TechRant
Announcing Exchange Server 2016 Preview!
Jul 23, 2015

 

This week, Microsoft Corp. released a public preview of its on-premises Exchange Server 2016, which the firm had previously said will be available to customers in the second half of this year. Though not yet feature-complete and not meant for production environments, it offers administrators and users outside of Microsoft’s Technology Adoption Program a glimpse of the next version of Exchange.

In keeping with Microsoft’s cloud-first approach, Exchange 2016 will draw on the changes and improvements that have already been rolled out to Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365 product, according to the Exchange Team’s blog post announcing the preview.

“This version of Exchange is special because it was born in the cloud,” Microsoft said in its announcement. “From the depths of the mailbox store to the most visible parts of the Outlook web UI, the bits that make up Exchange 2016 are already in use across millions of mailboxes in Office 365.”

One significant characteristic of Exchange Server 2016 is how it attempts to significantly simplify the architecture in Exchange. For instance, the Client Access and Mailbox server roles have been combined, while coexistence with Exchange 2013 has also been simplified.

As explained by Exchange program manager Greg Taylor in a video interview with Office Mechanics, one key advantage of reducing the server count is how this helps businesses reduce maintenance costs. Having fewer servers also greatly reduces the complexity in server migrations or disaster recovery.

In addition, Exchange Server 2016 will also sport a new Outlook on the Web with improved HTML rendering that has been tweaked to offer a better experience on tablets and smartphones. New features include a new single-line inbox view, better formatting controls, ability to paste in-line images, new themes and even support for emojis, to name a few.

Under the hood, enhancements in Exchange 2016 include faster server-side search with a more intuitive search interface that takes into consideration people you have communicated with, mailbox content and query history. There is also greater support for mailboxes that take up more than 100GB, and new data loss prevention and eDiscovery capabilities that enterprises can look forward to.

Exchange Server 2016 Preview can be downloaded here.

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