With the launch of Exchange 2010, I thought it would be a good idea to how the product team feels about Exchange 2010.  Over the next few days, I’ll be clipping excerpts from inside Microsoft to hopefully give you all a view of how we see this next release of Exchange!

“Exchange holds approximately 70 percent of email market share today, but over half of Microsoft’s customers are still running Exchange 2003. This means most customers are currently working with 7 year old email technology.

With the launch of Exchange 2010, as well as Exchange 2003 mainstream support ended in April 2009, there is a tremendous opportunity to upgrade to Exchange 2010.

The pain points Exchange 2003 customers are facing

Microsoft spent the past several months talking with over 80 customers around the globe who are running Exchange 2003 to really understand the challenges these customers face with their current environment. Microsoft found 5 consistent trends.

First and foremost, messaging security and availability is the number one priority for IT pro customers and they are always looking for easier and more cost effective ways to keep their messaging servers secure and highly available.

To address continuous availability, Exchange 2010 introduces a streamlined new approach to natively offer high availability and disaster recovery, reducing or eliminating the need to costly third-party solutions.

To address security, as with Exchange 2007, Microsoft continues to offer Forefront Security for Exchange within the Exchange Enterprise CAL for anti-virus and anti-spam capabilities.

The next challenge Microosft found is mobility. As the mobile workforce continues to increase the demand for best in class mobile messaging also increases. This means both mobile phone and web-based email access. These customers have an urgency to provide a more robust and secure mobile solution for their users. Additionally, with the proliferation of many devices like Blackberry, iPhone, and Windows Mobile devices, it's becoming a challenge for Exchange 2003 customers to manage these various devices easily and cost effectively.

Exchange 2010 provides an out-of-the box mobile solution and web email capabilities with Outlook Web App. With Exchange Active Sync, literally every smart phone is supported, so customers can choose the device that best suites them. And, unlike IBM and other competitors, the web-based email client is also offered natively within Exchange.

With Exchange 2010, Outlook Web App, or OWA, is a best-in-class web client and is a key differentiator for Exchange 2003 customers.

Third, Microsoft heard about meeting the increased compliance and e-discovery requirements. This is a top of mind issue for Exchange 2003 customers. You might think that compliance is only relevant in certain industries like financial services or healthcare or just for large enterprises, but Microsoft heard the need for better and more cost effective tools from mid-marketing companies and across industries.

E-mail discovery is one of the biggest cost drivers, particularly related to personal folders or PST files. These files are expensive to find and search because they reside locally on users computers. To address this, Exchange 2010 introduces new integrated archiving functionality that allows customers to eliminate the PST files without disrupting the end-users experience.

The fourth area Microsoft heard about was increasing end users mailbox size while also lowering the storage costs. As email sizes and volume go up, users continue to demand larger mailboxes for better productivity and usability. Yet, with Exchange 2003, it's a challenge to do so without driving up the costs of storage. Storage is one of the biggest drivers of cost around email, which is why Microsoft has invested so much to reduce storage costs with Exchange 2010.

Last but not least, Microsoft heard about voicemail. Many voicemail systems were upgraded around Y2K and are now moving into expensive extended support or in many cases failing. Industry analyst have estimated that nearly 90% of voicemail systems will be upgraded or replaced over the next 2-3 years and in conversations with Exchange 2003 customers, many IT Pros are actively looking for an alternative, better solution like what is offered with Exchange 2010 voicemail with Unified Messaging.

Exchange 2010 can fully replace legacy voicemail systems with built-in Exchange unified messaging, eliminating the needs to maintain separate a voicemail system. With an Exchange based solution, customers get the additional productivity benefit of the truly unified inbox for email, voicemail, text previews of the voicemail and text messages all managed in one place.”

 Julia White, Director of Product Management for Exchange

Fun Fact: Did you know that with Exchange 2010, you can natively manage mailboxes on-premise as well as those hosted in the cloud natively through a single management console?  With 2010, you now have the flexibility to manage costs, compliance, reliability and security while being able to take advantage of new hosted technologies either via hosting partners or directly with Microsoft Online.

 

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