The second beta of Exchange Server 2007 SP1 adds a handful of features that were unavailable in the initial beta. For example, the new beta adds standby continuous replication (SCR), a disaster recovery feature that lets sites replicate data on a standby server. "It's a mix between high availability and disaster recovery," said Ray Mohrman, a group product manager in Microsoft's unified communications group.
SCR uses the same log shipping and replay technology as two other features in Exchange -- local continuous replication and cluster continuous replication -- to provide more deployment options and configurations, according to Microsoft.
The new service pack beta has also added the following:
- Support for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista
- Some improvements to its integration with Office Communications Server
- Additional ActiveSync policies. Customers can now receive confirmation that data on a lost device has been wiped clean.
- Integration with Forefront Security Server SP1
The service pack is expected to be generally available later this year.
SP1 won't necessarily get IT shops rushing to move to Exchange Server 2007, but it will at least keep them on pace, said Karen Hobert, an analyst at Burton Group, a Midvale, Utah-based consulting firm. The upgrade from Exchange Server 2003 to 2007 isn't minor, but there is a lot of benefit, Hobert said.
For one thing, Exchange Server 2007 requires an upgrade to 64-bit hardware. It also has a new roles-based architecture that requires a lot of planning. "The service pack is insuring that when administrators are ready to upgrade they will feel comfortable," Hobert said.