Microsoft has released additional details on Exchange Server 2003, the next version of its e-mail server product.
Exchange Server 2003 will be available in Standard and Enterprise Editions, and some changes have been made to the Standard Edition that could result in cost savings for users, Microsoft said.
Extensive upgrade tools are also now available to help users upgrade from Exchange 5.5.
The Standard Edition of Exchange Server 2003 can run as a mail server outside a company's firewall. This front-end setup can help with network load balancing when the web mail feature is used extensively, for example. This feature was available only in the more expensive Enterprise Edition in Exchange 2000, said Missy Stern, product manager for Exchange.
Standard Edition is meant for small and medium-sized organisations with between 50 and 5,000 employees. Enterprise Edition is for organisations with 5,000 or more employees or for companies with large storage or clustering requirements. Clustering is not supported in the Standard Edition and storage is limited.
Exchange 2000 Server was released in October 2000. Around 130 million client licences have been sold so far.
Even though Exchange 2000 Server has been available for a while, Microsoft estimated that between 40% and 60% of its customers still run Exchange 5.5 on the Windows NT 4.0 platform. A host of upgrade tools are included with Exchange Server 2003 to help customers move up.
Exchange Server 2003 runs on Windows 2000 Server or Windows Server 2003, so customers running NT 4.0 also have to upgrade their operating environment when moving to a newer e-mail server.
Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service