When I wrote about some of the problems surrounding Exchange 2013 in “Exchange Unwashed” on January 17, I noted that “The signs are that the Exchange ecosystem is incomplete or not prepared for prime time.” Well, one of the important pieces of the Exchange ecosystem for many companies is now available as Symantec has released Enterprise Vault 10.0.3. According to Symantec’s blog, the new release supports:
- Microsoft Exchange Server 2013
- Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013
- Microsoft Outlook 2013 (on the desktop)
- Windows 8 (desktop)
- Windows 2012 as a File System Archiving target
- 64-bit Domino as a gateway
- Mac client OS 10.8 (Mountain Lion)
All of this is good stuff and I like that Symantec is prepared to support its customers who want to deploy Exchange 2013 along with Windows 2012 servers (the natural platform for Exchange 2013) and Outlook 2013 (the best client for Exchange 2013). Of course, quite how many customers will be ready to go ahead and deploy is the big question, but it’s good to be ready.
When Microsoft shipped a mass of compliance features in Exchange 2010, including archive mailboxes, some questioned how long products like Enterprise Vault could compete against the combination of well-integrated features and low cost offered by Microsoft. Compliance has received further development in Exchange 2013 with new features such as in-place hold (replacing retention and litigation holds and better integrated with search) and data loss prevention (basically, a sophisticated form of transport rule that checks for known data patterns in email). And Microsoft has not been slow to impress customers with the perceived advantages of its approach to keeping everything in mailbox databases and why stubbing is so bad, understanding of course that Enterprise Vault and other third-party archiving and compliance products extract data from mailboxes to populate their own indexes.
Enterprise Vault has been around a long time. If you’re interested in its history from an add-on for Exchange created by Digital through a sell-off by Compaq and development by KVS, you can read my post covering its general history and one from Nigel Dutt, ex CTO of KVS, who led its development before Symantec acquired the product some years ago.
With such a long history in the areas of compliance and archiving, it’s fair to say that Symantec know what they are doing. Based on the feedback from many companies that use Enterprise Vault, it seems like a solid product that fits well into compliance processes. Some customers have been lost to Microsoft, which then creates a whole new set of challenges to migrate data out of the Enterprise Vault repository back into Exchange databases while continuing to comply with regulatory and legal requirements for data retention, privacy, and security. In short, an expensive and time-consuming operation.
Apart from anything else, the presence of such a longstanding competitor (and partner) in the form of Enterprise Vault keeps Microsoft honest and provokes innovation through competitive pressure. Long may this continue!
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