70,000% Increase In Beta Testing For Upcoming Microsoft Exchange Release

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A little over three years ago, Ray Ozzie wrote his famous memo re-focusing Microsoft from software to services. We started seeing results of that memo last October, when Microsoft announced Windows Azure.

The SaaS emphasis is also hitting mainstream products like Microsoft Exchange. This morning Steve Gillmor and I talked with Rajesh Jha, the VP of Development overseeing Microsoft Exchange, about the upcoming release of Exchange 14.

While he wouldn’t say much about the actual release timeline, he did say they’ve been working on Exchange 14 for about 18 months. Currently they have 3.5 million test users, mostly in university settings. He contrasted that with Exchange 2007, which had a mere 5,000 test users at the same point in development.

He also highlighted the emphasis on SaaS from the ground up:

Exchange 2007 was first a server, then we built on top of it to make it a service. The feedback on the service came too late–the server design was already complete.

While there are about half a million seats of Exchange 2007 SaaS, the huge number of test users for Exchange 14 means it’s currently the largest multi-tenet Exchange offering–and we haven’t released it yet. From the beginning, the emphasis on co-developing the server and the service aspects of Exchange 14 allowed us to perform much more robust usage tests.

The emphasis on SaaS technology has also attracted a few frustrated Notes users. According to Rajesh, about 5.1 million Notes seats have switched from Notes Servers or Notes Online.

He gave more specifics on learning derived from 3.5 million testers:

From an IT administrative perspective, the university was surprisingly similar to large enterprises. Users struggle to use the software, and administrators struggle to balance privacy with the need to research e-mails for compliance and discovery issues. We’ve tried to architect Exchange 14 in a way that facilitates this.

Our major learnings are scale based–having 3.5 million testers versus 5,000 is no comparison. Since this is the first full-integrated SaaS version from the ground up, having this many users taught us how to optimize deployment, core technology stuff like I/O server footprint, and minimizing help desk call through better usability and web access.

All in all, it sounds like this next version of Exchange should be well-vetted.
(Which means the inevitable frustrations will be all the more aggravating!)

  • http://blog.taragana.com Angsuman Chakraborty

    The 70000% number looks ridiculously high. Were they even stress testing before? You should really double check the data and also ask for the initial data.

    • http://www.amitbhawani.com/ Amit Bhawani

      According to the article – 5000 to 3.5 million testers

      • mike

        That sounds more like Beta testing that stress testing.

        The way the text reads is that they’ve been slamming it with 70,000% more requests under heavy load conditions, which to me is what stress testing actually is.

  • http://megawattpr.com Tyler Wright

    Who can wait for a new operating system?

    My Recyle Bin has disappeared and I’ve tried everything they suggest to get it back.

    I can’t use my new HP printer – tried everything.

    My 08 Dell is being replaced with a Mac.

    • khanh


      Control Panel\Appearance and Personalization\Personalization

      Click on Change desktop icons

      Select on Recycling Bin.

      As for the HP printer, try installing the driver for it.

  • http://www.alexanderhorre.com Alexander Horre

    It took Microsoft this long to realize universities functioned like an enterprise? They run ERPs, and are by definition an organization. Hah. Hah. Hah.

  • Andy


    Can you delete these friggin spam messages?

    • http://www.jeffwidman.com/blog/ Jeff Widman


  • Joe

    Can you do some spell checking as well before you publish?

    empahasis = emphasis
    multi-tenet = multi-tenant

    Thanks much

    • Mike

      You’re right about emphasis, but the author is correct in their usage of “multi-tenet” versus your failed correction. Get a dictionary. They are two totally different words/meanings.

      • http://www.jeffwidman.com/blog/ Jeff Widman

        Typo fixed–sorry.

