A year has passed since Microsoft shipped Exchange 2000 Server, and during that year, Microsoft has shipped Service Pack 1 (SP1) and is on the verge of delivering SP2. So, how is Exchange 2000 doing overall?

When I talk to organizations about Exchange 2000, I'm surprised by the low number of Exchange 2000 deployments. (My estimate is that only about 15 percent of Exchange 5.5 deployments have begun their Exchange 2000 migrations.) Many organizations are embracing Exchange 2000, but few have deployed the product yet. The timing of Exchange 2000's release to manufacturing (RTM) was not conducive to immediate deployment. Most organizations spent the past year figuring out and deploying Windows 2000 and Active Directory (AD), which are prerequisites to Exchange 2000. Many companies are just now getting around to Exchange 2000 deployment planning.

After Exchange 2000 shipped, Microsoft and early adopters discovered many things that needed to be fixed. Exchange 2000 SP1 addressed many of these concerns and added features such as the Mailbox Manager, Exchange Migration Wizard enhancements, antivirus API (AVAPI) 2.0, Win2K Data Center support, and other pieces that didn't make it into the RTM. This week at Microsoft Enterprise Conference (MEC) 2001, Microsoft discussed Exchange 2000 SP2.

SP2 will include the standard bug fixes that go with any service pack, but it will bring new features as well. Outlook Web Access (OWA) clients will get the much-asked-for new mail notification. New mail notification presents a pop-up window or shortcut bar when new mail arrives in the user's inbox, so users will no longer need to keep hitting the refresh button. SP2 will also add several message-sorting and search improvements, enhancements to directory-access functions (Directory Service Access—DS Access—how Exchange 2000 uses the Win2K AD), and recipient update service (RUS). SP2 will feature some supportability and manageability improvements, such as Dr Watson.NET and Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) enhancements, along with another Exchange Migration Wizard update that lets you migrate mailboxes between Exchange 2000 organizations (currently, you can only migrate mailboxes from an Exchange 5.5 organization to an Exchange 2000 organization).

According to Microsoft, SP2 will ship before year's end. Although many organizations have yet to deploy Exchange 2000, many organizations are completing their Win2K AD deployments and are ready to start working with Exchange 2000. Exchange 2000's future looks very bright as Microsoft plans two more service packs and even a .5 release within the next year. So get going on your Exchange 2000 deployments. If you're not ready yet, drop me a note—I'd like to understand why.