Last Monday, at an event in San Francisco, Steve Ballmer introduced the new, modern Office to the world. An exciting set of capabilities were showcased, including Windows 8 integration, Office as a subscription, and an enhanced social story.

Exchange is one of the cornerstones of communication and collaboration in Office. Over the past few years, we have seen significant changes in the way people communicate – a multitude of devices, an explosion of information, complex compliance requirements, social networks, and a multi-generational workforce. This world of communication challenges has been accompanied by a major shift towards cloud services.

The Exchange team has been hard at work in building a product and service that helps to address these challenges and better prepare our customers for the future of communications and productivity. We are excited to announce an important milestone on this journey – the preview of the next version of Exchange is now available!

With Exchange 2010, we redesigned the product with low-cost large mailboxes and cloud services in mind. We then extended this vision through Office 365 where tens of thousands of organizations with millions of users have accompanied us on this journey to the cloud. Now, customers can look forward to the new release of Exchange which offers a wide variety of exciting benefits:

  • Remain in control, online and on-premises, by tailoring your solution based on your unique needs and ensuring your communications are always available on your terms.
  • Keep the organization safe by protecting business communications and sensitive information in order to meet internal and regulatory compliance requirements.
  • Increase productivity by helping users manage increasing volumes of communications across multiple devices.

As of last week the new version of Office, including Exchange and Office 365, has been made available to customers. I would encourage everyone to download the preview version of Exchange Server 2013 and try out the service preview of Office 365 Enterprise. As with pre-release versions, please use them to preview but not for production use.

Here are some of the great benefits you get with the next release of Exchange:

  1. Reduced costs by optimizing for next generation of hardware

    Exchange is now optimized for 8TB disks, by reducing database IOPS by +50% and optimizing for multiple databases per volume to increase aggregate disk utilization while maintaining reasonable database sizes. Ever growing memory capacity is used to improve search query performance and reduce IOPS. All this allows you and your end users to have larger mailboxes at lower costs.

  2. Significantly reduced operational overhead for high availability

    DAG management is simplified via automatic DAG network configuration, enhancements to DAG management cmdlets, support for multiple databases per disk, and enhancements to lagged copies. Auto-recovery capabilities – inherently built into DAGs – are now extended to the rest of Exchange and all protocols. Client-initiated, automatic recovery allows you to reduce recovery time for site failures from hours to under a minute.

  3. Decrease the amount of time spent managing your system while maintaining control

    Exchange now provides a single, easy-to-use, Web-based administration interface – the Exchange Administration Center (EAC). Role based access control (RBAC) empowers your helpdesk and specialist users to perform specific tasks which are surfaced appropriately in the EAC – without requiring full administrative permissions. This streamlined and intuitive experience helps you manage Exchange efficiently, delegate tasks, and focus on driving your business forward.

    Figure 1:
    Figure 1: The Exchange Administration Center (EAC) in the next release of Exchange

  4. Automatically protect Exchange availability from surges in traffic

    Exchange now offers easy to administer controls to protect against unexpected surges in traffic. System work that is not interactive is automatically deferred to non-peak hours in order to preserve the end user experience and higher priority tasks. This improved overall system through-put leads to reduced costs by saving you from planning capacity for those infrequent, unexpected peaks.

  5. Cloud on your terms

    Exchange provides you tools to move to the cloud on your terms – whether that’s onboarding to the cloud overnight or easily managing a hybrid deployment with mailboxes on-premises and online to meet your business needs. Provide your end users with a seamless experience including sharing calendars and scheduling meetings between on-premises and online users and have minimal user disruption when user mailboxes are smoothly moved across environments. Remain in control in the cloud by testing out upcoming enhancements via previews.

  6. Automatically protect your email from malware

    Exchange now offers built in basic anti-malware protection. Administrators can configure and manage their protection settings right from within the Exchange Administration Center. Integrated reporting provides visibility into emerging trends. This capability can be turned off, replaced, or paired with premium services such as Exchange Online Protection for layered protection.

