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EMC Combines Storage Stack for Exchange

Over the last few years, EMC has found itself controlling a number of the assets that medium-sized businesses might need to consolidate and manage their Microsoft Exchange-based storage.

"We're now a portfolio company through acquisitions," says Todd Donaldson, EMC director of global solutions. "Our customers have asked us, how do we glue all this stuff together? Show us this stuff working in labs. Show us the best practice documentation."

Last week, the storage giant rolled out a packaged offering called EMC Express Solutions for E-mail. The components are many of the items EMC picked up from other companies -- the EMC Clariion storage cabinet, EMC Replication Manager software and EMC Legato EmailXtender.

The result is a hardware and software stack that encompasses nearly everything required between Exchange itself and the tape drive. Donaldson says EMC has tested its top-of-the-line configuration with up to 5,000 users and two years worth of mail.

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Donaldson says EMC's solution stack, which takes up about as much room as a four-way server in a 19-inch rack, will help Exchange administrators with some of their most common problems -- battles with users over mailbox size limits, slow failure recovery and too many e-mail servers to manage.

Inside the cabinet are the RAID-striped mail store, replica disks for fast recovery and extended e-mail archive storage disks. EMC has defined 30 sample configurations to help its channel partners fit a configuration to an organization's size and other requirements.

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In one sample configuration, the mail store is kept on fiber drives. The EMC Replication Manager software is policy management software that will be configured to interface with Exchange and Volume Shadow Copy Services to clone copies of the Exchange database to inexpensive ATA drives, also inside the cabinet. The EMC Legato EmailXtender software controls the cabinet's remaining drives, which are used to store compressed, single-instance copies of messages. EMC contends the extended storage greatly expands mailbox limits, eliminating the problem of users wasting their time managing PST files on their own client systems, which often aren't backed up and also make a nightmare out of legal discovery.

EMC pricing ranges starts at $43,000 for a phased-in approach that doesn't include all the components. For a fully decked-out cabinet for 1,000 users and two years worth of e-mail, expect to pay about $120,000. The 5,000-user version will run about $370,000.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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