Spitballs and band-aids

Today Microsoft announced their new plans and timing for Exchange Edge Server.  Exchange Edge Server has now morphed into a new "role" for Exchange Server that administrators can deploy, similar to other Exchange roles (front-end server, back end-server, routing server, etc.).  This new "Edge role" will ship with the next version of Exchange, sometime late in 2006.  However, many of the features that were previously announced for Edge will ship in 2005 as downloads or service packs, and Exchange 2003 customers can deploy them as they choose.

The good news you can take away from this announcement is that Exchange administrators will get some additional technologies for battling spam, including an implementation of SenderID for Exchange. Microsoft will also be deploying some anti-phishing technology and Intelligent Message Filter (IMF) updates during 2005.

Even with the best attempts to spin it however, the bad news this announcement brings is that administrators are on their own for another year or more in the battle against spam...

Microsoft will deliver some additional incremental updates in hotfixes and service packs in 2005, but these are just spitballs and band-aids in the larger daily battle that administrators face.

In order to deliver "a comprehensive, rule-based platform" that supports the complete needs for not just anti-spam solutions, but also supports archiving, regulatory, message policy and other issues, Microsoft has pushed back what customers really want the most: a real solution for spam

Yes, archiving, message policies, Sarbannes-Oxley,  HIPAA and other topics are important to messaging administrators.  But if you ask them what they really want help with now, they'll tell you it's spam. What is causing users to distrust email and to use it less often: spam. Not the latest regulatory requirement for their industry that administrators can already solve by writing a check to KVS or some other equally fine vendor.
So Microsoft will release some incremental anti-spam tools in 2005, but the bulk of their focus is now on the next version of Exchange, sometime in 2006.  Customers who want to deploy a comprehensive solution from Microsoft will have to wait. And of course once Microsoft delivers the release, how quickly will it be adopted?  Microsoft is still trying to get customers to migrate from Exchange 5.5.
The original premise of Edge Server was a good one: a message hygiene server sitting on the Internet border that provided good anti-spam and security capabilities, anti-spam and anti-virus interfaces for third-party vendors, and message handling capabilies with no reliance on an organization's Active Directory or internal Exchange infrastructure. 
How did we get to the point where that isn't important enough?

1 Comment

  1. Mike Lazar
    Posted December 22, 2004 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

    Waiting for a premise based/in-house managed solution for spam is a terrible idea. Spam is getting more pervasive and difficult to stop everyday. Growth is exponential in nature. The only organizations I know that are happy with their spam solutions are ones using service vendors, like FrontBridge. Companies that try to solve it themselves invariably spend far more time than they expected administering the appliance, and it never does as good a job as they had hoped. The server they bought to handle spam becomes overwhelmed and they wind up trying to put another in place, and it is never enough. I talk to companies looking to move from appliances to service vendors every week. I never hear it go the other way.

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Ed Brill on December 22, 2004 at 2:55 PM

    Ferris analysts debate Exchange “roadmap”

  2. By Richi'Blog on December 23, 2004 at 2:38 AM

    Embargos and tongue biting

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