About six months ago at MEC 2012, we heard that Exchange 2010 SP3 would be released in early Q1 to support Exchange 2013 coexistence. Well, Microsoft kept true to its word, and Exchange 2010 SP3 was released in February. It came with a caveat, however: Exchange admins would need the first cumulative update (CU1) before they could migrate to or coexist with Exchange 2013.
The Exchange team has held strong to its statement about CU1 being available “in Q1 2013.” Now as we get closer to the end of the first quarter, we’ve seen several announcements regarding tools and information that will be important as organizations look to move to Exchange 2013 and Office 365.
* First, there was a blog update on the TechNet URLs for Exchange 2013. This caused a stir when it was first announced, and folks still aren’t happy about the URL changes. However, the fact remains that the info contained within these pages will be critical as companies plan for and migrate to Exchange 2013.
* About a week ago, we saw an update on Exchange Server 2013 Deployment Assistant (ExDeploy). If you’re not familiar with previous versions, ExDeploy is a Web-based tool that helps administrators plan Exchange upgrades and installs. The tool asks several migration-related questions, then spits back a checklist on what you’ll need to do to properly deploy or configure Exchange.
The Exchange 2013 version helps admins plan not only for on-premises deployments of Exchange 2013, but also hybrid and Office 365 environments.
* Last week Microsoft also released the Exchange 2013 version of the Jetstress tool. This will be extremely important to organizations that want to be among the first to run Exchange 2013 in production. Simply put, the Jetstress tool tests disk stability and performance before placing an Exchange 2013 server into production. This is a highly recommended download.
* Today we saw an update to the Remote Connectivity Analyzer (RCA). This tool lets admins check Exchange, Lync and Office 365 connectivity problems. The updated version of the RCA includes several new Office 365 tests that are sure to be put to good use this year.
I, for one, am glad to see all this updated information prior to the CU release. Like others, I was surprised that the SP3 release didn’t officially allow for coexistence with Exchange 2013. But now that I’ve seen this information trickle out before the CU1 release, it certainly seems like a good sign of things to come.