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Microsoft Exchange 2010: New Features Released Via Beta Mode

Microsoft Exchange 2010 is part of the next wave of Microsoft Office-related products and is the first server in a new generation of Microsoft server technology built from the ground up to work on-premises and as an online service. The new release of Exchange 2010 introduces a new integrated e-mail archive and features to help reduce costs and improve the user experience. Microsoft unveiled the new version of the program with public beta back in April as the first release in the next wave of Office-related products. Exchange Server 2010 will become available in the second half of 2009. Microsoft Office 2010 and related products will enter technical preview in the third quarter of 2009 and become available in the first half of 2010. To help learn about the new version, IT training is your best option to master the new features.

The last big release of Microsoft Exchange, Exchange Server 2007, marked a major change from the previous edition. Exchange 2007 introduced unified messaging, a completely new management client, and improvements to almost every aspect of the mail server, but at the cost of a whopping learning curve for administrators. Admins will have an easier go of it this time around with this version.

The improvements in Exchange 2010 fall into three "pillars," as they are described in Microsoft marketing-speak: flexibility and reliability, anywhere access, and protection and compliance. The latest release of Exchange can help you achieve better business outcomes while controlling the costs of deployment, administration, and compliance. Exchange delivers the widest range of deployment options, integrated information leakage protection, and advanced compliance capabilities, that combine to form the best messaging and collaboration solution available.

On top of noteworthy enhancements for Outlook users, new features also make the operator's life easier -- without introducing entirely new ways of doing things. So if the standby continuous replication feature in Exchange 2007 SP1 improved your operations, or you've been migrating your contractors' e-mail accounts from in-house Exchange 2007 servers to Exchange Online to reduce costs, you'll find much to enjoy in Exchange 2010 as well.

Support for Windows Server 2003 has been dropped from Exchange 2010 in favor of a Windows Server 2008 minimum platform. This might complicate the upgrade calculation for people running older server software. The forced upgrade to Windows Server 2008 shouldn't be as big a shock as the forced upgrade to 64-bit hardware was when Exchange Server 2007 was introduced.

Although pricing for Exchange Server 2010 has not yet been announced, from the initial beta it looks like a very promising upgrade. Because of the major improvements in usability, reliability, and compliance, most Exchange 2007 shops will probably want to upgrade to Exchange 2010 sooner rather than later.

The next wave of updates, which includes Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, Microsoft Visio 2010 and Microsoft Project 2010, is designed to give people a consistent experience across devices, making it easier to create and edit documents and collaborate from any location. In addition, to help businesses reduce costs, the next wave will introduce new delivery and licensing models, improve deployment and management options for IT professionals, and provide developers with an expanded platform on which to create applications. Instead of trying to figure out how to work each new version, taking an e-learning course will teach you everything you need to now to master the new features!

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