New Years greetings to you all. I’m excited to join this vigorous communications and messaging community. You’ll be hearing a lot from me and from Brian Winstead, the other Exchange editor. Brian sends out the weekly Exchange and Outlook UPDATE email newsletter, and he’s active on our forums. From time to time, Brian will be writing this commentary. And, by the way, I encourage you all to use the forums; they’re for Exchange and Outlook Pro VIP subscribers exclusively—post your questions and engage with your peers who are encountering the same problems you are. Maybe you can do a good deed and help out another Exchange IT pro.

A Big Thank You

Thanks very much to Anne Grubb, who did such a great job as the Exchange and Outlook Pro VIP editor. Anne’s now our Web Strategic Editor, so you’ll still be seeing articles from her on our Windows IT Pro Web sites and in our magazines. And look for some great changes on our Web sites in the coming year—Anne is driving improvements that you’re going to love.

What’s on the Horizon?

Speaking of the coming year, what events are on the horizon for Exchange Server? Paul Robichaux and I chatted about this. He sees a big year for Exchange. After the launch, Microsoft made a few lower-key announcements about updates to Exchange that will happen in 2008. Robichaux expects that making good on these promises will bring a banner year for Exchange. Of course, Microsoft has already released Exchange 2007 SP1, and there could still be a few nice surprises along the way. Prepare to be surprised, Exchangophiles!

Robichaux sees Exchange’s mature model of establishing an ecosystem of third-party vendors extending to Microsoft Office Communication Server2007. Currently, there’s an active effort at Microsoft to build a vendor ecosystem around OCS. Expect this trend to continue throughout 2008.

In the coming year, Robichaux looks for moves toward convergence of Exchange and OCS. As you know, Exchange supports Windows PowerShell through its Exchange Management Shell. Currently OCS doesn’t. Look for that to change sooner rather than later. Also, OCS has that nifty certification wizard that makes requesting a certificate easy. It’s not so easy in Exchange. Microsoft knows it, and a change is in the wind.

In the mobility sphere—and this is purely just a what if—what if Microsoft bought a device manufacturer? It would solve the company's problem of releasing a new version of their mobile services and then waiting for the phone manufacturers to bring it, and the products that support it, to market.

Windows Server 2008

To provide some practical information, Microsoft has a blog for folks who are planning to run Exchange Server with Windows Server 2008 when it ships later this year.

Surprises in Older Versions of Exchange

How does this coming year look for those of you continuing to operate and troubleshoot older versions of Exchange and Outlook running on a variety of older versions of Windows Server? Brian and I will be working hard to find useful, practical content for those of you working in heterogeneous environments with a mix of older software. Help us help you: We want to hear from you. While we’ll always keep you abreast of the latest versions of Exchange and Outlook, we also know that many of you need more Exchange Server 2003 content. Send us an email message and tell us what you want to see. If you like to write and you have a solution or a script, please send us an article proposal.

And, speaking of older versions of Exchange, I’ll leave you with a link to a humbly named blog, A Brief History of Time—Exchange Server Way, which takes you on a light-hearted romp through the versions of Exchange all the way back to the early 90s. That old Easter egg in Exchange 5.0 stimulated a lot of reminiscing. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.