Microsoft announced via their Exchange Team Blog that Exchange Server 2013 has reached the RTM milestone, with availability to businesses and IT Pros soon and general availability of Exchange Server 2013 is targeted for Q1 2013.
The updated version of Exchange Server includes a number of great features and benefits that businesses will love including:
- Simpler Deployment options
- Tablet and Smartphone friendly, responsive Outlook Web Access design
- Full web-based management interface
- Built in anti-malware protection
However, what is glaringly missing is the addition of enhanced ActiveSync capabilities. Mobile device management, IT Managers, and Exchange administrators all were hoping for greater device management and security capabilities to be baked into an updated version of ActiveSync. Since the upcoming Windows RT (and Windows 8) is not manageable by traditional methods such as Active Directory, and is only manageable via ActiveSync, it seemed that those hopes would come true, but these hopes were dashed as there are virtually no improved mobile device management capabilities built into Exchange 2013.
Microsoft seems to have recognized the need for greater MDM capabilities, and has updated System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM 2012) to include MDM capabilities based on ActiveSync, but even the updated SCCM version only improves upon ActiveSync by enhancing reporting, device deployment, and mobile app management capabilities.
The full Microsoft Exchange Team Blog announcement is as follows:
Today we reached an important milestone in the development of the new Exchange.
Moments ago, the Exchange engineering team signed off on the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) build. This milestone means the coding and testing phase of the project is complete and we are now focused on releasing the new Exchange via multiple distribution channels to our business customers.
We have a number of programs that provide business customers with early access so they can begin testing, piloting and adopting Exchange within their organizations:
- We will begin rolling out new capabilities to Office 365 Enterprise customers in our next service updates, starting in November through general availability.
- Volume Licensing customers with Software Assurance will be able to download Exchange Server 2013 through the Volume Licensing Service Center by mid-November. These products will be available on the Volume Licensing price list on December 1.
Since announcing the Preview of the new Exchange back in July, the EHLO team has been actively blogging about the features and capabilities of the new Exchange. We’re excited to start getting the finished product into the hands of our customers!