Exchange 2010 Hits RTM Milestone

Microsoft announced on Thursday that Exchange 2010 changes were completed and the product has reached the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) stage.

Not everyone can get their hands on this RTM version; the product was sent to Microsoft's early adopters for a final check before the public release, according to a Microsoft team blog. The blog didn't explain whether TechNet or MSDN subscribers currently have access to the RTM version.

Microsoft plans to publicly release Exchange 2010 around the time of its Tech-Ed Europe 2009 event, which starts on Nov. 9. In the meantime, the 120-day release candidate (RC) test version of Exchange 2010 is still available and can be accessed here.

IT pros may be concerned about upgrade possibilities. A Microsoft forum post explained that upgrading from the RC to the RTM version of Exchange 2010 will be possible. Here's how MVP Henrik Walther described it:

"Yes you can upgrade the schema with Exchange 2010 RTM when the RTM version is available, but actually there won't really be any changes in regards to the Exchange 2010 schema classes and attributes. You can also upgrade AD and domain(s) with RTM versions of /PrepareAD and PrepareDomain."

Microsoft's system requirements indicate that Exchange 2010 can coexist with Exchange Server 2003 or Exchange 2007, and as well as a combination of these two servers. However, IT pros should have Service Pack 2 applied to Exchange 2007 first before trying to enable coexistence with Exchange 2010, according to Microsoft blog posts. Microsoft released Exchange 2007 SP2 in late August.

Exchange 2010 can be installed on Windows Server 2008 SP2 or Windows Server 2008 R2, according to Walther's forum post.

Microsoft has previously described the features in Exchange 2010 with its beta release. Ian Hameroff, senior technical product manager for Microsoft Exchange, elaborates on some of them in a video here.

The features, according to Hameroff, include the ability to move mailboxes while keeping users connected. IT pros also have the option of using direct-attached storage, such as the user's hard disk, for e-mail storage, in addition to a traditional storage area network. The product uses an Exchange archive (replacing .PST file storage) that will make it easier for end users to retrieve archived mail.

Remote users will be able to access e-mail through more browser options (Firefox and Safari, as well as Internet Explorer). Microsoft's Active Sync technology for Exchange helps enable such remote connections, Hameroff explained. Another feature is the ability to access voicemail through Outlook, which will allow IT pros to dispense with phone-based voicemail systems.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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