  7. Protect your sensitive data and inform users of internal compliance policies with Data Loss Prevention (DLP) capabilities

    Keep your organization safe from users accidentally sharing sensitive information with unauthorized people. The new Exchange DLP features identify, monitor, and protect sensitive data through deep content analysis. Exchange offers built-in DLP policies based on regulatory standards such as PII and PCI, and is extensible to support other policies important to your business. New Policy Tips in the new release of Outlook inform users about policy violations as content is being created and about how information should be handled according to organizational standards .

    Figure 2:
    Figure 2: Protect your sensitive data with Data Loss Prevention (DLP) capabilities

  8. Allow compliance officers to run In-Place eDiscovery across Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync – from a single interface

    The ability to immutably preserve and discover data across your entire organization is essential to ensuring internal and regulatory compliance. Allow your compliance officers to autonomously use the new eDiscovery Center to identify, hold, and analyze your organization’s data from Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync. And, the data always remains in-place, so you never have to manage a separate store. With the eDiscovery Center, you can reduce the cost of managing complex compliance needs, while ensuring you are prepared for the unexpected.

    Figure 3:
    Figure 3: Run In-Place eDiscovery across Exchange, SharePoint and Lync from a single interface

  9. Allow users to naturally work together – while compliance is applied behind the scenes

    Site Mailboxes bring Exchange emails and SharePoint documents together. Like a filing cabinet, they provide a place to file project emails and documents and can only be seen by project members. Document storage, co-authoring, and versioning is provided by SharePoint while messaging is handled by Exchange – with a complete user experience within the new release of Outlook. Compliance policies are applied at the site mailbox level and are transparent to the users – thus preserving their productivity.

    Figure 4
    Figure 4: Site Mailboxes bring Exchange emails and SharePoint documents together
  10. Modern public folders provide a great way of managing and storing shared conversations and discussions

    Public folders are now available in Exchange Online. Both on-premise as well as online, public folders provide the same capabilities customers are already familiar with. And more – they now share the same storage, indexing, and HA capabilities of regular mailboxes and public folder content can now be found via end-user search.

  11. Give your users an intuitive, gorgeous, touch-optimized experience on all screens

    Your end users will get more done from anywhere with a clean and uncluttered experience. Users can now take advantage of the fresh, easy, and intuitive Windows 8 style experience across Outlook and OWA. OWA user experience scales beautifully for any form factor and size – PC or slate or phone – and has a modern user experience voice with great support for touch and motion. OWA now offers three different UI layouts optimized for desktop, slate, and phone browsers.

    Figure 5: An intuitive, gorgeous, touch-optimized experience on all screens

  12. Offline support in OWA allows your users to be productive when offline or on intermittently connected networks

    You can now launch OWA in the browser and start working even if there is no network connectivity. Your emails and actions are automatically synchronized the next time connectivity is restored. This allows your users to be productive and have a great OWA experience even from remote locations with slow or intermittently connected networks or no network connection at all.

  13. Bring all of your contacts together and automatically keep them up-to-date

    People’s professional networks span many different places. In Office 365, your users can import contact information from LinkedIn (and other networks in the future) so that they have all of their information in one place. Exchange will even find the same person across your personal contacts, GAL, and other networks and consolidate their information into one contact card, avoiding duplication and multiple contact cards with different information.

    Figure 6
    Figure 6: Bring all your contacts together from Exchange's GAL, your personal contacts and other networks

  14. Modern people search experience lets you quickly find the right person

    People search experience is consistent everywhere – from people hub to nickname cache when composing an email. Search spans across all of your people – personal contacts, GAL, networks. Search results are relevance based and contain rich results – photos, phone number, location, etc.

    Figure 7
    Figure 7: Quickly find the right person across your personal contacts, GAL and network s

  15. Updated canvas makes calendar more useful for everyone

    Like Outlook, OWA now supports simple entry of reminders and to-do’s by typing right on the calendar. Users get quick, glance-able day and item “peeks”. New views for day, week, and month – like the “month + agenda” (or “Mogenda”) view – makes it really easy to manage your time.

