Exchange Server 2010 Release Candidate Available Today!

Published Aug 17 2009 05:52 PM 3,074 Views

Today, we're happy to announce that Exchange Server 2010 Release Candidate is feature complete and available for download here.

Crystal Flores tracked me down with her roving cameraman to outline how Exchange Server 2010 delivers unmatched Inbox innovation to the enterprise to improve user productivity, and exceed IT requirements around ease of deployment, compliance and administration. Hope you enjoy watching!

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When we shipped the first version of Exchange about fourteen years ago, IBM/Lotus dominated the space. According to a 2008 Ferris research report, Notes/Domino share has dwindled to a mere 10% in enterprises, while Exchange has grown to 65% market share across all organizations and continues to grow with more than 4.7M starting the switch to Exchange last year. In fact, Exchange is now is approaching $2B in annual revenues. If Exchange were a standalone business, it would be the 9th largest software company in the world. We expect that momentum to accelerate with Exchange 2010, the most compelling version yet.

On the services front, Exchange Online is getting a great reception from customers and is now used by more than a million people. With Exchange 2010, we've broken new ground again. Exchange 2010 is currently being tested as a service by more than 10M people worldwide in the broadest server beta in Microsoft history. This is a testament to our long-standing commitment to bring rock solid, enterprise-ready products to market.

It doesn't stop there. With Exchange 2010, people have an arsenal of new weapons to fight inbox overload. In fact, Basex have awarded Microsoft (for Exchange 2010) a Basex Excellence Award, aka the "Basey" award. Last week, on "Information Overload Day", Basex presented the award to acknowledge the significant contributions Exchange 2010 makes to minimizing information overload - with features like MailTips and Ignore Conversation. We think is pretty exciting given the product isn't even generally available yet.

All of that aside, I want to highlight a couple of interesting new things in the Release Candidate:

· Support for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2: The Exchange Server 2010 Release Candidate is now supported on the 64-bit versions of the Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

· In place upgrade from Exchange Server 2010 Release Candidate to Exchange Server 2010 RTM: You can start planning and deploying your Exchange Server 2010 test environment today knowing that it will be possible to perform an in place upgrade with the final version expected to be available later this year. You won't need to reinstall your servers or reconfigure your Exchange settings once you have deployed the Release Candidate. This will save you time while allowing you to start evaluating the latest product capabilities now.

· Co-existence with Exchange Server 2007 and Exchange Server 2003: If your current test environment is Exchange Server 2007 or Exchange Server 2003, Exchange Server 2010 Release Candidate is able co-exist with either of the two versions. This will enable you/your company to start planning your upgrade, test critical scenarios and experience the benefits of the latest version of the product. For Exchange Server 2007 co-existence, Service Pack 2 (SP2) is required, and will be available later this month.

For additional technical details, please visit "What's new in Exchange 2010" on TechNet.

As always, let us know what you think!

~Michael Atalla

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Unfortunately I can't find the download... Only the 2010 Beta UM language pack.
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Same here, where IS that download
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How can I protect Exchange 2010 with DPM? I was told it didn't work...
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I got this in an email from MS.  Check it:
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@Blacktoe. No, already tried that one. Probably got the same mail. You eventually get forwarded to the Microsoft Download Center. But no RC1.

Anyway, the option to in place upgrade RC1 to RTM is excellent. However, would you advise this for a production environment? Would you still be eligible for support from Microsoft?
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Been using the Outlook 2010 beta as well and am a little bit confused about the "conversation view" and "conversation ignore" features. These are things that exist in the outlook client, are they enhanced in some way when used with exchange 2010 rather than 2007? Lots of the videos and feature lists talk about these things as being exchange features rather than cleint features (unless they mean in webmail?!)

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are you still sleeping?
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I agree, there are definitely some awesome features, and good call on the upgrade option.  I really want to roll it out.  Where is the download?  The link goes nowhere.  
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The download link in the article ends up at the generic MS download RC download shows as available...or existing...
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the link does not work
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AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I jut cant seem to find the download
One huge loooooop!!!!
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Really interesting news !! RC can be upgrade to RTM
but same here the link doesn’t work :(
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Links do not work :(
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You would have thought Technet subscriptions would have it available.
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Links do not work two!!!!
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yes, link is not works at this time, but need to be wait a little anticipation of Exchange Server 2010 Release Candidate !

