Microsoft plans to update Exchange Server 2007 by issuing a new service pack late next year, enabling the mail server to run on Windows Server 2008 R2.

Last month, Microsoft announced support for Exchange 2007 on Windows Server 2008 R2, pleasing many customers who had complained about an earlier Microsoft decision not to provide it. In a follow-up announcement issued last week, Microsoft’s Exchange team explained that enabling such support will require lots of coding changes to Exchange 2007.

“Our vehicle for adding this support [for Windows Server 2008 R2] will be via a third service pack for Exchange 2007 in the second half of calendar year 2010,” the team stated in a blog.

Microsoft is also enhancing support options for Exchange Server 2003 SP2 on Windows Server 2008 R2, according to the blog.

“Exchange 2003 SP2 will now be supported against writeable Windows Server 2008 R2 Active Directory servers,” the blog noted. “Additionally, with the general availability of Exchange Server 2010, and [for] those looking to standardize on Windows Server 2008 R2, we have enhanced the supportability of forest and domain functional levels up to Windows Server 2008 R2. This change is effective immediately on Exchange 2003 SP2.”

Microsoft issued an “Exchange Server Supportability Matrix” document in August showing operating system support for its mail server products. However, the document hasn’t yet been updated to reflect the changes promised above. Microsoft plans to include additional support details for Exchange Server 2010 in the next version of the document.

Exchange 2010 is currently available, having been released as a final product in November.

IT pros may be happy about the additional support for Exchange 2007, but they still face complex installation and migration scenarios. For instance, simply upgrading the operating system to Windows Server 2008 R2 underneath Exchange 2007 isn’t supported. Enabling that capability “is outside the scope and complexity of what we can do in a post-release product update,” the blog explained. However, the Exchange team will consider adding such a capability in “future versions of the product.”

Currently, Exchange 2007 is supported on the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 platform, which can be enabled if users upgraded from.NET Framework 2.0, the blog explained.


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