Details surrounding the forthcoming release of Exchange 2010 SP1 have emerged from Microsoft this past week. Many shortcomings of the product have been addressed. This release will help to sway the Exchange 2003 client base to upgrade and potentially show enough value to bring some of the Exchange 2007 client base. The largest improvements in SP1 surround archival, Outlook Web Access, and the email discovery process.
Archiving has been improved to allow a user to store their archive mailbox in a separate mailbox store. This helps administrators in multiple ways. Mailbox stores can now be more finely controlled to place the archival mailstores on lower cost storage and/or lower cost database availability groups. Archival data can now have differing data protection policies than the primary mailbox. Mailbox store size where the primary mailbox resides can now be kept to a smaller size, improving performance, user load and data protection windows.
Outlook Web Access (OWA) has improved the experience once again, bringing the web client even closer to the full client experience. The Exchange team has now improved the end-user experience by making OWA have near-instantaneous response. This has been accomplished by engineering in some pre-fetch technologies as well as making many of the common tasks execute in an asynchronous fashion. When a user clicks on a button like delete, the UI is not held up and the user can move on to the next task. In the background, OWA is executing on that delete command.
Discovery for the purposes of HR, Regulatory or Legal have never been easy to do out of the box. Many have turned to third-party tools to aid in this task. Microsoft will now be providing an easy to use interface to perform multi-mailbox searches in an enterprise. Discovered items can be setup to copy directly to a discovery mailbox and accessed by the appropriate personnel.
A public beta is due in June, with a release later in the year.
Read more at the Exchange Team blog.