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DVD-Only Distribution Planned for Exchange 12

The distribution media for Exchange 12 will be exclusively DVD, Microsoft announced in a blog posting Tuesday.

"Exchange will likely be one of the first products to make the switch to only DVD, but we aren't doing this without good reason and without carefully weighing the pros and cons," KC Lemson, a program manager with the Exchange Server team, wrote on the Exchange blog.

The main reason to switch to DVD is the massive text-to-speech engines required for unified messaging, which is a key new feature of Exchange 12. "These engines will allow you to call up your server on your phone and have it read your e-mail and appointments over the phone to you," Lemson wrote. "We estimate that the final size of each language of these engines … will be around a couple hundred megs and we are working on including as many languages as we can."

A standard CD-ROM can hold about 650-700 MB of data. A single-layer DVD can hold about seven times as much data as a standard CD-ROM.

Microsoft is announcing the DVD requirement more than a year in advance to give customers time to ensure they have a DVD drive available for installing Exchange 12 or for copying the file to a network share.

According to Lemson's blog posting, Microsoft took feedback over the blog and through other channels. Customers told Microsoft they rarely install from media, Lemson said: "We heard time and time again that a common practice is to copy the data from the media onto a network share from a desktop machine, and install each of the servers over the network … [E]ven today it's very difficult to find an organization without a single DVD drive on a machine hooked up to the network that could perform this one-time operation."

About the Author

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

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