RealTime IT News

For Microsoft, Improvement is in the Exchange

Microsoft has released the first beta of Microsoft Exchange 12, the forthcoming version of the company's messaging software designed to give corporate IT staffs greater control over data transfer.

The Redmond, Wash., software giant has fashioned Exchange 12, which fuels tasks like e-mail and calendar planning in corporations, with greater in-box access for employees on the move and greater security to stymie spam and viruses.

The improvements come at a time when more companies are watching data volumes balloon thanks to the growing glut of e-mail. Administrators need to be able to increase the scale of data company servers can handle, so Microsoft has improved Exchange 12 by designing it to run on 64-bit server systems.

In other new features, Exchange System Manager offers easier navigation and new filtering capabilities through a new graphical user interface (GUI).

The new Windows command line shell, code-named "Monad," automates routine tasks to save administrators time, while automatic client detection and configuration simplifies the setup of the Outlook e-mail client to save time.

To serve employees who need to access their inbox regardless of where they may be, Exchange 12 will include a speech-enabled messaging platform that integrates e-mail, fax and voice mail in the user's inbox.

Thanks to Outlook Web Access, the software will allows users to access their inboxes from mobile devices and any phone with a Web browser from anywhere without a special network connection.

With spam accounting for nearly 40 percent of the e-mail sent in North America on an average day, and worms and virus threats mounting, Microsoft wants to boost the security in Exchange 12.

After all, customers need to be able to trust the data traveling across corporate messaging systems is preserved. The idea is to save data at a time when compliance regulations such as HIPAA and SEC 17a-4 require records be retained without alteration.

Exchange 12 will boast advanced anti-spam protection; automatic updates for anti-spam filters, block lists and reputation services to ensure that the Exchange environment is protected without requiring administrator intervention.

Also, messages will be scanned in transport as well as in the mailbox store by one or more anti-virus engines. Lastly, new attachment filters help administrators stop inbound and outbound attachments based on file extension, file name or content type.

Delivered to a select group of testers that include customers and original equipment manufacturers, Beta 1 of Exchange 12 gives users the chance to preview and provide feedback on the software, which Microsoft plans to begin selling in late 2006 or early 2007.