Microsoft Releases Exchange 2010 Service Pack 2

New "address book policies" features helps IT pros divide e-mail connections into subsets.

Microsoft has released a new Service Pack for Exchange Server 2010.  The update rolls up previous changes since the last service pack release and includes several items users have requested.

According to Kevin Allison, general manager of the Exchange customer experience, the service pack includes developments made for the online version of the product (which has a faster release cycle than the version enterprises install on their own premises).  The online version is updated quarerly as well as six-month releases, and the improvements from those releases are incorporated in the Exchange Server 2010 service packs, Allison explained in a video produced by Microsoft.

One customer-requested feature in this release involves "address book policies" which is designed to help IT professionals divide e-mail connections into subsets within an organization. The addressbook policies feature prevents some users from seeing other users and can be used, for example, by schools to separate student and teacher views or by corporations to segment the e-mail streams of their subsidiaries, Allison explained. The concept is called "global address list segmentation," which Microsoft outlines here.

SP2's address book policies will help those who want to use premises-installed Exchange Server 2010 in hosted multi-tenant configurations. Microsoft introduced a "hosting mode" in SP1 for premises-installed systems but limited the features that were available (such as using Exchange Unified Messaging). SP2 solves that limitation, but Microsoft warns that hosters will have to follow specific configuration guidelines so it will work properly.

Another addition in SP2 is support for Outlook Web App Mini, a version of Microsoft's Web-based e-mail client that is designed to run on devices that depend on low-bandwidth streams. Outlook Web App Mini provides a plain text user interface, allowing users to navigate to their e-mails or check a global address list.

SP2 includes a "cross-site silent redirection for Outlook Web App" feature. This feature is designed to smooth the process when a client access server (CAS) request made by an Outlook Web App needs to be redirected to "CAS infrastructure located in another Active Directory site," according to Microsoft's announcement.

Microsoft added a "hybrid configuration wizard" for organizations that want to leverage both hosted and on-premises Exchange infrastructure. Mailboxes can be hosted in the Internet cloud or installed within an organization's infrastructure. The wizard is designed to ease sharing setups between cloud and premises, as well as to help with mailbox moves and online archiving.

Microsoft improved its replication service to avoid manual configuration of web.config files on the client access server. The service pack also allows administrators to turn off mailbox automapping to reduce performance hits. There are also new "multi-value custom attributes" that IT pros can associate with e-mail recipient objects. Better control for removing litigation holds on mailboxes was added with the addition of new cmdlets in SP2. For a list of all the features in SP2, see this Microsoft TechNet library article.

Microsoft cautioned that to use these new features in SP2, IT pros will have to "update their Active Directory schema."

The new service pack works with 64-bit versions of Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2, according to Microsoft's system requirements. It can be downloaded here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.