Service packs aren't always exciting. Typically, they take hotfixes and minor improvements that have been rolled out already and bundle them into one pack. But at times they include exciting new features.
For example, SP1 for Exchange 2007 included a fourth high-availability capability for site replication called Standby Continuous Replication (SCR). It also came with a bevy of new ActiveSync policies and a new GUI console for managing public folders (management was allowed only through the EMS and PowerShell cmdlets with the original release).
This fall, Microsoft will release Exchange 2007 SP2, which adds some interesting new features. But the primary focus is on the new backup tool, whch replaces the one that Microsoft removed from Windows Server. Here is what you have to look forward to:
- Enhanced Auditing: Certainly a beneficial feature for Exchange administrators looking to audit their Exchange servers.
- Dynamic Active Directory Schema Update and Validation: For those of you who have to deal with Active Directory schema updates, this is going to be a nice feature that prevents conflicts and helps to dynamically deploy future schema updates.
- Public Folder Quota Management: SP2 improves the PowerShell cmdlets needed to perform quota management.
- Centralized Organizational Settings: This is another PowerShell option to enable centralized management of Exchange organizational settings.
- Named Properties cmdlet: A new way to monitor named properties per database.
- New user Interface for Managing Diagnostic Logging: Found with the Exchange Management Console, this will allow for an easier logging experience for Exchange administrators to configure.
- Exchange Volume Snapshot Backup Functionality: There are some serious stipulations to the use of this add-in, which I will explain in a moment, but it is probably the most anticipated aspect of the service pack, even by administrators who will never use it.
Note that you need to deploy SP2 in your existing environment to be able to interoperate with Exchange Server 2010 and its transition services.
When Microsoft removed its backup capability from Windows Server, I was not happy. But I am happy that a new tool will soon be available, this time in Exc hange 2007 SP2. However, Microsoft does note stipulations for its use: