Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition, April 1, 2004

Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition--iSCSI and NAS Support--April 1, 2004

This Issue Sponsored By

Events Central--a Comprehensive Resource for the Latest Events in Your Field
http://www.winnetmag.com/events

Security Administrator
http://www.secadministrator.com/rd.cfm?code=fsep254xup

===============

Commentary
- iSCSI and NAS Support Resources
- Featured Thread: Vanishing Messages
- Outlook Tip: Sorting Flagged Messages

New and Improved
- Reduce Spam and Monitor SMTP Usage

==========

~~~~ Sponsor: Events Central ~~~~
Looking for one place to find the latest Web seminars, roadshows, and conferences? Events Central has every topic you're looking for. Stay current on the latest developments in your field. Visit Events Central and find answers now!
http://www.winnetmag.com/events

==========

==== Commentary: iSCSI and NAS Support ==== by Paul Robichaux, News Editor, [email protected]

This week, I have more information about Exchange Server storage. First, I have an update to my recent commentary about Exchange Server 2003 support for the Internet SCSI (iSCSI) protocol. (You can read this commentary, "iSCSI Support for Exchange," at http://www.winnetmag.com/windows/article/articleid/42135/42135.html .) I wrote that the Windows Catalog didn't currently list any iSCSI devices supported for use with Exchange 2003. However, Claude Lorenson, program manager for iSCSI support at Microsoft, confirmed that the devices labeled “Designed for Windows XP” in the catalog are also certified for use with Exchange, even though they don't yet display the new “Designed for Windows” logo that the original Microsoft press release specified as a requirement. He also confirmed that no separate certification process is required for Exchange compatibility, although many vendors are choosing to perform their own compatibility tests. This clarification is good news if you’re thinking about deploying iSCSI--take a look at the Windows Catalog to find a wealth of supported devices. According to Lorenson, many customers are already using iSCSI Storage Area Networks (SANs) with Exchange 2003 in their production environments.

In more storage news, this week Microsoft released a new article--"Microsoft support policy on the use of network-attached storage devices with Exchange Server 2003" ( http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=839687 )--describing its support policy for Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices and Exchange 2003. This policy is fairly straightforward: Only NAS devices certified by the Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) are supported for use with Exchange. The same is true for block-mode storage devices, regardless of how those devices attach to the server. The article makes some other points that are worthy of discussion:

- Some solutions rely on host CPU processing. In particular, NAS solutions that rely on adding redirectors to the Exchange server’s network stack to send and receive data might experience higher I/O latency. Although the article doesn’t explicitly say so, using IP Security (IPSec), as you probably should do for IP SAN deployments, can exacerbate the problem. You might get some relief by using NICs or iSCSI host bus adapters (HBAs) that offload IPSec processing from the host CPU; generally, the additional CPU overhead isn't a problem on servers that have adequate headroom.

- For NAS or iSCSI deployments that use network switches, put those switches (and any other network equipment between host and target) on a UPS--otherwise, the path between the storage and Exchange servers will be vulnerable to failure during power outages.

- If you want to use clustering, ensure that your entire cluster system--including all cluster nodes and the storage system--appears on the Microsoft cluster Hardware Compatibility List (HCL). Building an ad hoc cluster out of parts that are WHQL-certified isn't the same as building a cluster from components listed on the cluster HCL.

- Verify that your Exchange storage system is designed for use with Exchange 2003 and is set up according to the storage vendor’s best practices. Don't be shy about asking the vendor for assistance gathering this information.

Two other Microsoft articles describe the NAS and SAN support policies for earlier Exchange versions. Regarding Exchange 2000 Server, "XADM: Exchange Server and Network-Attached Storage" ( http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=317173 ) says NAS devices are supported only if they operate in block mode. Devices that provide access through file shares (either as mapped drives or through UNC paths) are explicitly not supported, even though some vendors provide support for their devices when used with Exchange. For Exchange Server 5.5, "XADM: Exchange Server 5.5 and Network-Attached Storage" ( http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=317172 ) says Microsoft supports the use of networked servers or NAS devices as long as the storage device or server is WHQL-certified. If you use an uncertified device that meets the I/O requirements that the article describes, Microsoft will support Exchange but won't assist you with any problems that the NAS device causes--you'll have to go to the vendor for help.

Why the difference in support between the two earlier versions of Exchange? Exchange 2000 uses an Installable File System (IFS) driver to provide logical access to items in the database, and the driver--known as the Exchange IFS (ExIFS)--requires a block-mode storage device. Exchange 5.5 doesn’t use an IFS driver, so it doesn’t matter whether the underlying volumes are shared over the network as long as there is sufficient network bandwidth and low enough latency.

When properly designed and deployed, NAS and SAN devices can provide welcome improvements for your Exchange servers. As with every storage technology, you need to balance acquisition and operation costs, security, scalability, recoverability, and supportability to find the best vendors and technologies for your environment.

==========

