By Ann Silverthorn
—EMC this week introduced Storage Administrator for Exchange software for mid-sized enterprises (MSEs) and small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The product works exclusively with EMC's Clariion AX and CX series networked storage systems and is designed to simplify Microsoft Exchange storage administration tasks and improve e-mail availability.
The software was released to a few customers in April of 2005, but general availability is now slated for next month.
The software's origins are found in LiveEx, a product of Allocity, a software company that EMC acquired in October 2004. LiveEx was developed to store Exchange data on EMC hardware.
As a plug-in to the Microsoft Exchange System Manager interface, Storage Administrator for Exchange allows users to manage e-mail, migrate data, and manage SAN storage from the Exchange server console. It is targeted at organizations that manage up to 3,000 Exchange mailboxes and have implemented, or will implement, networked storage.
Many of the MSE and SMB customers EMC is targeting are still using direct-attached storage (DAS), but could benefit from the cost savings of networked storage, according to Katie Curtin-Mestre, director of Clariion software marketing at EMC. She notes that those companies don't have dedicated storage teams and don't want storage to be more complicated than it already is.
Addressing the benefits of networked storage, Curtin-Mestre says, "In a networked storage environment, if one Exchange server fails the company can quickly resume operations and move Exchange storage groups over to a second server. The Clariion arrays provide redundancy with dual storage processors, and the storage itself is protected with RAID."
In addition to the challenge of transitioning from DAS to networked storage, EMC estimates that half of the companies that use Exchange are still using Exchange 5.5 and/or Exchange 2000. Storage Administrator for Exchange only works with Exchange 2003, so the software has tools for upgrading to Exchange 2003.
"Storage Administrator for Exchange moves storage groups to Exchange 2003 in one step, eliminating mailbox-by-mailbox moves," says Curtin-Mestre. "The customer provides the Exchange parameters and the software automatically configures the Clariion storage." She claims the software also eliminates over-provisioning or under-provisioning of storage resources.
Storage Administrator for Exchange has three new features: It is customer-installable; supports AS400 platforms; and supports iSCSI. Although the software is user-installable, Curtin-Mestre agrees that smaller companies will probably want to seek assistance from VARs or integrators.
List pricing begins at $2,000 for the AX100 or AX100i arrays and is based on the type of Clariion array.