The new release of Exchange (vNext) is on its way!

If you are not on Exchange 2019 TODAY, you need to be!  Not only is mainstream support for Exchange 2016 ending in October of 2020, but, in the new release of vNext, Exchange can be deployed through an upgrade process versus a migration.  Going forward, Exchange will be upgraded just like SCCM (Microsoft Endpoint Manager) or Windows 10 (Software as a Service model).

During the Microsoft Ignite 2020 conference, Microsoft announced their new approach.

Here is what we have heard so far about new Exchange server:

  • Exchange Server will be available after June 2021.
  • Only available with the Subscription, not one-time purchase.
  • Subscription based licensing will reflect in Exchange Server, Skype for Business Server, and SharePoint server.
  • Ongoing Subscription will include updates and support.
  • Easy maintenance and easy updates; expect a command to move role or databases to another server.
  • It will also allow 3 previous exchange versions co-existence (as opposed to only 2 previous versions) and migration allowing Exchange 2013, 2016, and 2019 to live together with Exchange vNext.

For the first time, this exchange version will allow in place upgrade from Exchange 2019 to Exchange vNext.

How is it possible? Our thoughts are that there is database architecture rewriting so Microsoft will not rewrite the new design of database but minor changes adoptable with the binary and registry. There might be a way to deploy new version in case of a disaster with server binary disk.

  • Exchange 2019 and Exchange vNext can be in the same DAG.
  • High Availability for Transport will work between Exchange 2019 and Exchange vNext as well.
  • Exchange 2019 and Exchange vNext can be in the same Load Balancer.
  • In-place upgrade will be supported for 2 years from the data of release of Exchange vNext. After 2 years, it will be normal migration to exchange vNext (new servers, migrate mailboxes) but no in-place upgrade.
  • Maximum 8 cumulative updates will support the in-place upgrade. From Exchange vNext CU 9, in-place upgrade will not be allowed.

If you are planning to stay in on-premises Exchange, then plan to upgrade today from your exchange 2013 or 2016 to Exchange 2019.

This way you will be able to leverage in-place upgrade option and be ready for Upgrade to Exchange 2019, which will be the last major upgrade. 

Now, remember there is no Unified Messaging in Exchange 2019, and it is expected the same with Exchange vNext.  So, if you are planning to upgrade, then plan for your Unified Messaging as a step 1.

Exchange 2016 and Hybrid

  • Exchange Server 2016 support Mainstream Support ends and Extended Support starts on Oct 14th, 2020.
  • No, Exchange 2016 cumulative update will be provided during extended support but security and time zone updates will be provided.
  • If you are keeping Exchange 2016/2013 for Hybrid recipient management purpose with free Hybrid Key, Microsoft recommends to keep using it.
  • If you are planning to keep Exchange on-premises for mailbox hosting, then plan Exchange 2019 asap and move to subscription model to stay safe and secure.
  • There will be no free Hybrid license for Exchange 2019 or Exchange vNext
  • There is no update on removing last exchange server from Microsoft.

Please contact MessageOps for more information at 877-788-1617 or email [email protected].

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