The third service pack for Exchange Server 2007 was made available for download this week – and not a moment too soon. The SP3 has been updated to allow Exchange 2007 to be installed on Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems.
The release comes nearly one year after news first broke that Exchange 2007 would not be supported on R2, which naturally caused more than a few raised (and furrowed) eyebrows. At the time, the word from Microsoft was that the company was focused primarily on Exchange 2010, and testing for R2 support would only push back the release of Exchange 2007 SP2. Microsoft also noted that based on customer feedback, the ability to “support Windows Server 2008 R2 domain controllers in an existing Exchange 2007 deployment” was sufficient.
Users almost instantly cried foul, however, with some seeing the announcement as a way to strong-arm customers into hosting Exchange or upgrading to Exchange 2010. One reader commented: “It’s pretty unbelievable that Exchange 2007 won’t be supported on 2008 R2, but recalling the feature-incomplete product the Exchange team dumped on us prior to 2007 SP1, it should come as no surprise that they are basically ambushing Exchange admins everywhere with this surprise.”
Amidst pressure from administrators everywhere, Microsoft changed its stance in November by announcing that it was working on adding full Windows 2008 R2 support to Exchange 2007, but a release would take some time. Nearly eight months later, it appears they weren’t kidding.
Other SP3 improvements include support for Exchange management tools with Windows 7 and minor email security enhancements, but the added R2 support is really the biggie here. Unusually, no public beta was made available prior to the official SP3 release. A beta is currently available for Exchange Server 2010 SP1, however, which was announced earlier this month.
For more information on Exchange 2007 and 2010, visit SearchExchange.com.