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Exchange Server 2010 SP2 To Support ‘Hosting Exchange’

The Exchange team today announced that with the release of Exchange Server 2010 SP2 later this year, the softies will add a new feature known as “Address Book Policies”.

“Following this addition, hosters who wish to deploy the standard on-premises configuration of Exchange and use ABP will be supported,” informed Kevin Allison,GM, Exchange Customer Experience.

Allison writes that to be eligible for support, “hosters will need to adhere to a few configuration guidelines; a framework we will publish in conjunction with SP2. The framework will outline the configuration challenges of hosting Exchange in a multi-tenant environment which need to be solved, and provide general direction for developing solutions in the most supportable way.” Here are a couple of examples:

  • Accordingto Allison “the Address Book Policy feature is a key reason that we will be able to support hosters using the on-premises configuration if they are using SP2. The framework will specify that directory segmentation should be done using Address Book Policies, not by a series of Allow/Deny ACE’s on Address List objects.
  • For provisioning, the framework will specify that the creation of objects (such as a tenant organization or a mailbox) in Active Directory and Exchange should use our standard built-in tools, PowerShell cmdlets, and documented APIs. Code should not be written to create objects directly in Active Directory or Exchange, bypassing these standard tools.”

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,” explained Allison.
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