PC Pro UK: Fair Exchange?

February 28 2007

PC Pro's Simon Jones takes a detailed look at how the rip-and-replaced or deprecated features in Exchange 2007 play out in the real world...

Are you considering upgrading your Exchange Server to the newly released 2007 version? Are you worried about how your existing Outlook/Exchange-based solutions will cope with the change and their long-term future? You should be.

The vast majority of end users, those who use Outlook to connect to Exchange Server, will hardly notice any difference. ... Apart from the speed increase, the only improvement most users will see is a new Out of Office Assistant that allows them to set separate "Out of Office" messages for use inside and outside their organisation.
Jones then spends several paragraphs talking about Exchange Public Folders -- the dead-again, alive-again sharing mechanism:
Microsoft says that public folders are "deemphasised" under ES2007, which means that they're supported but "may not be in future versions of Exchange". How "de-emphasised" differs from "deprecated" - the usual word for a feature that's about to be pulled - is anyone's guess. ...

You can no longer see public folders via OWA or through IMAP, and that rules out using them from a Pocket PC or smartphone device, or from the Entourage client on a Mac.
though I've read that MS is going to put them back in OWA in E2007 SP1.  Not sure why the change...

Jones then goes on to examine the pricing model:
The pricing scheme for Exchange Server 2007 must have made sense to someone at Microsoft, but it's ended up being a complete nightmare for the people who have to purchase the damned thing.
It takes five paragraphs for Jones to try to explain the Exchange 2007 pricing model.  He discusses the various Core CAL options -- those bundles that MS makes look too good to be true, then comes back later and claims you got them "for free".  Watch those maintenance bills...

In the last bit, Jones examines the alternatives MS is offering for forms-based public folder applications.  I count several product mentions: SharePoint Services 3, Office SharePoint Server, InfoPath, Access, Outlook 2007, Excel, ... about the only thing missing is Groove.  In conclusion:
Microsoft needs to provide much better guidance on the best ways forward, but it should be clear to everyone that we're now in a transitional phase and that the ride could be a little bumpy for the next couple of years.
All this for an e-mail server.

Link: PC Pro UK: Fair Exchange? > (Cheers, Mike)

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