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Microsoft took the opportunity last night at Tech-Ed Germany to announce the worldwide availability of Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. Exchange Server has gone beyond mere e-mail and is the cornerstone of Microsoft’s unified communications strategy.

Following Microsoft’s usual release schedule Exchange Server 2010 has been previously seen in beta and release candidate formats and now the final release to manufacturing (RTM) edition is available.

Subscribers to Microsoft’s TechNet programme will find it now available for download online via the TechNet portal.

As with Exchange 2007, Exchange 2010 is a 64-bit only offering, although this time around both the Standard and Enterprise editions are combined in the one build, on the one disc.

Exchange 2010 follows the recent release of Microsoft’s Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 operating systems, and is the first in a line up of “2010”-labelled products to come out over the following twelve months. This includes flagship product Office 2010 with all new versions of mainstays like Word and Excel, as well as SharePoint 2010.

Exchange 2010 has been awaited by systems administrators keen to upgrade to Windows Server 2008 R2 which does not support Exchange 2007. This meant that Exchange 2007 servers could not be upgraded to 2008 R2. Such an upgrade is only now realistic, with both the operating system and communications server being updated simultaneously.

Exchange has outgrown the label of mere mail server and Microsoft believes 2010 will further entrench the product as unifying messaging and communication across mail, voice and online conferencing.

Additionally, one of the primary inclusions in Exchange Server 2010 that sets it apart from predecessors is built-in support for cloud computing, or hosted services, from the beginning, giving new options to organisations as to just where e-mail is housed.

Other new features are more efficient use of network attached storage (NAS) devices, e-mail archiving enhancements to meet compliance standards and a range of features that Microsoft claim give users the “ultimate inbox experience.”

Users will find they can preview voicemail from within the Outlook client, group related e-mails into threads, an option to then opt-out of irrelevant threads as well as a raft of other improvements.

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David M Williams

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David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. Within two years, he returned to his alma mater, the University of Newcastle, as a UNIX systems manager. This was a crucial time for UNIX at the University with the advent of the World-Wide-Web and the decline of VMS. David moved on to a brief stint in consulting, before returning to the University as IT Manager in 1998. In 2001, he joined an international software company as Asia-Pacific troubleshooter, specialising in AIX, HP/UX, Solaris and database systems. Settling down in Newcastle, David then found niche roles delivering hard-core tech to the recruitment industry and presently is the Chief Information Officer for a national resources company where he particularly specialises in mergers and acquisitions and enterprise applications.

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