If you’ve ever used the Exchange Server Deployment Assistant (ExDeploy), you may be interested to learn that Microsoft recently updated ExDeploy to include scenarios for both Exchange 2010 SP2 and Office 365 Hybrid Deployments. If you have not seen this tool before, and you are considering an upgrade of your existing Exchange environment, or a new Exchange 2010 deployment, you owe it to yourself to check out ExDeploy to see what it can do for you.
ExDeploy is an online, wizard driven tool that can generate custom instructions for your particular Exchange deployment scenario. You start by simply visiting the page at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/exdeploy2010/default.aspx#Index. There you can choose to run through one of three main scenarios; On-Premises Only, Hybrid (On-Premises + Cloud), or Cloud Only. Frequently, admins considering a move to Office 365 will use the ExDeploy tool to help design their hybrid configuration, but that is not the only purpose for this tool.
In the On-Premise Only section, you can run scenarios for upgrades from Exchange 2003, Exchange 2007, or mixed 2003/2007 environments, or you can use it to plan out a new installation. When you pick your particular scenario, ExDeploy will ask you several questions about what you are currently doing or are planning to do with your new deployment. These are simple yes/no questions that take a few moments to answer. At the end of the Q&A, a deployment checklist is generated that takes you step by step through everything you will have to do to deploy your new environment.
You can download the checklist as a PDF, or leave it online and tick the checkboxes as you complete each step. The checklist generation uses a cookie so that if you come back at a later time, you can pick up right where you left off. You can also email the checklist if you’d like.
We’ve talked about Exchange 2010 SP2 a few times previously on this blog. SP2 introduced some major changes to Exchange 2010, and a lot of the available documentation has been late in getting updated for SP2. Now that the ExDeploy tool has been updated for SP2, admins have some very useful guidance for deploying Exchange 2010 SP2, and they won’t be left to figure out the differences on their own or in forums.
In the Exchange Team blog post announcing the updated tool, they state that several more scenarios will be added to ExDeploy in the near future. We’ll keep an eye out for these updates, and let you know here on TEA when there’s a new update.