Microsoft Dishes On Exchange 2010 Service Pack

On Wednesday, Microsoft said it plans to offer a beta of Exchange 2010 SP1 for download to coincide with the company's TechEd North America conference in June. The update contains improvements to Outlook Web App (OWA), archiving and discovery, mobility and user interface, wrote Michael Atalla, the head of Microsoft's Exchange product management team, in a blog post.

Microsoft introduced integrated e-mail archiving when it launched Exchange 2010 in November, and SP1 will make it possible to provision a user's personal e-mail archive to a separate mailbox database from their primary mailbox, making storage planning easier. Around the SP1 timeframe, Microsoft will release an update that will support access to a user's Personal Archive with Outlook 2007, Atalla wrote.

On the server side, SP1 allows for the importing of historical e-mail data from .PST files directly into Exchange, Atalla wrote.

SP1 also beefs up e-mail search for legal scenarios that require e-discovery, eliminating duplicate results and providing a search preview. Outlook Web App will also get a tune-up to enable smoother delete, mark as read, and categorize operations as well as a simplified user interface, according to Atalla.

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User feedback on the Microsoft Exchange team blog suggests that the changes will be well received. "SP1 is what Exchange 2010 should have been out of the box from the sounds of it," wrote poster Jason Carter.

Exchange 2010 is Microsoft's first sever technology to work on-premises and as an online service. In Exchange 2003 and 2007, each mailbox was tied to a specific server, but Exchange 2010 allows mailboxes to reside on any server, which lessens the impact of network outages.