ES 2010 brings new features and services to users

by Sharon Lobo    Feb 25, 2010

With the launch of Exchange Server 2010 corporate users have a lot to look out for. An enhanced feature set, SaaS compatibility and SATA based storage are some of the touch points that Amit Mehta, Director-Unified Communication, Microsoft India, discussed with Sharon Lobo. He explains how the new enhancements made to the software are set to benefit enterprises and end-users.

In Exchange Server (ES) 2007 drastic changes were made to server roles. Are there any such changes in this version?
Earlier in order to provide high availability architecture we used to rely on Windows cluster capability. However in ES 2010 we have introduced Database Availability Service, which de-links the high availability provisioning from the Windows cluster provisioning. As a result you would now require only half the number of servers for providing high availability architecture than you used earlier.

Does the software help IT administrators and CIOs resolve compliance issues related to emails?
In every organization users create their own personal store on their desktop and this becomes an issue for IT administrators as they are unable to monitor or archive these on the basis of policies. For instance a bank might want to retain emails for a period of 7 years but the end-user might just delete it. ES 2010 has an automatic archival and retention policy framework which will archive the mails, deleted mails etc. Through this you can impose policy controls and rights management at centralized levels.

The software also has role based administration through which you can provide certain rights to certain people in the organization. For instance, if you are the compliance executive, you would require the rights to put together multi-mail box search query and nothing else. If you HR person you only need to know information of new employees and their contacts. By role base administration you can get efficiencies in the entire administration process.

Apart from these the software offers many self service capabilities for IT end users, which reduces cost of the IT helpdesk.

Which features, in this version, will prove useful to enterprises?
There are a number of new features which we have incorporated in to this version that can help enterprises. Firstly it is designed to lower IT cost. It enables organization to lower storage cost as now they can move from SAN based storage to SATA based storage. Additionally the sheer efficiency in the way the software interacts with the storage media has a potential to offer 70 percent savings.

Another feature of ES 2010 is that it is optimized for SaaS. Customers can now have a blend of in-premise exchange deployment and in the cloud deployment. For instance an organization having 5000 users can move all their users in to the cloud or it can have 3000 users in-premise and 2000 users in the cloud and yet make everything work seamlessly. Here the opportunity of savings is up to 50 percent. The reason for savings results from low datacenter costs, IT cost reductions, reduction in cost of software and security etc.

How does the end-user (or employee) benefit?
For an end user, our product along with Outlook Web App provides a number of productivity gains. One such feature is the Conversation view, which enables users to quickly and easily identify the most recent messages and related responses. This feature treats multiple messages as a single conversation, which can be managed, ignored, moved, and deleted as a whole, so users don’t have to deal with each e-mail individually. This feature not only enables users to save on time but also helps users to better response as per the situation. In the Conversation history users can also see the number of voicemails and SMS’ that they have received with regards to a certain conversation.

Also in case if you are in a meeting and you get a voicemail, you can use the text preview of voicemail feature, which allows you to see the text preview of a voicemail. Another useful feature is MailTips, which warns users when they are sending a message outside their organization or to a large distribution list which the user usually does not deal with.

How compatible is ES 2010 with various mobile devices and browsers?
ES 2010 along with Outlook Web App supports a range of mobile devices and web browsers including Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox etc. It is compatible with Windows 6.1 and onwards and organizations that use a combination of these two will have a better advantage than those using BlackBerry services as the cost of ownership is lower in the former.