There is little to no documentation and guidance. TechNet documentation for the new release has not yet been completed, and there is no recommendation or support when it comes to sizing servers and stores, or other advice relating to deployment. One supposes this is to come, but it is odd for the documentation to be this incomplete months after RTM and general availability.
There are other limitations as well, but this is the larger picture for where Exchange 2013 stands at this point.
Other people have noted that Exchange 2010 also shipped without some functionality enabled, such as the inability to manage public folder infrastructure prior to its first service pack.
But it is uncommon for so many entire pieces of the product to feel rushed, incomplete, buggy or simply not ready.
If your definition of "prime time" is "able to run on my current infrastructure," then you will be disappointed with this release as it stands. In my opinion, you would be better off concentrating your energies and focus on upgrading to Windows Server 2012 and letting this new Exchange release ripen on the vine more before digging into it in detail.
The last word
There are a lot of new capabilities in Exchange Server 2013, some oriented toward users with the redesigned Outlook Web App and others meant for administrators, such as the addition of a lot of PowerShell support and replacing the console-based management tool with a website. The data loss-prevention feature is a nice addition for IT directors, security pros and business owners as well.
But implementation is complex and, at the end of the day, it is difficult to make a case that all parts of this Exchange release are ready to be deployed -- especially if you have already deployed a previous version of Exchange in your organization, or you are not ready to move to Windows Server 2012.
My advice: Hang back and wait a year, perhaps 18 months, before taking on this upgrade. Exchange Server 2013 will be a good release -- once it matures.
Jonathan Hassell runs 82 Ventures LLC, a consulting firm based out of Charlotte, N.C. He's also an editor with Apress Media LLC. Reach him at email@example.com.
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