Delegates given sneak preview of Exchange 12 e-mail server

Corporate governance, mobile access for end-users and lowering the cost of e-mail administration will be the primary focus of Exchange 12, Microsoft's e-mail server which is due for release in 2006/07.

Corporate governance, mobile access for end-users and lowering the cost of e-mail administration will be the primary focus of Exchange 12, Microsoft's e-mail server which is due for release in 2006/07.

Delegates at Microsoft's Tech Ed conference last week were given advance details of the product's key developments, plus a demonstration of the mobility and security functions in Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2, which will be available by the end of the year.

Troy Zaboukos, Exchange lead product manager at Microsoft, said, "[With Exchange 12] we want to enable low-cost mailboxes through continuous back-up."

According to Zaboukos, a major headache for e-mail administrators has been the need to back up the entire Exchange server every night. This can be complex, expensive and inefficient, given that in some cases only 1% of data changes each day.

With continuous back-up, the IT department runs two Exchange 12 servers; the second logs each sent and received e-mail from the main server, allowing instant back-up. With this facility, Zaboukos said, "I expect tape back-ups to be conducted once or twice a week."

End-users will be offered unified messaging through integration between Exchange 12 and the corporate telephone system. This will allow users to pick up faxes and voicemail through Outlook.

Zaboukos said the software will also allow users to listen to e-mail messages by dialling into their Outlook Inbox.

Exchange 12 will be the last release to support public folders for sharing documents. Zaboukos said Microsoft's policy was to encourage users to run Sharepoint server for document sharing instead.

In Exchange 12, end-users who access the e-mail server via a web browser using Outlook Web Access will be able to access documents stored in Sharepoint.

Before Exchange 12 arrives, Microsoft will offer enhanced mobility with the Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2. Exchange administrators can configure the server to push e-mail onto devices running Windows Mobile 5.0 and manage the devices remotely across a mobile network.

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