The third service pack (SP3) for Exchange 2010 is scheduled to arrive in "the first half of calendar year 2013" and will enable it to run on Windows Server 2012, Microsoft said in a blog post this week.
The planned delivery of SP3 represents good news for organizations thinking about running Exchange 2010 on Windows Server 2012 or supporting "coexistence" with Exchange 2013 within the same computing infrastructure. Previously, Microsoft has indicated that Exchange 2010 SP2 is not supported on Windows Server 2012. The company has also indicated that you can’t run Exchange 2007 on Windows Server 2012.
The possible bad news is the perceived late arrival of SP3. Readers commenting at Microsoft’s blog post are interpreting the timing as implying that the Exchange 2013 product will be released in the same timeframe as the new service pack, meaning possibly as late as June 2013. Microsoft, which just wrapped up its MEC conference in Orlando, Fla., isn’t saying when Exchange 2013 will be released. However, sources for veteran Microsoft reporter Mary Jo Foley have suggested a release-to-manufacturing version may arrive in November, with product general availability predicted for February 2013.
Microsoft MVP J. Peter Bruzzese, who attended MEC, said via a phone conversation that Microsoft’s Technology Adoption Program participants already are testing SP3. He explained that SP3 for Exchange 2010 will be the last service pack for that product and it isn’t expected to add any new features beyond coexistence with Exchange 2013. As for the timing of the Exchange 2013 product release, he said that it is pretty much done, but Microsoft is waiting to launch it with other products, such as SharePoint and Lync.
In any case, IT pros will need to "update their Active Directory schema" in order to tap SP3’s capabilities. And that’s the main point of Microsoft’s advance notice.
"We are communicating the required changes ahead of the release date in order to assist our customers with planning their upgrade path ahead of time," the blog explained.
SP3 will include all of the fixes from previously released update rollups for Exchange 2010, according to Microsoft’s blog post. Microsoft typically releases rollup packages "every six to eight weeks," per its servicing cycle.