Exchange Server Subscription Edition Coming Next Year

Microsoft provided a brief update on Tuesday of its Exchange Server roadmap, including the news that Exchange Server Subscription Edition (SE) will be arriving in the third quarter of 2025.

Once released, Exchange Server SE will be "code equivalent" to Exchange Server 2019 CU15 (and maintain the same system requirements of Exchange Server 2019 CU15), except for some minor changes. First, the License agreement will be updated to reflect the new skew. Next, the system name will change from "Microsoft Exchange Server 2019" to "Microsoft Exchange Server Subscription Edition." Finally, the build and version numbers will also be updated.

Exchange Server SE will be available for download via the Microsoft 365 admin center, previously known as the Microsoft Volume License Service Center. It will adopt the same licensing framework as SharePoint Server Subscription Edition, requiring either subscription licenses or active Software Assurance for both server and user licenses. Additionally, Microsoft will maintain the provision of a free Hybrid server license and key, distributed through the Hybrid Configuration Wizard.

Microsoft said the transition to Exchange Server SE from Exchange Server 2019 will not require any modifications to Active Directory and support will continue for environments running at least the Windows Server 2012 R2 forest functional level.

The 2025 release will receive Microsoft's standard update cadence, receiving two cumulative updates per year. Exchange Server Subscription Edition's release in 2025 will also come packed with CU1, which will include:

  • Kerberos for server-to-server communication
  • Adding support for an Admin API and deprecating RPS
  • Removing Outlook Anywhere
  • Removal of support for co-existence with earlier versions

In a blog post announcing the release, Microsoft's Scott Schnoll said that the upcoming release will support legacy upgrades, "which involve building out a new infrastructure and moving namespaces and mailboxes to that new infrastructure." For those still running Exchange 2016, a legacy upgrade to 2019 will be necessary before transitioning to Exchange Server SE.

As for Exchange Server 2019, it will receive its final update (CU15) in the second half of 2024 and will introduce many new features and tweaks to pave the way for organizations to transition to Exchange Server SE. It will also include support for Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.3 and will bring back certificate management in the Exchange admin center (EAC).

About the Author

Chris Paoli (@ChrisPaoli5) is the associate editor for Converge360.


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