Microsoft releases Exchange 2019 – but there's no way to deploy it

Exchange 2019 was one of four Office-related server products that went final on Oct. 22; because Windows Server 2019 remains in software purgatory, Exchange 2019 can't be used, or even tested.

Microsoft on Monday released Exchange 2019, the newest version of its venerable email server. But with Windows Server 2019 still in software purgatory, customers were unable to deploy or even test the on-premises, perpetual-license software.

"We're pleased to announce the final build of Exchange Server 2019 is now available and can be downloaded from the Volume Licensing Service Center," Microsoft announced in a blog post.

Exchange 2019 was one of four Office-related server products that went final on Oct. 22, completing the roll-out of the next-generation editions of Microsoft's one-time-payment Office software. The other titles that debuted were Project Server 2019, Skype for Business Server 2019 and SharePoint Server 2019. Along with Office 2019, they comprise the alternative to the largely-Azure-based Office 365 subscriptions for the enterprise.

Though an Exchange 2019 public preview has been available since July and Microsoft said the completed software could be downloaded, there is no way to immediately install it to a physical or virtual server.

"We're aware all media for Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server, version 1809 has been temporarily removed," Microsoft said in that same post. "Microsoft will provide an update when refreshed media is available. Exchange Server 2019 will be fully compatible with version 1809, and the refreshed version."

Exchange 2019 requires Windows Server 2019. The other three Office-related servers can be installed on Windows Server 2016 as well as Windows Server 2019 when the latter is available.

Microsoft rolled out Windows Server 2019 and Windows 10 version 1809 on Oct. 2, but days later pulled them from public distribution because of a bug that deleted user files in several default folders, including the all-important Document folder. The company blocked access to the software - in the case of Windows Server 2019, Microsoft removed it from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) and Azure Marketplace - and warned customers who had downloaded but not installed it to ditch the disk image.

The snafu was an interesting example of the ties that bind Microsoft's operating system and Office products. While Microsoft typically trumpets the integration between the two and their semi-synchronized release schedules, the disappearance of Windows Server 2019 - and the Exchange 2019 fallout - was probably not an aspect of the alliance that the company anticipated.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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