What's missing from Exchange Server 2007

With all the enhancements in Exchange Server 2007, it's easy to overlook the fact that many features have been "deemphasized" or completely removed from the newest version of Microsoft Exchange Server. Find out what features no longer exist so you can plan an eventual Exchange Server 2007 deployment without any nasty surprises.

With all the enhancements in Exchange Server 2007 (formerly known as "Exchange 12"), it's easy to overlook the

fact that many features have been "deemphasized" or completely removed from the newest version of Microsoft Exchange Server.

For the most part, these features involve interacting with legacy email systems. Even so, it is important to know what features no longer exist so you can plan an eventual Exchange Server 2007 deployment without any nasty surprises.

Deemphasized features in Exchange 2007

In Exchange Server 2007, many carryover features from Exchange 2003 have been -- in Microsoft's words -- deemphasized. While these features are fully supported in Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft is trying to discourage the use of them.

As you have probably guessed, Exchange Server public folders are at the top of the list of deemphasized features in Exchange 2007. Exchange public folders are still fully supported in Exchange 2007, but it is still unclear whether or not they -- or any of the deemphasized features -- will be included in the next version of Exchange Server (currently dubbed "Exchange 13).

Below is a full list of deemphasized features. They will all be supported until at least 2016, according to Microsoft support life-cycle policies.

  • Public folders
  • CDOEx
  • WebDAV
  • ExOLEDB
  • Store events
  • Streaming backups

In many cases, features are being deemphasized because better technology already exists. For example, snap shot backups are far superior to streaming backups, because they are less disruptive.

Discontinued features in Exchange 2007

Probably the most significant discontinued feature in Exchange Server 2007 is the ability to co-exist with Exchange Server 5.5. You cannot deploy Exchange Server 2007 into an Exchange organization containing Exchange 5.5 servers.

The complete list of discontinued features is as follows:

  • Access to public folders via Outlook Web Access, IMAP, or NNTP
  • Active-active clustering
  • Administrative groups
  • CDO 1.2
  • CDO for Workflow
  • CDOEXM
  • Coexistence with Exchange 5.5
  • Connector and migration tools for GroupWise
  • Exchange 5.5 Event Service
  • Exchange Web forms
  • Exchange WMI classes
  • Installable File System (also known as IFS or M: )
  • Outlook Mobile Access
  • Outlook Web Access support for rule creation and editing
  • Routing groups
  • Transport event sinks
  • Workflow Designer
  • X.400

In addition to the above list, Outlook Web Access will not initially support S/MIME. Rumor has it though that S/MIME support will be eventually restored when the first Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack is released.

Many of these Exchange Server features were cut because they were obsolete, unused, or redundant. Other features were removed in Exchange 2007, because they have been replaced by something better.

Some examples of obsolete features that have been discontinued include support for Exchange 5.5 and the connectors and migration tools for GroupWise. Granted, there are still organizations that use Exchange 5.5 and GroupWise, but the majority of Microsoft's customers have apparently moved on.

Outlook Mobile Access

There are enough organizations using Exchange Server that I'm sure that no feature is completely unused. But according to a friend at Microsoft, the Outlook Mobile Access feature has been discontinued in Exchange Server 2007 because few customers were using it. If you want to move to Exchange 2007, but your organization currently relies on OMA, you might want to look into using Exchange direct push technology as an alternative.

Administrative groups and routing groups

Many people I've talked to about Exchange Server 2007 have been a bit surprised that Microsoft would do away with administrative groups and routing groups. The move really makes sense though if you stop and think about it.

Routing groups are a redundant structure. Exchange Server is Active Directory-based, and Active Directory already knows about your network's topology because of site objects. There is no reason to have to duplicate this configuration information in Exchange when the server can just get its routing information from Active Directory.

Administrative groups were not a redundant or obsolete feature, but they have been removed from Exchange Server 2007 nonetheless. Administrative groups can be tricky to manage in larger deployments. Microsoft has designed Exchange Server 2007 in a way that will provide administrators with better administrative control through other mechanisms, such as the Exchange Management Console or the Exchange Management Shell.

About the author: Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for his work with Exchange Server, and has previously received Microsoft's MVP award for Windows Server and Internet Information Server (IIS). Brien has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once responsible for the Department of Information Management at Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer, Brien has written for Microsoft, TechTarget, CNET, ZDNet, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit Brien's personal Web site at http://www.brienposey.com.

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Related information from SearchExchange.com:

  • Tip: Preparing for Exchange Server 2007
  • Article: Refreshed help file released for Exchange Server 2007
  • Article: Microsoft delivers Exchange Server 2007 public beta
  • Reference Center: Exchange Server 2007 news, tips and resources

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  • This was first published in October 2007

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