Take-Aways from a Breakfast Event on Exchange 2010

Yesterday, I spent the morning at an event hosted by Quickstart, EMC and ExtraTeam on Exchange 2010 and Unified Communications.  Not only did they have a great breakfast laid out for those of us who attended event, I picked up a few tidbits about the new versions of these Microsoft products.  The Exchange portion of morning was lead by Mike Sneeringer, who is currently the only person in the world holding both the Microsoft Certified Master in Exchange 2010 and Office Communications Server 2007 – very cool.

If you are an Exchange administrator, you’ll appreciate some of these features:

  • Role Based Access Control – enables administrators to delegate permissions to responsible users based on job function without giving them access to the entire Exchange management interface. Tasks such as performing multi-mailbox searches no longer have to be the sole responsibility of Exchange Admins, allowing your organization take better advantage of features like legal hold and mailbox searches without involving the IT department.
  • Multi-Mailbox Search – allows designated users (like a legal team) a web-based tool for searching across mulitple mailboxes.  This applies to online archive as well as the main mailbox.
  • Legal Hold – A legal hold preserves deleted mailbox items and records changes made to mailbox items. Deleted and changed items are returned in a discovery search.
  • Improved Transport Rules – will allow for greater control of how mail flows both within your organization and to outside contacts.
  • Online Mailbox Moves – this is available for 2007 to 2010 migrations only, but will allow users access to their mailboxes during migration from one database to another. For migrations from 2003 mailboxes must be taken offine.

In addition to some great improvement from the mail administration side, end users will appreciate some of these improvements:

  • Delivery reports – provides access to message delivery information for both end users and administrators to help answer questions common questions about mail status.  Great for offices that have multiple locations and multiple email servers.
  • MailTips – I can’t describe how helpful mail tips can be any better than this blog post by the Microsoft Exchange team. You’ll never accidentally “reply to all” for an email you where were BCC’d again.
  • Online Archive – Instead of using PSTs to store archive mail, users can take advantage of an online archive separate from their regular mailbox.  With SP1, that archive can even be stored in a different database.
  • List Moderation – Allow designated moderators to approve messages before they are sent out to common distribution lists.  This combined with MailTips will probably reduce a lot of common interoffice email mistakes!

Finally, Unified Communications Server can bring your teams together more than ever before, as well as make it easier to manage voice mails and emails together.  With the ability to integrate with other common applications like Office and SharePoint, knowing the “presence” and availabilty of other coworkers can streamline communications and improve productivity. 
Overall, the event was a morning well spent.  While the Unified Communcations offerings aren’t something I’m looking at, the Exchange 2010 features just make me look forward to getting there sooner.  Also, EMC has some additional features regarding eDiscovery with their SourceOne product that could complement your Exchange infrastructure depending on your needs.
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