I’ve been working with E14 a bit for the last few months and have been reading PPT and other info on it for over a year. But due to my NDA requirements with Microsoft, as a Microsoft Exchange MVP, I cannot speak/post publicly on any information that Microsoft hasn’t made public yet on pre-released products/fixes. So this is my 1st blog post on E14 J
Today KC Lemson, Lead Program Manager for Exchange, posted on the EHLO blog a video with her and Jim Lucy, Product Manager for Exchange Labs (EHLO blog post on Exchange Labs), talking about how Exchange Labs is using E14, a short "demo" of E14, and some info on the focus of E14. The information below comes from this EHLO blog post only.
One of the key points mentioned is that the development E14 was focused on reducing the cost of Exchange. Microsoft did a great job with Exchange 2007 in this area; Ferris Research release a survey saying it cost roughly 50% less to run Exchange 2007 verses 2003 that proves this point. On top of this, Microsoft is hoping to further reduce the cost of running Exchange by another 50%! In order to do this, they are making several changes to the fundamental way Exchange operates and scales out. Currently, Exchange Labs is running E14, and has been since October 2007, which hosts over 3.5 million mailboxes. Scaling out to this many users wasn’t possible with Exchange 2003 at all and probably not even with 2007. So there has been a lot of work done to re-designing Exchange to run better as a service in the cloud and to scale. Therefore, E14 should allow organizations to easily let Microsoft, or other providers, host some or all of their mailboxes in a seamless fashion. While this has been possible for awhile with Exchange, it was not that easy to setup, nor was it fully seamless in some cases.
In the video they cover some of the features I have been wanting for awhile, web based administration. They didn’t show much of the details but E14 will have a web based admin console that will allow creation and management of mailboxes, groups/DLs, contacts, and more. So from anywhere in the world, without VPN or RDP access, Exchange admins will finally be able to carry out some of the theiro most common admin tasks. E14 will add to and enhance web based functionality in OWA. From OWA users will be able to share calendars, view user information in the GAL better, and even create e-mail distribution groups! Some of the features they showed, like viewing Office documents in IE without Office being install locally and Inbox rule management, is already in Exchange 2007 but will be improved upon.
Finally, Microsoft is make many improvements for organizations that run Exchange in-house, but I can’t go into details on this yet since Microsoft hasn’t posted any information publicly let in this area.