Exchange Server 2007 SP 1 is here

Microsoft released Service Pack 1 for Exchange Server 2007 today, after formally announcing it yesterday.

 

New in Service Pack 1

Service Pack 1 for Exchange Server 2007 comes packed with all sorts of fixes and patches, but also some neat features and adjustments to answer the needs of administrators coming from earlier versions of Exchange Server. This Service Pack also clearly shows the merge of the Real Time Communications Team (responsible for Live Communications Server) and Exchange Team, because the Service Pack enables Exchange Server 2007 to play nicely with Office Live Communications Server 2007.

Patches

The Microsoft Exchange Team has vowed to bring patches and fixes to Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 in Update Rollup packages every six to eight weeks. Service Pack 1 includes all the fixes in Update Rollup 5 for Exchange Server 2007, which itself contains all of the updates contained in the previous Update Rollup packages.

Features

Since Microsoft clearly left the path of bugfixes-only Service Packs since Windows XP Service Pack 2 every Service Pack included new features, additions or new management capabilities for the affected product. Service Pack 1 for Exchange Server 2007 also clearly comes with tons of new stuff:

  • Windows Server 2008 support
  • Office Communications Server 2007 support
  • Improvements to Unified Communications
  • Standby Continuous Replication (SCR)
  • Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) support
  • Expanded support for clustering in the Exchange Management Console
  • POP and IMAP configuration in the Exchange Management Console
  • SendAs delegation in the Exchange Management Console
  • Delegation Wizard scenarios in the Exchange Management Console
  • New and improved Outlook Web Access
    (with S/MIME, Office 2007 format compatibility, server side rules, personal distribution lists, a monthly calendar view, deleted items recovery and new themes)
  • Additional languages for spell checking in Outlook Web Access (Arabic and Korean)
  • New Exchange ActiveSync policies

Adjustments

Some commands and features got deprecated with the arrival of Exchange Server 2007. Microsoft’s strategy to turn Public Folders into Sharepoint Sites and finally getting rid of those horribly unusable PST files didn’t quite catch on though. Reversing these changes in my opinion is a good answer to many Exchange administrators prayers:

  • Public Folder Management in the Exchange Management Console
  • Public Folder access through Outlook Web Access
  • (Official) support for exporting and importing mailboxes from and to PST files

Note:
I still suggest Exchange Administrators to gradually convert their public folder structure to Sharepoint websites.

Performance

As with other recent Service Packs this first Service Pack for Exchange Server 2007 contains some big performance boosters. One thing we noticed was a 30% increased throughput within ActiveSync which is a huge performance boost.

 

Deployment

Deployment of Service Pack 1 for Exchange Server 2007 is easy. As long as you take care of the prerequisites you’ll be fine running the installer. New deployments of Exchange Server 2007 can be done using slipstreamed media. (which is also new!)

The download for Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 comes in two flavors:

You can use the 64bit package to update your production Exchange Servers. The 32bit package can be used to update your 32bit test Exchange Servers, but more importantly the Exchange Management Console installations on your desktops. Don’t forget to update those as well, since a lot of the new functions are focused on the Exchange Management Console.

Server Core implications

Exchange Server 2007 with Service Pack 1 can now be deployed to Windows Server 2008 in a supported manner. Please note that installing any of the Exchange Server 2007 roles is not supported on Server Core installations of Windows Server 2008.

 

Concluding

One might argue Exchange Server 2007 wasn’t ready for prime time when it was launched (it wasn’t far from the truth, but that’s besides the point) because it lacked support for a lot of deployment, management and usage scenario’s Exchange Systems Managers had got used to in the Exchange 2000 Server and Exchange Server 2003 eras.

With Service Pack 1 for Exchange Server 2007 Microsoft delivers on its promise to provide a rock-solid, truly manageable, truly usable communications platform.

Eat that, Bonsai!

Further Reading

The product service strategy for Exchange Server 2007
Exchange Server 2007 SP1 Beta 2 VHD
Talking Exchange 2007 Service Pack 1…
IT Forum Day 3: Filming and being filmed
TechEd 2007 – Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 SP1 Overview
Ready for Exchange 2007 SP1?
Exchange 2007 Service Pack 1 is ready to roll
Outlook Anywhere changes in Exchange Server 2007 SP1
Exchange Unplugged resources
Lessons Learned About Exchange Server 2007
Exchange Server 2007 Deployment Checklist
Exchange 2007 SP1 Improvements for Unified Communications
The Exchange 2007 Best Practices Analyzer
IPv6 Support in Exchange Server 2007 SP1
Exchange 2007 SP1 Mailbox Management Features – Importing and Exporting Mailbox data
Exchange 2007 Service Pack 1: Managing a CCR Cluster using the Exchange MMC
Video Series: Exchange 2007 SP1 Standby Continuous Replication (SCR)
Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 Documentation Updates – September 2007
Service Pack 1 for Exchange 2007 Documentation
Please do not install Beta versions of Exchange 2007 SP1 into your production environment!
Exchange 2007 SP1 briefing
New OWA themes for Exchange Server 2007 SP1
Announcing Service Pack 1 Beta 2 for Exchange Server 2007
A setup prerequisite change in Exchange 2007 SP1
Using ExMerge with Exchange 2007
Exchange 2007 SP1 RTW
Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1
The wait is over: Exchange Server 2007 SP1 has RTMed!
Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 Released!
Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 SP1 Available for Download

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