There are many reasons to protect Microsoft Exchange. In fact, one could probably devote an entire article to simply building the case for Exchange protection; but instead, let’s simply list a few “whys” and move on to “how”.
* It could possibly be argued that no application touches as much parts of a business as Exchange. From the delivery room towards the executive boardroom, nearly every working job function has some level of dependency on e-mail. Hence, when the e-mail server is unavailable, the entire organization is impacted.
* With laws like Sarbanes-Oxley, as well as those regarding economic and healthcare institutions, the retention of e-mail is becoming an ethical responsibility of one’s career. Other laws, such as E-SIGN, bind electronic agreements with the same validity as penned contracts.
* And finally, as 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.
Therefore, the 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 multiple directories with excessively large interdependent files. In even the most simple configurations, tens to hundreds of mailboxes can be stored in a”information that is single” file.
* Exchange data files are constantly in use and stay open by the application. Regardless if the files could possibly be periodically closed, the use that is 24X7 of requires them to be available all of the time.
* The above two facts combined need a “backup window” and specialized, and typically expensive, software (called backup agents) to appear within the file for old-fashioned backup.
* And to make things more technical, the current variations of Microsoft Exchange (2000 and 2003) are determined by Windows directory that is active. This necessitates other external information to also be protected so that you can guarantee the resilience of one’s e-mail system.
Collectively, it is safe to state that Microsoft Exchange is perhaps one of the more applications that are difficult back up. For that explanation, many IT administrators have started considering various alternatives for Microsoft Exchange security and availability.
From a “protection” perspective, tape backup is assumed. Nonetheless, as one measures the time and effort required to backup windows and restore tapes, we’re forced to concede that tape backup alone is insufficient–when you think about that tape back-up occurs just nightly, which could result in as much as 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. And then, during times of crisis and restoration, recovery from tape is normally calculated in hours.
For some, the assumption is that the sole 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 virtually any application.
The negatives of synchronous storage revolve mostly around cost (including the price of the 2 storage space arrays) as well as the material, controllers and synchronization pc software. Adding the cost of a “storage supervisor” or other specific with specialized storage abilities. And on top of that, for just about any degree of genuine distance, one must also add the price of bandwidth–which is considerable when pushing blocks around and being dependent on a fast acknowledgment due towards the nature of synchronous replication.