Are you planning your next Exchange upgrade?  If so, your organization has another version to consider.  Now that Exchange 2016 has been released it’s a great time to start learning about which technology enhancements your organization could benefit from.  This will ultimately lead to a deeper understanding of what your organization will need to do when your organization is ready to design and implement Exchange 2016.

Exchange 2016

Server Roles

Moving forward we will have two server roles called the Mailbox role and the Edge Transport Role.   Not to worry this still provides all of the service level we have used in previous versions.  The reason these can be combined is that between the I/O benefits we have been seeing since Exchange 2010, CPU constraints are also no longer an issue.

  • The Mailbox Role manages all the services for any mailbox that exists on that particular mailbox server. This also includes the mail Transport service, Client Access protocol and Unified Messaging.
  • Organizations use the Edge Transport Role for perimeter-based message flow scanning. Ensuring that email that enters your organization is scanned for viruses and malware before these vulnerabilities get into your organization and impact your internal systems.

As a result of these server role changes your Outlook clients will be required to use RPC over HTTP (aka Outlook Anywhere) or MAPI over HTTP.  Both of these connectivity methods ensure a more secure connection between your Outlook client and your Exchange server within your organization.

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High Availability

Exchange 2016 continues to use DAG technology for high availability and site resilience.  So overall that probably doesn’t sound too different, but there are some new integrations that enhance resilience.  For example the Information Services have been rewritten in C#, and are no longer referred to as the Managed Store.  The intended benefit is that these services can be more tightly integrated with the Exchange replication service which should improve site resiliency.

There are many other high availability benefits that were introduced in previous versions of Exchange that Microsoft remains committed to improving over time.  Examples of these are automatic database reseed, support for multiple databases per disk, and more.  If you are interested in learning more about these options that carry through to the new version the following article provides additional insights.  https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj150540(v=exchg.160).aspx#EAC2010

Security

In this day and time security is more important than ever and the reality is that the landscape is changing faster that we can keep up with it.  The mechanisms to obtain corporate data are more advanced than ever.  So how can Exchange 2016 help with this?

  • Certificate management has improved in a way that will allow it be more centrally managed. Additionally there is improvement when it comes to being able to be proactively notified when your certificate is expected to expire.
  • Security also includes Data Loss Prevention (DLP), in-place archiving, records retention and compliance. Within Exchange 2016 your organization can look forward to improvements in the all of those areas and more. One specific example is that the DLP platform allows you to identify, monitor, and protect 80 different types of sensitive information in this latest release. All of these enhancement will allow organizations to really have the features they need to meet their compliance needs through native toolsets.

Given the importance is protecting your corporate data these are really great tools to investigate.

Outlook on the Web

This seems to be a common aspect of Exchange that Microsoft likes to change the name of.  In older versions of Exchange we had Outlook Web Access, by Exchange 2010 we started using Outlook Web App, and now in Exchange 2016 web access to email is now referred to as Outlook on the Web.  But web access to email in Exchange 2016 is more than a name change.

  • The new web-based Outlook is that it has been rewritten to be visually optimized for mobile devices.
  • Pins and Flags: These allow users to keep important emails pinned to the top of their Inbox, or to mark other email messages with follow-up flags.
  • Email enhancements: We will now have a single-line view of Inbox, emojis, archiving, and the ability to undo mailbox actions such as moving a message.

Also, here is the list of web browsers this will work on:  Microsoft Edge, IE11, and the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox and Mozilla.

Summary

These are just some of the exciting things that we can look forward to in Exchange 2016, so keep doing your research so that you can be as prepared as possible when it is time for your organization to upgrade to this latest version of Exchange.  Cheers!

 

References https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj150540(v=exchg.160).aspx#EAC2010

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