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4/16/2009
05:02 PM
Irwin Lazar
Irwin Lazar
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Exchange 2010 - The Evolution Continues

Microsoft unveiled Exchange Server 2010 public beta this week, offering a number of incremental improvements to Exchange 2007, but also missing some key components

Exchange 2010, slated to ship in the 2nd half of 2009, offers a number of improvements to Exchange 2007 including a conversation view for message threads, better message filtering, improved voicemail feature control, and perhaps most importantly, a single interface for web and desktop users. On the back-end, Exchange 2010 provides significant improvements in archiving/data retention management, spam defense, storage, and rights management.

But while the client-side features go a long way to matching what is now available in Notes 8.5, there were some notable absences including:

- lack of a fully-featured Mac client. For Mac users Microsoft offers two options - OWA (without local message storage) or Entourage, which Microsoft noted would continue to be developed separately from Outlook, meaning that not only will Mac users continue to lack feature parity, but administrators in mixed Mac-Windows environments will struggle with supporting two different applications (versus GroupWise or Notes which offer native Mac clients, and in the case of Notes, feature parity)

- lack of social network integration - At this year's Lotusphere, IBM introduced plans to integrate LinkedIn into Notes. Those hoping to see Outlook/Exchange integrate into social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn didn't get anything to cheer about though Microsoft did announce plans for SMS and iCal support in Exchange

- lack of a compelling business case to upgrade. E-mail isn't sexy, upgrading an e-mail system is difficult to justify on the basis of ROI. Microsoft didn't unveil any compelling ROI / TCO improvements that would cause one to become excited about a 2010 upgrade, especially if you've just completed, or are in the process of completing a 2007 migration. There are options to leverage hosted storage, and new client-side interface options (also available in 2007) are music to developers ears, but what I didn't hear was a strong, compelling business case for a customer happy with Exchange 2003 to migrate to 2010.

Perhaps some of the missing pieces will become part of Office 2010?

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