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Managing messaging storage

Jan 23, 20033 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging AppsNetApp

* Tools that can help manage storage used for messaging

Storage is one of the difficult aspects of managing a messaging system, in large part because storage requirements are growing so rapidly.

A survey we conducted in October found that online storage growth in messaging systems had increased 36% during the previous 12 months, despite a soft economy. The survey also found that the typical organization has a median of 120G bytes of online storage available for its messaging system, although this varies widely based on the size of the organization and other factors.

Large amounts of storage can create problems in the event that a server crashes or some other incident occurs, the most notable problem being very long restoration times during which the messaging system is unavailable.

One way around this is through the use of specialized storage systems, such as the combination of Network Appliance’s filer technology and SnapManager software.

NetApp’s filers, which are offered in as appliances, provide very high availability and storage capacities up to 48 terabytes. The filers can be used in conjunction with a variety of software tools that provide important functions for managing a messaging system. For example, NetApp’s software tools provide a means of rapidly restoring a Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes/Domino infrastructure that has gone down, restoring it much more quickly than can be accomplished through restoration from tape. This can significantly reduce the total cost of ownership for either system, since downtime is reduced and since additional storage capacity can be added without taking the system down. NetApp’s SnapMirror mirrors data to multiple filers, making data available in the event of a disaster or providing a consistent set of data to multiple locations.

SnapRestore uses NetApp’s SnapShot technology, which automatically takes “snapshots” of data in the background at predetermined intervals, to recover large amounts of data very rapidly, thereby reducing downtime in a messaging system. A key advantage of the SnapShot technology is that it allows end users to recover files that they have modified or deleted without any help from an administrator.

There are a number of other products that offer the ability to significantly reduce restoration times for messaging systems through the application of high-volume storage devices and dedicated software, such as EMC’s Symmetrix data storage products and TimeFinder software.

While these products may be well known to most messaging managers, they will increase in importance as the focus of messaging moves to cost management, storage management and improved service levels.