Exchange 2010: Five Reasons Why I'm Upgrading

Exchange 2010 ships next week, facing more heat than ever from Google Apps and other hosted offerings. Here's a look at one CIO's decision-making process and the five key reasons why he chose on-premises Exchange 2010.

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Tue, November 03, 2009
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Another voicemail feature in Exchange 2010 that Lifetime will use is the ability to centrally manage employees' voicemail and e-mail using the Active Directory service in Windows Server 2008 R2, rather than having a separate voicemail system with a separate directory.

"The cost savings from avoiding a third-party voicemail maintenance contract is around $43,000 a year," Bowden says.

Downtime Protection

More significant for IT, says Bowden, is a feature in Exchange 2010 called DAG (database availability groups), a data replication technology that protects an Exchange server from experiencing downtime.

DAG does both on-site and off-site data replication by storing copies of Lifetime's data on different servers with automatic failover.

"All our employees around the world are connected to the corporate data center in Utah on the same Exchange server," Bowden says. "So we can't have any downtime, even when we do maintenance. What DAG provides is offline databases sitting there waiting to fall back on if you need them."

Preventing Information Leaks in E-mail

Lifetimes plans to use the beefed up IRM (information rights managment) features in Exchange 2010 and Windows Server 2008 R2 to prevent the sending of sensitive e-mail messages and attachments.

Exchange 2010 automatically identifies corporate keywords predefined by IT that a company would not like to go outside the company.

"Right now we have content filtering of words and phrases coming into the company's e-mail system, but with Exchange 2010 we can protect what's going out. It will help with compliance," Bowden says.

Sharing with Supply Chain Partners

Lifetime also plans to use Exchange 2010 to collaborate with partners and customers through a feature called Federation for Exchange Server 2010. This feature allows Lifetime employees to share calendars and distribution lists with partners and customers, as if they belonged to the same organization.

Bowden expects Lifetime to use Federation the most during research and development, when there are frequent meetings with supply chain partners about deadlines and schedules.

"We work closely with our supply chain vendors. Calendars are always something our R&D people are dealing with, so Federation in Exchange Server 2010 should add value there."

Saving with Cheaper Storage

Exchange 2010 has 70 percent less disk I/O (input/ouput) requirements than Exchange 2007, according to Microsoft. Thus, Lifetime is able to use the slower, cheaper disks of DAS (direct-attached storage).

Bowden says using the DAS approach will be 80 percent cheaper than the SAN (storage area network) that Lifetime has been using.

Shane O'Neill is a senior writer at CIO.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/smoneill. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter at twitter.com/CIOonline.

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