Upgrading To Microsoft Exchange 2007?

We are often approached by companies who are considering a Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 (aka Exchange 2007) upgrade. Ultimately, most are considering the upgrade because they are swimming in data — mail stores are overflowing, backups take too long,  e-discovery searches are incredibly difficult and expensive.  Even end-users can’t find anything.  Not to mention the growing management costs at a time when most CEOs are looking to cut the bottom line.

The good news is, Exchange 2007 can help with some of these challenges.The 64-bit support and various server roles in Exchange 2007 can help you handle a lot more data, but it may not help from a cost perspective since you’ll still have to store all that information.  The managed folders, in Exchange 2007, can help end-users control how long they are keeping messages around and search capabilities in Outlook are getting better, but they don't lead to legally defensible corporate retention policies or offer a true e-discovery solution.

An upgrade to Exchange 2007 is likely part of the answer to the great pools of data, but you need a plan that addresses how you handle the problems Exchange doesn’t cover. 

First, define your priorities.  There will undoubtedly be trade-offs.  User experience, controlling costs, and maximizing reliability are all important to every company, but their relative importance varies.  Second, make sure you understand what e-mail you have to keep.  Compliance requirements for your company, legal holds, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and corporate policies can all affect what email is necessary.  We’ve got some great information here on what to consider when doing e-mail archiving. On the flip side, make sure you understand what e-mail you can/should/must destroy.  Augmenting Exchange 2007 with an e-mail archive can enforce these requirements and take into account your priorities.  Just make sure your solution does not add multiple copies of each email back into your environment, which makes  things much harder and more expensive.

Customers are increasingly looking at how they can use “the cloud” to deal with the deluge of data, and compliment what Exchange 2007 offers.  Cloud solutions for e-mail archiving can eliminate internal hardware and associated hosting and administrative costs.  Today, some solutions can even replace multiple internal systems and internal copies of data by providing a variety of uses for the data such as disaster recovery, continuity and legal holds.

We recently hosted a webinar on the topic of Exchange 2007 migration with one of Microsoft’s Exchange MVPs so take a look at that if you’re considering a move. The Dell TechCenter team has also written a bit on the topic of Exchange Migration.

Let me know if your company has recently completed a migration and how it went.

About the Author: Scott Griffin