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Users Cautious on Microsoft Upgrades

Exchange 2007's new features are worth the upgrade, but there's no hurry

Judging from the hype from Microsoft and its many storage partners, today is the official opening of the "Get Ready for Microsoft Vista and Office 2007" season.

Storage systems, services, archiving, and security vendors have been quick to point out their support for the new Microsoft software on the day it officially launched. (See Symantec Manages Exchange, Zantaz Supports Exchange, HP Intros Portfolio, CA Archives, and EMC Backs New Windows.} Still, there is little indication that customers are ready to upgrade en masse.

While the immediate effect on storage networks will be minimal, the upgrades will eventually touch just about everybody. A great deal of time will be spent on implementing the new software, training users and admins, and managing infrastructures that may change significantly with the enhancements. (See Processing Vista: Is Your CPU Up to It?.)

Of all the new Microsoft offerings, Exchange 2007 is perhaps the most important for storage admins, because backing up and archiving email is a big reason for employing networked storage.

That doesn't mean there will be a mad rush of migrations from Exchange 2003, though. At least not right away. Keith McCall, CTO of Exchange-managed services firm Azaleos, estimates that about 10 percent of Exchange seats will be migrated to 2007 by the end of its namesake year. He says it might take three years for most Exchange users make the transition.

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