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Microsoft releases Exchange Server 10 beta

Microsoft releases Exchange Server 10 beta

Promising to help lower communications costs, improve user productivity and feature integrated email archiving, Microsoft (www.microsoft.com) has released a public beta of Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, as part of Microsoft's upcoming suite of unified communications products.

According to Microsoft's Wednesday announcement, Exchange 2010 was built from the ground up to work both on-premise and as an online service. While Exchange Server 2010 will not be available until the second half of 2009, according to Microsoft, a public beta of the server is currently available for download.

"Exchange 2010 ushers in the next generation of Microsoft unified communications software as the first server designed from inception to work both on-premises and as an online service," Microsoft Exchange corporate vice president Rajesh Jha said in a statement. "This release raises the bar with new archiving and end-user innovations that will help companies save money and employees save time."

Exchange 2010 gives users more flexible deployment and enterprise-grade management options, whether they are deploying in-house, or as a service from Microsoft or partners, letting them lower costs. The new release also simplifies the administration of always-on communications and disaster recovery, and improves the performance of running on lower-cost direct-attached storage, helping organizations reduce storage costs by up to 85 percent without sacrificing performance or reliability.

Exchange 2010's integrated email archiving functionality helps companies protect their information and meet compliance requirements, letting companies store and query emails across the organization.

Exchange 2010 is the first to be rolled out as part of Microsoft's new wave pf Office-related products, designed to give users a consistent experience across devices to make creating and editing documents, and collaborating from any location easier. The other products included in the line are Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, Microsoft Visio 2010 and Microsoft Project 2010.

Microsoft information worker product management group senior vice president Chris Capossela said as the line between home and work blurs, customers increasingly demand more choice and flexibility in when, where and how they work. "With the next wave of Microsoft Office-related products, people will be more productive across the PC, phone and browser, IT professionals can choose to deploy and manage servers on-premises or from the cloud, and developers get more opportunities to build innovative solutions and grow their business," Capossela said in a statement.

Exchange 2010 also promises greater integration with Microsoft Outlook 2010 including "Voice Mail Preview," which lets users see a text preview of voice mail directly in Outlook. Integration also gives a more consistent experience, making outlook look and perform the same on the PC, a mobile phone, or a browser.

An eWeek article notes that Microsoft is having to compete with Google (www.google.com) and other cloud-based email services, which have been honing in on Microsoft's enterprise customer base. For instance, Google's Apps Premier Edition provides cross-platform, business-class e-mail and calendaring for only $50. With Exchange 2010, Microsoft is hoping to reel back customers by adding increased functionality and customization, as well as the ability to meet enterprise legal requirements, an area where cloud email providers have been stumbling.

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