Cemaphore's MailShadowX Links Exchange To Exchange Online - InformationWeek

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11/19/2008
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Howard Marks
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Cemaphore's MailShadowX Links Exchange To Exchange Online

Riding the coattails of Microsoft's announcement of its hosted Exchange service Exchange Online, Cemaphore Systems announced that its MailShadowX product will sync Exchange Online mailboxes with mailboxes on an organization's in-house Exchange server.

Riding the coattails of Microsoft's announcement of its hosted Exchange service Exchange Online, Cemaphore Systems announced that its MailShadowX product will sync Exchange Online mailboxes with mailboxes on an organization's in-house Exchange server.The Exchange Online mailbox can then provide users with access to their mailbox contents, and the ability to send and receive mail from the same e-mail address they normally use for just $10/mailbox a month.

Setting up a comprehensive disaster recovery system for Exchange isn't for the faint of heart. Not only do you need a doppelganger server for your Exchange servers, and of course a DR site to house it, but also a process to make sure user's PCs running Outlook can reconnect to their mailboxes when you fail over. Between server hardware, replication and failover software from Double-Take Software or Neverfail, an exchange license for the doppelganger, etc., you're looking at a minimum of $8,000 on top of rent and bandwidth costs.

For organizations or locations with fewer than 50 users, the $50 for MailShadowX and $10/month for Exchange Online makes a lot more sense. This is especially true for branch offices, where the combination could make eliminating the local Exchange server a possibility.

In addition to mailbox contents, MailShadowX also syncs the Exchange global address list so users that primarily use Exchange Online will still have access to the corporate mailing lists and directory.

Like Cemaphore's MailShadowG, which syncs with Gmail, MailShadowX runs on the user's PC, but unlike the Google version doesn't run within Outlook. I'm looking forward to a version that can run as a service on a PC or server that handles sync for multiple users, which would really make eliminating the branch office Exchange servers worthwhile.

Cemaphore also announced general availability of MailShadowG and that MailShadowG could act as a conduit between Exchange and T-Mobile's Android phone powered by Google software.

In many years of installing, managing, and supporting Exchange servers, I've come to the conclusion that organizations without full-time IT staff are probably better off not trying to run Exchange themselves. It's hard to back up, hard to restore, and requires a lot more IT chops than Mike the PC guy probably has. If you're in this boat, fire up MailShadowX, turn off the Small Business Server's Exchange when all the mailboxes are synced, and just run Exchange Online.

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