~~~~ Sponsor: Security Administrator ~~~~
Try a Sample Issue of Security Administrator!
Security Administrator is the monthly newsletter from Windows & .NET Magazine that shows you how to protect your network from external intruders and control access for internal users. Sign up now to get a 1-month trial issue--you'll feel more secure just knowing you did. Click here!
http://www.secadministrator.com/rd.cfm?code=fsep254xup

==========

==== Announcements ==== (from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

Windows & .NET Magazine Connections
Windows & .NET Magazine Connections features speakers from Microsoft and other top independent experts. Complete details about workshops, breakout sessions, and speakers are now online. All attendees will get a chance to win a Florida vacation. Keep your competitive edge by learning from the world’s best experts. Go online now to register.
http://www.winconnections.com

Take our Brief Survey!
Does your company use third-party management tools to manage your Microsoft Windows network? If you do, Windows & .NET Magazine would like to hear from you about your preferences. Please respond to our short survey regarding Windows management tools and we'll enter you in a drawing to win one of two $50 Amazon.com gift certificates.
http://www.zoomerang.com/survey.zgi?p=9VFBX43WXLCN

==== Resources ====

Featured Thread: Vanishing Messages
A forum reader is plagued by a mystery: messages that vanish without a trace. The reader is running Exchange Server 2003. To offer your advice or join the discussion, go to the following URL:
http://www.winnetmag.com/forums/rd.cfm?cid=40&tid=119012

Outlook Tip: Sorting Flagged Messages by Sue Mosher, [email protected]

Q: Can I define a view of contacts that displays only contacts that I've flagged for follow-up for today? The By Follow-Up Flag view separates contacts that I've flagged from those that I haven't, but I can't figure out how to view just the contacts that I've flagged for the current day.

A: The trick to producing a contacts folder view that filters on the follow-up flag date is to use the Due By date from the All Mail Fields list to build the filter. (This suggestion might not sound logical, but a small number of Outlook fields, including Due By, can perform double-duty.) To create the filter, choose View, Current View, Customize Current View, then click Filter. On the Advanced tab, click Field, choose All Mail Fields, then choose Due By. Set the condition to Today, then click "Add to List". Finally, click OK, then click OK again to finish modifying the view.
See the Windows & .NET Magazine Exchange & Outlook Web page for more great tips.
http://www.winnetmag.com/microsoftexchangeoutlook

==== Events Central ==== (A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine: http://www.winnetmag.com/events )

New Web Seminar--Preemptive Email Security: How Enterprise Rent-A-Car Eliminates Spam
Get the inside scoop on how Enterprise Rent-A-Car eliminated spam and viruses, improved their email security, and increased productivity. Don’t miss this opportunity to educate yourself and become a smarter customer when it comes to choosing an antispam solution that best fits your organization’s needs. Sign up for this free Web seminar today!
http://www.winnetmag.com/seminars/emailsecurity/index.cfm?code=emailannc

==== New and Improved ==== by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]

Reduce Spam and Monitor SMTP Usage
Total Sentry released Exchange Sentry 2.1, a spam filter that reduces spam and monitors SMTP email usage. The software targets small and midsized businesses that suffer from declining email productivity. The software runs on Exchange Server 2003 and Exchange 2000 Server and integrates seamlessly with the SMTP connector for Exchange. Exchange Sentry doesn't access Active Directory (AD) or the Exchange Information Store (IS) databases but works at the SMTP transport level to avoid corrupting the IS databases. Pricing is $250 for Exchange Sentry for SBS, $500 for Exchange Sentry for Exchange Standard, and $700 for Exchange Sentry for Exchange Enterprise. Contact Total Sentry at 614-431-3327.
http://www.exchangesentry.com

Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!
Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a Windows & .NET Magazine T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to [email protected]

==== Sponsored Link ====

Argent
Comparison Paper: The Argent Guardian Easily Beats Out MOM
http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;6480843;8214395;q?http://www.argent.com/products/download_whitepaper.cgi?product=mom&&Source=WNTTextLink

=========

==== Contact Us ====

About the newsletter -- [email protected]
About technical questions -- http://www.winnetmag.com/forums
About product news -- [email protected]
About your subscription -- [email protected]
About sponsoring UPDATE -- [email protected]

=========================

This email newsletter is brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies. Subscribe today.
http://www.winnetmag.com/sub.cfm?code=wswi201x1z

View the Windows & .NET Magazine Privacy policy at:
http://www.winnetmag.com/AboutUs/Index.cfm?action=privacy Windows & .NET Magazine a division of Penton Media Inc.
221 East 29th Street, Loveland, CO 80538,
Attention: Customer Service Department Copyright 2004, Penton Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Hide comments

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Publish