Microsoft will release a beta of its Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1 with a variety of tweaks in areas such as user interface and integrated archiving. Following the June SP1 release, IT administrators will have more granular control over e-mail storage policies and other matters. Microsoft finds itself challenged in the corporate messaging and collaboration arena by a number of companies including Mozilla and Cisco Systems, as well as Google with its Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook.
Microsoft plans on releasing the beta of its Exchange Server 2010 Service
Pack 1 in June, bringing a number of changes to user interface, integrated
archiving and other areas.
"SP1 will include fixes and tweaks in areas you've helped us identify,
including a roll-up of the roll-ups we've released to date," team member Michael
on the Microsoft Exchange Team Blog
April 7. "I also wanted to flag
some of the feature enhancements we're excited to bring to you with SP1,
including archiving and discovery enhancements, [OWA] Outlook Web App ...
improvements, mobile user and management improvements, and some highly sought-after
additional UI for management tasks."
The SP1 beta will be offered for download in North America
SP1 enhances Exchange Server's archiving functionality, allowing
administrators "to provision a user's Personal Archive to a different
mailbox database from their primary mailbox," according to Atalla, and in
effect implementing tiered storage for certain types of e-mail. Historical e-mail
data from .pst files can also be imported directly into Exchange.
Administrators and IT pros can also use a new feature in SP1 to create
Retention Policy Tags via the Exchange Management Console, automating e-mail
archiving and deletion. The SP1 adds search preview, search result deduplication
and support for annotation of reviewed items as new features for Multi-Mailbox
Search. The updated Exchange Server 2010 will also support access to a user's
Personal Archive with Outlook 2007.
New UI enhancements to the Exchange Management Console and Exchange Control
Panel include the ability to configure Transport Rules and Journal Rules in ECP
as well as provision and configure its Personal Archive.
OWA will also undergo some changes in SP1. "With new work to prefetch
message content, the OWA reading experience becomes faster. With delete, mark
as read and categorize operations running asynchronously, these actions feel
instantaneous to the user," Atalla wrote. "We've also made sure that
certain long-running operations, such as attaching a very large file, will not
block the rest of the OWA experience, protecting the user from irritating Web
UI hang-ups. You'll see a number of other UI improvements as well to declutter
Microsoft originally announced the worldwide launch of Exchange Server 2010
in November 2009, on the opening day of the TechEd Europe conference in Berlin.
With a nod toward corporate IT budgets shriveled in the wake of the global
recession, Microsoft at the time touted the platform as a way for enterprises
to increase their efficiency and cost savings; specifically, Microsoft said the
platform had baked-in features such as a unified approach to data backup and
larger individual mailboxes that would prevent businesses from needing to seek
those services elsewhere.
Microsoft finds itself challenged in the messaging and collaboration arena by
vendors such as Cisco Systems, which announced the release of Cisco WebEx Mail
the same month, and Mozilla, which rolled out Thunderbird 3, the next version
of its open-source e-mail foundation. Microsoft also has a branding competitor
of sorts in Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook, which allows Google Apps
users to access their messages using the Outlook interface.