Enhancing Microsoft Exchange: Storage
“Just buy more storage!”
How many times have you heard that statement or something to that effect over the last few years when faced with large scale information growth?
The truth is we are all suffering from a data explosion, whether that is content specific (email) or just a result of the way you regularly interact with friends, family and colleagues (social media). The difference now is that truly we are reaching the limits of just buying or provisioning more storage to solve this problem. What do you realistically do with 500TB of PST file data? How to you unravel 10TB of Exchange mailbox database information?
The more information we hoard and store away the harder it eventually becomes to find that information and the harder it becomes for businesses to ensure that critical data is stored safely and that other non-critical data is not. It also becomes harder to enforce any kind of deletion of that data because, simply put, where do you start?
Well, let’s start with email and specifically Exchange Server 2010. As you consider your migration options, consider why you are moving to this new Exchange version. Take advantage of new features? Almost certainly. Use the much improved database high availability? Definitely. Allow end users to store more data in their mailboxes than ever before? Hang on a second - are you sure about that?
Microsoft are as guilty as the next party in sometimes not considering the bigger picture with regards to a good data management policy, and their insistence in “owning” the data without providing a valid means to manage it is just a another way of saying “just buy more storage”. More data in a user’s mailbox (or the Exchange personal archive – which is just another mailbox) compounds the long term data management headache. More specifically, how are you improving matters by just increasing the end user quota. End users (and your storage vendors) will love you for it; your Exchange and Backup administrators will be pulling out their hair, and your CIO will be scratching his head wondering how on earth he is ever going to enforce a good information management policy.
Buying more storage does not solve the data management headache; it delays making a decision. So if you need to make a decision, then what will you need to help solve this riddle:
- You’ll need a way to store and delete data in a controlled and repeatable manner, both long and short term.
- You’ll need a way to ensure you stay in control of the type of storage you use to hold this data, taking advantage of an ever competitive storage market. The cost of storage is predicted to increase over the next 12-18 months as a result of the disastrous flooding of many parts of Thailand – home of the major global HDD manufacturing facilities. Ensuring you can move easily between different storage technologies can offer substantial cost savings.
- You’ll need a way to ensure that whatever data you do store is compressed and optimized using single instance technology – make the most of your storage (that has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?).
- You’ll need a way to ensure that whatever happens, end users retain access and control over their data, regardless of where and how they work or whether they are on or offline.
- Finally you’ll need a way to ensure that long term you can reuse this same capability for more than just email but ultimately for all types of information (information governance nirvana).
Season's greetings from the Enterprise Vault team!