Mimosa Systems NearPoint for Microsoft Exchange Server 3.1 review

£58
Price when reviewed

The pressures of regulatory compliance and potentially costly litigation are forcing businesses to re-evaluate their email archiving strategies. It’s no longer sufficient to ensure the contents of their user’s mailboxes are being stored securely as auditing and legal searches, or eDiscovery, are now regulatory requirements.

Mimosa Systems NearPoint aims to provide a compete solution for Exchange servers where it offers secure message archiving, search and audit facilities and optional eDiscovery and also stands out for a number of other reasons.

By utilising log shipping it avoids the performance overheads inherent in many other solutions that employ MAPI or agent based technologies and also doesn’t require the equally resource hungry journaling to be enabled to ensure guaranteed capture of all emails for compliance.

Initially, NearPoint takes a full copy of the Exchange database but afterwards only ever copies the transaction logs to its archive. Once Exchange has released a transaction log it posts an entry in the event log which NearPoint uses as its cue to take a copy. On completion in then indexes it to facilitate faster searches.

It’s a neat solution as NearPoint doesn’t create any resource contention and along with emails, it captures all notes, calendars, contacts and tasks plus deleted or moved items so providing a complete story about each message’s lifecycle.

A big bonus of this Exchange shadowing is NearPoint provides near CDP (continuous data protection) and complete recovery services as standard allowing it to restore the entire database, selected mailboxes or individual emails. With the appropriate access controls in place this allows you to provide a self-service facility to users so they can manage their own email and recover lost messages.

The standard feature only allows the Exchange database to be recovered locally to its original location but Mimosa also offers optional tools for restoring it to another location or site – possibly for forensic investigations.

We found installation a pleasant affair as NearPoint’s archiving and shadowing operations are handled by a single application server which runs on a Windows Server 2003 system. This should be dedicated to the job at hand and you’ll need to factor in the cost of SQL Server 2005 as well.

For storage you can use any device that the host can see allowing NearPoint to work with local storage, IP or FC SANs or network shares. Mimosa’s grid technology allows NearPoint to scale easily with demand as multiple nodes can be used for load balancing and extra nodes added when needed.

The NearPoint console is a tidy MMC snap-in which starts an auto-discovery for Exchange servers. Selected objects are then placed in the managed server group and shadowing enabled for each one. This starts off a full database copy and you can enable periodic and dynamic log shipping to provide full protection. You can also request that NearPoint adds an archive folder to all mailboxes allowing users to see their own archive if allowed.

There’s nothing to do on the client side as users just carry on with their mail client and NearPoint can be configured for complete transparency. If permitted, a new archive folder will appear in their folder list and you can extend permissions to allow some users, such as auditors, to search mailboxes other than their own.

Policies control archiving activities for each Exchange server where you decide what is to be archived, what should be excluded, the data retention periods and user permissions. NearPoint’s mailbox extensions are used to archive attachments where the message remains on the server with a stub pointing to it and this is the only function that requires NearPoint to interact directly with the Exchange database.

Details

Software subcategory Office software

Requirements

Processor requirement None

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? no
Operating system Windows XP supported? no
Operating system Linux supported? no
Operating system Mac OS X supported? no
Other operating system support Windows Server 2003

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