Microsoft set to release SP1 for Exchange Server

The update includes new unified communications functionality and standby continuous replication of e-mails

On Friday, November 30, Microsoft will release Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 [SP1].

The biggest change delivered in SP1 is in the area of mobile communications and integration with Microsoft Office Communicator, the software vendor's UC (unified communications) platform.

Using Exchange Server 2007 SP1 users will be able to retrieve voice mail messages from Office Communicator with a single click.

In phrasing that was somewhat obscure, the Microsoft release also said that "certain Office Communications Server 2007- and Office Communicator 2007-qualified devices will be able to work with Exchange Server 2007 for additional functionality."

The release left unclear what constitutes a "qualified" device.

The additional UC functionality mentioned in the release is a message indicator that shows a user when there is a new voice mail message.

For remote users, SP1 also adds public folder accessibility in Outlook Web Access as well as personal distribution lists, recovery of deleted items, and a monthly calendar view.

Other improvements include fax tone detection and secure real-time protocol and simplified transport layer security, giving remote users a more secure connection to a corporate network.

SP1 also adds a new high-availability feature that offers "standby continuous replication" wherein e-mails are replicated on a continuous basis to a standby server in case a datacenter goes offline.

"Many companies have been eagerly awaiting standby continuous replication, which allows for native disaster recovery services," said Matthew Cain, a senior analyst with Gartner.

SP1 is available for free download now.