From The Founder and Senior Analyst of ZapThink

Ron Schmelzer

Subscribe to Ron Schmelzer: eMailAlertsEmail Alerts
Get Ron Schmelzer: homepageHomepage mobileMobile rssRSS facebookFacebook twitterTwitter linkedinLinkedIn

Related Topics: Microsoft Developer

Blog Post

The Case for Continued 3rd-Party Support of Exchange Server

Exchange 2007 has not reached end-of-support, but has been depreciated

Exchange 2010 has been released to the public, and with it comes a whole array of compliance, archiving, redundancy and other features. While this would – on the face of things – appear that Microsoft is crowding out vendors who create 3rd-Party solutions for Exchange, under the surface lies a set of opportunities for those same vendors.

Of primary concern is legacy support. Microsoft is famous for limiting or eliminating support for earlier versions of Exchange with each new release, and 2010 is no exception to that paradigm.  Support for Exchange 2000 is completely discontinued, and 2003 has moved to the Extended Life Cycle, meaning no additional feature sets will be produced, only security and bug fixes.  Exchange 2007 has not reached end-of-support, but has been severely depreciated in terms of development and marketing efforts in the Microsoft world.  This leaves approximately 75% of the market (a rough estimate) who will not be able to take advantage of any of the new technologies in the near future.  Using Exchange 2007 adoption rates as seen by Double-Take Software as a guide, demand for Exchange 2010 will not begin to exceed demand for its predecessor until at least 12 months past release date in most geographic regions.

For these clients (ranging from SMB to large enterprise organization sizes), technology to provide for basic functionality like non-cluster-dependent failover and backup/recovery solution sets requires that 3rd-Party vendors like Double-Take Software continue to provide robust and stable systems to the general public.  Our legacy support for Exchange 2000 and continued support and development around Exchange 2003 and 2007 will continue to make us a firm leader in this market space.  Our innovations in this field can easily put us ahead of the pack, which has repeatedly shown that they will throw all development efforts toward the newest version of the software, without considering the impact that will have on the majority of the marketplace.

This is not to say that we will not continue to innovate and create solutions for the newer version of Exchange Server.  Development efforts underway at the time this article was drafted will allow Double-Take Software to provide both extended High Availability that goes beyond the native solution sets (Database Availability Groups) and breach the gap between those native solutions and total-enterprise recovery requirements.  This will not, however, be done at the expense of the majority of the market who will be on those legacy Exchange platforms for the near and mid-range future.

During the period of migration from legacy systems to Exchange 2010, Double-Take Software products can offer yet another opportunity to our end-user community.  Protection of not only the legacy systems, but of data housed within them can insure a “fail-safe” for accidents that often occur during migrations as complex as Exchange requires.  If something goes wrong, the legacy system can be either immediately failed over to another piece of hardware, or else recovered in its entirety at a point in time just before the failure.  Individual mailbox information can be safely restored to either the original server or to a PST in the event a single mailbox move does not complete properly.  When everything is migrated, a historically correct version of the legacy servers can be obtained and safeguarded prior to the servers’ decommissioning.  This allows for both legal compliance, and the ability to recover data and systems that may be required for business purposes at some future date.

While we at Double-Take Software will continue to move forward with the state of Exchange Server technology, we have a firm commitment to continued support for legacy versions of the Messaging and Collaboration Platform.  We will continue to add extended options for availability, recover and flexibility of all Exchange Server workloads, regardless of version and server role.  This will allow us to position in the marketplace as a universal Exchange Server tool-set, not limited to any one version or restricted to only partial protection.  Now, and in the future, we will innovate to support the latest and greatest solution sets, while working to ensure our clients are protected throughout their entire organization.

More Stories By Mike Talon

Mike Talon is a technology professional living and working in New York City. Having worked for companies from individual consult firms through Fortune 500 organizations, he’s had the opportunity to design systems from all over the technological spectrum. This has included day-to-day systems solutions engineering through advanced Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning work. Currently a Subject Matter Expert in Microsoft Exchange technologies for Double-Take Software, Mike is constantly learning to live life well in these very interesting times.