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New Exchange Admin Center Management Portal Commercially Released

Microsoft this week announced the "general availability" (GA) commercial release of the "new" Exchange Admin Center management portal, a browser-based means for managing Exchange Online environments.

The new Exchange Admin Center portal had been at the public preview stage since "June 2020," Microsoft indicated. The GA milestone signifies that it's deemed ready for use in production environments.

However, it's not yet at the GA stage for certain government users, the announcement indicated:

The new EAC is expected to be available to customers in GCC High at the end of May 2021, and to customers in DoD at the end of June 2021.

Customizable Dashboards and More
The new portal brings the ability for IT pros to customize the dashboard view by selecting and arranging so-called "reports and insights cards." For instance, there's a prebuilt card for tracking inbound traffic and a prebuilt card for tracking outbound traffic, which users can drag into a central dashboard view. Users can then click on these cards, which lets them drill down and get more information.

Also notable is a View Alerts capability. It's a new capability in the portal and can be accessed under "Mail Flow." Microsoft's older portal lacked this capability.

An Azure Cloud Shell button was added at the top right of the new Exchange Admin Center portal. It lets IT pros start up a PowerShell command-line interface session within the graphical user interface-based Exchange Admin Center portal.

Microsoft has a Migration tab in the new portal that approximates the functions of the Recipients item in the old portal. The Migration tab notably includes a new Cross Tenant Migration option that isn't available in the old portal. Microsoft is boasting about improved automated support for carrying out Google Workspace and G-Suite migrations, which had required multiple steps and the use of PowerShell when Microsoft had described it a couple of years ago.

Microsoft included a training guide, with videos, in the new portal. There's a built-in feedback hub, as well.

Arrangements and Deletions
Microsoft rearranged some of the menu items in the new portal. Instead of having separate tabs for Mailboxes and Shared Mailboxes, those two views are "merged together" under a "Mailboxes" page view, according to this Microsoft document describing the differences between the old "classic" portal and the new portal. Users wanting to just see the shared mailboxes would need to use a filter icon to get that view.

The "old" Exchange Admin Center portal still exists -- it's even accessible as a toggle option within the new portal. However, Microsoft is now referring to the older portal as the "classic" Exchange Admin Center.

Microsoft described the new Exchange Admin Center as being a replacement for the "Exchange Control Panel (ECP)," according to this document.

Some items in the new Exchange Admin Center portal were removed. The Compliance Management tab was removed and put into the Microsoft 365 Compliance Center portal. The Protection tab also was removed and put into the Microsoft 365 Compliance Center portal. The Unified Messaging tab was "retired" -- it's just gone.

The new portal has a Roles option. It substitutes for the Permissions tab that's found in the old portal.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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