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New Features in Exchange Server 2013

exchange-server-2013-logoIf you haven’t yet updated to Exchange Server 2013, you really should. While updating your mail network is going to take a bit of work, it’s worth the effort.

We’re going to go over some of the major new features in Exchange Server 2013, including those that came with SP2. First up, let’s go over all the different versions of Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 that have been released.

Versions of Microsoft Exchange Server 2013

Microsoft has made it easy to see all the Exchange Server 2013 build numbers and release dates. Here’s a list with the most recent release first.

Exchange Server 2013 CU8 March 17, 2015 15.00.1076.009
Exchange Server 2013 CU7 December 9, 2014 15.00.1044.025
Exchange Server 2013 CU6 August 26, 2014 15.00.0995.029
Exchange Server 2013 CU5 May 27, 2014 15.00.0913.022
Exchange Server 2013 SP1 February 25, 2014 15.00.0847.032
Exchange Server 2013 CU3 November 25, 2013 15.00.0775.038
Exchange Server 2013 CU2 July 9, 2013 15.00.0712.024
Exchange Server 2013 CU1 April 2, 2013 15.00.0620.029
Release to Manufacturing (RTM) version of Exchange Server 2013 December 3, 2012 15.00.0516.032

As with all of your software, you’re going to want to make sure you are using the latest version.

New Features in Exchange Server 2013

Now that you know about all the versions of Exchange 2013 available, we’re going to go over some of the new features that will make your life a lot easier.

  • Exchange Administration Center – In the past, Exchange Server had the EMC (Exchange Management Console) and the ECP (Exchange Control Panel), which is web based. In Exchange 2013, everything has been moved to the web console. Not everyone was happy with this change, but it does make it easier to access no matter where you are in the world.
  • Exchange Architecture  – In Exchange 2007 and 2010, five server roles were used to ensure any single one didn’t take down a computer or result in other performance issues. Now, Microsoft has it down to two server roles in Exchange 2013 – the Client Access server role and the Mailbox server role.
  • SQL for Storage – In previous versions of Exchange Server, the ESE (Extensible Storage Engine) database engine was used. In Exchange 2013… that is still the case. Many want a switch to good old SQL, but it hasn’t happened yet. On the good news side, the ESE code has been completely rewritten in C# in order to be more resilient and stay up longer without problems. So far so good on that front according to many Exchange 2013 users.
  • Public Folder Changes – While public folders are still available in Exchange 2013, they’re implemented a little differently. Now, they’re considered part of the Exchange Administration Center. As a result, they’re considered public folder mailboxes. This means they’re stored with other mailbox databases and can be backed up relatively easily along with other user mailbox databases.
  • PowerShell cmdlets – Exchange Server 2013 saw 13 different PowerShell cmdlets disappear, but that’s okay because they mostly dealt with public folder management. At release, Exchange Server had a whopping 187 new PowerShell cmdlets added. The Tom Talks UC Blog has them all listed in a nice table so you can see them all in one place at the same time.
  • Anti-malware protection – Another area where Exchange Server 2013 is better is when it comes to malware and stopping it from ever reaching your internal network. According to Microsoft, “All messages sent or received by your Exchange server are scanned for malware (viruses and spyware). If malware is detected, the message is deleted.”
  • Improved Integration with SharePoint and Lync – In order to make an administrator’s life easier, Lync Server 2013 can now “…archive content in Exchange 2013 and use Exchange 2013 as a contact store.” For more details on how to set this up seamlessly, see Integration with SharePoint and Lync. Overall, Microsoft has made it easier to integrate these three products in a single business environment.
  • Mobile Friendly Outlook Web App – The user interface for the Outlook Web App has been redesigned to look good on smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. No matter what device you’re using, it’s going to be a lot easier to use Outlook. See more of What’s new for Outlook Web App in Exchange 2013 over at the Microsoft website.

Did we forget a new feature in Exchange Server 2013 that you really love? Let us know by leaving a comment below. We love to hear from all of our readers. And if you would like to have more articles about Microsoft Exchange Server, be sure to let us know that as well. At SSL.com, the entire team is here to help you make sense of information security.

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