By Henry Baltazar  |  Posted 2005-09-12 Print this article Print

Blending e-mail archiving capabilities and continuous data protection, Mimosa Systems Inc.s NearPoint for Microsoft Exchange Server software is an interesting newcomer in the hotly contested e-mail management space.

eWEEK Labs tests show that NearPoint for Microsoft Exchange Server will be attractive to many companies—especially those looking for speedy mailbox recovery. However, as its name implies, the product supports only Exchange mail servers. IT managers who want to archive file systems, Lotus Notes or other data sources will have to look elsewhere.

NearPoint, which shipped in June, is priced at $9,995 and runs on Windows Server 2003. It should be installed on a machine with similar processing power and RAM to the Exchange server being archived but with three to five times the amount of storage.

NearPoints storage requirements might seem excessive, but the storage used can be NAS (network-attached storage) or SATA (Serial ATA)-based to reduce cost and neednt come from expensive Fibre Channel-based arrays.

To read eWEEK Labs evaluation of e-mail auditing tools, click here. NearPoint, like most of its rival e-mail archive solutions, removes the burden of storing old content and large files and attachments from the Exchange server, keeping the mail server lean and mean.

The core difference between NearPoint and other Exchange e-mail archive platforms is the way Mimosa moves data from e-mail servers to its archive platform. NearPoint replicates an entire Exchange database using Microsoft Corp.s ESE (Extensible Storage Engine) streaming backup API.

Once replicated to the NearPoint server, Mimosas dynamic log-shipping capabilities ensure that e-mail logs are applied to the archive as soon as Exchange is done with them, thus reducing the chance of data loss.

One nice thing about archiving NearPoints way is that no agents need to be added to Exchange servers or clients. In addition, by copying the entire mail store, NearPoint enables IT managers to restore the entire mail store, a single mailbox or even a single message at will.

In tests, the NearPoint administration console made it easy to recover corrupted e-mail data. We recovered an entire group of mailboxes in a matter of minutes during tests.

The process of creating and applying archive rules for in-boxes is also relatively painless. For example, we easily created a five-year e-mail retention policy for managers and applied it within a matter of minutes, and we could set thresholds to ensure that very large e-mail attachments quickly moved to the archive.

As you would expect in an e-mail archive platform, NearPoint can create auditor roles to allow authorized staff to search through corporate mailboxes. Using the management console, we could control which accounts the assigned auditor could access. The NearPoint Audit interface is integrated into Microsofts Outlook, unlike solutions such as Symantec Corp.s Veritas Enterprise Vault, where a separate Web-based tool is available for auditors.

Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.


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