High-availability Exchange made easy
Azaleos and Teneros appliance-style solutions provide maximum uptime with minimal painFollow @infoworld
Setup of the NetApp storage and Azaleos OneServer took us approximately four hours with on-site assistance. One glitch came up where the USB key could not be read by two of the servers. This problem was fixed quickly by our visiting Azaleos engineer but would have required a call to technical support for customers attempting the install on their own. Azaleos recommends working with a systems integrator who will validate the customer’s initial configuration and assist with the setup.
After physically connecting the equipment, the on-site engineer walked us through the initial setup. Each server was booted from the USB key, which ran a configuration script. After the admin node came online, we could watch the progress of the Exchange cluster via a Web interface from a workstation. Each Exchange node came online and joined the cluster. After the setup was completed, what remained was to migrate objects into the new server. This migration is done using standard Exchange tools such as Microsoft Exchange System Manager.
The base appliance configuration costs $30,000 for as many as 2,500 users. Separate from this cost are the storage area network, purchased from an Azaleos partner or some other compatible vendor, and Windows licenses for the cluster, consisting of one Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition for the admin node plus two licenses each of Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition and Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise Edition for the OneServer.
The finishing touch is the Azaleos OneStop subscription, which provides 24x7 monitoring and support. The subscription provides remote monitoring and diagnostics. If the customer is willing to provide IPSec VPN access into the network, troubleshooting is also available remotely. Azaleos indicated that built-in VPN functionality is being considered for a future release.
All patches from Microsoft and Azaleos are provided monthly on a DVD. Azaleos recommends disabling Windows Server Update Services and relying on their DVD to ensure that all patches have been tested for the OneServer environment. Optional management features available from Azaleos include support for Exchange mobility services, anti-virus, and anti-spam — each available for an additional fee.
Although it’s a hefty solution, considering that the ‘appliance’ is actually a mini-rack of five separate devices, we very much liked the ease of use as well as the flexibility when it came to integrating the OneServer into an existing environment — even relatively large ones. Because moving Exchange objects is accomplished using the standard Microsoft Exchange System Manager or other Active Directory management tools, things such as public folders and directory integration are readily available to Azaleos users.
The only limiting factor is the amount of disk space for the information store. Because the SAN is provided separately, you can scale it for larger implementations, but this can have a real effect on the overall solution. That said, Azaleos has a great product here, although it’s definitely aimed at the high end of the midmarket spectrum.
If you’re looking for a plug-and-play solution for Exchange HA, and users number in the tens to hundreds not thousands, look no further than Teneros. The appliance is a single box that sits in front of an existing Exchange 2003 server and provides real-time replication and fail-over.