Microsoft officials announced last week at the Microsoft Exchange Conference in Orlando, FL, that the next service pack (SP3) for Exchange Server 2010 should be released in the first half of the next calendar year (2013).
Previously, Microsoft has indicated that Exchange 2010 SP2 is not supported on Windows Server 2012, and that you can’t run Exchange 2007 on Windows Server 2012. The planned delivery of SP3 represents good news for organizations thinking about running Exchange 2010 on Windows Server 2012 or supporting “coexistence” with Exchange 2013 within the same computing infrastructure.
According to the Exchange Team blog, with SP3, the following new features and capabilities will be included:
Coexistence with Exchange 2013: Customers that want to introduce Exchange Server 2013 into their existing Exchange 2010 infrastructure will need the coexistence changes shipping in SP3.
Support for Windows Server 2012: With Service Pack 3, you will have the ability to install and deploy Exchange Server 2010 on machines running Windows Server 2012.
Customer Requested Fixes: All fixes contained within update rollups released prior to Service Pack 3 will also be contained within SP3.
In order to support these newly added features, there will be a requirement for customers to update their Active Directory schema.
The possible bad news in Microsoft’s announcement appears to be the perceived late arrival of SP3. Microsoft’s Technology Adoption Program participants have already been testing SP3, but some customers are interpreting the timing of the release as implying that the Exchange 2013 product will be released in the same time frame as the new service pack, meaning possibly as late as June 2013. While Microsoft isn’t saying when Exchange 2013 will be released, it has been suggested that a release-to-manufacturing version may arrive in November, with product general availability predicted for February 2013.
It has been stated that SP3 for Exchange 2010 will be the last service pack for that product and it isn’t expected to add any new features beyond coexistence with Exchange 2013. As for the timing of the Exchange 2013 product release, experts say said that it is “pretty much done”, but Microsoft is simply waiting to launch it with other products, such as SharePoint and Lync.
Microsoft’s basic hope in communicating the required changes and information ahead of the release date is to make it easier for customers to plan their upgrade path ahead of time.
You can find references to this information, as well as more details at the following locations:
You can also learn more about Exchange Server 2010 in the following courses:
Microsoft course 10135: Configuring, Managing and Troubleshooting Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 2
Microsoft course 10165: Updating Your Skills from Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or Exchange Server 2007 to Exchange Server 2010