Microsoft recently released the final version of Exchange Server 2007 SP1, bringing many features into production that didn’t make the cut for the original RTM. Some of the more notable enhancements include improvements to Outlook Web Access (OWA) and the management console and native IPv6 support. Arguably the most significant addition is Standby Continuous Replication (SCR). SCR enables organizations to replicate storage groups to stand-by servers or clusters at remote or secondary data centers. The SCR target can be manually activated if there is a failure at the primary data center. Existing disaster recovery (DR) solutions using native Microsoft tools were scarce and complex, especially compared to other platforms like Domino. To date, third parties like Symantec, NetApp, and Mimosa Systems have filled the gap for customers looking for true rapid failover in site-level failures, but some companies like to see more native options. SCR could be an interesting alternative for firms looking to balance cost and their recovery SLA's.
On December 6th, 2007 IBM announced its acquisition of Arsenal Digital Solutions, a major player in the online backup service provider market. Arsenal provides online backup services to customers directly but other service providers (particularly telecommunication providers) rebrand and resell Arsenal's online backup services as their own. So the company is both provider and enabler. Arsenal is profitable, cash flow positive and has not required funding since 2002. It has approximately 3400 customers. IBM did not disclose the value of the acquisition.
It is important to note that the acquisition was made by IBM Global Services (IGS), not IBM Tivoli or IBM System and Technology. This acquisition is not about filling in a product gap (although IBM is lagging in data protection offerings that support deduplication), it's about ensuring a foothold in a critical market. In fact, the engine of Arsenal's service is EMC Avamar - what Arsenal provides is a software as a service (SaasS) wrapper around Avamar, everything you need for SaaS such as multi-tenancy, billing, reporting etc. IGS is clearly indifferent to the technology; they care about a dependable, scaleable online backup service