Earlier today, Microsoft announced that the RTM versions of its Office 2013 suite and server products – namely Exchange Server 2013, Lync 2013 and SharePoint 2013 – are available for download if you’re a TechNet or MSDN subscriber.
While it’s encouraging to see Exchange 2013 RTM available for download, one MVP offered strong words of caution.
“It’s exciting to see Exchange 2013 available for download, but know that you can only start testing Exchange 2013 and Exchange 2010 integration when Exchange 2010 SP3 is released,” said Nicolas Blank an Exchange MCM and Ranger based in Cape Town, South Africa. “Until then, all lab and live deployments will be green fields. That said, it’s still a great chance to play with the bits until then.”
Eager IT folks who are ready to play with those Exchange bits may be impressed with new features, many of which are a product of Microsoft’s own work in the cloud. This is a sentiment that was reiterated time and again at last month’s MEC show. Microsoft is making it clear that the cloud is the direction it is headed in.
“Many of the improvements in Exchange 2013 are likely the result of Microsoft’s experience offering hosted Exchange services,” said Rob Sanfilippo an analyst with Washington-based Directions on Microsoft. “Even customers that don’t use [cloud] services benefit from Microsoft’s work in that space.”
In my opinion, one of the best things Microsoft has done is show its commitment to hitting their promised release dates (and in this case before) for its Server products (and Office) on time and in close proximity to one another.
For instance, in the past, interconnected products such as Exchange 2010 and SharePoint 2010 were released at different times, affecting purchasing decisions by companies that could use both products, and opening a window of opportunity for competing products to slip in. As these products become increasingly intertwined, delivering them closer together could close that door and nudge more IT shops toward all-Microsoft solutions.
What did you think about the announcement? Email me and let me know.
Until next time,