Exchange Data Store Change Still in the Cards

Microsoft says it remains committed to unifying the Exchange database store with the SQL Server database store going forward. They just don't know exactly when yet.

Editors Note: This is the first in a series of articles that looks at how Microsoft plans to meet the enterprise needs of the mission-critical e-mail, calendaring and messaging market.

While Exchange 2007, the upcoming e-mail, calendaring and messaging server from Microsoft, is still based on the Extensible Storage Engine, a derivative of the Jet database store, the company says it remains committed to unifying this with the SQL Server database store going forward.

They just dont know exactly when yet.

Officials such as Terry Myerson, the general manager of the Exchange Server product group, argue that there is ultimately more value for customers by staying on the Jet engine in Exchange 2007, the second, public beta of which is expected to ship as early as late July, with the final product likely in late 2006 or early 2007.

/zimages/3/28571.gifRead more here about how Exchange 2007 is expected to have something for all.

"We are delivering incredible value around storage in Exchange 2007 and reducing costs with the 64-bit optimizations and building the applications database. These are features that are done a little differently in SQL Server and are optimized for Exchange," he said.

Theres more value from Microsoft keeping Exchange 2007 on Jet than if it had moved to SQL but, he said, it would have been different value if it had moved, "so its comparing apples with oranges."

Some customers agree. Joel Stidley, a senior solutions engineer at Data Return, in Texas, which provides strategic enterprise IT operations services and is an early adopter of the product through the Exchange TAP (Technology Adoption Program), said that when the rumors started years ago about the possibility of Microsoft ditching Jet for the SQL back end, the promise seemed exciting.

"Over the years though, the improvements that have been made to the stability, performance and recoverability of Jet have really reduced the importance of moving to the SQL engine. I am sure there can be more benefits gained from moving to SQL, but along with that will be a number of technological hurdles to overcome," he said.

/zimages/3/28571.gifTo read more about early concerns that extensive retraining and high costs would be involved in moving to Exchange 2007, click here.

The decision to moving to the SQL store had to be prioritized against all the other management functionality the Exchange team was working on, like the new scripting shell, based on Windows PowerShell, and "which I think is the most exciting thing weve done at Microsoft for management in a long time," Myerson said.

Next Page: Challenges and breakthroughs.