Microsoft has released SP 2 for Exchange 2010 and with any service pack great things and fixes are included!  The best part of this service pack will be covered last in this post…..hint hint hint, it has to do with Office 365!

First the fixes, SP2 includes all fixes up to and including Update Rollup 6 for 2010 SP1.  as with the majority of service packs there are no new major fixes included, just a super rollup of the 6 Update Rollups released since SP1.  Here you can find the complete list of all updates in each of the Rollups, http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh672189.aspx.

New Features, again normal for a service pack is the inclusion of new features.  here is the list:

1. Address Book Policies

This is a great new feature.  having an address book policies allows administrators to control which GAL, Offline Address book and other address books that a mailbox user will see.  This allows for separation of GAL and address book information for users.  This way an administrator can have an expanded address book consisting of contacts that only pertain to the Sales department, and instead of everyone seeing these contacts, the address book can be targeted to sales users only.  I have had several client ask for this type of functionality in past Exchange implementations and glad to see it implemented.

2. Cross Site Silent Redirection for Outlook Web App (OWA)

This will allow, with Forms Based Authentication (FBA) enabled on the CAS servers to silently redirect a request for OWA to another better suited CAS server.  This can greatly benefit a company that has one internet ingress point but a disperse Exchange deployment.  The CAS server in the Internet site will silently redirect the OWA request to the CAS server nearest the user’s mailbox server.

3. Mini Version of OWA

This is a mobile browser ( read phone) focused OWA experience.  It does not contain all of the functionality in the full OWA but focuses on basic functionality for accessing and email account, managing the calendar and reading, responding and composing new emails

4. Mailbox Auto Mapping

In 2010 SP1 added a new feature to automatically map (via Autodiscover) additional mailboxes that the user had been granted full permission to in the Outlook 2007/2010 profile.  While this was a good thing to help with granting the permission to the mailbox and have it automatically show-up for the user without any client side configuration, it had some drawbacks.  If a user had been granted full permission to the additional mailboxes in the Outlook profile could affect performance.  Now and Admin can disable the auto-add feature when granting permissions with the Add-MailboxPermission cmdlets.

5. Multi-Valued Custom Attributes

Microsoft added 5 new multi-valued attributes to be able to store 1,300 values for mail receipt objects.  Several cmdlets can take advantage of these new multi-valued attributes.

6. Litigation Hold

Prior to SP2 an admin was unable to delete a mailbox that had litigation hold applied.  Now several cmdlets have been update to allow for the deletion of the mailbox with an IgnoreLegalHold switch.

And now for the Office 365 Related features!

7. Mailbox Replication Service

When configuring a Hybrid deployment and the ability to move a mailbox from on-premises to the cloud (or another forest) an admin had manually configure the web.config file on the CAS servers.  Now the admin can use set-WebServicesVirtualDirectory to enable the settings without touching the web.config file on each CAS server.

And the BIG one!

8. Hybrid Configuration Wizard

This wizard will greatly reduce the amount of steps needed to implement a Hybrid solution between on on-premises organization and the cloud.  A Hybrid deployment allows the on-premises and cloud based mailboxes to function as if they were in the same organization.  This wizard will improve the ability of a company to seemless move to the cloud with a Hybrid deployment during the migration phase or to provide seemless long-term integration for a company that does not want to move all mailboxes to the cloud.

Read more about the Hybrid Configuration wizard here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh529921.aspx

My goal is to test out the new wizard soon when I enable my new domain, office365evangelist.com with an Office 365 environment.  I plan to blog about my experience and provide any best practices with my implementation.