Q

Upgrading from GroupWise to Exchange 2003

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My company is looking to upgrade our current e-mail system from GroupWise to Exchange 2003 using Windows 2003 and high availability is a must. Can you suggest any products to look at? VERITAS perhaps?

Also what is your take on hardware high availability solutions compared to software solutions? Same question for SQL 2000 on Windows 2003


As I've written many times in this space, high availability is what you need it to be. I suspect that what you're asking for is really advice on a clustering solution that will cluster Windows. You're right, of course, VERITAS Cluster Server will do a fine job. (Full disclosure time: I do work for VERITAS and have for over seven years.) While I believe that VCS is the best clustering product on the market, I can certainly understand why some people would think that my opinions are a little biased. I encourage my readers to discuss this topic (clustering products for Windows, not whether or not I am biased...) in one of the .JPZOa1i3LaF.0@/searchstorage>SearchStorage.com forums.

Before you cluster though, make sure that you also employ disk mirroring and appropriate quick backups. You may choose to employ other types of protection too, including replication or remote failover.

As for whether I prefer hardware of software solutions for high availability, the real answer is that you need both. Hardware mirroring, for example, is very useful and will deliver great performance while protecting you against disk failure. However, dedicated hardware to perform this function can be very expensive and it has its limitations (hardware mirroring cannot generally extend its mirroring outside of a single disk array, for example).

Both hardware and software are vital in any critical system. The hardware must be reliable, and will likely include functions that increase overall availability, but they run on software. Clustering requires software. Replication can run on dedicated disk arrays or on JBODs, but in either case software makes it work.

I hope this helps. Good luck and don't hesitate to write back if you have more questions.

Editor's note: Do you agree with this expert's response? If you have more to share, post it in one of our .bphAaR2qhqA^0@/searchstorage>discussion forums.


This was first published in January 2004

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