Since the release of Exchange 2007 in December 2006, sysadmins have been hindered by the absence of support for backup in Windows Server 2008. Seen as a move to push organizations toward Microsoft’s own Data Protection Manager 2007 product, the lack of a native backup program for Exchange 2007 left many smaller organizations out in the cold. Small Business Server 2008 supported backup for Exchange from the start, and while the Exchange team promised integration with Windows Server Backup for some time, that pledge has only now been fulfilled with the release of Service Pack 2.
The other big news for Exchange 2007 users is support for Exchange 2010. Other notable features in Service Pack 2 include:
Though the new Exchange plug-in for Windows Server Backup doesn’t offer as much functionality as Ntbackup in Server 2003 or Data Protection Manager, it does enable basic functionality that will be useful in lab and production environments where third-party utilities are considered overkill. Remember that Windows Server Backup doesn’t support tape, and there are other limitations with the new plug-in:
There are no Exchange-specific options in Windows Server Backup’s backup wizard, but the restore wizard is Exchange-aware after Service Pack 2 has been applied:
Exchange Service Pack 2 adds a new log file called Exchange Auditing, separating new Exchange access audit events from Windows audit events stored in the Application log. Access audit events focus on real user actions, such as opening a message, rather than operating system object open and close events as recorded in the Windows Event Log. Access audit events introduced in Service Pack 2 are:
To view the current configuration for each of the audit categories listed above, open the Exchange Management Console from the Start menu:
Figure 2: Configuring logging levels
(You can find more detailed information about logging levels  on Microsoft’s TechNet website.
To access the new log repository, open Server Manager from the Start menu on your Exchange server and expand Diagnostics and Applications and Services Logs. Click Exchange Auditing, and you’ll be able to see all access audit events in the central pane with event details in the bottom of the window. As Figure 3 shows, user “AD\user” accessed his or her inbox on October 7 at 14:45.
Figure 3: Reviewing access audit events
When you install Exchange 2007 Service Pack 2, Active Directory is automatically updated with the Exchange 2010 Release-to-Manufacturing (RTM) schema, which means that you won’t have to perform a second schema update if you plan to deploy Exchange 2010 in the future. Exchange 2007 servers must be running Service Pack 2 before Exchange 2010 servers can be added to an Exchange 2007 enterprise. While Exchange 2010 will be able to coexist with older versions of Exchange in 2003 SP2, as well as 2007 SP2 Exchange organizations that run in native mode, you won’t be able to add any older versions of Exchange to new 2010 organizations.
Many of the shell improvements that are now included out of the box in Service Pack 2 were bundled in Update Rollup packages for Exchange 2007 Service Pack 1. The set-publicfolder cmdlet has been updated and no longer relies on Public Folder Distributed Authoring and Versioning Administration (PFDAVAdmin) to perform administration tasks. Many other cmdlets have been updated to provide centralized administration. The optional UseRUSServer switch forces a cmdlet to use a specified mailbox server where the Recipient Update Service is running, so that Exchange doesn’t have to locate the service itself, which makes running commands that support UseRUSServer much faster.