Exchange 2010 SP2 Features Outlined at Tech-Ed
Scheduled for release in the second half of 2011, Microsoft's Exchange 2010 Service Pack 2 (SP2) was the focus of a session at Microsoft's Tech-Ed conference in Atlanta, Ga.
Microsoft Senior Program Manager Greg Taylor told attendees in a presentation that the forthcoming SP2 will contain roughly 500 bug fixes and "at least" four new features.
The first of these features is Outlook Web App (OWA) Mini, a lean version of OWA designed for low-resolution mobile browsing. According to Taylor, OWA Mini is a "complete rewrite" of the old Outlook Mobile Access (OMA) feature, and was included in SP2 in response to demand from users in countries such as Japan where browser-based device access is still prevalent.
OWA Mini adopts all settings implemented in OWA, and includes all the usual Outlook features, including calendar, contacts and tasks. However, Taylor noted, Active Sync policies do not apply to OWA Mini.
Another new feature in SP2 is the Hybrid Configuration Wizard, which is designed to ease the management of a combined on-premises Exchange and Office 365 environment.
"There were a lot of steps involved in configuring that," Taylor said. "The point of [the Hybrid Configuration Wizard] was to try and reduce the number of steps. We've done an 80 percent reduction in the number of steps that will be required by the administrator to establish a hybrid model of on-premises and Office 365."
As indicated by an Exchange Team Blog post in January, SP2 will also feature address book policies (ABPs), also known as global address list (GAL) segmentation. Whereas the GAL by default includes all mail-enabled objects, GAL segmentation allows administrators to divide the GAL into multiple views so that each user can view only the specific portion of the GAL to which he or she is assigned.
Instead of having to segment the GAL manually, the ABP feature in SP2 gives administrators an easier way to assign which portions of the GAL users can access.
"We've totally changed the model from one of deny-and-allow to one of direct assignment," Taylor said.
The fourth SP2 feature covered in Taylor's presentation is OWA cross-site silent redirection, which lets users access their OWA mailbox when it is hosted in another Active Directory (AD) site without having to click a redirect link and log in again, thus providing users with a single sign-on experience.
According to an Exchange Team Blog post on Tuesday announcing SP2, besides the four features Taylor highlighted, "All fixes contained within update rollups released prior to Service Pack 2 will also be contained within SP2."
The blog also advised users that they will need to update their AD schema to access the SP2 features.
A video of Taylor's presentation on Exchange 2010 SP2 features is available here.