What Customers Want
Scalixs Farris said the jury was still out on whether unified messaging is a big draw for customers. The top priority for customers today is getting to a secure, reliable messaging environment that is cost-effective and efficient in terms of the human capital required to support it, she said. "Time and again, weve had customers tell us that more features, bells and whistles are not what they want," she said."We havent seen it bubble up as a priority for most organizations to date. I believe that the time for unified messaging will come when VOIP [voice over IP] is more broadly deployed behind the firewall," she said. While Microsoft is still looking at plans to unify the SQL Server and Exchange Server database stores over time, this will not happen in Exchange 12, which is based on the Extensible Storage Engine, a derivative of the Jet database store, Microsofts Ressler said. "A lot of the original advantages that we were going to get from going to a SQL-type store we already have in Exchange now. While this was very attractive five years ago, the bar has been set higher today, as we will have 64-bit in Exchange 12, we will have better failover and disaster recovery and we have a Web services API," he said. But Scalixs Farris disagreed with that, saying that the underlying architecture of Exchange suffers from more than its fair share of reliability and security problems, the fundamental causes of which have not been addressed in Exchange 12. The Exchange message store, based on the Jet database, is prone to corruptions and is difficult to manage and maintain, she said, adding, "This is a long-standing, known problem, and plans to replace the Exchange message store have been iteratively postponed." At the same time, Exchange upgrades have come to mean a perpetual rearchitecture of customers e-mail environments, she said. For example, with Exchange 12, the requirement for 64-bit hardware means that customers will once again have to upgrade their hardware to use Exchange 12, she said. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
What customers want, Farris said, is greater simplicity, reliability and security, and Scalix already supports unified messaging and has been monitoring customer demand in this arena for some time.