Microsoft Rejiggers Exchange Server Roadmap for 'E12'
by Alex Woodie
Microsoft's Exchange Server team has made some changes to the product's roadmap, and has pushed back the delivery goals to allow time for building the new functionality. Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2, which was originally slated for the second half of 2005, will ship on schedule but will not contain a series of security technologies that it was originally scheduled to have. Those technologies will now wait until the next major release, Exchange Server 12, or E12, currently slated for late 2006.
In a developer blog, Microsoft's Exchange development team said it has received "extensive input" from customers to expand the scope of Exchange Edge Services, a group of security technologies Microsoft announced in February 2004 that were slated to provide e-mail protection, enhanced security, and spam reduction. Specifically, Exchange customers asked Microsoft to add more expansive messaging policy capabilities to help them meet regularity compliance requirements.
The new messaging policy functionality that Microsoft is looking to develop will give Exchange Server the flexibility to be easily configured to adapt to different roles, such as an edge server, a unified messaging server, a client access server, a public folder server, or a mailbox server. This capability to quickly configure the server for different architectures is something that Microsoft pioneered with Windows Server 2003.
"To meet this customer need, Microsoft required additional development time, which placed the delivery date of Edge Services close to the release date of the next version of Exchange Server," the Exchange team wrote in its blog. "To ease planning, testing, and deployment for customers, the company has decided to ship most Edge Services components, including the new messaging policy functionality, as part of the next version of Exchange Server."
The internal name for this next version of Exchange Server is Exchange Server 12. According to Microsoft developers, E12 is slated for delivery in the second half of 2006. However, considering Microsoft's less-than-stellar record recently in meeting its ship dates, a more realistic date is the first part of 2007.
However, Microsoft is still on track to deliver some Edge Services components with Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2, which is still scheduled for release in the second half of 2005. The Exchange development team says Exchange Server 2003 SP2 will include the SenderID framework, an e-mail-authentication technology that helps to address the problem of spoofing and phishing by verifying the domain name from which the mail is sent.
The Exchange team also says that customers can expect an update to the Intelligent Message Filter technology in early 2006. IMF is an adaptable filtering technology that Microsoft developed from the spam signatures of hundreds of thousands of monitored e-mail accounts. The IMF technology debuted last June with Exchange Server 2003 SP1 (see "Microsoft Takes on Spam with Exchange Server 2003 SP1").