For those Exchange admins out there, the news of Exchange SP2 brings some pretty cool things to the table for your Exchange organization. The news has been floating around that Microsoft was about to release the Service pack for a while since there had already been several iterations of the rollup releases for Service pack 1. In reading through some of the highlights of the service pack release, there look to be some really powerful new features included with this release.
Hybrid Configuration Wizard
This new feature will make a lot of admins who are trying to implement Exchange in a hybrid environment with both an on and off premises implementation such as with Office365. Although Office365 is the only product mentioned, for many educational institutions this may mean easier deployment with [email protected] service as well.
Address Book Policies
Out of the other new features, I have to say this is the one that I was really excited about the most. There has not been a great way to say which users have access to which address list. This lead to having to assign granular permissions on the lists themselves, or setup some other ACL based means to get this done and this can lead to other problems. If this turns out to be an easy way to assign address lists to users, it will definitely be worth the effort to get SP2 deployed.
Cross-Site Silent Redirection for OWA
This feature adds more intelligence to determine whether a client request can be more efficiently answered by a CAS server in a particular AD Site. Single Sign On is also available with forms authentication.
Mini Version of OWA
Microsoft is adding a more mobile browser friendly interface with the Mini Version of OWA.
Mailbox Replication Service
This is yet another feature making the on premises and off premises coexistence much easier for administrators. Two new commandlets have been added – new-webservicesvirtualdirectory and set-webservicesvirtualdirectory which allow for much easier configuration aside from the manual configuration steps.
This automatically maps any mailboxes that a user has Full Access permissions to when the autodiscover process links a user to a mailbox. Instead of just a user’s own mailbox, it will automatically setup all mailboxes the user has permissions over.
Multi-Valued Custom Attributes
There are five new multi-value custom attributes for storing additional information
New parameters in place to deal with user mailboxes placed on litigation holds.
The new Exchange 2010 SP2 looks to be a worthy update for exchange admins everywhere that truly brings some exciting new functionality to the table with Address lists, hybrid environments, and mobile OWA environments. Look for an upcoming post to detail the upgrade steps for SP2.
Take a look at the official “What’s new in SP2” link from Microsoft here.