Exchange 2003 or 2007: How to Choose?
I read Karen Forster's IT Pro Perspective: "The Value of Vista, Office, and Exchange" (January 2007, InstantDoc ID 94455) and have a few questions and comments. I'm currently the administrator in a Novell GroupWise shop. I'm putting together a plan to change our messaging infrastructure to Exchange. Should I go to Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2007? My manager and I have some concerns about upgrading to a new Microsoft product early in its life cycle, but I also have concerns about upgrading now, then again in two or three years. I don't plan to roll out Vista in our environment for at least 18 months, but I'm considering the upgrade to Office 2007 by the end of this year.

What do I gain by upgrading to Exchange 2007 in this plan? Would it be better for me to go with Exchange 2003 now, migrate our users to Office 2007, then upgrade to Exchange 2007? What about administration of Exchange 2003 versus Exchange 2007? I know administration is different between the two Exchange systems, but is it so different that it would require a lot of training to go from 2003 to 2007?

At this time, there doesn't appear to be a lot of third-party support for Exchange 2007. I know that will happen in the future, but I may need it in the short term. I've talked to small local integrators along with large firms like EMC and Dell. After talking to these companies, if I decide to deploy Exchange 2007 in the next couple of months, it looks like I'll be one of the first to deploy Exchange 2007. What kind of support can I count on? Is Microsoft support ready for this?
—Bill Baltas

Bill, you've asked some great questions. I could write an article on this topic, but let me give you some basic answers here.

  • It doesn't make sense to upgrade now and then again in a year or two; doing so requires extra effort on your part. Better to do it only once, even if that means waiting a while.
  • Administration between Exchange 2007 and 2003 differs a good bit, but many things are easier and better in Exchange 2007. If you're not already familiar with Exchange, you probably will need training, but that is true with either version.
  • It's true that some third parties aren't ready to support Exchange 2007 yet. This is incomprehensible, given how long the public beta was available. Now is a good time to examine the third-party products you use and to evaluate whether they're right for your needs.
  • Upgrading buys you lots of things. Windows IT Pro has published many articles that describe all the new features. (For example, see "Exchange Server 2007 New Features," InstantDoc ID 94501; and "Surveying Exchange Server 2007," InstantDoc ID 50052.)
  • Finally, Microsoft has been using Exchange 2007 internally for more than a year, as have a number of other companies participating in Microsoft's Technology Adoption Program (TAP). Microsoft's support folks are ready.

—Paul Robichaux

See Associated Figure

More Antispam Solutions for Business
Regarding your Buyer's Guide: "Antispam Solutions for Business" (January 2007, InstantDoc ID 94326), I wish you'd taken a moment to consider the other very significant free tool used to combat spam. A section in the article that highlighted Sender Policy Framework version 1 (http://www.openspf.org) would have been a great addition.

If you want to make a serious dent in spam, start preaching SPFv1! Start addressing all those domain name registers and ISPs that allow DNS records without any SPFv1 information to protect the registered domain name they have taken responsibility for. Their irresponsible attitude toward providing SPFv1 records in DNS is the reason we have the amount of spam we do. I'd look forward to an article about SPFvI.

I'd like to add another antispam solution to your list: an SMTP proxy called eWall from Innovative Communications (http://www.sssolutions.net/ew). I've installed eWall in five locations, and it's a highly effective and customizable solution. I've used several of the products that your Buyer's Guide lists and have dumped them all for eWall.
—Johan Pingree

Slipstreaming Windows XP
I want to thank you for Paul Thurrott's online article "Slipstreaming Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2)" (http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/windowsxp_sp2_slipstream.asp). For the many of us who are taking the plunge and running XP on a Mac, this information is invaluable. The instructions are very clear, and unlike a lot of guides that have screen shots, everything looked exactly like what was happening on my machine. This is comforting for someone like me, who can follow instructions but has no idea what the steps I'm taking are actually doing. Great site.
—Tom Lynham