    Figure 8
    Figure 8: Manage your time easily with the new views for day, week, and month

    Figure 9
    Figure 9: Calendar item "peek" shows useful information

  16. Customize Outlook and OWA easily by integrating apps from the Office marketplace

    Help your users be more productive via 3rd party apps for Outlook adding contextual information and functionality to emails and calendar. Apps for Outlook are easy to develop using the new cloud-based extensibility model. The same apps work across the new release of Outlook and OWA – including on OWA’s slate and phone optimized layouts. Users and Exchange administrators can easily discover and install apps via the Office marketplace. You can control which apps different end users can use.

    Figure 10
    Figure 10: Customize Outlook and OWA with 3rd party apps from the Office marketplace

This is the first of a series of blog posts which will cover the next release of Exchange. In future posts, we will cover the full set of capabilities, including all of the features mentioned above, in more detail.

To get fully up-to-speed on the next release of Exchange:

As always, we welcome your comments and feedback. We've also gone live with the Exchange Server 2013 Forum and will monitor it regularly to collect your feedback.

Thanks so much for your interest in Exchange, and we hope you find the next version of the product as exciting and innovative as we do. The entire team looks forward to your feedback!

Rajesh Jha
Corporate Vice President

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The features/changes seems to be impressive...would definelty like to have a test drive on the new Exchange :)

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Great news about iops reduction.

How about improvements to backup?  Please tell me that we no longer have to restore an entire DB just to restore a single mailbox...

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@Pesos - right there with you on that one.

It would also be nice to be able to create and edit Notes in OWA.

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It's pretty huge that multiple databases are allowed to share a single volume.  It's like a gift considering that it was taken away from us after Exchange 2003 and now given back.  Hopefully, the integrated Windows Exchange-aware backups will be more responsive when it comes to the unusually lengthy consistency checks.

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I like how the calendar example has the Yankees schedule

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So if i read the comment "they now share the same storage, indexing, and HA capabilities of regular mailboxes " about public folders correctly.

Does this now mean that Public Folders will be HA and in the DAG?

Wish MS would decide if Public Folders are staying or going.

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Will MAPI access to Exchange 2013 with ExchangeMAPICDO be supported?

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Is FOPE the replacement for the edge transport role in Exchange 15?

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Actually, the calendar example has the Mariner's schedule.  They just happen to be playing the Yankees on the selected day.  We've got to support the home team!

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@EinmalIM: If the question is: Does Exchange 2013 Preview support RPC (over TCP) access - the answer is No. Exchange 2013 only supports Outlook Anywhere (RPC over HTTPS). We'll provide an update on CDO/MAPI apps when we have more to share.
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@G: Exchange Server 2013 doesn't yet have an Edge Transport server role, but you can continue to use Exchange 2010 Edge Transport servers until we deliver an Edge transport server role in a future release. You can also use FOPE for protecting inbound/outboud mail.
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"a future release" as in Ex2013 will have an edge role at RTM?  or do you mean a later service pack?  also, can you confirm if we still have to restore an entire DB to get a single mailbox?  this is increasingly problematic as guidance continues to push database size larger and larger...

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"support for multiple databases per disk" ?

As far as I know there's nothing stopping you from putting multiple databases on the same disk in Ex2010.

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@Pesos: There will not be an Edge Transport role in Exchange Server 2013 at RTM. You can use Exchange 2010/2007 Edge Transport servers in an Exchange 2013 deployment.

Regarding restoring a single mailbox, Exchange provides Single Item Recovery and deleted mailbox retention. You can configure these to provide recovery capability without having to recover from backups. For recovering a  single mailbox from backups, you'd have to look at partner solutions.

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Will there be an upgrade from 2003, or will you have to go via 2007 / 2010 (like you have to do a two step upgrade to 2010 from 2000).


Damn, I only just cert'ed on 2010.

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Single Item Recovery - do you mean "Recover Deleted Items" ?  That restores things into whatever folder you are in - not into their original locations...  A poor solution...

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Disappointed that there will be no ECP console, just web gui which i'm not a fan of and Powershell which I do like btw...

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If enabled, Single Item Recovery in 2010 is more than "Recover Deleted Items...".  It may not help in the event of a corrupt mailbox, but how often do you get corrupt mailboxes that aren't the result of a corrupt DB?  


