Q&A: What “Titanium” Will Mean for End Users and IT Pros

REDMOND, Wash., July 15, 2002 — With more than 109 million seats already licensed for Microsoft Exchange Server — twice as many seats deployed as Lotus/Domino — Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer today announced at Fusion 2002 the companys plans to release an upgrade to Exchange 2000 Server, code-named
“Titanium,”
in 2003. Titanium will include a range of new benefits for end users, particularly information workers, as well as benefits targeted specifically to IT administrators and the corporate networks they manage.

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. Ballmer noted that the release has been largely designed around partner and customer feedback. To learn more about Titanium and why customers will consider it a compelling upgrade, PressPass spoke with Malcolm Pearson, general manager of Microsoft’s Exchange Server Business Unit. Pearson is responsible for the success of the Exchange Server business and product development including customer and partner contact. Pearson has worked in messaging at Microsoft for the past 10 years with an emphasis on product definition and development.

PressPass: The news of a planned upgrade to Exchange 2000 Server affects a tremendous number of people, including IT managers and end users in corporations and organizations worldwide.

Pearson: A recent independent study from The Radicati Group shows Exchange is the leading enterprise messaging platform among Global 1000 companies, with a higher growth rate than the competition, and more seats licensed and deployed. And customers have also moved rapidly to the current version as many as 41 percent of Exchange customers are already running Exchange 2000, according to another Radicati study).



Preview of the Outlook user interface in Office 11.

PressPass: Why is Exchange Server so popular?

Pearson: Wed like to think there are several reasons. End users by almost two-to-one prefer the Outlook client to Lotus Notes and love our Web-based interface, Outlook Web Access, which has ease of use and consistency with Outlook on the desktop. This is increasingly important as more and more companies make e-mail available to their employees via intranets and the Internet. IT departments that select Exchange not only provide their employees with the award-winning Outlook software, but also save significantly by not having to spend time and budget retraining users on a different Web interface for mail. With Exchange Server, IT managers are able to provide the familiar Outlook user interface over the web.

On the server side, were seeing that IT administrators are able to put up to five times as many users on each server, compared to Exchange 5.5. That allows companies to cluster servers for higher availability — and still use fewer servers for lower total cost of ownership. Customers also tell us they like Exchange Server because it meets their requirements out of the box, and requires little customization once deployed. In contrast, companies such as IBM, that have competing offerings, are heavily services oriented.

PressPass: So why the changes in Titanium?

Pearson: Customers constantly tell us what we could do to make Exchange even better. For example, IT administrators need greater ability to manage the messaging platform, so they can provide increased functionality without increased cost.

As e-mail becomes more important to our customers, and as their volume of e-mail soars, the traditional tools that end users have for working with that e-mail are no longer sufficient. People want their tools to enable them to be more productive, and they want more functionality when theyre on the road.

Second, many IT administrators are still undergoing a fairly significant upgrade from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2000 and the Active Directory. They want the benefits of another upgrade without the inevitable investment of effort that goes into it. They want the no-brainer upgrade deployment of, say, going from Exchange 5.0 to Exchange 5.5.

Thats what customers told us. Were planning a new version of Exchange that provides all this new functionality and much more — including being .NET connected. Thats what were planning to provide next year with Titanium.

PressPass: How does Titanium respond to this customer feedback?

Pearson: In conjunction with Office/Outlook 11, we are delivering an improved user experience to make information workers more productive in managing overwhelming volumes of e-mail and personal information.

Mobility is also important to how people want to use Exchange, accessing their information from anywhere and any device, such as wireless laptops, Web browsers, Pocket PCs, smart phones, and other access devices. Titanium will provide built-in mobile access that
“just works”
— that makes it easy and secure to setup, deploy and manage Exchange on the devices that people want to use, with a consistent experience across the various types of devices.

PressPass: What about enhancements for the IT department?

Pearson: We have specific enhancements for IT administrators and for end users. For IT pros, we have several enhancements that drive down the cost of implementing Exchange even below what customers say is already a highly cost-effective level. For example, security lapses are a huge cost for enterprises, so new technology in Titanium and Outlook 11 will go even further toward stopping viruses from propagating through email.

We are already telling customers to take a new approach to fighting viruses, because most software works — when it works — by identifying specific viruses; in contrast, Outlook can block virus propagation even when the specific virus hasnt been encountered before. For example, the software automatically blocks access to potentially unsafe attachments and seeks user confirmation before another program can access e-mail addresses stored in Outlook. Customers can secure their enterprises today by applying the Outlook security patch to older versions of Outlook. Here at Microsoft, we havent found a single virus that can get through this anti-virus technology with its default settings. We will also enhance the new virus-scanning API introduced in Exchange 2000 Service Pack 1 that will allow third-party vendors to build more robust security solutions for the market. Beyond security, changes in Titanium will enable even greater server consolidation, for even lower costs and higher availability and scalability. IT pros told us we did a great job with server consolidation in Exchange 2000, but that bandwidth limitations made it tough to consolidate when small numbers of users were out at remote sites. With Titanium, weve found ways to get over those limitations.

Were also incorporating a range of new deployment and troubleshooting tools that will make it easier for IT pros to get Exchange and the Active Directory service up and running. Weve increased our investments around Active Directory, so that administrators can be sure that both their Windows 2000 and Windows .NET Server Active Directory deployments will work seamlessly with Exchange, even when they need to work with multiple Active Directories.

The other key concern for IT administrators has been the time, cost and trouble of backing up their increasingly large Exchange servers — which can contain up to 500 GB of data on a single server. Were supporting a new backup and restore solution that will be available in Windows.NET server. The technology is called volume shadow copy, and allows administrators to instantly mirror the disk, making it fast and easy to backup — and, hence, easier for enterprises to adopt Exchange solutions that offer lower cost and higher availability.

PressPass: What happened to


Kodiak,


the codename for the next version of Exchange that was supposed to incorporate SQL Server technology delivered in
Yukon? Will it now appear in Titanium?

Pearson: No, Titanium is being built on the same code base as Exchange 2000, and therefore will use the same storage engine that is currently in Exchange 2000. Titanium will be a smooth upgrade for our customers. We are continuing to make long-term investments to develop our next generation messaging platform, called Kodiak, around Microsofts vision for unified data that will first appear in
“Yukon,”
the codename for the next release of SQL Server. It will be several years before this technology is ready to be a mainstream upgrade for our current customers. And I think its really important that our Exchange customers know that, with future versions of Exchange, we are not going to require e-mail administrators to become database administrators.

PressPass: So what are your recommendations for deployment? Who should plan on upgrading to Titanium, and what should IT administrators do now to get ready?

Pearson: Titanium is scheduled to come out in the middle part of next year, about the same time as the next version of Office, codenamed Office 11, which includes the Outlook enhancements Ive mentioned. For virtually all enterprises that use Exchange 2000, Titanium will be an easily implemented upgrade. And because it will enhance the productivity of information workers and IT administrators, while lowering costs for the enterprise, every customer should consider adopting it. It is important to invest in making sure your Active Directory infrastructure is deployed in order to best be positioned to take advantage of Titanium.

EDITORS’ NOTE, December 30, 2004
— This page has been revised since original publication.