A month in advance of the Ignite Conference, an anonymous source within the Exchange Product Group tells us Exchange 2016 is being built on, and will run entirely inside of, Minecraft. Check out my exlusive interview below!
FixTheExchange: Why Minecraft?!
Anonymous Exchange Product Group Person: We were really excited when Microsoft bought Minecraft. We'd seen how a few players had built working Word Processors and even Hard Drives inside of Minecraft, and thought it would be fun to build the next version of Exchange entirely inside of Minecraft. With the improvments to Managed Availability we've made since introducing it in Exchange 2013, Exchange practically runs itself. Systems Administrators are getting bored, we wanted to make Exchange fun and challenging again. We also thought that by building it entirely within Minecraft, we might attract a younger generation of coders to join our team, keeping Exchange fresh and exciting for years to come.
FixTheExchange: What challenges did you face building such a complex product within Minecraft?
Anonymous Exchange Product Group Person: It was slow going at first. We weren't quite sure how to go about things. We tried to build the first version on "Survival Mode", which is the default mode. It took a really long time to gather the materials needed, and our hard work kept getting blown up by "Creepers". One of our developers almost quit when a Creeper blew him up along with a section of the new Transport Pipeline that he'd been working on for days. We ended up starting over on "Creative Mode" after that, and things went a lot smoother from then on.
FixTheExchange: What about Office 365, doesn't everything start there before going On-Premises now?
Anonymous Exchange Product Group Person: Yes! We haven't changed that. In fact Office 365 is literally built in the clouds! We built it near the block limit. When you enter the Exchange 2016 Minecraft world, Office 365 can be seen looming everywhere above you at all times. Hybrid is even easier than ever, you just build a ramp from your on-premises deployment on the ground up to Office 365 in the clouds. The ramp contains 2 minecart tracks, 1 for inbound traffic and 1 for outbound.
FixTheExchange: How will you administer it?
Anonymouse Exchange Product Group Person: That's the fun part! For example, if you want to provision a mailbox for a person, you have to actually build them a mailbox, the same way you'd build a house if you were playing Minecraft.
FixTheExchange: What's your favorite new feature?
Anonymous Exchange Product Group Person: Hololens integration! It's an incredibly immersive experience. Imagine sitting in your datacenter, you put on your Hololens, and your instantly transported into your Exchange 2016 environment.
FixTheExchange: Sounds awesome! When will it be released?
Anonymous Exchange Product Group Person: When it's ready.
There you have it, you heard it here first!
Josh M. Bryant is currently a Director of Technical Product Management at Tanium where he builds products that help customers overcome the challenges of managing very large scale computing environments. Prior to joining Tanium, he was a Premier Field Engineer at Microsoft specializing in Microsoft Exchange Server, and then later a Cybersecurity Architect specializing in Compromise Recovery.