A tool designed to simplify migration from Microsoft Exchange 5.5 to Microsoft Exchange 2003 just might provide the incentive necessary for companies that havent yet made the switch.
The newest version of NearPoint for Microsoft Exchange Server, from Mimosa Systems, of Santa Clara, Calif., takes a different approach from other products designed to help companies migrate their data and files.
Instead of using Exchanges journaling feature or MAPI (Messaging API) to capture data from Exchange, NearPoint uses a backup interface called Extensible Storage Engine to help capture data at the transaction log level. This helps avoid performance drags on the Exchange Server and offers more complete data capturing.
Using this method, NearPoint initiates an initial database backup and transfers all collected data to a NearPoint Server.
“From that point, we never have to do another full backup, because we look at the transaction log on the Exchange server,” said Mike Ivanov, Mimosas vice president of product marketing.
“We monitor the transaction logs and as soon as one gets closed and another one opens, we make a copy of that, bring it over to our server, and on a periodic basis we apply that transaction log to the NearPoint database copy. So … we always have an up-to-date database that can be used for recovery.”
“Capturing data in this manner is a real differentiator, and makes a lot of sense, especially for environments with massive amounts of data,” said David Via, an analyst with Ferris Research, in San Francisco.
“Server journaling only captures messages, whereas transaction logs capture everything that happens in a users mailbox, whether its a contact, a calendar entry or moving things between folders,” he said. “If a company is in a strict compliance environment, this method might give them a more complete record of what happens.”
With Mimosas approach, customers dont have to worry about moving tens or hundreds of gigabytes of information from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2003, because all historical data is copied and deposited into the NearPoint archives. “So you have new mailboxes, but you can access all of your historical information through your Mimosa archive folder,” Ivanov said.
This capability may help push companies still running on Microsoft Exchange 5.5 to finally migrate to Exchange Server 2003, Via said.
“Companies with lots of data they need to offload before they make the switch can do it pretty easily with this. It allows them to do the housecleaning and get the data into an archive before they migrate a smaller subset of that data. It helps them start with a clean house,” he said.
The product also offers a variety of self-service options for users. In Outlook, for example, users can access a folder called Mimosa Archive that provides three types of search capabilities: a quick search, a browse view or an advanced search. Each type searches all data in the Mimosa archive, including data from Exchange 5.5, 2000 and 2003, as well as .pst data if they have chosen the .pst archive option, all within one browser.
Mimosa NearPoint for Microsoft Exchange Server is available immediately, at $9,995 for 100 mailboxes, or at roughly $40 per mailbox for more than 2,000 mailboxes.