From your end users’ point of view, the first step in Exchange disaster recovery is restoring mail services. Cemaphore bases its MailShadow mailbox-recovery product on this notion as well as the idea that Exchange DR should be relatively easy to implement. MailShadow is a gateway product that provides email continuity using an organization’s existing Exchange servers on a WAN. Mailboxes are continuously replicated from the primary/source Exchange server to the secondary/DR Exchange server. When an Exchange server on the WAN fails, the administrator initiates the MailShadow failover, the Outlook client is repointed to the DR Exchange server, and users have continuous access to their mailbox content. The admin initiates a fail back to the original server when it’s up and running again.
The ability to use your existing Exchange servers for disaster recovery, regardless of hardware or the version of Exchange they’re running, is a key part of the product’s appeal to customers, said Marty Hollander, Cemaphore’s VP marketing. “The gateway replicates between production servers, so that you can use it for performance maintenance during a normal workday as well as for disaster recovery.” Another notable feature is that an admin can choose to recover critical mailboxes—certain users or groups—which further speeds recovery time. The product uses a combination of Outlook-Exchange Transport Protocol (formerly called MAPI) and Active Directory (AD) redirection to perform replication. Hollander says this method results in faster recoveries than products that use file- or block-level replication. “MailShadow can recover 1000 mailboxes in less than 10 minutes.”
The product is priced starting at $50 per mailbox (for a minimum of 100 mailboxes), with larger-volume discounts.