At a conference today in Dallas, Microsoft finally announced shipment of the Exchange 2000 server, many months after the product's initially planned release. But other components of Microsoft's emerging unified messaging environment are still under development, including a client-side Web Storage Server for integration between Exchange and Office 10, plus a separate document portal server, code-named Tahoe, which enters beta today.
During a keynote speech at the Microsoft Exchange 2000 show, Gordon Mangione, VP of Microsoft's Exchange Business Unit, owned up to a series of 16-hour days spent trying to get Exchange 2000 to market.
Better Late Than Never
Originally slated for release last spring, Exchange was going to be the first of the .NET servers to ship. But SQL Server 2000 beat Exchange out the door.
Mangione attributed the Exchange delay to Microsoft's decision to reach a series of milestones before shipment, including deployment of two million mailboxes internally "without any hiccups" and 250,000 seats in production among customers. Beta testers for Exchange 2000 have ranged from the MTV Web site to the World Bank.
According to Dave Walsh, who headed up the internal deployment, capabilities most appreciated inside Microsoft included instant messaging; the chance to store audio files along with text and Web pages in the unified message store; compatibility with non-SQL Server databases; and the ability to "double the size of employees' mailboxes" through greater scalability.
Survival Of The Fittest
Mangione remembered that when actual shipment of Exchange 2000 finally drew near, the marketing department gave him an "Exchange survival kit" that included caffeine pills, mouthwash, and a T-shirt listing 11 earlier unmet ship dates for Exchange 2000.
Microsoft released the new messaging server today in two iterations: Exchange 2000 Server and Exchange 2000 Enterprise Server. Also shipping today is Microsoft Exchange 2000 Conferencing Server, a new server for video and document conferencing.
Mangione also announced that the upcoming Microsoft Office 10 will include a built-in local Web Storage Server, much like the unified messaging Web store in Exchange 2000, for use during off-line scenarios like traveling on an airplane.
The new document server that entered beta today, Tahoe, is due for release in the first half of the year 2001. Capabilities will include document check-in and checkout, publish/subscribe, and indexing and searching across multiple data types, said Russ Stockdale, VP of Microsoft's Knowledge Worker Solutions Group.
Meanwhile, Microsoft's recently rolled out Mobile Information 2001 Server is already in beta. At the conference in Dallas, Microsoft officials demonstrated use of the server for wireless message delivery to smart phones and Pocket PCs.