In mid-2003, Microsoft will ship a new Exchange Server version, code-named Titanium, and a new Microsoft Outlook client that will also ship as part of Microsoft Office 11. Titanium, which Microsoft will market as Exchange 2003, addresses customers' three most pressing needs, the company says, including improving inbox management, better wireless support, and increased scalability. Controversially, however, Exchange 2003 won't include the Microsoft SQL Server-based data store the company promised for this release but will instead use the data store current Exchange versions use.
"Titanium is an incremental upgrade to Exchange 2000," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said during his keynote address at Fusion 2002 this week. He compared the product to the upgrade from Exchange 5.0 to 5.5.
Malcolm Pearson, general manager of Microsoft's Exchange Server Business Unit, said that Microsoft will deliver the SQL Server data store in a future Exchange release, code-named Kodiak. The reason for the delay, he said, is that the new SQL Server version, code-named Yukon, won't be ready in time for Exchange 2003. "Titanium is being built on the same code base as Exchange 2000 and therefore will use the same storage engine that is currently in Exchange 2000," Pearson said. "Titanium will be a smooth upgrade for our customers. We are continuing to make long-term investments to develop our next-generation messaging platform, called Kodiak, around Microsoft's vision for unified data that will first appear in Yukon ... It will be several years before this technology is ready to be a mainstream upgrade for our current customers. And I think it's really important that our Exchange customers know that, with future versions of Exchange, we are not going to require email administrators to become database administrators."
At a Windows .NET Server (Win .NET Server) reviewer's workshop in late June, Barry Goffe, the group manager for Microsoft's Enterprise Marketing Strategy, told me that Win.NET Server's release made Exchange 2003 necessary. "Exchange 2000 will not run on Win.NET Server," he said. "Win.NET Server will require Exchange 2003, which takes advantage of the many changes we made in Win.NET Server to Active Directory (AD)." Goffe said that Exchange 2003 will also include a new Outlook Web Access (OWA) version, which has been popular with Exchange users, and features better performance. An Exchange 2003 beta will be available by the end of the year, he said.
Regarding Outlook 11, the next version of Microsoft Outlook, the company demonstrated the product's new three-pane UI this week. Outlook 11 includes a folders pane for organizing Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, and other Outlook components; a current folder pane for displaying the contents of the currently selected folder (such as Inbox); and a preview pane, for displaying the currently selected email message or other item. The panes are all vertically oriented in columns, giving the client a new look. Furthermore, Microsoft has confirmed that the "Office NGO" (Next Generation Office) UI is indeed planned for Office 11. For more information about this UI, visit the SuperSite for Windows.