Microsoft's Service Pack II to Fix Ailing Server

Microsoft will soon publish a patch for its Exchange messaging server that is expected to remedy some problems associated with routing messages and running the software with the current beta release of Windows NT.

Microsoft will soon publish a patch for its Exchange messaging server that is expected to remedy some problems associated with routing messages and running the software with the current beta release of Windows NT. The fix, dubbed Service Pack II, will address bugs that have made routing electronic mail to Exchange through the software's Message Transfer Agent (MTA) problematic.

"There have been a ton of issues with the MTA," said one consultant who is helping a large manufacturing firm migrate about 15,000 users from Lotus Development Corp.'s cc:Mail to Exchange. "Sometimes it just stops working, and it seems to get bogged down by large messages," he said.

Greg Lobdell, group product manager at Microsoft, said that there have been some glitches associated with the MTA, mostly involving E-mail configurations in which messages hop through multiple mail systems. In addition to solving the MTA problems, the fix will enable users to run Exchange on the Beta 2 release of Windows NT. Previously, incompatibilities between Exchange and the current Windows NT beta (BC) frequently derailed Exchange's Internet Mail Connector, Lobdell said. Service Pack II will also include the much-anticipated Macintosh client and support for Motorola Inc. PowerPC hardware, according to Lobdell.

This is the second service pack Microsoft has posted since Exchange shipped in April, and essentially comprises bug fixes already posted free on the Web. The company plans to roll out Exchange 4.1 next quarter, which will focus on improving the Internet support of the messaging system.

Bug reports aside, early adopters are happy with Exchange and are calling it one of Microsoft's best 1.0 efforts. "Most of the things we didn't like or felt were limitations have been aggressively addressed by Microsoft," said Ned Studt, senior systems engineer at the State of Kentucky Department of Education in Frankfort, which has moved about 1,500 users to Exchange.

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