Exchange Can Be Appliancelike

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-07-31 Print this article Print
One of the major challenges and goals facing the development team working on Microsofts Exchange Server is how to make the e-mail, calendaring and messaging product more like appliance products that make migration and operation automatic.

But this burgeoning appliance market poses a bigger question at Microsoft than for Exchange alone, Terry Myerson, general manager of the Exchange Server product group, in Redmond, Wash., told eWeek.

The development team has taken some tangible steps toward reducing the complexity of Exchange with the upcoming Exchange 2007 offering, as well as creating diagnostic tools such as the Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer, or ExBPA, and "Monad," now known as Windows PowerShell. But Myerson said there is a level of automatic migration and operation "that we are just not at today."

"Id love to get there, and that is a great vision for where Exchange should be. We wont be there in 2007. But, for the version after this, Exchange 14, we will be standing in front of the team and asking why someone cant buy Exchange Server from Dell or [Hewlett-Packard]s Web site, plug it in, test it for 30 days and return it if it doesnt work," Myerson said.

The Exchange team is getting very close to this goal though, Myerson said, with ExBPA scanning the environment and understanding what is and is not ready, and giving prescriptive guidance. But not everyone agrees with this assessment. Some administrators say ExBPA is merely a stopgap tool that analyzes the potential for the incorrect deployment of Exchange.

"Because there are so many ways that Exchange can be deployed, ExBPA is a required mechanism for Microsoft to reduce the cost of all of the support calls theyve been receiving due to e-mail failures over the past six years, ever since Exchange 2000 was released," one administrator told eWeek.

Myerson noted that another challenge facing the development team is the fact that there are three primary audiences for the product: the IT decision maker or CIO, who is focused on cost savings, reliability, security and compliance; the administrator, who looks at complexity; and the user, who wants the most seamless experience across all his devices.

Keith McCall—chief technology officer at Redmond-based Azaleos, which offers a managed Exchange appliance—agrees that Exchange 2007 is well-suited for the appliance form factor.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel