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Microsoft delays next Exchange Server release to 2025

Four years later than planned – maybe that's how long it will take to make it secure?

Microsoft has updated its roadmap for Exchange Server and revealed that the next version will arrive in 2025 – four years later than planned.

A post opens with a reminder of Microsoft's previous promise to deliver a new subscription-only version of Exchange in late 2021, then details the many security improvements made to the messaging server during the same year – including plenty in response to the four zero-day vulns that attackers used to plunder data from US-based defense contractors, law firms, and infectious disease researchers.

Microsoft's post doesn't admit that those efforts were the reason it didn't deliver the planned late 2021 update, instead stating the product's developers "continue to focus on security" but are "now also ready to share our long-term roadmap for Exchange Server."

You may not have to acquire new hardware or move mailboxes when upgrading.

That roadmap now promises a new version of Exchange Server in "the second half of 2025."

"The next version will require Server and CAL licenses and will be accessible only to customers with Software Assurance, similar to the SharePoint Server and Project Server Subscription Editions," the post adds.

The post explains that Exchange upgrades have previously meant new hardware and the need to migrate mailboxes. For the next version of Exchange, Microsoft suggests "you may not have to acquire new hardware or move mailboxes, and … upgrading to the next version will – by design – be much easier than previous upgrades."

Redmond's advice is that all Exchange users should get to version 2019 ASAP. That edition of the messaging server isn't standing still – Microsoft already has authentication and encryption updates in the works, and has promised it will add a dashboard that offers visibility of Exchange Servers across hybrid environments to assist identification of instances that need patches. The dashboard is promised to debut "early next year."

Those who fancy testing those features can apply to join a Technology Adoption Program that offers early access to fresh cuts of Exchange. Microsoft has also revived forums for the software.

The post states that Microsoft will reveal the name, price, features, and requirements to run the next version of Exchange some time in the first half of 2024. ®

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