgent customer visit that you need to book today? Switch to conversation view, and collapse those 50 party discussions into one expandable node. This isn't a new idea; we were doing threaded conversations on bulletin board systems 25 years ago. But it is new to Outlook and OWA, and it's more than welcome.

New in Microsoft Exchange Server 2010

Feature

Description

Multiple-browser support

OWA (Outlook Web Access) support for Internet Explorer 7 and 8, Firefox 3, and Safari 3

Reply/forward status

Reply/forward status maintained by server, displayed by all clients

MailTips

Warn about large distributions, out-of-office recipients, etc.

Conversation view

Message threading; reduces mailbox clutter

Calendar sharing

Calendar sharing extended to OWA, federated users

Contact sharing

Extend shared contacts beyond organization and desktop

Voice Mail Preview

Automatically transcribed text-based preview of voice mail messages

Call Answering Rules

Incoming phone calls managed like incoming e-mails

Rights-management in OWA

Read and create IRM-protected messages natively in OWA as well as Outlook

Federation

Trust Exchange servers of partner organizations, share calendars, presence

Page patching

Automatic repair of corrupted database pages from copies

I/O optimization

I/O bursts reduced, allowing use of SATA (desktop) disk drives

JBOD support

Replicated mailbox databases allow use of JBOD (concatenated disks) instead of RAID arrays

Database availability groups

Redundant copies of mailbox databases with continuous replication, automatic recovery

Database-level failover

Removes need for clustering, improves overall uptime

Online Move Mailbox

Mailboxes can be moved during normal business hours with user online

Transport protection rules

Allow an administrator to automatically apply IRM protection to e-mail after sending

Moderation

Re-direct mail to a manager or trusted moderator for review, as a transport rule

Outlook protection rules

Automatically triggers Outlook to apply an RMS template to a message before it is sent

Role-Based Access Control

Delegation of specific authorities simplifies administration

Exchange Control Panel (ECP)

User self-service for tasks that used to require administrators

Message tracking

Users can track message delivery without a help-desk call

Distribution group management

Users can create, manage, and moderate distribution groups

Mobile Device Block/Allow List

Administrators can select which devices can sync data

Protected voice mail

Prevent voice mails from being forwarded outside the organization

Personal Archive

Move PST files to a secondary Exchange mailbox for performance and compliance

Multimailbox search

Cross-mailbox search user interface for HR, compliance; does not require administrator

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