We have arrived at the final article of this series on Exchange 2010 Beta, with this post focusing on the new features and technology enhancements. Today is all about the reasons why we are all going to migrate to this latest product offering when released to the public, right?
Okay, so let’s begin with everyone’s favourite, Outlook Web Access (OWA) and focus on some of it’s new features. OWA has come along way since the days I first used it as an end user in Exchange 5.5. From the outset you will notice that Exchange 2010 OWA adopts the Windows Live theme, see below screenshots, and by default displays your messages in conversation view. The OWA premium client experience can now be accessed from Firefox and Safari and not limited to Internet Explorer, a welcome by all who don’t necessarily run Internet Explorer as their primary browser or don’t run a PC for that matter and because I run OS X at home it was the first enhancement I tried out. Check out the screen shots below of OWA premium running through Firefox. Some of the notable features and enhancements of OWA in 2010 are captured in the below screenshots.
Outlook Web Access Features
OWA Premium running on Mozilla Firefox.
Messages are arranged by conversation view by default.
You now have the ability to view Calendars side by side just like you can in Outlook 2007.
Here’s another enhancement with OWA displaying user’s mailbox usage and quota limit imposed.
Also a nice touch is the ability to open up other user’s mailboxes and have them displayed in the same window as your own.
Other notable enhancements with regards to OWA are listed in the following TechNet article and include;
- *Favourites in the Navigation Pane
*The ability to set categories in the message list
*Options in the Web management interface for Outlook Web Access
*The ability to attach messages to messages
*Expanded right-click capabilities
*Integration with Office Communicator, including presence, chat, and a contact list
*The ability to send and receive text (SMS) messages from Outlook Web Access
The trend with OWA throughout the years is to try and get closer and closer to its fully fledged desktop client Microsoft Outlook, and with the advances of web technology over recent years the gap is closing with each new version released and Exchange 2010’s OWA offering is no exception.
Next on the list of changes are the enhancements made to the Exchange 2010 Management Console (EMC). Some of these are listed as follows.
Organisational Health Tab
This tab provides you with a quick view of how Exchange is operating in your environment. We touched upon this in the first article of this series and can be located by clicking on the Microsoft Exchange On-Premises node and running the Gather Organizational Information utility under Actions. Upon completion you will be provided with the below summary screen;
Community and Feedback Tab
The Community and Feedback tab provides links to Exchange-related topics on Microsoft TechNet and new postings from the Exchange team blogs.
Exchange Help Client (EHC) and PowerShell
This small enhancement provides you with help information directly from TechNet by clicking F1. A PowerShell command log also records the PowerShell command when you perform a task through the EMC. A Property dialog box command exposure is also a new feature that displays PowerShell commands including parameters when changing properties of an object.
Role Based Access Control and Exchange Control Panel
For large Exchange Organisations with multiple messaging administrators, Role Based Access Control (RBAC) and Exchange Control Panel (ECP) are a welcome addition to Exchange 2010. RBAC allows you to associate permissions against various roles which is also mapped to various tasks in Exchange such as adding mailboxes etc. The ECP console is an administrative web based tool for delegated administrators such as department administrators and help desk personnel. The ECP console enables these administrators to perform tasks that are delegated to them. These tasks include creating and managing users and groups, defining Unified Messaging and retention policies, changing passwords, and modifying encryption settings. You can access ECP by browsing to the following URL https://server/ecp and is part of the Client Access role.
With the latest Exchange 2010 Management Architecture, you can now use a single machine and management console to manage multiple 2010 organisations both online and on premises.
Exchange 2010 Storage Architecture
Microsoft continues to improve Exchange’s performance marketing it as an enterprise messaging solution that can easily scale out. Exchange 2007 went a long way in providing us with enterprise scalability with the introduction of 64 bit only computing breaking the 4GB memory barrier and lowering disk I/O by increasing the page size from 4KB to 8KB. It also introduced Exchange roles (Hub/Mailbox/CAS/Unified Messaging and Edge) all which could run on separate machines with multiple instances for redundancy and load balancing depending on the role. So how has Exchange 2010 improved on what Exchange 2007 has to offer? Below are some of the notable enhancements with regards to Exchange 2010 architecture;
- *Increased page size from 8KB to 32KB
*The Store compresses attachments
*Header data for all mailbox items is stored in a single database table making it more efficient
*The Store updates Outlook Client views (indexes) only when they’re accessed reducing constant background processing
The other notable change with regards to Exchange’s architecture is the removal of storage groups!? What do you mean? No more storage groups? Yep! and without going into too much detail, below are some of the changes around Exchange 2010, storage and clustering.
- *The concept of storage groups is eliminated
* Single copy clusters and Local Continuous Replication are eliminated and not supported in Exchange 2010
* Exchange 2010 introduces Database Availability Groups (DAGs), which are groupings of up to 16 servers in which some or all of the databases are marked for replication to one or more other servers.
More detailed technical information can be found in the following TechNet article http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd335211%28EXCHG.140%29.aspx.
As you can see there are a plethora of changes and enhancements to Exchange 2010, bringing some valuable functionality to any organisation who chooses to adopt it. Exchange 2010 improves on Exchange 2007 when it comes to providing resiliency, cheaper storage solutions, high availability, improvement in mailbox sizes and increase in performance which will assist any organisation in reducing cost, a welcome in these tough economic times.
Finally, TechNet has some great pre-release documentation that outlines What’s new which can be accessed from here (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd298136(EXCHG.140).aspx).
Microsoft is also providing a free one year subscription to a number of Exchange 2010 clinics that is invaluable to any Messaging Administrator who wants to learn more about the upcoming release. You can access these from the Microsoft eLearning Site. https://www.microsoftelearning.com.
Hope you have enjoyed the 3 part series introducing Exchange 2010. So what are you waiting for? Get your hands on the beta which can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Site and happy testing! http://www.microsoft.com/DOWNLOADS/details.aspx?familyid=1898ED2C-2F88-48AC-824E-D3D20FAD77D7&displaylang=en