Now that much of the excitement, enthusiasm and good will from the “Lost Conference” held last fall in Florida has dissipated, wart watchers have begun to air criticisms of Exchange 2013.
Among these Exchange 2013 detractors in Managing Consultant and Exchange MVP Michael B. Smith, who recently published quite a punchlist of deficiencies for the software.
Smith maintains that Microsoft rushed Exchange, as well as its other office and server products, to meet artificial deadlines that had nothing to do with shipping a finished product. As evidence of that, Smith points to the fact that the RTM release of Exchange 2013 was shipped without compatibility to prior versions of the software.
“Exchange 2013 RTM is not ready for prime time,” Smith writes. “Right now, it can only be installed in a green-field environment (that is, an environment where Exchange did not previously exist).”
Smith goes on to identify a number of missing elements in the new Exchange. In OWA (Outlook Web Access), for example, the program is slow, lacks public folder support, has no way to move the reading pane and is absent a built-in spell checker.
S/Mime is missing in action, too. But, as Exchange guru Paul Robichaux notes the loss of S/Mime is offset by the gain of offline and touch modes in OWA.
In the installation and architecture department, Smith notes that individual roles can’t be installed from a server and that installation is painfully slow. After installation or an update, services often fail to start. Updates also frequently foul up the WinRM service.
As for management functions in the new Exchange, Smith laments the loss of the management console and control panel (they’ve been replaced with the Exchange Administration Center) and the scrapping of the best practices analyzer, mail flow troubleshooter, performance troubleshooter and routing logging viewer.
Smith also finds that the antivirus and antimalware features in Exchange 2013 is crippled compared to previous versions of the program.
Smith also finds some nettlesome things in how Exchange 2013 handles mailboxes and databases. For instance, he finds that property tags are commonly corrupted during mailbox moves.
Another Exchange 2013 change that irks Smith is the replacement of Clean-MailboxDatabase with Update-StoreMailboxState. That’s because Update-StoreMailboxState requires that the guid for a mailbox be known before deleting a mailbox. Discovering that information, though, can be problematic because there are no cmdlets to find it out.
Some cmdlets from previous versions of Exchange have been retained in the new version of the software but don’t function, Smith says. Get-LogonStatistics is an example of one of those non-operational cmdlets.
Exchange 2013 doesn’t support as many mailbox databases as its predecessor. Exchange 2010 supports 100 databases, while the new server software only supports 50.
Smith warns that using the new Exchange Administration Console to migrate mailboxes can eat up storage space by creating large amounts of log files for the database that hosts the arbitration mailbox. He recommends using the New-MoveRequest cmdlet as an alternative to the migration wizard.
All the items on Smith’s laundry list of Exchange 2013′s faults may not all be shortfalls, but they do make an important point. Before any administrator moves an organization to the new Exchange, it’s important to know how it’s different from previous versions and how those changes will impact their operations.