There are lots of reasons to protect Microsoft Exchange. A few “whys” and move on to “how” in fact, one could probably devote an entire article to simply building the case for Exchange protection; but instead, let’s simply list.
* It could be argued that no application details as numerous elements of a company as Exchange. Through the delivery space to your administrator boardroom, almost every working job function has some level of dependency on e-mail. Hence, when the e-mail server is unavailable, the organization that is entire affected.
* With regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley, as well as those pertaining to financial and healthcare institutions, the retention of e-mail is now an ethical responsibility of one’s career. Other laws, such as E-SIGN, bind electronic agreements with the same validity as written contracts.
* And finally, whilst the above two examples are “internal”, most companies rely on e-mail as part of doing business, externally today. From distributing information between time zones, to coordinating a lunch location, email server hosting is now often the most business that is critical for most companies.
So, the relevant question becomes “How can I effectively and affordably protect Exchange?” Before considering solutions, one should first understand the difficulties around protecting Microsoft Exchange.
* Exchange data is held in numerous directories with exceptionally large interdependent files. In even the most simple configurations, tens to hundreds of mailboxes can be stored in a single “information store” file.
* Exchange data are constantly in use and remain open by the application. Even though the files might be sporadically closed, the use that is 24X7 of requires them to be available all of the time.
* The above two facts combined need a window that is”backup and specialized, and typically expensive, software (called backup agents) to appear inside the apply for old-fashioned backup.
* And to make matters more complicated, the current versions of Microsoft Exchange (2000 and 2003) are influenced by Windows active directory. This necessitates other external information to also be protected in order to make sure the resilience of one’s e-mail system.
Collectively, its safe to say that Microsoft Exchange could very well be one of the most difficult applications to back up. For that good reason, many IT administrators have started looking at various choices for Microsoft Exchange security and access.
From a “protection” perspective, tape back-up is thought. However, as you steps enough time and energy necessary to backup windows and restore tapes, we are forced to concede that tape backup alone is insufficient–when you consider that tape back-up happens just nightly, that could bring about up to an day that is entire of loss should a failure occur. In the full instance of email, a lot of that data loss is unrecoverable. Then, during times during the crisis and restoration, recovery from tape is usually calculated in hours.
For many, the assumption is that truly the only other available technology is synchronous storage hardware that is mirrored. Instead of attempting to “backup” or protect the Exchange data from an application perspective (which forces all of the complexities that were mentioned earlier), some IT administrators simply protect the storage. The data can be protected by providing a second storage solution and allowing the storage fabric to maintain synchronization.
The positive aspect of protecting the storage (and not the application) is that the solution becomes application independent. By protecting the storage, we can protect every application with the same functionality, and not restrict ourselves by “agents for Exchange” or every other application.
The negatives of synchronous storage revolve mostly around expense (like the price of the 2 storage space arrays) as well as the textile, controllers and synchronization software. You can add the cost of a “storage supervisor” or other specific with specialized storage skills. And on top of this, for almost any level of genuine distance, one must also add the price of bandwidth–which is considerable when pressing blocks around and being determined by a acknowledgment that is fast to your nature of synchronous replication.
Therefore the most of us find ourselves stuck somewhere in between. We recognize that nightly tape backup just isn’t adequate for protecting one of our most important applications, but we cannot afford hardware that is synchronous. Perhaps this is why a continually growing number of companies are deploying host-based replication software.
* In contrast to tape back-up, which happens only nightly, host-based replication software transmits changes to any or all the Exchange files in real-time. The mark content is obviously just seconds behind.
* It offers comparable advantages to hardware that is synchronous that its application independent.
As it is a solution that is software-only one might say that replication software “protects like synchronous disk, with costs comparable to or less than tape”. There is probably a little literary license on both sides of this expression, but you get the concept..