Microsoft Corp. has released Microsoft Exchange 12 Beta 1 the code name for the next version of its server for e-mail, calendaring and unified messaging, to a select group of testers.
The company says Exchange 12 will reduce the cost and complexity of the messaging system by providing more control for IT administrators, expanded inbox access for end users, and increased security and compliance for organizations.
Although the the release of Beta 1 is happening at the end of 2005, Microsoft reportedly is on track to make the final release generally available in late 2006 or early 2007.
Previous rumours were confirmed and Exchange 12 will run on 64-bit server systems. This platform is expected to deliver extended functionality, greater scalability and increase the return on existing storage investments.
The new version provides a flexible deployment strategy based on specific server roles gives IT administrators the option to install the components of Exchange 12 that they need, whether on one or more physical servers. This flexibility simplifies deployment, allows for greater scalability and improves manageability.
The Exchange System Manager Management Console is completely new, aiming to increase administrator productivity by providing simplified navigation and new filtering capabilities through a completely rewritten graphical management console.
Exchange 12 will also include a scriptable, command line shell bsed on Windows Monad, the code name for the next version of the Windows command shell.
The new software offers a speech-enabled unified messaging platform that integrates e-mail, fax and voice mail in the users inbox with support for a variety of clients. In addition, Exchange 12 includes updates to Outlook Web Access, the client that allows users to access their inboxes with a Web browser from virtually anywhere, with no need for a special network connection.
This unified messaging system delivers voice mail and faxes to the Exchange inbox where, like e-mail, they can be accessed by Outlook, Outlook Web Access, mobile devices, and any phone through Outlook Voice Access with speech recognition.
For security, the new platform will provide built-in anti-spam protection, with automatic updates for anti-spam filters and block lists. An anti-virus extension allows messages to be scanned in transport as well as in the mailbox store by one or more anti-virus engines.