Exchange 2013 is heading in the right direction, but it is missing some key features before corporations should deploy it. The adaption for touch interfaces is certainly one of the more appealing features. As Windows 8 gains adoption in the Enterprise it will be important that applications support this type of interaction. Personally being used to Windows 8 RT, Windows 8, and Windows Phone 8 all on touch screens it certainly makes sense to ensure the corporate apps support it.
Here are some highlights –
- OWA has been slimmed down a little to much. The help menus are unavailable, it’s ‘pokey’, and lacking S/MIME support. Even with the changes to public folders the access to these folders through OWA is lacking. Outlook Anywhere certainly makes up for this so it is understandable public folders are on their way out in OWA. Built-in spell check is gone and since this is adapted for IE10 and Windows 8 the native anywhere available spell check makes up for this.
- BES support is unavailable at this time. A large majority of corporations I’ve worked for still largely supporting Blackberry. With Blackberry support completely lacking it contains Exchange 2013 to SMB and lab deployments.
- Outlook 2003 no longer supported. Even though Outlook 2003 is still around, customers should be looking to upgrade their Microsoft Office suite if Office 2003 is still lurking around. Once Office 2003 has been upgraded to Office 2010 or Office 2013, then consider Exchange 2013.
- Overall architecture is completely changed. Many enterprises have wholly adopted the Exchange 2010 architecture and are used to its operation. Exchange 2013 combines CAS and HUB into a multiple role server once again.
- Deployment and sizing guidelines are somewhat lacking. While this isn’t an issue if you contract an Exchange 2013 guru it does mean a DYI deployment is a little more risky.
- Cannot currently be installed alongside Exchange 2007 or Exchange 2010. This is a big one since greenfield deployments of Exchange are rare. Exchange 2010 SP3 arriving soon will eliminate this concern. Continue to monitor the Microsoft Exchange team for updates.
- Exchange Management GUI is gone. Junior level admins who have no prior experience with PowerShell need to start learning it now. If the enterprise is going from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2013 be prepared for a steep learning curve. Contract an experienced Exchange professional to help assist you with a migration effort.
There are many more low-level technical reasons why you should wait until Exchange 2013 SP1. If anything the patching and rollup release mechanism used by the Exchange team needs some review.
It is a great product and look forward to large scale adoption, but at this time it is relegated to the lab.