Great work guys!

Thanks Folks!

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Must be bundled with Dk Nkm Forever... I can't wait to test it out in the lab!
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Folks, we are aware of the issue with the downloads not working.  We’re currently looking into this, and hope to have an update soon.

Thank you for your patience, and sorry for any confusion or inconvenience this has caused.
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OK, guys here's the problem with the current 2010 upgrade strategy... you're killing IT admins everywhere.

2010 is supported on Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2. 2007 is supported only on 2003 and 2008 (unless you're going to make an announcement on that with SP2, and let's face it, most of us are running 2003 still). Unfortunately, you've written in the past that doing a direct upgrade to 2010 from 2007 won't be an option.

This means, in order to upgrade, I have to acquire another server. Upgrade 2007 to SP2 upon availability. Install Windows Server 2008 R2, and install Exchange 2010 on the new server. Migrate mailboxes to it. This is expensive for small-to-medium businesses... servers aren't exactly cheap unless you really skimp on specs.

We can cut costs by deploying a "TEMP" server for the migration, but then we have to rebuild the 2007 server with WS2008R2 and E2010, and then migrate the mailboxes back to that box. This will take forever and a day for some folks... assuming, of course, that everything goes flawlessly.

Why not enable a direct upgrade path and WS2008R2 support for 2007 to make this easier? I've been using Exchange for years now at other jobs, and upgrading is ALWAYS the biggest hassle involved with the product. You absolutely MUST rethink this for future releases! This is 2009 going into 2010 as you well know, and having that kind of hassle, expense, and down time is inexcusable!
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I have no issue with the upgrade paths.
Databases and logs should be on external storage connected to VM or Phy the process of upgrading should be elementary by now.
The goal should be to have a clean, fresh Exchange Server deployed. An in-place upgrade will never by definition be a clean, fresh build.

The hassle, expense, and down time for Messaging Systems comes from poor planning and implemenation not design (as least design hasnt been an issue in 10+ years).
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@GoodThings2Life: By setting up another Exchange server and moving mailboxes, there is no down-time. It allows you to perform the upgrade in a phased manner, moving a few users at a time. With in-place upgrades, down-time is inevitable. Most organizations prefer to use the move mailbox method.
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@GoodThings2Life:  Assuming your on 2007, moving to 2010 for your users should now be a minimal impact with the Mailbox Sync process instead of just a move.  

I've been and Exchange admin for over 11 years, in that time I've only done a 5.0 to 5.5 inplace upgrade and was very jr at the time.  Historically speaking, Exchange is very hard on hardware, even in a small company, and the reliability of the Exchange hardware is typically paramount in a lot of companies.

Also consider, MS doesn't recommend performing offline defrags any more, and prefer you to create a new DB and move the mailboxes.  After a year or two or three, hidden corruption builds up in DB's, that even OD doesn't clean out.

If you're still running 2003, you definately want to be running new hardware for 2010.

On the plus side, SMB can now do full Exchange redundancy with 2010 with only 2 servers, where 2007 required 4.  Sell your company on setting up the new 2010 server, move the mailboxes, and reset your old box, assuming it's still meets the HW requirements, as a second CAS/HT/MBX w/DAG for HA and FT.
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get the software online now..........................
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Korbyn - There are some complications to getting full Exchange redundancy with ony 2 servers.  Refer to the thread titled "Exchange 2010 redundancy without DAG or Windows Server Enterprise edition" in the Exchange 2010 forum on Technet, in particular Brian Day's post "On caveat here. Even though you can have HT/CAS on the DAG members now, you cannot have Windows Failover Clustering and Windows Network Load Balancing installed on the same machine. So you will still have to use a HW load balancer for CAS."

Also, such redundancy requires Windows Server Enterprise edition (as opposed to Standard edition).

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Just one minor thing... In this scenario you need an external load balancer, doesn't nessasarily to be a hardware device. There are plenty software solutions or even customized software applicances for your virtualized environment.
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What the Hell bros
link is not working
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Why is the download link not working. Can we get a different link?
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I thinnk Microsoft Counting the Hit of Link :)
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We are just beginning a 2k7 migration here from 2003.  Only have our first CAS/HUB in right now.  So that leaves us with 30+ 2003 mailbox servers, 1 2007 CAS/HUB server.  Can 2010 be shoehorned in here with minimal upheaval?

