Editor's Note: MEC is back to herald the new Exchange

It has been an exciting year for Exchange. For the first time since 2002, the Microsoft Exchange Conference (or “MEC” as it is affectionately known) fired up in September. The new Exchange hit the RTM milestone in October. Now, you can download the trial version of Exchange Server 2013. And the “MEC” acronym has since been repurposed to represent the Microsoft Exchange Community, which prevails strong with the resounding mantra of “I AM MEC!"

By Nina Ruchirat

“MEC is Back: The Lost Conference” was literally the theme of the first Microsoft Exchange Conference in 10 years. It took place in September in Orlando with thousands of Exchange administrators, architects, consultants, and partners in attendance, along with several members of the Exchange product team and Exchange MVPs.

Top of mind for attendees was the new Exchange and its features and capabilities, which include social integration tools such as Smart Search to support a multigenerational workforce; a streamlined interface that supports the use of touch to meet today’s evolving mobile device experiences; solutions for compliance needs, eDiscovery, and data loss prevention; and a simplified approach to architecture scale, hardware utilization, and failure isolation.

The public Preview release of the new Exchange was announced July 2012, and the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) build milestone was announced October 11. As of November 1, the full 64-bit Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Evaluation is now available as a trial download.

The Exchange Server 2013 for IT Pros TechCenter is a great portal to find detailed library documentation on prerequisites, system requirements, hybrid on-premises deployment, and many other topics, as well as training and community resources.

For deep technical training of the new Exchange, the Ignite Exchange Labs series, hosted on Windows Azure, are a set of interactive guided labs covering the Exchange Administration Center, deploying site mailboxes, creating a database availability group, and more.

Microsoft has also invested in ways to deepen the connection with the Exchange technical community. A dedicated Microsoft Exchange Community site was created as a hub for community buzz, news articles, event content, training, demos, and more. The Twitter hashtag #iammec has been very popular and active and the @MSFTExchange profile is regularly monitored and engaged.

The TechNet Exchange forums have been reorganized and consolidated in such a way that offers options to ask questions about many workloads and scenarios about both the new Exchange and previous versions of Exchange.

And for Exchange Online, forums are available for questions about administration, development, migration and hybrid deployments, and more. Wiki topics are also available for Exchange Online.

B.K. Winstead, a senior associate editor and writer of Exchange Server and related topics on Windows IT Pro magazine’s Exchange and Outlook blog, posted a couple fairly positive overviews of MEC, Microsoft, and the vibrant Exchange community: “What I Learned at MEC: The C is for Community” and “Microsoft Exchange Conference: MEC 2012 Wrap-Up in Pictures.”  

To stay in touch with all things Exchange, the EHLO Exchange Team Blog is the foremost resource for news directly from the Exchange product team and expert partners. Since March 2011, EHLO remains one of the top-ranking technical product blogs on both TechNet and MSDN combined.

MEC is back, fully fueled and ready for a new Exchange.

Thanks for reading,


Nina Ruchirat

Nina Ruchirat*, Senior Content Project Manager, sits in the Office Content Publishing group and is a liaison for the technical communities of Office, Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, Lync, Project, and their related products and technologies. She has worked on various technical and non-technical content projects at Microsoft since 2000. Before that, she was a daily metro newspaper journalist at the* Seattle Post-Intelligencer*. Follow Nina on Twitter at @MSNinaR.*