Microsoft: No Exchange 2007 on Windows Server 2008 R2 until SP3

Last month, Microsoft’s Exchange team announced– to the relief of many customers and partners — that it planned to reverse course and allow Exchange Server 2007 to run on top of the latest version of Windows Server, a k a Windows Server 2008 R2.

This week, the team admitted that accomplishing that task was harder than anticipated and that it won’t be able to deliver on its promise until it releases Service Pack (SP) 3 for Exchange 2007. Exchange Server 2007 SP3 isn’t due out until the latter half of 2010. (No telling so far if that means July or December.)

The Exchange team delivered the bad news via a blog post to the Exchange Team Blog on November 30. But the team did provide a bit of good news for customers who have been struggling with getting Exchange Server 2003 to be able to take advantage of the Active Directory functionality and features (like domain-controller support) in Windows Server 2008 R2. From the blog posting:

Exchange 2003 SP2 will now be supported against writeable Windows Server 2008 R2 Active Directory Servers. Additionally, with the General Availability of Exchange Server 2010, and those looking to standardize on Windows Server 2008 R2 we have enhanced the supportability of forest and domain functional levels up to Windows Server 2008 R2. This change is effective immediately on Exchange 2003 SP2.”

Also — for customers and partners who had been hoping Microsoft could provide an update to Exchange Server allowing in-place upgrades of Windows Server — the team had more not-so-good news to share. From the aforementioned blog post by Kevin Allison, General Manager of Exchange Customer Experience:

“I do want to update all on one other piece of feedback we have received – allowing the in place upgrade of the operating system under Exchange. Technically the work required to provide this capability is consistent with the work we would need to do to support an in-place upgrade of Exchange itself. As such the amount of work needed is outside the scope and complexity of what we can do in a post release product update. Still we do understand the demand and desire and it is something we will continue to look at for future versions of the product.”

Microsoft finished work on Exchange Server 2010 in October and made the final bits available to customers starting in mid-November.

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