Key Characteristics of Microsoft Exchange: High Availability

For roughly fifteen years now, Microsoft Exchange has been the industry leader in distributed email systems. While challenges have begun to crop up more often since “the cloud” became standard in Internet-based data access, Exchange has still remained ahead of the pack thanks to its robust standard features and Microsoft’s dedicating to keeping it on the cutting edge.

Perhaps its most compelling feature are the Exchange High Availability processes. These are systems built into Exchange to make it as difficult as possible for your messaging to be truly inaccessible. More reliable uptime translates directly into better productivity and less harm coming from unexpected outages.

Here are a few important innovations that make the Exchange High Availability possible.

Key Aspects of The Microsoft Exchange High Availability Processes

  • Continuous Replication: Exchange constantly works in the background, backing up data from active servers onto passive servers, so that there is always a fresh backup available should one server become inaccessible.
  • Database Mobility: Exchange 2010 improves significantly over previous versions by allowing multiple copies of databases to be kept, each able to become the “active” database if another becomes unavailable. The amount of time Exchange takes to do this changeover is only about thirty seconds, resulting in virtually no significant downtime even at the moment of failure.
  • Database Availability Groups: Exchange maintains miniature networks of up to 16 mailbox servers in a single DAG that automatically remained synced and updated between each other. This is designed to be easy to configure and set up, and no longer requires separate hardware, as in previous editions.
  • Active Manager: This new feature in Exchange 2010 improves significantly on their previous editions by adding a hypervisor-like Active Manager that monitors the network topography and the health of individual databases, and intelligently reacts to changes or unexpected outages by shifting the traffic. This is work that previously had to be done directly by sysadmins, leading to slower responses and more money spent adjusting for outages.

Exchange High Availability Means More Reliable Communications

These days, you need your internal communications to be as rock-solid as you can possibly make them. It’s a 24-hour-a-day business world out there, and you need to know your messaging will work just as well at 2 AM as at 2 PM. The Exchange High Availability systems make this possible, and ensure your email continues to work for you rather than becoming a drag on business.

Photo Credit: Purpleslog

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