The Microsoft Hosted Messaging and Collaboration version 4.5 improves on previous versions of the solution by introducing a number of new features and technologies. These new features lower the cost of operations for service providers and provide enhanced functionality for their customers (end users). Some of the more significant enhancements are listed in this topic.

Office Communications Server 2007

Hosted Messaging and Collaboration version 4.5 offers service providers the ability to provide their customers with a hosted version of Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007.

Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 provides richer presence capabilities, enhanced support for group Instant Messaging (IM), and improved deployment and management than its predecessor, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005 Service Pack 1 (SP1).

The list of services included within the Microsoft Hosted Messaging and Collaboration version 4.5 release include the following:

  • Enhanced Presence
  • Instant Messaging (IM) including group IM
  • PC Based Audio and Video including Group Audio/Video conferencing with Round Table support
  • Web Conferencing services

For more information about these new features, see the Office Communications Server 2007 Document: Technical Overview.

Hosted Messaging and Collaboration version 4.5 does not cover scenarios where there is integration required for Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) or softswitch offerings from many third parties such as Broadsoft, Sylantro, Nortel, and others. The Enhanced VoIP Services (EVS) solution continues to build on Hosted Messaging and Collaboration for that scenario.

System Center Operations Manager 2007

System Center Operations Manager 2007 is the next version of Microsoft's performance monitoring and reporting solution, Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005. Operations Manager 2007 provides an easy-to-use monitoring environment that monitors thousands of servers, applications, and clients to provide a comprehensive view of the health of an organization's IT environment. Microsoft enhanced the already capable Operations Manager solution by designing Operations Manager 2007 around these three pillars:

  • End-to-end service management
  • Best-of-breed for Microsoft Windows
  • Increased efficiency and control

Web-based OAB Distribution

In an Exchange 2007 deployed environment, Outlook 2007 clients can download their Offline Address Book (OAB) via a web based distribution point published on a Client Access Server (CAS). Hosted Messaging and Collaboration version 4.5 supports this new distribution mechanism, allowing organizations and users to be provisioned and configured to take advantage of the enhanced functionality. For more information about Web-based OAB distribution, see section Web-based OAB Distribution.

Other Hosted Exchange Enhancement

Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 (SP1) is the Exchange version in Hosted Messaging and Collaboration version 4.5. Exchange SP1 delivers a multitude of enhancements that extend important customer scenarios and improve quality of the messaging platform. To review a list of new features for each server role, see What's New in Exchange Server 2007 SP1 and the section in this solution Why Choose Hosted Exchange?

New Approach to Deployment Walkthrough

In the past we have given detailed step-by-step guidance that allows people who are not familiar with the underlying products to have a successful lab deployment, but it required them to customize the deployment for production without much explicit help. We are moving toward giving the guidance at a higher level - giving service providers the information needed to deploy and about the order in which modules should be deployed instead of step-by-step instructions.

Individual Information Worker (IIW) Tenant Model

The Hosted Messaging and Collaboration version 4.0 and previous solutions have shipped with two different and segmented user models, commonly known as the consumer model and the business model. These models applied to the way organizations and users were configured and granted permissions, how resources such as stores were allocated, and the features available to users in each model.

In Hosted Messaging and Collaboration version 4.5, a new user model called Individual Information Worker (IIW) tenant model is introduced to take place of the previous consumer model. The Individual Information Worker is an individual that is unassociated with any hosted businesses. However, it has requirements similar to a typical business user including Mobility, full Outlook (MAPI) access, SharePoint site for collaboration with other Information Workers.

MPS Cross Data Store Integration

For purposes such as resource management and plans management, Microsoft Provisioning System (MPS) stores data across three primary data stores: Active Directory, the MPS ResourceManager SQL database and the PlanManager SQL database. Hosted Messaging & Collaboration relies heavily on the consistency of the data stored across these data stores for proper provisioning and reporting functionality.

Cross Data Store Integration checking and maintenance ensures that there is underlying support in the existing namespaces to both identify data store inconsistencies and to resolve specific inconsistencies, as well as provide a toolset to identify and resolve some of the more common and broader reaching inconsistencies -- for example, a bulk move of mailboxes from a failed store.