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Exchange 2000 Won't Install on Windows .NET Server 2003

Microsoft Corp. has decided not to support Exchange 2000 Server on Windows .NET Server 2003. The software giant says the overhaul required to make the two-year-old messaging server compatible with the security changes made to the underlying server operating system is more than customers would accept in a service pack. Instead, Microsoft is working to make sure that Exchange 2000, running on Windows 2000, leverages enhancements in Windows .NET Server 2003-based Active Directory infrastructures.

The move means customers have less of a lifecycle for Exchange 2000 than Microsoft's recent past might have led them to expect. Exchange 5.5, for example, was released when Windows NT 4.0 was the dominant operating system, but it is supported on Windows 2000.

However, Microsoft is also working to guarantee that older Exchange 5.5 servers running on both Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0 are supported in Windows .NET Server 2003-based infrastructures.

The abrupt platform support decision on Exchange 2000 results from the Trustworthy Computing code scrub conducted for Windows .NET Server 2003 after chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates' famous January 2002 memo. Changes affecting Exchange 2000 were made in the operating system and in Internet Information Services, upon which Exchange relies for many services.

"When we took a look at what needed to be done, there was something on the order of 350 work items that got generated. The amount of work it would take in Exchange 2000 was larger than the customers were willing to accept in a service pack," said Jim Bernardo, product manager for Microsoft's Exchange group.

Microsoft detailed the situation in a white paper referenced in its announcements this week about the availability of the Beta 2 version of Exchange Server 2003. The white paper is available here: http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/evaluation/ti/tiwinnet.asp. Exchange 2003 is supposed to be released in mid-2003. Windows .NET Server 2003 is scheduled for shipment in April.

In the white paper, Microsoft says, "To ensure that customers do not attempt to run Exchange in an unsupported environment, Exchange 2000 cannot be installed on Windows .NET Server 2003."

According to the white paper, Microsoft's Active Directory and Exchange teams have worked together to ensure that Exchange 2000 takes advantage of Active Directory enhancements in Windows .NET Server 2003.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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