I’m sleeping better at night. We’re in the middle of a major project, part of which involves consolidating way too many e-mail servers onto a single Exchange 2007 server. We never really planned to end up with as many e-mail servers as we did, but through a combination of growth and acquisitions, we somehow ended up with 6 of them servicing about 200 people. It was way too many servers for the number of users, even in a multi-office environment. We’re in the process of fixing that now, moving all of our users onto Exchange 2007. Prior to making this move, our primary server was running Exchange 2003, and the hardware was becoming shaky to the point we held our breath every time we restarted it.
I’m a big fan of Exchange. We’ve been running it since Exchange 2000 was released, and I’ve watched it become stronger with each subsequent release. This thing is a workhorse, and it’s been incredibly reliable over the years. When we have had issues with it, we’ve found Microsoft’s Exchange support to be more than equal to the task. As a result, we’ve had a solid track record of providing e-mail service to our employees.
While it’s probably a bit early for me to be singing the praises of Exchange 2007, what I’ve seen so far has proven to be incredibly useful. First, we had to move our storage databases off local storage and onto our shared iSCSI storage after we rolled out the server. (Our EqualLogic box arrived after the Exchange box.) Moving the databases was something which would have terrified me with prior releases. In fact, I’ve never even considered doing it. With Exchange 2007, we simply utilized the wizard and moved all of our databases on a Friday evening. We finished the DB moves in about an hour, and most users never even noticed an interruption in service.
Currently, we’re in the process of migrating our user’s mailboxes onto Exchange 2007. We’ve completed the move for 3 of our offices, and we’re in the process of moving 4 others. In the past, this type of migration meant a Saturday in the office moving mailboxes. With Exchange 2007, I literally do sleep through the moves. We schedule the moves overnight, and when we start the following morning everything is finished. Out of approximately 120 mailboxes moved so far, we’ve only encountered errors on two moves, and neither prevented the mailbox from moving. When they arrive in the morning, our users don’t even realize they’ve been moved.
There’s much more to Exchange 2007 than moving databases and migrating mailboxes, but so far I’ve been impressed. One of the other reasons we moved onto Exchange 2007 was the addition of Unified Messaging. That’s the next step in our implementation, and since that service is new to Exchange 2007 I’m prepared for some growing pains. However, when I consider the pain we’ve experienced with telecomm voicemail systems over the years, I’m actually looking forward to bringing this service into Exchange. Regardless of how that implementation goes, I’m sleeping better these days knowing that the foundation of my e-mail services is in good shape.