Microsoft Exchange 2010 – Deconstructing Microsoft's Strategy

Published: 15 Jan 2010

By Subha Rama, Unified Communications & Collaboration Group

The product comes with an impressive set of enhanced functionalities. However, in order to counter the challenges in the SaaS market, where Microsoft hopes to have large presence, it needs to implement strategies that are vastly different from those in the on-premises market.

Courtesy: Microsoft

When Microsoft unveiled its Microsoft Exchange 2010 server beta in 2009, it was apparent that the platform had come a long way since 1996, when it had to rely on a small team of third-party developers for connectors to integrate fax and legacy email systems. Today, Microsoft's Exchange strategy goes beyond looking at the product in isolation to shaping it as a platform that is capable of integration with Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Forefront, System Center and MDOP (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack). Microsoft says that together these products are capable of delivering tremendous value to enterprise customers aspiring to cut costs without compromising on innovation, feature sets and performance.

A quick look at Exchange 2010 features demonstrates the giant leap of the product on the engineering and design fronts, incorporating incremental deployment features, new data storage and security mechanisms and high availability. The high availability feature is especially a cause for relief for Exchange 2003 customers that had to rely on shared-storage clustering for redundancy.

Exchange and Unified Communications

Microsoft has positioned Exchange 2010 as the next-generation unified messaging platform that has an on-premises as well as a hosted option. By combining Exchange 2010 with Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007 Release 2, the unified communications features of OCS can be extended to Outlook Web Access (OWA). This means that users can access presence information from both their internal and federated contacts, integrate contact lists from OCS, and initiate chat sessions with contacts. Also, the number of devices that can be integrated with an Exchange 2010 ecosystem using Exchange ActiveSync has grown in number, extending the Outlook experience across clients, devices and platforms. Exchange 2010 promotes collaboration by serving as a single location for email, voice mail (it retrieves voice mail and displays them as messages in the OWA user interface) as well as SMS.

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