  • http://jp.techcrunch.com/archives/2009011370000-increase-in-stress-testing-for-upcoming-microsoft-exchange-release/ Microsoft Exchangeの新版リリース間近―ストレス・テスターの人数を70倍に増強 Release

    […] [原文へ](翻訳:Namekawa, U) ShowListings(“arc3”); ShowListings(“arc2”); AddClipsUrl = ‘http://jp.techcrunch.com/archives/2009011370000-increase-in-stress-testing-for-upcoming-microsoft-exchange-release/’; AddClipsTitle = ‘Microsoft Exchangeの新版リリース間近―ストレス・テスターの人数を70倍に増強 Release’; AddClipsId = ‘2CBE02C952CFE’; AddClipsBcolor=’#78BE44′; AddClipsNcolor=’#D1E9C0′; AddClipsTcolor=’#666666′; AddClipsType=’1′; AddClipsVerticalAlign=’middle’; 前の投稿へ トラックバック […]

  • Rod Recker

    > (Which means the inevitable frustrations will be all the more aggravating!)

    How can you say this?

    • http://www.jeffwidman.com/blog/ Jeff Widman

      Every product I’ve ever used had some frustrating UI issues. Knowing all the beta testing, when I encounter these bugs, I’ll be even more frustrated they weren’t fixed…

  • Louis-Eric

    Are they fixing the idiotic inbox size limitations ? I really don’t want to think about managing “archives”: that’s friction.

    • Rod

      Amen to that – what a pain to keep worrying about my 150MB inbox.

      • Yo

        That is your administrator forcing you to have such a limit.

      • Louis-Eric

        Yo: there is more to it than that; there is a limit to the size of PST files past which data corruption occurs. Microsoft: Just use a real query-able database already.

      • James

        The Unicode PSTfiles from Outlook 2003 and later have a limit of 20GB.
        As mentioned, your administrator is limiting your mailbox size, not Exchange.
        Microsoft DOES use a real database already. It’s called Exchange.

      • Louis-Eric

        A real database can store terabytes, not as much data as can fit on a cheap camera memory card. I already have more than 20 gigs of data to migrate from Eudora, so that limit’s already busted anyway. With 1TB drives at $130, why do we still have these limits ? What, is it “nobody’ll ever need more than 640 kilobytes” again ?

  • http://www.techforlunch.com Pascal Roy

    I’ve been saying the SaaS is the way to go, and can’t wait to see the results for an application like Exchange. Although exchange is already being offered this way, the new version will be built for that specific purpose.

  • http://www.geoffmcqueen.com Geoff

    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for the article: easy to read, interesting, didn’t make me nod off once. Much better than Steve’s posts – glad to have you writing for TechCrunchIT; I was afraid it would die without some better writing.


  • http://powerwindows.wordpress.com/2009/01/13/the-exchange-14-public-discussion-begins/ The Exchange 14 Public Discussion Begins… « Brian’s Power Windows Blog
  • http://www.shawndrewry.com Shawn

    Their new name is Micro not so soft..lol

  • http://msmvps.com/blogs/ehlo/archive/2009/01/17/1662515.aspx Weekend reading - subject: exchange

    […] 70,000% Increase In Beta Testing For Upcoming Microsoft Exchange Release […]

  • http://john.jones.name john.jones.name

    what actually is the number of sites ?

    thats the interesting question… big deal if you have 3.5 million mailbox’s each student has one but they only have a 10mb limit and exchange very few emails because the forward all of it to another service…

    how many sites with different configurations ?
    how many messages passed in a day ?

    thats the interesting thing


    John Jones

    my blog on email – http://www.johnjones.me.uk

    • Steve G


      The Exchange Labs mentioned have 10GB quotas.

      From my experience, most students get between 5-20 messages per day (not including Facebook notificiations etc)


  • http://blog.fpweb.net/tweets-o-the-week-1-16-0/ Tweets O’ The Week – Jan 16, 2009 | Fpweb.net Blog - For What I.T.'s Worth

    […] Microsoft Exchange 14 Beta explodes with 3.5 million testers […]

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