Today Microsoft released the latest version of the Solution for Hosted Messenging and Collaboration. HMC 3.5 is a complete solution for offering hosted exchange in conjunction with sharepoint and live communications server. It's pretty slick, and any hosting company looking to create value-added services to increase their hosting business would be well-served to look into this.

Here are some of the new features of HMC 3.5 over the previous version:

  • Incorporates Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2, which provides enhancements for mobile messanging, including improved activesync for windows mobile 5.0 devices and better mobile security
    • Direct Push technology enables the exchange server to push messages, tasks, and calendar events to mobile devices via http automatically.
    • Remote Device Wipe: enables administrators to remote sensitive data from a lost or stolen mobile device
    • Policy Provisioning: enables administrators to define and enforce mobile policies such as PIN/password settings, etc.
  • Extended deployment automation, which simplifies much of the deployment procedures. The Microsoft Provisioning System (MPS) deployment tool automates over 40 different deployment procedures
  • Customer directory integration, accomplished via Microsoft Identity Integration Server (MIIS) 2003. MIIS provides directory synchronization between the user accounts that are in the customer’s Active Directory domain and a service provider's shared Active Directory domain
  • Customer migration tools, makes new customer acquisition easier. Proscripting guidelines are provided for migration of accounts from an Exchange 5.5 platform into an HMC-based platform.
  • Updates to key technology components.
    • Windows Server 2003 SP1
    • Exchange Server 2003 SP2
    • SQL Server 2000 SP4
    • SQL Server Reporting Services SP2
    • Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 SP1
    • Live Communications Server 2005 SP1
  • The Hosted Messaging and Collaboration Disaster Recovery Guide is a tool you can use to prioritize data protection in an efficient and cost-effective manner and make disaster recovery a viable and manageable cornerstone of your hosting operation.

A great opportunity to find more information about the new solution, there are a series of worldwide seminars about hosted exchange. You can register for the Hosted Exchange Seminar Series in a city near you. Attendees have a chance to win a portable media player.