Exchange Server 2013 is here, bringing with it several new features and changes. So what exactly is different with the latest update?
First off, the Exchange Server role architecture has been consolidated down to just to two roles: client access and mailbox. In contrast, there were originally five roles: unified messaging, edge transport, hub transport and of course client access and mailbox. What does fewer roles mean? It translates to easier deployment.
What else is different this time around? Exchange 2013 is now more tightly integrated with SharePoint 2013 and Lync 2013, for starters. This now allows admins to cross-examine information across all these products, without using a 3rd party tool.
Other changes include a new management interface, the web-based Exchange Administration Center. This replaces the older Exchange Management Console and Exchange Control Panel. The end-result is an interface that is much more intuitive, and looks much better as well.
There are a few things you should know about upgrading. First off, Exchange 2003 does not have a recommended upgrade path. In order to upgrade, you’d have to migrate over to Exchange 2007/2010, and then again move to 2013. This would work but it could also prove to be a pretty big pain.
It’s also worth noting that Exchange Server 2013 might have technically arrived already, but you actually CAN’T upgrade right now. The reason why is that vital pieces of the upgrading puzzle are currently missing.
For those coming from Server 2010, you will need Service Pack 3. When is the update coming? Not until sometime in the first half of 2013.
For those with Server 2007, you must wait on a rollup that will include the same functionally– which also won’t arrive until sometime in 2013. Both 2007 and 2010 must coexist with Exchange 2013 before they can completely migrate over to the latest version.
Why did Microsoft release Exchange 2013 but not have an upgrade solution ready in time? Your guess is as good as mine.