Microsoft quietly pushed out the Release Candidate of Exchange Server 2010 today. This is an unusual move as MS likes to make a big splash with their premier products. The news of the updated version showed up while I was poking around TechNet for a Beta of Office 2010.

Exchange 2010 is going to be the update we were all looking for with Exchange 07. At the time MS promised us an x64 only version that had a completely new method for storing email data. We were also told that there would be new and advanced user management features as well as streamlined work flow.

What we got was about half of what was promised. For anyone that migrated from Exchange 03 to 07 you will remember the nightmare of learning PowerShell scripts to enable functions and features. The headache of having to setup multiple servers [or a quick PowerShell command] just to be able to send e-mail out of your domain. As well as a host of other issues that did not get fully resolved until SP1 can out a few months later.

Now Microsoft is saying that those features are going to be ready for Exchange 2010. Features like High Availability infrastructure, Compliance and Archiving on a granular level, better Integration with Windows 2008 Domain structure [Active Directory Right Management Services], Anywhere Access with full support for FireFox and other Third Party Browsers, E-mail delivery and receipt tracking at the user level and a laundry list of others.

The improvements do not stop there, MS has also improved the backend. This has been done by improving I/O performance adding optimizations for SATA, and also support for JBOD RAID. We will be taking a look at the Release Candidate in the next few weeks and comparing the claims with the reality of the Exchange in the field.