Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 24th Jul 2006 20:26 UTC
Microsoft Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 is a far cry from Exchange Server 2003, based on eWEEK Labs' tests of the first public beta of the new messaging platform. Administrators thinking of moving to Exchange Server 2007 should take a hard look at this beta to understand the impact of the platform's many new features. Exchange 2007 Beta 2 became widely available on July 24 and is expected to ship in its final form at the end of 2006 or the beginning of 2007.
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oh, I forgot one other thing...
by mbpark on Tue 25th Jul 2006 10:17 UTC
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Microsoft, I believe, is counting on an uncertain PBX environment due to two factors:

1. The most-used OSs for PBX Voice Mail systems have been Win9X, WinNT, SCO UNIX, and OS/2. With the sunset of three of the four products there, and the fact that MS set up SCO for a fall, they are probably going to use the bad publicity generated by SCO to get in there to replace SCO's PBX systems. Red Hat is aiming for that marketplace as well. They'll even try and replace the old PBX systems from companies like Samsung, InterTel, and the rest.

They're also going up against Cisco here, big time. However, their solution will be built around Exchange and AD. If you don't believe me, go to the MSDN site and look at the Active Directory schema.

In particular, look at the User and Computer objects, as well as the Exchange 2007 reference on MSDN. There are hooks in AD for VOIP numbers. Windows Server 2003 R2 added an IP address field to the Computer class. Exchange 2007 adds hooks for faxing, PBX services (ms-Exch-UM-Max-greeting-Duration), and dial plans.

If that isn't a plan for a PBX server with their AD schema changes, I don't know what is.

2. Integration of existing PBX systems isn't as uniform as it can be. Microsoft, for all their shortcomings, has really done with Active Directory what Novell should have done 15 years ago. They've made it easier to develop apps based around it. They've also provided the ability to reduce the total amount of administration needed for maintaining logins and account management.

They can pitch integration with the domain login, two-factor authentication, and e-mail at a lower cost than the competition if you go with an all-MS solution as opposed to using Cisco, Nortel, or other projects.

In other words....they're gunning for the Blackberry/SmartPhone and PBX markets as a way of extending Outlook/Exchange. They're also going to use this to try and hold off Asterisk and Linux for the time being, and also Red Hat (Red Hat is now used in some very high end phone systems), Cisco, Nortel, Avaya, and everyone else.

Watch for some smaller companies to announce phones compatible with Exchange 2007 as part of the product release ;) .

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