After a ten-year absense, Microsoft has brought back the Microsoft Exchange Conference (MEC). And on opening day, September 24, the Softies showed off and explained some of the features coming in the next on-premises release, known as Exchange Server 2013, and its cloud complements -- Exchange Online and Office 365.
Testers have had their hands on the customer preview (public beta) bits since July of this year, and the private test builds for months before that. So none of the features highlighted at MEC should be too surprising to those keeping tabs on Exchange.
On Day 1, Microsoft officials focused heavily on security and compliance features that will be baked into the next wave of Exchange products. The overarching theme: Security isn't a "feature" to be added in on the side; it's designed to be integrated throughout the on-premises and cloud versions of Exchange.
Microsoft officials were expected to hone in on the following Exchange 2013 features (all of which have been disclosed previously):
- Exchange Online Protection -- the new name for and successor to Forefront Online Protection for Exchange
- Data Loss Prevention (DLP) technology for identifying, monitoring and protecting sensitive information
- In-place email archiving, hold, and native data governance across Exchange, SharePoint and Lync
- eDiscovery tools for locating specific information within the organization
- Site mailboxes with SharePoint integration
Microsoft officials still won't disclose the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) or general-availability targets for Office 2013, Exchange Server 2013 or most of the other pieces of the next Office release. Microsoft isn't expected to deliver any additional public betas of its next Office release, though officials are claiming that the cloud versions are being updated periodically.