Exchange gets feature facelift for wider use – Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server – Product Announcement
Microsoft targets ISPs, widens database support with latest server update, tying it to Win 2000 OS
ATLANTA – Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server, the first new release of Microsoft Corp.’s electronic messaging and collaboration software since 1997, has been officially unveiled to users. The product, formerly code-named Platinum, had been under development for two years.
“Exchange 5.5 was kind of the end of the beginning,” said Eric Lockard, Exchange general manager. “We got to the point, two years ago when Exchange 5.5 was released to manufacturing, where we were finally able to deliver the core set of capabilities, performance, scalability, that allowed us to see the type of momentum we have today.
“It achieved a plateau that allowed the product team to take a step back and embark on a slightly longer development cycle, to take a hard look at much of the architecture and look at where we wanted to take the product long-term, not just continuing to focus on corporate e-mail and collaboration.”
The team developed three major goals: to build an enhanced platform for messaging and collaboration, to increase user productivity, and to remove barriers to communication. As a result, Microsoft had to make major changes to the product’s architecture, according to the company.
Where previous versions relied on one huge database on a single computer, Exchange 2000 now supports multiple databases on one or more machines, to allow for easier backup and restore, and better scalability. With this release, Microsoft is looking beyond the enterprise at Internet Service Providers with tens of thousands of users. Ultimately, the company intends to move its HotMail Internet e- mail and the Microsoft Network to the Exchange 2000 platform.
The Exchange message store is migrating to a URL-addressable database known as the Web Store, and uses Microsoft Internet Information Server as its front-end protocol server. Users may store external documents from any application supporting Web Folders in the Web Store. Exchange 2000 has also dropped the separate Exchange 5.5 directory in favour of the Windows 2000 Active Directory. Consequently, it will only run under that operating system, and its shipping date depends on the release of Windows 2000.
Microsoft has also added several components that have nothing to do with electronic mail. Exchange 2000 contains a T.120 conferencing server, videoconferencing, instant messaging and enhanced chat. These features will hold much influence over the success of Exchange 2000, said Evan Quinn, principal analyst with Dataquest in Lowell, Mass.
“We can expect another re-architecting of the product in two years, and then, if bandwidth, scalability and security are what they need to be, we may see videoconferencing as a day-to-day phenomenon instead of an engineer’s delight,” he said.
“The reason that Exchange has done so well is that it provides more basic messaging technology,” he said.
“The real challenge Exchange has to face in the next few years is from outsourcers” – companies providing messaging as a service, relieving corporations of the need to run their own e-mail systems.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Plesman Publications
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