Exchange Team Broadens Beta 1, Releases a CTP

Updated: The first beta of Microsoft's upcoming Exchange 12 product, which offers calendaring and unified messaging, is private.

Microsoft has broadened the group of testers for the first beta of its upcoming Exchange 12 e-mail, calendaring and unified messaging server product, announcing March 1 that it had released a community technology preview build to its 200,000 global TechNet and MSDN subscribers.

"The CTP is a beta one release, which is still a private beta, which means that testers are bound by a Non Disclosure Agreement and cannot share the build with anyone else. However, while they can talk about those features we have announced and made public, they are not allowed to talk about their experience with working with the code and which features do and do not work.

"This is very early code and not at the point where it should be reviewed," Megan Kidd, a senior product manager for Exchange, in Redmond, Wash., told eWEEK.

However, the second beta for Exchange 12, due this summer, will be publicly available and anyone can then review and talk about the code, she said, adding that are no current plans for another CTP release.

The Exchange team has received a good deal of feedback since it released the first beta for the product last December, particularly around two features: local continuous replication and cluster continuous replication.

/zimages/2/28571.gifTo read more about the first Exchange beta release, click here.

Ray Mohrman, a technical product planner for Exchange, said these features are essentially high availability solutions and are designed to meet the IT demand for increasing availability of their systems.

Messaging solutions like exchange are becoming increasingly core to the way companies conduct business, and they are always looking at ways to make sure that system is always available, he said.

"In Exchange 12 we took an approach of being able to provide a scalable solution that could fit a number of customer requirements.

"So, looking at local continuous replication first, this is really bringing affordable, enterprise ready continuity for our small and mid-market customers, those rich failover solutions that larger companies have implemented," he said.

"This is a way that we can do some log file shipping, create a replica database of a real production environment so if there is any disk failures or possible corruptions or hardware problems, it will be able to fail over to a copy really quickly," Mohrman said.

This is far easier and quicker than having to restore from a backup, where users have to find their tapes, mount them and restore them.

"With this system, users can just flop right over to the second copy," he said.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about why contributing editor David Coursey doesnt want to wait for new Exchange features.

This solution is also integrated into the Exchange System Manager, which is the console used to manage everything in Exchange.

Next Page: Integrated solutions.