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Product: Mimosa Systems NearPoint for Microsoft Exchange Server

posted on 28 August 2008 10:51

Mimosa makes light work of compliant email archiving

NearPoint keeps you on the right side of the law with an email archiving solution that we found extremely easy to deploy and manage. It has a negligible impact on Exchange server performance, provides sophisticated search capabilities and the additional recovery features make it look very good value.

Pros: Easy deployment, minimal resource overheads, additional CDP and disaster recovery included, quality search functions, highly scalable

Cons: Basic reporting can’t be customised by users

With email archiving now subject to a raft of government regulations businesses large and small can’t afford to be caught for non-compliance. There are plenty of archiving solutions on the market but Mimosa’s NearPoint for Microsoft Exchange Server stands out for a number of reasons.

Along with secure email archiving, NearPoint also provides CDP, full disaster recovery and auditing features. A key feature is its use of log shipping where NearPoint copies the Exchange transaction log files to its own dedicated archival storage. This avoids the excessive overheads generated by traditional first generation products that use MAPI or agent based connections. It also doesn’t require Exchange journaling to be enabled for guaranteed capture of emails for compliance.

There are many other benefits to this modus operandi as it allows NearPoint to shadow Exchange databases to provide the facilities to restore the entire server, selected mailbox stores or individual mailboxes. It can also maintain a full lifecycle of archived emails as it captures user’s notes, calendars and tasks as well as records of mails being deleted or moved – functions critical for regulatory compliant audit trails.

NearPoint is simple to deploy as its application server runs on a separate Server 2003 system where it manages all shadowing and archiving operations. We found the well designed MMC snap-in console easy to work with as it kicks off by automatically discovering all Exchange servers on the network. After adding these to NearPoint’s managed Exchange server groups you then enable shadowing to create a copy in the archive which can be located on any form of storage accessible to the host system.

After enabling dynamic log shipping for each Exchange server you can then apply policies to determine how archiving is carried out where you decide what data is to be archived, what should be excluded, retention periods and user access permissions. Overheads are reduced even further as the policies are actually run against the Exchange shadow copy and not the live database.

Clearly, NearPoint keeps a healthy distance from the Exchange servers it’s archiving and the closest it gets is with its mailbox extension policies. These determine how attachments are handled where NearPoint extends attachments into its archive but leaves the email on the server. It also monitors the managed Exchange servers and will use its call home feature to send out notifications if problems are spotted. It can also recover the Exchange database automatically if a critical failure is encountered.

NearPoint can run in complete transparency and doesn’t require any email client configuration. If you wish, you can change the icons for user’s emails to indicate they have been archived and access permissions allow you to decide whether specific users can view, delete or restore archived messages, access other mailbox stores or mailboxes and run searches. You can also view mailboxes at specific points in time – yet another feature that first generation archiving products can’t deliver as they don’t record any historical data.

Product: NearPoint for Microsoft Exchange Server 3.1
Supplier: Mimosa Systems Inc. 0118 963 7860
Price: 500 mailboxes - £35 per mailbox ex. VAT

[By Dave Mitchell, Binary Testing.]


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