Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP1 Now Available

Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1 comes with features such as so-called soft-deleted mailboxes. Microsoft's offering is meant to compete against those from Cisco Systems and Mozilla, among others.

Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1 is now generally available, with feature enhancements to areas such as the management user interface. The Service Pack follows the June release of the Exchange SP1 beta, which Microsoft claims was downloaded by over 500,000 Technology Adoption Program customers.

Exchange Server 2010 SP1 is available for download.

Based on a list provided by Microsoft, it looks like the additions in SP1 are relatively extensive, ranging from new deployment functionality to Client Access server role improvements and support for multitenancy.

Another tweak involves client throttling policies, which allow IT administrators to manage performance of Client Access servers. In Exchange Server 2010 RTM, only the policies limiting the number of concurrent client connections were default-enabled, whereas with SP1, all client-throttling policies are now default.

Microsoft also tinkered with the process for moving mailboxes. "When mailboxes are moved from an Exchange 2010 SP1 database to any other database, Exchange no longer fully deletes the mailbox from the source database immediately upon completion of the move," reads the Release Notes for Exchange Server 2010 SP1. "Instead, the mailbox in the source mailbox database is switched to a soft-deleted state, which allows mailbox data to be accessed during a mailbox restore operation by using the new MailboxRestoreRequest set of cmdlets."

The "soft-deleted" mailboxes are retained in the source database until the end of an expiration period, or until a manual purge by the IT administrator.

Microsoft originally announced the worldwide launch of Exchange Server 2010 in November 2009, on the opening day of the TechEd Europe conference in Berlin. In keeping with the global recessionary environment, Microsoft presented the platform's baked-in features, such as a unified approach to data backup, as a way for enterprises to increase efficiency and save money.

Those features include Mobile Management Policies, which allow IT administrators to control about 45 policies for devices connected to their network, and an expansion of Outlook Web Access premium support to Apple Safari. On the user side of the equation, the platform includes Conversation View, which automatically groups message threads, and voice mail preview.

Microsoft's competitors in the messaging and collaboration arena include Cisco Systems, which announced the release of Cisco WebEx Mail the same month, and Mozilla, with its open-source Thunderbird client. Contributing to the mix is Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook, which lets Google Apps users access their messages via the Outlook interface.