Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Microsoft Online Services/BPOS Roadmap for Wave 14

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft have been unveiling their roadmap for Microsoft Online Services and BPOS at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington DC this week.  The perfect audience and timing for their "all in" message and cloud services strategies.

After the launch of the Wave 14 products earlier this year, many of the dedicated BPOS deployments are running Exchange & SharePoint 2010; now it's the turn of the shared platforms to benefit. A quick note on timescales - these features will be unveiled in more depth later this year with rollout expected through 2011.

There are some excellent articles covering the roadmap and new features in detail, but here's a summary;

First up is Exchange. From an Enterprise view point, the addition of unified messaging and voicemail, plus integrated archiving and retention policies will be the most welcome features.
New Exchange 2010 features will require Outlook 2010 to gain full benefit - Conversation View, MailTips and multi-mailbox searching
There are also some administration features being exposed, namely Transport rules, Role-based Access Control (RBAC), Remote PowerShell

SharePoint gains a whole host of the SharePoint 2010 features which have been very well received by the SharePoint community, including Portal sites, extranets, support for anonymous access, multi-language support, Excel Services and Sandboxed solutions support for the isolation of in-development/un-trusted custom-code, sites or webparts.
Office Web Apps will feature too which has been available in Windows Live since June in some countries (see the Office Web Apps team blog for more on this).

Office Communications Server (OCS) will be updated to be based on OCS 14, which is due later this year according to reports, and will add those features which currently do not work and are sorely missed in a hosted/multi-tenant environment; AV and file-transfer across the firewall. IM federation with Windows Live will be added too.

Single sign-on will be available across the platform for all applications, with identity federation appearing too. This is perhaps one of the more complex changes to understand and we can expect more details to appear over the coming months regarding these. These are two different technologies which are often confused and mixed up!

Finally, updates to the web-based administration portals are coming, free/busy data will be published between cloud and on-premise solutions which should make hybrid deployments and large enterprise migration scenarios easier to support, and some management tools will work cross-premise too.

Reference: Microsoft Online Services Team Blog


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