Let’s take a quick look at some of the new/improved features available with Exchange 2010 SP1 Beta release
1. Exchange 2010 Installation – While installing Exchange 2010, now we get a new option “Automatically install Windows Roles and Features required for Exchange Server” which will install all pre-requisites automatically
2. DAG goes cross sites – DAG or Database availability group in Exchange 2010 RTM version is indeed the most important highlight of the product. However, there was a concern with site resilience with stretched AD sites to have 2 mailbox servers in the primary site before we deploy DAG on a third server. With Exchange 2010 SP1 release Microsoft has made this possible to implement DAG with just 2 mailbox servers; each in one site. Having told that, you need to be aware of a major update on FSW (file share witness) which took a twist with this SP1 release. In RTM version, the FSW would just check for the presence or absence of the mailbox servers to see if the databases are mountable, but with SP1 release the mailbox servers checks the boot time of the FSW server as a cookie to see if the databases can be mounted or not.
So, DO NOT reboot both the FSW server (hub transport server commonly) and the Mailbox server at the same time because you will end up performing a disaster recovery as none of the servers will have the updated information to see if the databases can be mounted or not, so give the cmdlet RestoreDatabaseAvailabilityGroup and mount the databases. Again, the FSW’s preferred location remains to be on the HUB Transport role.
3. Archive mailbox – In RTM version, though we had an option to create an archive mailbox for a user it did not serve the actual purpose since the archive mailbox used to reside on the same mailbox database as the primary/original mailbox. With SP1 release now we have an option to point it to another database which could reside on a low cost storage system.
To do this – Right click on the user – Enable archive – Choose the Archive database where you want the archive mailbox to be pointed to.
So what’s the real point in doing this? Since archive mailbox is not accessed every now and then and not critical to everyday business, we could have a designated standalone server for this purpose on a low cost storage subsystem and the users won’t even know that their primary mailbox and archive mailbox are on different servers. Again, we can have a different backup strategy for these archive servers, maybe once in a week.
4. Retentions policies available within EMC – In RTM, it was a challenge to create retention policies through the shell. Now, if you look at the organization configuration – Mailbox – You will have 2 new tabs, Retention policy tags and Retention policies
5. OWA web app improvements– Themes are back with this SP1 release, click options and select the theme you want. Also we can select an attachment to be added to an email directly from a message.
6. Mailbox search – Log into to ECP (Exchange Control panel) and with administrator privileges you can now search own/other mailboxes. You now have more functionality like search estimate and the de-duplication of search results
7. MailboxExportRequest and MailboxImportRequest – With RTM, I don’t know why MS took off the Export-Mailbox and Import-Mailbox cmdlets. Now with SP1 release, it’s back with better functionality with an option to create a PST out of user mailboxes.
So, we don’t need outlook anymore and you also get an option to export the primary mailbox as well as the archive mailbox to a PST file.
To export an archive to a PST, use this cmdlet:
New-MailboxExportRequest -Mailbox ratish -FilePath “d:\PST\ratish.pst” –IsArchive
To import a PST file into the personal archive for ratish, use this cmdlet:
New-MailboxImportRequest -Mailbox ratish -IsArchive -FilePath “d:\PST\ratish.pst”
8. Certificates for Federation services – In RTM, we had to use a third party CA (Certification authority) like Verisign, Godaddy, Twate etc to issue a certificate so that you could enable Federation with another organization. With SP1, now we have an option to use a Self signed certificate created by a Windows CA in your own organization. If you would ask me, I would still go with Godaddy.
9. Exchange ActiveSync improvements – This is great. With SP1 release now we can do n number of Exchange Activesync administrative tasks from ECP (Exchange control panel). I am going to mention just a few since I personally think they will be of great use.
• List device partnerships for a user
• Delete mobile device partnerships
• Perform remote wipe requests to wipe devices
• List quarantined devices
• Manage EAS rules
• Create rules for all users with a specific mobile device type
• Synchronize SMS messages from mobile to Inbox
10. Store improvements – You can now detect and repair mailbox and database corruption issues with the cmdlet – New-MailboxRepairRequest.
Database Log Growth Troubleshooter, a new feature now allows you to troubleshoot issues with logfiles growing rapidly.
You can now manage Public folder client permissions within the Exchange management console
You no longer need to exit out from Outlook if a mailbox is moved from SP1 DB to another SP1 DB.
11. Auditing – Administrator and mailbox auditing logging improved