Addressing Exchange Backup Woes

CommVault, Oceanport, N.J., introduced QiNetix DataArchiver, which provides secure Exchange data stores for long-term retention and accessibility of e-mails.

The application enables companies to manage multiple copies of e-mails, set retention schedules for individual e-mails, and allow authorized users to search and access archival data for compliance or discovery purposes, CommVault executives said.

Melville, N.Y.-based FalconStor introduced new snapshot capabilities to its IPStor software suite, which allow backup and restore of individual messages or entire mailboxes under Exchange Server 2003, company executives said.

And Marlborough, Mass.-based LiveVault introduced version 4 of its LiveVault Online Backup and Recovery Service. Features include the ability to automatically detect, create and maintain policies to protect Exchange data. LiveVault automatically recognizes changes made to the Exchange information store, then protects the changes so they can be recovered easily.

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Software from ConnVault and FalconStor, along with a new service from LiveVault, join an already crowded market.

The three vendors join an already crowded market. In the past year, vendors such as Veritas Software, Computer Associates International and ArcServe have added features or modules specifically for dealing with Exchange e-mails.

The reasons for all of this attention: First, a raft of new regulatory requirements from the federal government have made e-mail retention and management a new imperative in corporations around the country. Second, Exchange data can be extraordinarily difficult to manage and back up.

"With e-mails and Exchange, everybody has the packrat syndrome," said Kevin Reith, manager of strategic technology at Info Systems, a Wilmington, Del.-based solution provider. "No one likes to delete anything. As an Exchange database grows, it can take the server down," he said.

And Exchange grows dramatically every time users send out multiple e-mails with the same attachment, with each attachment being separately stored, said Jeff Manuszak, storage architect at Chi, a solution provider based in Warrensville Heights, Ohio.

Then there's the issue of backing up the Exchange information store. One way to handle that chore is to back up the entire store while servers are online, which could take hours for very large information stores, solution providers said. Plus, anyone wanting to restore a single e-mail must restore the entire information repository.

Alternatively, Exchange administrators could mirror Exchange files to another server for backing up. But that process requires extra storage and server resources, and it could still miss information that has been stored in the cache. Information could be broken up and dispersed among multiple servers, but that means independently managing each store.