Yes i know some of you will mention the various benefits to consolidation that 2k7 and 2010 provide.  However thats not desired here at my organization (not yet anyway).
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I would suggest not to deploy the Exchange 2010 RC or Beta (R3) into your organization until it is in RTM and all software you are using in co-existence supports 2010.

For example, BES 4.1.6 or BES 5.0 don't support Exchange 2010 yet in case you use BlackBerrys in your organization.
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Looking forward to playing with this release.  

How long on 2007 SP2 however?  I'm sure most people want to test the migration path vs just a fresh install.
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are you still having coffe break
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For the record... the decision to run Windows Server 2003 was NOT due to hardware limitations, and in fact the hardware in use is overkill even for 2010. At the time of deployment, it was more important to interoperable with the existing systems in my domain, and 2008 wasn't on my priority list. It is ranking higher on my priority list for 2010, however.

Yes, you're right, I realize now that moving mailboxes from server to server requires very little downtime due to new improvements in interoperability. I was not thinking of that earlier, and that will definitely make it easier although still very time consuming.

I still genuinely believe that migrations and upgrades should be much easier than they currently are. Exchange has always been too dependent on specific OS releases than it should be. Service Packs and "R2" upgrades shouldn't jeopardize enterprise compatibility!
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best bet is to virtualize Exchange 2010 and simplify the upgrade (no need for temp server, just a VM) and benefits to consolidation and DR as well.
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I tried to post this earlier but I don't think it went through.

SP2 is coming out Q3 of 2009. So around now.
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Any comments about the upgrade path from 2010 Beta to 2010 RC (I know RC to RTM will be easy).
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Download Link!

With all respect guys, but wil you be able to make the download link functional this year :) Could not be so spectuclar to make this thing work!
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@Liam: You can't upgrade from Exchange 2010 beta to Release Candidate or RTM.
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Sorry for the delay folks. The release is now live at

Paul Bowden

Release Manager

Exchange Server

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I can see you guys have some problems with the download link. But whatever, we know it's not up to you but more likely from a guy at Microsoft Downloads/Technet.

However, here at Quentez we loved the beta and we wanted to know if there's a way (even a silly trick will do it for us) to migrate a little number of mailboxes from beta to RC (like killing exchange and copying active directory folders in stealth mode :D ).

Well continue with the good work and keep on making emails better than waves !
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It's been a fun ride so far, looking forward to RTM! :)
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What is the suggested practice for upgrading 2010 beta to rc if you have one server?

(Oh and can you finally have 2007 servers in your 2010 environment because you couldn't in the beta)
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Yeah, we are in the same situation : Only one server with exchange beta.
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We are planning to implement Exchange Active Sync protocol for a few non-windows operating systems (devices). Can somebody provide information about who should we contact at microsoft to start with.  

We need some information to decide feasibility of such product:

1. do we need license during development

2. what kind of help/support (mainly technical) is available from microsoft during development, with what fees/charges?

3. what licences/ip is required for sale of such a product

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Hi Guys, Now RC download is avaialble and I have succesfully downloaded it. As Paul Bowden mention we cannot updgrade from Beta to Release Candidate because the Store Scema Master has been changed on both product, so you have to install fress Windows Server 2008 with SP2 and then Install Exchange 2010 RC.

Follow this link Easy Steps to Install:
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In the article above you state:

If your current test environment is Exchange Server 2007 or Exchange Server 2003, Exchange Server 2010 Release Candidate is able co-exist with either of the two versions.

We are trying this, but are getting the following error in the prerequisites test in the installer:
Coexistence between Exchange Server 2010 and Exchange Server versions older than Exchange Server 2007 SP2 in the same Active Directory Site is not supported.

So if coexistence works for the RC version of 2010--how do you get that to work exactly?
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We also said:

"For Exchange Server 2007 co-existence, Service Pack 2 (SP2) is required, and will be available later this month. "

In other words - for coexistence scenario, you will need E2007 SP2... stay tuned for more on that!
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