Rollout: Mimosa's NearPoint 2.1

Companies in highly regulated industries will welcome NearPoint 2.0's self-service compliance storage and eDiscovery options.

September 14, 2006

4 Min Read
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Mimosa has taken a good product for Exchange e-mail archiving and created an even better offering for large enterprises in tightly regulated industries. NearPoint 2.0 for Microsoft Exchange Server features an automated method of off-loading Exchange storage. It migrates large attachments out of Exchange to less-costly NearPoint storage. You can still search the contents of attachments and recall migrated attachments with a single click.NearPoint also provides robust Exchange data protection; restore operations at the Exchange-system level, as well as self-service mailbox and individual message-level restorations; Exchange storage management; disaster recovery; team-based audit and message discovery; and, in conjunction with an EMC Centera, tamper-proof compliance storage.

Singular Focus On Exchange

Mimosa is a one-product company for now, specializing in products for Microsoft apps. In fact, Mimosa's road map doesn't even include a Notes Domino product. (Look for entries into the SharePoint arena next year.) Mimosa capitalizes on this focus by interfacing with Exchange Server at the Extensible Storage Engine API (ESE-API) rather than through Exchange's built-in journaling feature--the same mechanism used by the products in our 2005 e-mail archiving review.

The logging features of the Mimosa-supported ESE-API guarantee data integrity, consistency and recovery in the event of a system crash. In addition to reducing the overall impact on a production Exchange server, the ESE-API copies the Exchange database and transaction logs to the NearPoint server, letting NearPoint restore operations for an entire Exchange server down to an individual message. And because it uses a disk-to-disk restore, the process is so fast that we didn't believe a 30-MB mailbox restore actually worked during testing. But it did.

We installed and tested NearPoint using Exchange Server 2003 running Windows 2003 Server on one server and NearPoint and Microsoft's SQL Server 2000 on a second. The product requires Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server 2000 or 2005 and supports Exchange 2000 or 2003. NearPoint stores its metadata on SQL Server and everything else using the Windows file system. As a result, inexpensive NAS storage can be used as your primary storage for NearPoint.

One glitch was that the eDiscovery option requires SQL Server 2005, a condition that wasn't listed in the installation manual. Although we would have preferred that Mimosa made that clear upfront, at least we had the chance to do an in-place upgrade of SQL Server--something that existing NearPoint customers running SQL Server 2000 will have to do if they implement the eDiscovery option. All in all, the upgrade went fine.

eDiscovery Search Capabilities

The NearPoint base product can perform discovery searches across mailboxes that would meet most enterprise needs; the eDiscovery option provides mechanisms to conduct collaborative team-based searches and discovery procedures for records managers, inside and outside counsel, paralegals and compliance officers.

Unlike the NearPoint interface integrated directly into Outlook or Outlook Web Access, eDiscovery installs on the auditor's desktop as a 32-bit Windows application. The search capabilities in the base product as well as the eDiscovery option support searches across all Exchange content, including any message type as well as attachments. The eDiscovery searches can be saved and shared with other auditors and refined by adding further criteria to search through previous results. Results can be tagged with custom labels that can be used in future searches.The eDiscovery option support tracks and displays an item's history, including forwards, edits, moves and deletions, as it moves through the Exchange system. In addition, standard retention periods can be overridden with discovery holds. We easily organized our search results by date, sender/recipient, or subject and attachment, and viewed them by item history or conversation ID. We were disappointed, though, that the search results don't display the term highlighted in the result set.

With all that NearPoint offers, the price of a fully configured system, including options--PST Archive, Disaster Recovery, eDiscovery and Compliance Storage-- is a staggering $172.79 per mailbox in a 500-mailbox system--totaling $86,395. The base system alone is $71.99 per user, nearly twice the cost of two of the products in our 2005 review. At 2,000 users, the price for a base NearPoint implementation drops to $40 per client--the 2005 price for EMC's and Waterford Technologies' e-mail archiving products at the 200-user mark. n

Ron Anderson is a freelance writer in upstate New York. Write to him at [email protected].

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