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Exchange can now support up to 8TB disks, by reducing database IOPS by +50% and optimizing for multiple databases per volume to increase aggregate disk utilization while maintaining reasonable database sizes

I was unaware that a disk size limit existed. Can anyone point me to the documentation outlining the limit for Exchange 2010 or at least know what the recommended limit is?

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Hi Paul, I have read that link and many others... and I believe I understand the enhancements that SIR brings -- but what I don't understand is how the recovery process itself is any different.  It seems to me the recovery mechanism is still handled via Recover Deleted Items which still has the same limitations (recovered items all dump right back into the selected folder with no respect to original folder structure, etc)...

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@Paul N & Bharat Suneja - What Pesos is referring to is that in Exchange 2007, when you used the Recover Deleted Items function in Outlook , it should show you what items had been deleted in that one specific folder, and allow you to recover them to that folder. If you had a customer delete multiple folders, it was a slightly time intensive task to restore them all, but you could essentially put the mailbox the way it was.

In Exchange 2010 with the new Dumpster 2.0 technology, the Recover Deleted Items function in Outlook now shows you ALL deleted items across all folders, and whatever folder you are in when you recover them is where it is restored to. Essentially if you have a customer delete a bunch of folders, you have to revert to a backup and restore to put the backup the way it was as it is not possible to use Recover Deleted Items to do that.

Essentially we would be looking for a hybrid of what was available in Exchange 2007 where you could restore the items to their original location, but using the Exchange 2010 Dumpster 2.0 functionality where you can see all items in the dumpster. This would porbably require a code enhancement on the Exchange side to record what folder an item was deleted from, and an Outlook code enhancement to allow the restorer to decide to restore the deleted item to its original location or the current folder they were in.

Eitherway we took a step backwards in Exchange 2010 when it comes to trying to put a mailbox back the way it was when a customer made some huge mistakes, as we now have to use backups whereas we did not in the past.

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It's interesting how the world seems to come full circle.

In Exchange 5.5, it had a single store with 2 databases (Priv and Pub) and the logs were included, and seperate servers that rendered the OWA interface and grabbed the data from the back-end databases.

In Exchange 2003 (I am lumping in Exchange 2000 as well), it moved to a model where you could have multiple databases (each broken into two files, the EDB and the STM file) in each store instance (now referred to as a Storage Group), but the log files were shared amongst multiple databases within the storage group. Additionally the backend database servers switched to using the SMTP on the same backend server to route email to the appropriate databases (even if they were local - but they were processed slightly different than the emails sent to another server), and the Front-End servers were nothing more than proxy servers to the backend database servers where the OWA content was rendered.

In Exchange 2007, it moved back to a model where there was a single private mailbox database to log file relationship in a storage group, and the OWA rendering and mail retrieval functionality moved back to the web server (now called the CAS). Additionally the mail routing moved off of the database server role into a dedicated role (which could optionally be installed on the same server) called the HTS.

In Exchange 2010, the server roles stayed pretty much the same as Exchange 2007, however the back-end databases moved from an Active/Passive 2 node CCR failover model to a truly distributed multi-node multi-copy database cluster known as the DAG.

In Exchange 2013, the roles are moving back to the model where we have the back-end mailbox servers being the ones responsible for routing email, and the CASs are just pass through devices to the back-end mailbox servers who are the ones that actually generate the content.

I just find it interesting/funny that 2007 was a return to 5.5 in some high level respects, and that 2013 is a return to 2003 in some respects.

I can't wait to see what Exchange 2016 has in store for us. :)

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So, being an Exchange freak, I downloaded the 2013 Preview and proceded to install this into my testing environment.

I am running the Windows 2012 RC VHD, and am installing it into that.

In my testing environment I am already running Exchange 2010 and I wanted to add the 2013 PR to that environment as a CAS server..

However, the installation fails on the pre-req test: All Exchange 2010 servers in the forest must be running Exchange 2010 SP3.

Is a Preview Release of 2010 SP3 available as well somewhere?

