We heard concerns from our early adoption Exchange Server 2010 customers regarding transitioning from Exchange Server 2003 and/or Exchange Server 2007 in a few key areas. One of which is the fact that you, Exchange/IT administrators, are burdened with complex migration steps (multiple firewall rules, multiple certificates, multiple external URLs/ports for clients). This complexity means there is opportunity for misconfiguration, which causes deployments to stall-not to mention a lot of frustration.

Based on this feedback and our desire to help streamline the deployment experience, we created Exchange Server 2010 Deployment Assistant which can be accessed at http://technet.microsoft.com/exdeploy2010

It allows you to create Exchange 2010 on-premises deployment instructions that are customized to your environment. The Assistant asks a small set of questions, and based on a your answers, it provides a finite set of instructions that are designed to get you up and running on Exchange 2010.  The idea is that, instead of wading through the 2000+ topics in the Exchange 2010 library, you can answer a few simple questions, and the Assistant gives you just enough customized content to do the upgrade.

More content is coming:
In this version of the Deployment Assistant, content is available for customers upgrading from Exchange 2003. Additional upgrade scenarios will be available in early 2010 (upgrading from Exchange Server 2007, or a mixed Exchange Server 2003/2007 environment for example). We will also work on the integration of cross-premise scenarios.

Here is a screenshot from the Assistant, after the initial set of questions were answered and instructions generated.

We would love your feedback. Prior to this launch, feedback from Exchange subject matter experts and a group of our Microsoft field consultants and engineers who work with you every day was incorporated.  Feel free to leave a comment here, or send an email to edafdbk AT microsoft DOT com via the 'Feedback' link located in the header of every page of the Deployment Assistant. Also, please send us your 'success stories' after using this tool... we'd love to hear about them!

-Katie Kivett
Microsoft Exchange Deployment Assistant PM