Exchange 12 Has Something for All

Microsoft is working hard to make sure the latest version of its e-mail, calendaring and messaging server, Exchange 12, appeals to both enterprise IT administrators and end users.

The first beta of the product, released earlier this month, offers enhanced administrative controls as well as a unified messaging feature that will deliver fax, voice mail, e-mail and speech recognition.

Due for release in late 2006 or early 2007, Exchange 12 follows Microsoft’s push to make its products more componentized and role-based. As such, it will be based on five server roles, including unified messaging, edge transport and client access, according to Jeff Ressler, director of product planning for Exchange, in Redmond, Wash.

The modularization of Exchange 12 will simplify installation for IT administrators by allowing them to choose which of these roles to install on which server.

Exchange 12 will also have a rewritten graphical management console, known as Exchange System Manager, which makes better use of the white space, panes and windows in that console, Ressler said.

For power-user administrators, Exchange 12 will have a new component known as the Exchange Management Shell, a command-line shell that is based on Windows “Monad” technology. This is fully scriptable and can be used for real-time management or for scripted operations such as provisioning a server, Ressler said. ….

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