No sooner has the first round of Exchange Server 2007 migrations begun than the first Exchange 2007 service pack is on the horizon. Last month, Microsoft released Exchange 2007 SP1 Beta 1 to TechNet Plus subscribers and is planning for a final SP1 release the same time as Longhorn Server, in the second half of this year. SP1 is a feature release that adds some key capabilities missing in the original Exchange 2007 RTM. Check out Paul Robichaux’s article “What to Expect from Exchange 2007 SP1” for a recap of Exchange 2007 SP1’s highlights. Possibly the most welcome of these for Exchange admins is the ability to import and export to a PST through the Move-Mailbox cmdlet. With the timing of the SP1 release, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of a wave of Exchange 2007 migrations from around September onward.

Your Exchange 2007 Info Source
We’ve started the year with plenty of Exchange 2007 coverage, and I plan to continue that. I’ve seen and heard conversations on blogs, reader feedback, and comments from attendees at last November’s Connections conference expressing the FUD that Exchange folks have about Exchange Management Shell (the Windows PowerShell extension for Exchange 2007). You need information to help you understand and get used to the shell, and Exchange & Outlook Pro VIP will give you plenty of it—starting with the first article in Tony Redmond’s ongoing PowerShell series for Exchange administrators. Every month, we’ll have at least one article that will provide some helpful information about using PowerShell commands to perform Exchange administration tasks. This month, Wes Lazara talks how he used cmdlets in his article, “My Exchange Server 2007 Migration Story,” live on the Exchange & Outlook Pro VIP site May 22. I’ve also started a post on the Windows IT Pro Industry Bytes blog, A Reader’s Exchange 2007 Migration: As It Happens, which Pro VIP subscribers can access, reporting on the progress of reader Christopher Wallick’s Exchange 2007 migration. Christopher has been keeping me updated, and I think you’ll be interested in his detailed reports.

Reader Feedback on Last Month’s Perspective
Last month I asked whether you thought Exchange administration was getting too complex. I heard back from a few readers on this topic. Blake Whitney, who manages a 2,000-plus-mailbox Exchange organization at a college, says that he’d like to see better ways to automate tasks such as distribution list (DL) membership. “I’m not sure I’d say Exchange management has become too complex, but I would say that managing group membership and account properties should be very easy to do via the Web and/or a Windows application.... Programming mixed with Exchange 2003/2007 is simply not easy to do. Sure in Exchange 2007 you can see the PowerShell code from the tasks you do in the GUI, but finding a way to automate this via a .NET program or Web interface is simply not, well, simple. And I think it should be.” Blake’s comments gave me the idea to add an Exchange Task Automation and Scripting discussion area to the Exchange & Outlook Pro VIP forum, where you can share your questions and solutions (ideas and code) about ways to automate Exchange tasks. Those of you who have already ventured into using Exchange Management Shell, I encourage you to start posting PowerShell scripts or commands you’ve created in this forum.

Another reader, Holly Smith, an eight-year Exchange administrator, says she doesn’t think Exchange administration is getting more complex. “I do think that one challenge that has become increasingly difficult to overcome is the problem of spam,” she says. “We have had to invest a significant amount of time and money just to reduce the UCE influx to an acceptable level, using two different products.” Holly also says that she’s had trouble finding information to help her troubleshoot mobile email-access issues. We’ve got an article in the works on that topic now; look for it in the August-September timeframe.

Stuff You Might Have Missed
Also on the Industry Bytes blog is Tony Redmond’s Exchange 2007 Scorecard, in which he compares various features in Exchange 2007 and Exchange Server 2003 and grades them. The scorecard is part of Windows IT Pro Executive Editor Amy Eisenberg’s report on the April’s Windows and Exchange Connections conference.

Finally, you can vote for your favorite Exchange management product in Windows IT Pro’s Community Choice awards. To vote, you need to be a registered forum member; registration is free (click the blue Register button at the top right of the page.) We’ll publish the Community Choice winners in the August issue of Windows IT Pro.

Have a great month!