Exchange 2019 – Thoughts so far…

Alive and well indeed!

The Public Preview of Exchange 2019 has been available since late June and I’ve been running it through the ringer to learn all I can before the final release this year. In that time, I’ve not yet found that one thing the makes the release exciting for me but there are several things that come very close!

First, is the increase in server resources. While machine hardware continues to improve, Microsoft’s Preferred Architecture for Exchange¬†also increases. Exchange 2019 supports 48 processes as its predecessor but the supported memory increases from 192GB to 256GB. We are condensing servers and moving further away from virtualization my friends! This is an important move for Microsoft since it better supports a cloud architecture plus it allows your large On-Prem environments to further reduce your own footprints.

Other density-driven improvements include using Solid State Drives (SSD) for specific indexing data and another “new” indexing engine. Sorry about the quotes, but this is not the first-time indexing has been changed and I’m holding out for more solid testing before I drink the Bing Kool-Aid. Indexing is back inside the store and so it replicates (again) to the secondary copies. I have high hopes this will speed up searches and Outlook launches. The Bing search engine is terrific of course but we’ll know more about its performance/stability once we see it in action and can perform some real-world testing inside Exchange.

Will the use of Server Core reduce the monthly security updates?

Probably the most exciting change is the inclusion of Windows Server Core as a supported Operating System. While this will certainly lower the attack surface and help stabilize the server, I’m not sure it will reduce the patching cycles as I once hoped. Perhaps it was my own wishful thinking but I had concluded that OS security patches could be reduced if the OS has no UI! Unfortunately, the Windows Update Catalog shows no security patch distinction with Server Core so the same monthly patches are recommended for now. I am wondering if that will change.

Will the ECP now allow for truly global searches?

At present, large organizations must use PowerShell to create a New-ComplianceSearch and then execute .\MBSearchFromComplianceSearch.ps1 to convert it to a Mailbox Search when the search scope is large. For large companies with tens of thousands of mailboxes, this usually means training for the legal teams or a 3rd party tool. The Office365 compliance tools are SAWWWEEET and don’t have this limitation so I’m still hoping some of that trickles down to On-Prem.

Looking forward to Ignite!

In the last 6 weeks, I’ve noted a few other questions and only a couple of concerns so I look forward to what information they release at Ignite.¬† For example, the Bing indexing changes weren’t in the public preview so real-world testing is a bit limited. Honestly, this version is more dramatic of a change than 2013–>2016 and so most of us are impatiently awaiting the final release!

I’ll keep you posted as I learn more.