Microsoft Drops The Curtain On Exchange 2010

For much of this economically clouded year, Microsoft has been touting the cost savings potential of Windows 7 and other forthcoming product releases in a way that's meant to resonate with cost conscious CIOs. In case studies conducted with more than 100 early adopter partners, Microsoft found that Exchange 2010 offers cost savings of up to 70 percent and employee productivity gains of up to 20 percent, says Julia White, Director of Exchange marketing at Microsoft.

Exchange 2010 also provides a unified architecture for backup and disaster recovery, combining on-site and off-site data replication into a single framework called a database availability group. With Exchange 2003 and 2007, each mailbox was tied to a specific server, but the new configuration allows mailboxes to reside on any server, which mitigates the impact of outages, according to White.

"With Exchange 2010, customers can now move to low cost storage as an alternative to storage area networks," White said in an interview. "We're trying to bring down cost and complexity of highly available e-mail systems."

Microsoft expects more than 40 percent of Microsoft's current Exchange installed base to move to Exchange 2010 within the next six months. This migration will be helped in large part by the approximately 45,000 partners that are already trained on Exchange 2010 and Windows Server 2008 R2, White said.

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"There is a tidal wave of Exchange migrations coming," White said.

In addition to e-mail, Exchange 2010 inboxes will handle instant messaging and voicemails, and a new speech-to-text voicemail option offers users greater flexibility, White said.

Within the next five years, Microsoft expects half of its customers' Exchange seats to be cloud based, and in the next three years, 20 percent of Exchange customers will be using Exchange Online in some capacity, White said.

Now that Exchange 2010 is out the door, Microsoft will shift its attention to Exchange 2010 Online, which will bring full support for multi-tenant Exchange infrastructure and replace the current purpose-built version of Exchange that Microsoft offers hosters. Microsoft updates Exchange Online with new features on a quarterly basis and expects to start rolling out the new features sometime next year, White said.