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The future of hosted Exchange using Exchange 2010 SP2

In a previous post I discussed where it looks like the Exchange product is headed for hosting companies. Today the Exchange product group published a statement which includes:

We want to enable our hosting partners to offer the same rich feature set that our on-premises customers are used to. As such, with the release of SP2 for Exchange Server 2010, we intend to broaden our support stance to include hosting the on-premises configuration of Exchange in a multi-tenant environment.

 

There’s a bunch of fine print and configuration associated with this, but none of it an unknown quantity to a hosting company worth it’s salt. In fact it’s rather close to how Exchange 2007 is hosted.

In my mind the crux of the post may be quoted as:

So, what does this mean for you today if you want to use the on-premises configuration of Exchange to host mailboxes for your customers in a multi-tenant environment?

  • If you need to deploy prior to SP2, we recommend that you work with an automation vendor and use their solution. Your vendor of choice will be your only source of support. Your vendor will hopefully have plans to update their solution for SP2 per the soon-to-be-published framework, at which time you will have a path to being supported by Microsoft once you’ve upgraded your infrastructure.
  • If you plan to deploy post SP2, and you intend to use an automation solution from an automation vendor, you should ensure your chosen vendor is working with us to validate their solution and deploy when that solution is ready.
  • If you plan on building your own solution using the standard on-premises configuration of Exchange, you should consider waiting for SP2 to ship and then develop your solution following the framework to ensure you receive the best level of support from Microsoft.

All three are quite clear and unambiguous and offer SP2 as a solution with significantly more feature parity than /Exchange 2010 SP1 with the hosting mode switch.