Want To Deploy Exchange 2007 SP2 In A Server 2008 R2 Domain? Sorry

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A few weeks ago, we posted a blog on what seemed to be sheer lunacy -- the inability to install Exchange 2007 SP2 in Windows domains running Windows Server 2008 R2.

Well, Microsoft's Exchange Team just posted that this was actually a deliberate decision by Microsoft:

"Two primary technical points drove our decision to not support Windows Server 2008 R2. First, Windows Server 2008 R2, while an incremental OS upgrade, creates significant testing requirements for Exchange 2007. Because the Exchange 2007 SP2 engineering preceded the Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM, Exchange 2007 SP2 would have had to be delayed significantly to align testing schedules. Second, because upgrading the server OS underneath an existing Exchange server is not supported, the feedback we have received is that the primary need is to support Windows Server 2008 R2 domain controllers in an existing Exchange 2007 deployment, which we have done."

The first point is understandable technically. Yet, why the urgency to push out Exchange 2007 SP2 ahead of the Server 2008 R2 release? Why not take the time to ensure compatibility? Or, why even release SP2 and instead just incorporate any new features into Exchange 2010?

The second reason is more unclear. The issue surrounding this entire brouhaha is that Exchange 2007 SP2 cannot be installed in a domain running Server 2008 R2 DCs and not about the OS that Exchange is running on.

The Exchange Team's blog also states that allowing Exchange 2007 SP2 to install with Server 2008 R2 may not allow Exchange to utilize all of the features of Server 2008 R2. However, the blog posting did not provide any detail as to which features are affected.

This problem brings up another question: Because the general upgrade path to Exchange 2010 has been outlined as first needing to deploy Exchange 2007 SP2, where does this leave those organizations wishing to upgrade to 2010 but cannot install Exchange 2007 SP2?

Of course in the blogosphere, many are decrying this as a way Microsoft is forcing Exchange 2010 on those domains that opt to have Server 2008 R2 domain controllers. And that's a shame. Exchange 2007 SP2, Exchange 2010, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 all have been designed with heightened performance, security and granular configurability the likes of which have not been seen before with Microsoft's products. It's truly a shame that some infrastructures may be left in an upgrade lurch because of this questionable decision.

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