Exchange customers who are planning to continue to run Exchange Server 2007 while moving to Exchange Server 2010, take note: You're going to need Exchange 2007 Service Pack (SP) 2, in order to do so.
Microsoft is planning to deliver the final SP2 for Exchange Server 2007 in the third calendar quarter of this year, according to a recent post on the Microsoft Exchange Team Blog. SP2 will include the usual fixes and updates, but also functionality that will allow Exchange Server 2007 and Exchange Server 2010 to coexist. The final release of Exchange Server 2010 is expected toward the end of 2009.
A couple of pertinent Qs and As, from the blog post:
"Q: Will the Service Pack 2 be required for Exchange 2007 to interoperate with Exchange Server 2010?
"A: Yes, Exchange Server 2007 SP2 is required to interoperate with Exchange Server 2010 and to enable the transition of services to the latest version of the product.
"Q: Can customers decide to skip Service Pack 2 if they are not planning to deploy Exchange 2010 and wait for the next version of the product?
"A: Given the benefits SP2 provides, Microsoft recommends customers deploy SP2, so they can immediately benefit from the operational efficiency improvements and Update Rollups that generally address hotfixes, security and critical updates for the product. Ultimately it is customer's decision on the timing to apply the service pack and Microsoft will support those customers in alignment with the Service Pack Support Policy."
Exchange Server 2007 SP2 is slated to provide new auditing capabilities, volume-snapshot-backup functionality, dynamic Active Directory schema update and validation, and public folder quota management, among other features.
Microsoft released a public beta of Exchange Server 2010 in mid-April. The new release is set to include new capabilities for handling and organizing e-mail, voice mail and other forms of communication and collaboration.
There will be no 32-bit version of Exchange Server 2010 (not even a lab version, as was the case with Exchange Server 2007). It's going to be a 64-bit-only release. Accordingly, Exchange Server 2010 will require a 64-bit version of Windows Server to run.
Users commenting on an Exchange Server Team blog posting that highlighted the 64-bit-only information were of two minds about Microsoft's decision. Some said they were happy Microsoft was pushing them into the 64-bit world and others said the 64-bit-only requirement might be a deal breaker for them, in terms of moving to the new Exchange release.