Microsoft has been working on the next version of Exchange Server (E14) for a few years TAP customers and their Live@edu program, and are now starting to bring details of the upcoming version to the public.
The first interesting detail is the continued move towards the “software as a service” model (eg Hosted Exchange) to give customers more flexibility in choosing a hosted or on-premises Exchange solution.
Today, more than 3.5 million people (students, faculty, staff, alumni) in more than 1,500 schools are using E14 through Exchange Labs, and we are adding more every day.
We haven’t lost the focus on the on-premise product, however – more to the point, deploying the service helps us understand at a very intimate level what exactly the pain points are in Exchange deployment & administration & more that we need to be improving for on-premise Exchange admins. So at the same time, we’re also working with our TAP customers to test and deploy E14 in on-premise and heterogeneous IT environments. Having that first-hand experience running the service is what’s letting us build the most scalable version of Exchange yet.
The Exchange team has also released this introductory video which takes a brief look at the features of E14 that are deployed in the Live@edu program.
As a side note, someone needs to buy these guys a copy of Camtasia.