You have been eagerly waiting, and we have been working hard over the summer to deliver the latest Exchange Server 2010 enhancements as soon as possible. I am extremely happy to announce the availability of Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1, ready for download here.

We released the SP1 beta at Tech Ed North America in June. We also shared some of the SP1 enhancements in Yes Virginia, there is an Exchange Server 2010 SP1 back in April. Since then, almost 500,000 SP1 mailboxes have gone into production in Technology Adoption Program (TAP) customer environments.

Rather than recap all the SP1 features, I want to let a few of our Exchange TAP customers tell you what they loved.

Exchange has been the most resilient and trusted solution for enterprise Email for many years now and when Exchange 2010 originally RTM’ed, I thought, what else could be improved… But the Exchange product group and the TAP group members have done just that in Service Pack 1.

From improvements to manageability for both administrators and users to better control and resiliency within the SMTP stack, and fantastic improvements in Unified Messaging, the list of improvements and features in Service Pack 1 amazes even an old Exchange guy like me (who has worked on Exchange since early 4.0 days). Of all the improvements in SP1, my favorite so far is the Audit Logging improvements available in the Exchange Management Shell and the Exchange Control Panel.

All I can say is, “Great job Microsoft Exchange Product Group on another fantastic product!”

Gary Cooper, Horizons Consulting

Calendar publishing is awesome. When working with people outside our organization, instead of fumbling around in multiple emails or phone calls “Is Tuesday at 3 PM good? How about next Wednesday at 9:30?” I can just send them a link to my calendar. Now if more organizations would get to Exchange 2010 and federate their free\busy (including Microsoft)....

Joseph Nguyen, University of Oklahoma

One of the most common criticisms from our customers regarding Exchange and OWA had been its lack of cross-browser and open systems support. Although we saw major improvements in Exchange 2010, SP1 has built upon this and taken things to the next level. SP1’s OWA experience is now class-leading and the addition of open standards calendar sharing is a feature we’ve been asked for many times - and have now been able to deliver. With SP1, our users can choose to share their Calendar in HTML and iCal formats, enabling real time sharing with external colleagues or access to their calendar from platforms and clients without Exchange support.

In addition to the OWA improvements, we’ve been delighted with some of the other new features. On the client side features like auto mapping of shared mailboxes to user’s Outlook 2010 profiles will remove a support headache.

In the datacentre, the support for online archives on a separate database from the primary mailbox is the green light for archiving implementation. Finally the ability to import and export PSTs without needing Outlook installed are a welcome addition and will be particularly useful when we begin importing archive PSTs back into Exchange for online archiving.

Steve Goodman, Aston University

And a word from Dimension Data, one of Exchange’s Global Partners.

Exchange 2010 SP1 is a great example of how Microsoft is rapidly responding to customer and partner feedback. We believe these new enhancements to the archiving functionality, improved Outlook Web App experiences, and expanded mobility capabilities can only accelerate the already strong customer demand we’ve seen for upgrades. And, the continual innovation delivered by Microsoft Exchange enables our business to maintain strong relationships with our customers by always having the ability to offer them new, next generation scenarios to consider and deploy.

Peter Menadue, Group General Manager, Microsoft Solutions at Dimension Data

Once again, a huge thank you to all of our customers, TAP participants, and EHLO readers for downloading the SP1 Beta, and the constant stream of great feedback. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Kevin Allison
GM – Exchange Customer Experience