Users crave info on Microsoft's Titanium

Attendees at last week's Microsoft Exchange Conference (MEC 2002) in Anaheim, Calif., pushed the Redmond, Wash., software giant for as much information as possible on Titanium, the code name for the next version of Microsoft Exchange Server that's slated to ship next year.

MEC 2002 was one of the first opportunities for network administrators, developers and other IT professionals to see a preview of the new e-mail and collaboration environment since it was first disclosed by CEO Steve Ballmer last summer.

In an era of curtailed IT budgets, the potential cost savings of upgrading to Titanium from Exchange 2000 was highlighted in a conference keynote by Paul Flessner, senior vice president of the Microsoft .NET Enterprise Server Division.

He said both Titanium and Outlook 11, the code name for a new version of Microsoft e-mail system, also slated for a 2003 launch, would incorporate new backup technology that can produce 'a fivefold reduction in servers.' The backup technology, dubbed Volume Shadow-copy Services (VSS), is designed to reduce and compress traffic between Exchange and Outlook, Flessner said.

Ballmer has long maintained the Exchange upgrades will be based on customer feedback. Flessner noted that Microsoft found that a big concern of IT administrators is the cost and time it currently takes to back up Exchange servers, which can require up to 500GB. The VSS technology 'allows administrators to instantly mirror the disk, making it fast and easy to backup,' according to Microsoft officials.

Developers deploying Titanium will get a new managed API, code named XSO, which according to Flessner will allow for collaborative links to .NET applications. For example, XSO can be used to integrate Exchange data and services, such as e-mail and calendaring into .NET business applications, such as sales force automation, he said.

Ballmer had said that Titanium will be 'an easily deployed, incremental upgrade to Exchange 2000, analogous to the move from Exchange 5.0 to Exchange 5.5 in 1997.' Microsoft officials said Titanium states share the same code base as Exchange 2000, and sought at the conference to diffuse any confusion relating it to the next generation of Exchange, code-named Kodiak. To further confuse IT personnel, Kodiak is part of Yukon, the code name for the next release of SQL Server. Officials concede that Kodiak is several years away from general availability.

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About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.


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