Other than that, features/changes looking good!

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@Arjan, the release notes state the Preview build is not compatible with 2007/2010.


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@Derby - Thanks for catching that.  We aren't supporting specific disk capacities.  What we meant to convey was that we have optimized for the condition that larger capacity disk drives are on the horizon and we have made architectural changes in the product such that we can continue to effectively balance, capacity, IO and throughput characteristics for drives today, as well as, in the future.


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Seriously, this whole new office 2013 skins looks like it was pulled right out of windows 2.1

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@Brian: Thanks, I found that after I aborted the install. I have now created a second forest using Windows 2012 and deployed Exchange 2013 in that forest.

Looking good!

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@Bharat Suneja [MSFT] - any idea when more information will be posted on the MAPI/CDO stuff?  I'm interested to see how third party apps will plug into this.  Thanks

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Thanks for embracing public folders (again) - thank god I never believed you would actually get rid of the functionality.

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please fix back ups i mean really how hard is it? yes we need backup and yes we need to be able to restore a single mailbox.. and please dont get rid of the EMC.. yeah everything is going to the web but doesnt mean you have too just cause everyone else is.. and doesnt mean its a good idea!!!!!

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@3rd Party Guy: No ETA at the moment - sorry!
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@Bharat, can you speak to the backup/restore concerns that Hotfix expressed far more eloquently than I?  Restoring all items into a single folder with no respect for their original folder hierarchy is kind of a pointless solution.

Also, at RTM will it be possible to have DAG members include both 2010 and 2013 members?  We have a couple of DAGs that span two separate datacenters and we'd like to avoid having to reseed DBs across the WAN; joining the 2013 members to the DAG then removing the 2010 members would be an easy way to do this.

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@Pesos, you won't be able to mix server versions within a DAG.  The mailbox databases are mutually incompatible between versions.

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Hi Jesse, thanks for the news, even if it isn't what we wanted to hear :)  So we will have to set up a brand new DAG and seed over the WAN, or is there some way we'll be able to take advantage of the copies in both datacenters?

Also, will there be a way to alter the text of the Lync online meetings?

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I don't like web consoles as a replacement for a traditional management application. In my experience, they're less powerful and less usable, so I'm worried at the idea of this "EAC" being a replacement for the current tools.

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@RobM: don't like those web management apps as well. But the cloud/hosting direction seems to force this as cloud customers will have less pain with installing local management tools, which might introduce security problems when management tools and hosted service are running in different domains.

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Will there be a upgrade or migration for users on 2010??

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Not so keen in getting a non-iOS device experience on an iOS device.  The inconsistencies in Windows with just clicking and how it is counter-intuitive for Mac users drives me crazy.  WIth this "Windows 8 experience everywhere" approach, iOS users will likely riot.

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Can Exchange 2013 take advantage of the Windows 2012 ODX feature with a DAG configuration?

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Please please please can we have a straightforward insitu upgrade wizard included in Exchange 2013.  The #1 complaint I always hear (and have) with 2007 and 2010 is how hard it is to upgrade to.  Microsoft seem to assume that everyone goes out and buys a new server, which is not the case, a lot of SMBs do not and why would they given that Exchange 2013 runs on Windows 2008 R2 and so does Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2007 SP3.  Great the wizards have been simplified in 2013 for hybrid installations - how about avoiding that problem altogether by having a straightforward upgrade path, like there is in SQL Server 2012?

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You state - "Allow your compliance officers to autonomously use the new eDiscovery Center to identify, hold, and analyze your organization’s data from Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync. And, the data always remains in-place, so you never have to manage a separate store. " - Does the hold have to apply to whole mailbox or can you just put a hold on individual emails?


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@A Smith -

You can query and have only the specific items be placed on hold - optionally including items that meet that query in the future.

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Love the way you guys are fixing the broken 2010 management paradigm in a new, payable, version of Exchange.

Like the New Exchange management tools' name, made me think of:

Marlin: Crush, really? OK, Crush. I need to get to the East Australian Current. EAC?

Crush: [laughing] Oh, dude. You're ridin' it, dude! Check it out!