Microsoft stays in the on-premises email server game with launch of Exchange 2016

Updates include enhancement to search, eDiscovery, collaboration and more

Microsoft has been aggressively pushing its cloud services for applications such as email, but it also remains committed to selling software that customers run in their own data centers. That's why, on Thursday morning, the company released Exchange Server 2016.

The latest version of Microsoft's calendaring and mail server product includes several new features for enterprise customers, including a set of improvements to the web-based Outlook experience, eDiscovery functionality, collaboration and search. 

Exchange Server 2016's search has been updated to provide more accurate and complete results to users. The update brings capabilities like search suggestions, people suggestions and the ability for users to search for events in their calendars. The server software's eDiscovery pipeline has been enhanced with new search architecture that's asynchronous and can distribute search work across multiple servers.

The new server software also helps users connect with the collaboration features that are newly present in Office 2016. When users send a document through Outlook 2016 or through Outlook on the web, they can attach it as a link to Sharepoint 2016 or OneDrive for Business so it can be used with the version control and co-authoring features built into those products. 

Finally, people who use Outlook on the web through an on-premises Exchange Server deployment will get a variety of new features like the ability to include images inline in messages, propose new meeting times, and reply to messages inline. For fans of emoji, this update also brings support for the popular emoticons to Outlook on the web. 

Pushing Exchange 2016 shows the commitment Microsoft still has to its on-premises server products. It's something the company has continued to push with other tools like SQL Server 2016 and Windows Server 2016, which also have analogs in the company's Azure cloud platform.

The company will continue its tradition of providing regular cumulative updates to Exchange Server with this release. The first update to Exchange Server 2016 will arrive during the first quarter of next year. 

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Blair Hanley Frank

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