Microsoft has partnered with Unisys to offer a free trial of Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 that enables enterprise customers to evaluate the software's e-mail, calendaring and unified-messaging features.
Customers can sign up for the trial service or obtain more information about it on this Web site.
Unisys will implement and manage the trial, which will be offered on a hosted basis to customers.
By signing up online for the trial, customers can create a temporary account so they can send and receive email, schedule meetings, and access their accounts via Microsoft Outlook Web Access, Microsoft Office Outlook or applications compatible with Exchange ActiveSync, which lets users synchronize devices with information stored in Exchange. They also can download a free trial version of Microsoft Office Professional 2007 from the Web site.
Microsoft said the goal of the trial is to give customers a preview of some of the key new features in the software, such as unified messaging and security, without having to deploy the server on premises or make a commitment to buy the product.
Exchange 2007 allows users to search through a greater number of e-mails on devices compatible with the software, and also improves their ability to access e-mail, calendar information and voicemail on a variety of devices. The new software also enables a remote user, even without administrator privileges, to wipe all Exchange Server-fed data from a device if it is lost or stolen.
When asked, Microsoft declined to provide current sales information for Exchange Server 2007, which was released to corporate customers in November 2006.
However, Exchange customers have reported upgrade problems with the new software that have made many leery of deploying the product. Exchange Server 2007 is the first version of the product to run on 64-bit servers only, so the software has new hardware requirements. Previously, Exchange ran on 32-bit servers.
Other problems customers reported that have made it difficult and expensive to upgrade include incompatibility with other Microsoft software and the complexity of the product's new architecture.
Unisys' Exchange 2007 trial runs through the end of 2007. Microsoft released Exchange 2007 to corporate customers in November 2007.