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What's New in Microsoft Exchange 2016?

Posted 11 February 2016 by Kelvin Papp

Promising new technologies and services, Microsoft have unveiled their latest Exchange Server offering: Exchange 2016. Tipped to be stuffed full of features to increase your productivity and help with collaboration, we take a look at what’s new in Exchange 2016.

Email

Depending on whether this is your first Exchange server or you’re upgrading from Exchange 2010 or 2013, the number of features you’ll discover may differ. This incarnation, while remaining on-premise, is geared towards the ever-increasing demand for Cloud-based software, together with better integration with Office 365. There is a more intuitive approach to sending and managing emails, including the ability to view documents and emails side-by-side. This allows you to write your email reply whilst viewing the document next to it. Searching for emails is also easier, with the addition of search suggestions and built-in search refiners designed to make finding content faster. Another email improvement is something for the millennials - the addition of emojis!

Mobile

As you will be aware, there is a growing trend for employees to work remotely, and Microsoft has taken note. To help meet the need for mobility amongst the modern workforce, Exchange 2016 has been tweaked to allow better productivity on mobile devices. Scheduling features have been added for postponing the sending of emails, with quick filters and more rich text editing tools joining an improved Inbox view, comprising of two tabs – “Focus and “Other” - to segregate important emails from the people you actually want to hear from and other email traffic.

Security

Security is, as always, a big focus area, and so this has been enhanced in Exchange 2016, with those upgrading from Exchange 2010 now having access to built-in malware filtering capabilities. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) has been stepped up, and you can now identify, monitor, and protect 80 types of sensitive information. This is done with new conditions and actions such as a rule which can match messages for specified words in attached documents. Additionally, a nifty Exchange Online feature now included in Exchange 2016 is document fingerprinting.

Hybrid Configuration

The popular Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW), originally seen in Exchange 2013 to ease the deployment of Office365, will now be cloud-based. The HCW maintains the same functionality as in prior versions but with a few extra additions such as improved troubleshooting and diagnostics, as well as the option to use Message Encryption and Advanced Threat Protection. These additional features make it much more straightforward for Exchange and O365 to coexist as on-premise and cloud-based solutions more harmoniously.

Architecture

If you’re savvy enough to understand the architectural changes behind Exchange 2016 then you’ll see that these are where the improvements really lie, with Microsoft concentrating on scalability, hardware utilisation and failure isolation. There is now a multi-role Exchange server architecture; the Client Access server role is automatically installed as part of the Mailbox server role, and is no longer available as a separate installation option. Not only can your Exchange servers (potentially excluding any Edge Transport servers) all contain the same hardware and configuration but it also simplifies maintenance and management of the Exchange servers, as well as possibly even reducing the number of servers needed. In turn, this improves scalability and resilience, as the workload on a multi-role Exchange server is only slightly increased and can survive a greater number of Client Access role (or service) failures whilst still providing service.

The verdict

Exchange 2016 may not have just one standout feature, but it has certainly incorporated a number of tweaks to simply make life easier, which can’t be a bad thing. Microsoft have further embraced Cloud culture, making Exchange and O365 more compatible, and have worked on making their Exchange server a multi-role server to comply with best practice suggested as far back as Exchange 2010. We anticipate a smoother working environment as a result of Exchange 2016!

For more information on how Blue Chip can help you deploy Microsoft Exchange 2016, please contact us at enquiries@bluechip.com to find out more, or call us on 0845 034 7222 to discuss your requirements in more detail.

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