Thursday, April 27, 2006

Exchange 12 ROCKS!!

I can't wait for this one coming out!! The new Microsoft Exchange Server -
code name Exchange 12 is massive and very flexible. Check the following

Automatic Client Configuration
Today, configuring the Outlook desktop or mobile clients prior to first use
is complicated, requiring users to enter confusing technical information.
Exchange 12 includes a new automatic discovery and configuration feature
that Outlook 12 and next generation mobile devices will use to configure
themselves completely, including all appropriate corporate policies. End
users will not be required to enter Exchange server names or other technical
information. This capability will spare the IT staff from having to create
complicated deployment or configuration scripts that help users set up
Outlook to connect to Exchange. Additionally, mailbox moves will not require
manual reconfiguration of clients, and if a disaster occurs, clients will
automatically connect to moved or failed-over mailboxes on different
Exchange servers with no manual editing of Outlook or device connection
settings required

Mailboxes Etcetera
Users already rely on their mailboxes as repositories for every work
message they've ever received and even for actual deliverables. As mailbox
sizes have grown to accommodate user needs, the costs associated with
backup, restore, and migration have skyrocketed. Users need larger mailboxes
to handle this workload, but IT is hesitant to supply more space because of
the time and cost associated with managing a large mailbox. As a native
64-bit application (compatible with x64 servers), Exchange 12 lets an
organization keep all of its users' mail and calendar data on the server
where it can be reliably secured, backed up, and made available on a range
of devices. The 64-bit performance allows Exchange to address more memory,
it increases cache sizes, and it helps reduce disk I/O operations. As a
result, Exchange 12 makes more efficient use of each spindle (physical disk
drive) in existing Storage Area Network (SAN) systems while also enabling
inexpensive high-capacity disk drives to be used.
To address the high cost of backup associated with most messaging systems,
Exchange 12 introduces continuous replication features that use log file
shipping to keep a "rolling backup" of a mailbox database either on a local
disk set or on a disk set attached to a second, clustered server. In the
event of a disaster, a replica can be brought online and attached to any
Exchange 12 server in the network. These capabilities will allow many
organizations to move from expensive nightly tape backup procedures to
less-frequent tape or archival backups.

One Inbox
Users aren't just worried about e-mail, of course; they have to deal with
e-mail, faxes, voicemail, and documents-all of which have to be checked
constantly. But most users don't have the level of access they need away
from the office. Exchange 12 will provide a new unified messaging (UM)
solution that will enable end users to receive e-mail messages, faxes, and
voicemails in one Inbox (see Figure 3). Because in some cases the telephone
may be available when other clients are not, UM will support PIM access over
the phone. Users will be able to access their Inbox from any touch-tone
phone using either touch-tone commands or speech recognition. And via
text-to-speech translation, users can listen to their main Inbox items
(including e-mail, calendar, tasks, and contacts) read back to them. Users
can also interact with messages (reply, forward, and so on) and call other
users when appropriate. Corporate directory access will also be supported.

Flexible Server Roles
The next release of Exchange is being designed as a distributed system of
five server roles (see Figure 1). These roles-Mailbox, Hub Transport, Edge
Transport, Client Access, and Unified Messaging-allow Exchange 12 systems to
be installed with exactly the components organizations need, aiding
performance and reducing the surface area for attacks. Server roles are
deployed within the corporate network, with Active DirectoryR access, and
can also be deployed on a single server if needed. The only exception to
this is Edge Transport, which is deployed in the perimeter network with no
Active Directory access.

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