In This Issue * Office Communications Server 2007 to Pick Up Where Exchange Left Off * From the Community:
FAQ: Enabling Aero Glass
Featured Blog: Daylight Savings Time Resources * Protection for Your Virtual Machines
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The Microsoft MVP Guide to Exchange Availability: 10 Essential Rules that Will Save Your Job
NETWORK TESTING LABS COMPARES ARGENT TO MOM 2005
Hardware-Independent Image Files for Cloning
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***Commentary: Office Communications Server 2007 to Pick Up Where Exchange Left Off
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected]
If you've been around long enough, you might remember Microsoft Mail, the precursor to Exchange Server, which, to this day, is still the only product that's actually caused me to fall asleep during a Microsoft presentation. Microsoft Mail made it to version 3.5, so the first version of Exchange, though an entirely new product, was released as version 4.0 in 1996. (Again, if you've been around this long, you might remember 1996 as a high point: Microsoft shipped Windows NT 4.0 that year as well. I've been less sleepy ever since.)
For the ensuing decade, Exchange was Microsoft's messaging solution of choice. And unlike its predecessor, Microsoft actually uses Exchange in-house, which is always a promising sign. Exchange has seen dramatic growth and improvement over the years, and today's product, Exchange Server 2007, is an impressive upgrade with a componentized architecture, roles-based deployment model, full-featured command line and scripting functionality, and an expanded set of features that makes it adaptable to almost any environment.
Key among these improvements is the notion of unified messaging. Exchange 2007 is the first version of Exchange to credibly claim that moniker, with support for voice mail and faxes in addition to the more typical email, calendaring, and tasks-type functionality that marked earlier versions. Indeed, it's becoming clear that Exchange 2007 is really just the first peek at the future of unified messaging, where any inter- and intra-business communications can be managed from a central location. Certainly, phone calls, voice mail, faxes, and even instant messaging (IM) can be as mission-critical to your business as is email. They're all just different ways to keep in touch with coworkers and partners, and each has its own pros and cons. And these communications often span different devices, including traditional phones, fax machines, PCs, and smart phones and other portable devices.
If Exchange 2007 is the first step to this future, the upcoming release of Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 might well be the next step. Due to recent internal reorganizations, this product is being developed under the same umbrella as Exchange, as well as other related products like the Office Communicator 2007 client, the Office Live Meeting conferencing service, and even Microsoft Office RoundTable, a unique 360 degree camera and microphone solution that allows remote users to participate in conferences with several in-person participants.
Office Communications Server 2007 is the successor to Live Communications Server 2005 (Microsoft is reserving the Live moniker for online and hosted services now) and an impressive upgrade. It's designed to be installed in traditional Exchange environments and adds a number of related features such as the ability to replace traditional PBX systems with VoIP-based solutions that are more manageable than ad hoc solutions like Skype. It also provides a managed IM client--Communicator 2007--that provides multiperson text, audio, and video chat, and interoperates with the most popular public IM networks. Most important, perhaps, Communications Server 2007 offers evolutionary improvements to Microsoft's presence work, so that coworkers attempting to locate or communicate with you can seamlessly discover your availability in a variety of situations. We're not at the point of GPS-based presence functionality yet, but one gets the feeling we'll get there soon.
Obviously, I can't do a product like Communications Server 2007 justice in a short write-up such as this, but I can at least get you started. Microsoft will be shipping a public beta of the product next Monday, and plans to ship the final version of the product in the second quarter of 2007. If you've already settled on Exchange as your messaging solution, this might just be the next logical move. My guess is that we're going to hear a lot about these products working together in the years to come. I'll let you know when the public beta starts.
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Tell Us About the Products You Love! What products are you using that save you time or make your workload a little lighter? What hot product discoveries have you made that other IT pros need to know about? Let the world know about your experiences in Windows IT Pro's monthly What's Hot department. If we publish your story in What's Hot, we'll send you a Best Buy gift card! Send information about your favorite product and how it has helped you to [email protected]
***From the Community FAQ: Enabling Aero Glass
by John Savill, http://www.windowsitpro.com/windowsnt20002003faq
Q: How do I enable Windows Vista's Aero Glass UI?
Find the answer at http://www.windowsitpro.com/Articles/ArticleID/95471/95471.html
Featured Blog: Daylight Savings Time Resources If you're still suffering the aftershock from the Daylight Saving Time (DST) switch you may be interested in this list of related resources that Karen Forster provides in this post to the Hey Microsof! Blog.
Tell us what you think in this month's Instant Poll: "Does your organization use or plan to use SharePoint document-sharing and collaboration technologies?"
~~~~ Hot Spot: ~~~~
Hardware-Independent Image Files for Cloning Do you manage your organization's desktop deployment? Then Binary Research, the Ghost people, invites you to try the Universal Imaging Utility. The UIU works with any PC imaging utility to create a single Master Image file, suitable for all your desktops and laptops. Visit: http://www.binaryresearch.net/witpu0307
***New and Improved
by Blake Eno, [email protected]
Protection for Your Virtual Machines
Double-Take Software announced Double-Take for VMware Infrastructure 3, software that lets administrators centrally manage and monitor multiple virtual machine protection jobs. Double-Take for VMware Infrastructure 3 captures changes regularly, keeping the target virtual disks up-to-date and ready for failover, recovery, and backup. Installation for the software is agentless and can be run on a single Windows server in a virtualized environment. The software's management console can be installed on multiple desktops for remote management and monitoring. Compression options and replication frequency options are also included. Double-Take for VMware Infrastructure 3 is compatible with VMware ESX Server 3.0 and later, in addition to VirtualCenter 2.0 and later. For more information, contact Double-Take Software at 317-598-0185 or 888-674-9495.
==== Events and Resources ==== http://www.windowsitpro.com/go/researchit Infosecurity Europe, Europe's number-one dedicated information security event, will be held on April 24-26, 2007, Grand Hall, Olympia, London. Now in its 12th year, this event continues to provide an unrivalled education programme, new products and services, and exhibitors and visitors from every segment of the industry. For further information, go to http://www.infosec.co.uk/windowsitpro
Get Ready for the Windows Server Longhorn Roadshow! Seize control of your Windows infrastructure with Microsoft's biggest server release since Windows 2003. Get a live, under-the-hood look at Longhorn virtualization, deployment, Web services, and breakthroughs in core reliability. This one-day event is filled with demonstrations and in-depth discussions designed for IT pros who want a deep understanding of Windows Server Longhorn.
Windows Connections 2007 April 1-4, 2007, Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Florida. Dive into the new Windows, Exchange, and Office releases as Microsoft architects and industry experts present over 130 sessions! Register and reserve your hotel room, and get a FREE hotel room night (three-night minimum stay). For details, call 800-505-1201 or 203-268-3204.
==== Featured White Paper ==== Learn the 7 critical email problems to watch for and how to prevent them. Find out how to better manage your email environment, including disaster recovery, compliance, data storage, security, and wireless devices. Download this free white paper today.
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