In anticipation of the returning Microsoft Exchange Conference next week I thought I’d take the opportunity to provide an overview of some of the new features that will be part of the next release of Microsoft’s Exchange Server. Up front the thing that stands out the most is the server roles that are available in Exchange 2013, Client Access and Mailbox. Yes all other roles are eliminated (Edge role will be available in a later service pack, 2013 will be compatible with 2010 Edge). The Client Access Server role has absorbed internet facing SMTP transport while the Mailbox role has absorbed internal SMTP transport. Outwardly that’s the largest difference in the new version; however there are a number of internal architectural differences as well as new features.
Exchange Administration Center
In the new version of Exchange the Exchange Management Console and the Exchange control panel are replaced with a single web based user interface that can be partitioned to allow or disallow management features.
As I previously mentioned Exchange 2013 is consolidated to just two server roles, Mailbox and Client Access. In Exchange 2013 these two roles host the services previously handled by the Hub Transport, Client Access, Mailbox, and Unified Messaging Roles. Improvements in processing have made the segregation of these services unnecessary allowing Exchange to simplify deployment encouraging multi-role deployments.
One of the key changes come to the overall architecture is that all rendering takes place on the Mailbox Server role with the Client Access Server performing authentication and redirection. This allows for deployments having the Client Access servers and Mailbox servers in separate sites redirecting traffic via HTTPS. In addition client access is now stateless, not needing persistence for load balancing allowing for a simpler solution.
On the mailbox side improvements have been made to the store service which has been entirely rewritten in C# and is now called the managed store; each database will now run its own dedicated worker process meaning that a hung process in one database will not affect the others. Also from a search and indexing perspective FAST technology has been integrated with the managed store which should provide a much better experience.
Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
This provides the capability to identify and protect sensitive data through content analysis based on regulatory standards, including PII and PCI. If used in conjunction with Outlook 2013, PolicyTips will inform users of potential policy violations. This functionality is also extensible to company identified policies as well. In addition transport rules can be configured with new predicates and actions based on this feature.
On a similar note compliance and discovery have also been improved:
- In-Place Holds
- In-Place eDiscovery
- Search multiple sources
- Federated discovery
- Litigation holds
- Personal tagging
Public folders in Exchange 2013 have finally become part of a normal mailbox database, actually specially designed mailboxes which will store public folder hierarchy and content. This change allows public folders to take advantage of high availability native to both Exchange 2010 and 2013, Database Availability Groups.
Exchange 2013 also further integrates with SharePoint 2013 and Lync 2013:
- Users can take advantage of site mailboxes between Exchange and SharePoint
- Lync information can be archived in Exchange and use Exchange as its contact store
- eDiscovery and searches can take place across all three platforms
Outlook Web App
In Exchange 2013 the Outlook Web App has been redesigned and optimized for presentation on tablets, smartphones as well as desktop and laptop computers. This redesign also aligns with the metro-style UI found in the latest release of most of Microsoft’s products. In addition the following improvements have been made:
- Offline Access
- Social connectivity
- Third-Party extensibility
Aside from no longer being a separate server role in Exchange 2013 there’s not a whole lot of changes to its functionality. There are however, a few improvements:
- Enhanced Voice Mail Preview
- Enhanced Caller ID support
- Enhanced Speech Recognition
There’s a great deal to be excited about when looking at Exchange 2013. Overall there’s a number of great new features and performance improvements, I’ve provided and introduction to them but a more comprehensive review can be found here. If you’re planning on deploying and testing the preview I recommend reading through the complete set of articles in order to have a clear idea of each new feature and functionality available. The evaluation download can be found here.
Next week we’ll be at the Microsoft Exchange Conference in Orlando where we’ll be showcasing our products GSX Monitor & Analyzer. If you’re attending stop by and say hi (booth 19) I’d love to discuss Exchange 2013 further.