Microsoft is planning to bring several new features to Exchange Server 2010 with the release of Service Pack 1.
In the past, Microsoft would release a service pack to fix bugs and incorporate some minor enhancements into a product. With SP1 for Exchange 2010, Microsoft is shifting from its traditional service pack “fix-it” approach to a new methodology where service packs add new features to products and, more importantly, address many customer complaints.
SP1 will include Outlook Web App (OWA) improvements, mobile-user and management improvements, and additional UI for management tasks. SP1 will also add new capabilities to how personal archives are handled. With SP1, users will now be able to save personal archive mailboxes to different mailbox databases, instead of tying the personal archive mailbox to the user’s primary mailbox. That will allow users to move their personal archives to alternate storage locations, making managing archives a bit easier.
SP1 adds several enhancements to OWA and Exchange ActiveSync, notably a series of interface improvements that will make OWA look more like a Web app and less like a desktop app. SP1 also includes a multitude of improvements to the Exchange Management Console (EMC) and the Exchange Control Panel (ECP). The biggest items here are support for Role Based Access Control (RBAC) and full support for retention tags and policies. Exchange 2010’s current iteration of RBAC has proven to be very difficult to use; by integrating it into ECP, many of the learning curve pain points will be removed.
The Exchange Team Blog has an introductory video and an expanded list of SP1 features available in the post “Yes Virginia, there is an Exchange Server 2010 SP1,” which can be found here. The enhancements and improvements offered by SP1 should make upgrades to Exchange 2010 an easier sell for solution providers looking to bring Microsoft’s latest technologies to their customer base.