Exchange 2010 SP1 Key Features

Exchange 2010 SP1 is yet to be released, but information about its new features is beginning to appear. For example, see this recent EHLO Blog. Several improvements are important for archiving and discovery.

The biggest change is the move to split the Personal Archive mailbox into its own database. Now you can implement a tiered storage strategy, where active mailboxes are stored on high-performance SAS drives and the Personal Archive can be stored on lower-cost SATA drives. The advantage is that you can fine-tune the underlying storage to match the application. In the case of the active mailbox, performance is the key factor. For the Personal Archive mailbox, low-cost capacity is the primary factor. Both mailboxes are viewable side-by-side in Outlook so the user experience is seamless. Finally, Microsoft now supports the Archive Mailbox with Outlook 2007.

There are three important new features for e-discovery:

  • Search preview. This allows you to review search statistics prior to completing the search. This a fancy feature, sometimes referred to as “early case assessment,” that is only available in standalone archiving and discovery applications.
  • Search de-duplication. This feature duplicates from a search to reduce the result set.
  • Search annotation. Using this feature, you can add tags to search results that can be searched later. Sample tags are strings such as “confidential,” “Case XYZ,” or “Privileged.” All three new features improve the performance and usability of the search function, possibly eliminating the need to purchase a stand-alone discovery application.

Microsoft is thinking through its development plans for archiving and discovery well. Being able to store email securely over the long term, and search it quickly for e-discovery purposes, has been a major pain for end users. It's good to see Microsoft responding, step by step.

... Bob Spurzem - In addition to his role as Ferris analyst, Bob is director of product marketing at Permabit, which offers a grid–based disk storage system.

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