Introduction to Exchange 2003 Server – SP2
Just to be sure that we are all talking about the same product; this is Exchange 2003 (not Windows 2003) and this service pack 2 beta (not service pack 1). Also be aware that this service pack has not been released yet. The publicly available beta it is due out in Autumn 2005.
Topics for Exchange 2003 Server SP2 (E2K3Sp2)
As someone who has constantly warned about the 16GB Store Limit for the Standard edition of Exchange 2003, I am thrilled for my small business customers that SP2 will increase the Store limit from a miserly 16GB to a more realistic 75GB.
Rumours have it that Small Business Server (which includes Exchange 2003), will have their own Service Pack, which will increase the storage limit. This is a similar tactic to SP1 for Windows Server 2003.
As administrator, you can enforce Outlook 2003 clients to use cached mode. The benefit will be that your server can support more simultaneous client connections.
Talking of caching, the Offline Address Book has faster code for better performance.
For those who use public folders, there is finer control over the Access Control Lists.
Will we ever beat spam? SP2 is redoubling efforts for the good guys to get the upper hand. I particularly like the new attempts by Exchange SP2 to identify and then filter out phishing emails. As with the whole of life, if you (Microsoft) are really determined to achieve something, then you will succeed. Equally the reverse is true, half-hearted efforts always fall between two stools and thus fail.
Mobile technology is developing so fast that I struggle to keep with advances. One way that you know the technology is not yet mature is when the version numbers change so quickly. To get the best of SP Mobile you need Windows Mobile 5.0 Messaging and Security Feature Pack.
With Exchange Server 2003 SP2, mobile clients can connect with HTTP maintained by the device. It is claimed that this mechanism will deliver email over Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) networks. The idea is to replace the reliance on SMS (Short Message Service) to notify clients that new email has arrived at their mailbox.
For the security conscious Exchange 2003 SP2 brings neat options to remotely wipe the mobile device should it be lost or stolen. Administrators can also set policies to require passwords to unlock devices.
I have never known Microsoft charge for a service pack, and SP2 for Exchange will be no exception. My information is that E2K3Sp2, in line with the modern trend, will be available as a free download from Microsoft’s site.
With SPM you can push out patches, which companies such as Mozilla Firefox or Adobe Acrobat provide. The point is that because WSUS does not do this for non-Microsoft software updates, you need a good add-on to take care of this task. With the Patch Manager you can even create your own packages to apply to your servers or clients.
Does anyone know if you need to Apply SP1 first? No doubt all will become clear when I get a copy of the Exchange SP2. A few service packs are sequential, but with most service packs you can just apply the latest version. I am betting odds on at 1:5 that that you just need SP2, but I seek confirmation.
Get ready for Exchange Server 2003’s SP2 (Service Pack 2). Watch out for the first public Beta in the next few weeks. Perhaps the best news is for the companies using the Standard Edition of Exchange where they get an increase on the Mailstore from 16GB to 75GB. I will be interested to see how the new phishing controls work. For the foreseeable future, there will be rapid developments in mobile technology, Exchange Server 2003 is keeping pace with Wi-Fi improvements in SP2.
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