Exchange Server 2003 Goes Gold

Microsoft has released to manufacturing the long awaited successor to its Exchange 2000 messaging server. Originally code-named Titanium, Exchange Server 2003 focuses on improving productivity and security, with junk mail filtering, encrypted messages and support for third party virus scanners.

Microsoft has added a new cached mode that will automatically synchronize data in the background, ensuring that users are always working from an up-to-date local copy of their mailbox. MAPI, the protocol used for communication between Exchange and Outlook mail clients, has also been enhanced.

"Deployment and management will be easier with Exchange 2003, and implementation will be possible with the knowledge and experience an IT administrator already has," said Mohsen al-Ghosein, vice president of Microsoft's Exchange Server division. "And because IT can get Exchange up and running faster and cheaper, Exchange 2003 enables a company to optimize business processes and magnify productivity."

Following three years of development, Redmond issued a release candidate of Exchange Server 2003 in early June at TechEd.

In an effort to push quick adoption by current Exchange customers, pricing for Exchange Server 2003 will remain the same as Exchange 2000. The release will ship in Standard and Enterprise editions. Standard Edition is designed for small businesses, while Enterprise Edition is targeted at larger organizations needing support for more storage groups and databases.

A 120-day evaluation kit of Exchange Server 2003 may be ordered or downloaded from Microsoft free of charge. The company says it will ship the full product release in mid-2003, but has not specified an exact date for availability.

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