Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Five reasons to start using MS Exchange 2010

During the last weeks, close to the launch of Exchange 2010, I received a lot of questions regarding the grounds to move to Exchange 2010. I will try to provide my top five reasons to do that.
This means that I won’t compare the new version of MS Exchange with any system that you might use right now because it’s irrelevant. I will tell it’s useful and cool from my perspective as a person that watched the evolution of this product from more than ten years and it is trilled with what he see. Even the product it’s not as revolutionary as it was Exchange 2007, there are a lot of new and improved things that I think will make this product a “blockbuster”
So here it’s my top five:
1. Inexpensive storage – Exchange 2007 required using expensive storage based on SCSI or SAS technology and the only recommended RAID array was RAID10.
With Exchange 2010, the IOPS were dramatically reduced (up to 70%) and now you can use inexpensive SATA storage with RAID5 arrays.
2. Customized disclaimers – we have a customer that traditionally was using Lotus Notes as email solution. I won’t say that it was a bad or a good solution. What I will say is that it was very easy to setup email signatures for each user without expecting the user to do the task.
Now, in Exchange 2010, you can put signatures for each users based on his attributes from Active Directory. It’s just a transport rule that can be implemented in 10 minutes. And you can add even pictures to the signature.
3. Data Availability Groups – I implemented the first high availability (HA) email solution using Exchange 2000 and it was quite difficult to do it. And more than this, you couldn’t have features like geographical distributed clusters (using only Microsoft’s tools) - it was just a cluster with shared storage.
Exchange 2007 was a huge improvement, but it was still complicated to implement HA solutions based on it. You still had to configure a Windows cluster and there were too many options like Cluster Continuous Replication (CCR), Local Continuous Replication (LCR) or standby continuous replication (SCR).
Now everything is based on Data Availability Groups (DAG) that are configured directly from Exchange console or Shell. And you can replicate your data to up to 16 servers each of them using different hardware.
4. Moderated emails – My Company is working in IT services area and the customer service approach is very important to us. When somebody new has hired in my company, for a certain time when he was sending emails to clients somebody else had to check the emails in order to see if they were compliant with our customer service policy. It was a manual process and the user could send at any time emails to the customers without his supervisor knowledge.
With Exchange 2010 it’s possible to automate this process and send automatically all external emails of a user for approval.

5. Exchange control panel – In the old Exchange versions all the management was made traditionally by the administrator. Now some easy but time consuming tasks can be delegated to normal users. And all are performed from email client (ex. group management, multimailbox search)

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