Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Exchange 2010: The Green Impact of Disk Choice

Microsoft Exchange is the most widely deployed Enterprise messaging system on the planet. Exchange 2010 was released Q4 2009 to a solid reception, and the upcoming release of Service Pack 1 (SP1) will push Exchange 2010 to become the default version for upgrades and green field installations. One of the core areas of focus since Exchange 2003, addressed in Exchange 2007 and continued in Exchange 2010, was to reduce disk I/O as a means to improving performance and reducing the total cost of ownership through less expensive disk and lower energy costs.

Exchange 2010 indicates an I/O reduction of around 90% when compared Exchange 2003, and 50% against Exchange 2007, while this does not necessarily translate into less disks (due to increased mail volumes, larger mailboxes, and wider usage across Enterprise employee’s as a common part of HR policies to ensure all employee’s have access to email), it does provide the opportunity to deploy a different TYPE of disk.

A report from EMC focusing primarily on their Clariion SAN technology summarises the power consumption of different sized disks with differing performance stats. The following diagram is extracted from the report and demonstrates the significant energy saving of utilising higher capacity drives that can be used for Exchange 2010 as I/O performance requirements are reduced:
While the Green agenda is often confused with cost savings, it’s clear that progress made with Exchange 2010 and the resulting CHOICE of disk type will have a positive impact on both issues for Enterprises supporting thousands of employee’s, requiring ever increasing mailbox sizes, and increasing email volumes.

The Growth in Enterprise Email Volumes

A December 2007 New York Times blog post described E-mail as "a $650 Billion Drag on the Economy", and the New York Times reported in April 2008 that "E-mail has become the bane of some people’s professional lives" due to information overload.

Despite the widespread adoption of email by corporate enterprises over a decade ago, the growth of emails sent and received per person per day is still rising sharply. The graph below illustrates how daily email quantities are predicted to continue to grow by a further 30% in the next two 2 years. 

While end-users are feeling the Email growth pain, the impact to Enterprise IT Function is compounded by both volume AND complexity. Email is no longer just the sending and receiving of messages, instead Email today relies on a complex Eco-system of messaging and related services that address wide variety of Enterprise requirements to ensure compliance, policy enforcement, security, disaster recovery / business continuity, and long term data retention.

Drivers for Change in Email Management

A recent study concerning the drivers for change from an in-house email service delivery model to an outsource approach concluded that cost and the need to consolidate and upgrade existing email estates accounted for almost three quarters of the responses to the study:

The cost of email isn’t simply accounted for by the sending and receiving of emails, instead it is comprised of a complex email eco-system that typically contains an intertwined web of services for security, archiving, compliance, continuity services, and a plethora of access methods utilised by increasingly mobile workforces, operating in many time zones often outside of core IT hours and local office hours.

Typical Enterprise-scale organisations have multiple messaging systems due to mergers and acquisitions. This presents the opportunity to consolidate, centralise and standardise the messaging platform on to the latest software version to minimise support costs, take advantage of new features and functionality, and integrate with desktop client software refresh programmes.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Hello World

Hello World....rather apt as I spent the weekend clearing out my Mum's loft and found numerous interesting computer items including a ZX Spectrum 48K, and Atari ST 512K, and a serious collection of 'Input' magazines.

Memories swiftly returned of spending hours typing in programs from Input magazine back in the '80s, which all started with the simplest of programs to display 'Hello World' on the screen.